Listening Closely…

My interests have always been diverse which has led me to being open to the opportunities that life has presented to me.  For example…

…just out of high school I didn’t want to go to college like all of my friends, I decided to work instead and apprenticed at General Electric becoming a machinist.  I was a creative person anyway, so found it fascinating to learn how to create and fashion products from many different types of metal and with many types of machines.  I was trained to read blueprints, use micrometers for exact measurements and operated lathes, mills, drills, saws and even made my own tools to use in the trade.  I still marvel at the locomotive parts I had a hand in creating while working on GE Transportation’s line – I was fearless!  It didn’t matter if the part I was working on weighed twice as much as I did – I was up to the challenge and accomplished all of my work without help from the many men that worked in the shop, that were not about to offer their help, by the way.   Eventually, I went to University, worked in Mental Health and Social Work and at the pinnacle of that 17-year career, went back to school for photography and started my own business.  Here. I. Am!  And I’m off on another journey as I make a shift in my business to include what I love to do most of all: photography!  Did you think I would say downhill skiing?!  …just kidding…

In examining my career adventures, I’d say that my motto throughout has been to “be fearless.”  I’ve never been afraid to take a risk, knew I was intelligent enough to accomplish my goals and despite having no mentors and little guidance, always felt that I would be shown the way as long as I invested myself into my endeavors in a whole-hearted and open-minded way.  Fortunately for me, I have had great success in all things I’ve ever set out to do, even if I’ve been too humble to acknowledge my successes at times.  Every decision I’ve ever made in my life has been based on possibilities (optimism).  And even if I’ve questioned my decisions from time-to-time, I’ve always felt it was better to push on and make my way as I intuitively felt was intended. But, whether you perceive yourself as a risk-taker or steadfast, it all boils down to the state of mind we create for ourselves and how we measure our “success.”  Do we measure success by our own terms, by the expectations of others, or by comparing ourselves to people in our chosen industry?

Listening closely to your desires, your heart, your own voice, is important to do, always, but I recognize that hearing your voice is not easily done…there are so many things that distract and pull us away.  So, if you cannot muster listening to your heart “always” then shoot for often, or frequently, or even occasionally, because once you start listening, your way will be shown to you.  When you stop the chatter of  judgment, or expectations and fears of what others might think or say about your decisions, you come one step closer to giving yourself a voice…one step closer to accomplishing the things you love most, and to defining your life’s successes on your own terms.  I ask you to be fearless with me!  Give yourself the permission you need to rise above the pessimism – self- or other-inflicted – and do and be and create all you wish for.  I wish you all things good on your journey and the courage to achieve your desires.

What is your state of mind?  How are you keeping judgment and comparison at bay? What do you hear when you listen closely to yourself?  I’d love to hear your answers…

Namaste, Joanne Bartone Photographer


2005:  Skyscraper  |  Toronto, Canada  © Joanne Bartone Photographer

Canon 5D  |  ISO: 100  |  70-200mm L USM @ 200mm  |  f/5.6  |  1/2000

While in Toronto Canada attending a photography workshop by Yervant, the sky was blue, the sun was high, and if you’ve been to Toronto – a fantastic contemporary city – the architecture there is stunning, and heaven knows, I love to photograph architecture!  This particular skyscraper caught my eye as I looked out of my hotel window, because the design was so different from the other buildings surrounding it and I loved how it stood out in the sunlight and against that beautiful, clear blue sky.  So, with camera ever-ready, I assessed possible issues: shooting through a hotel window, having only a fixed position to shoot from and bright sunlight – although it was early in the day, so the sidelight was perfect; not too high or low.

My frame of mind was excited, filled with anticipation of a coming workshop from a photographer I admired so much, so when I saw this skyscraper standing tall and bold it felt like a symbolic image for the state of being I was experiencing.  To me, this image represents strength, individuality, fearlessness and possibilities – exactly what I was feeling at the time.

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