Square Hole: a self portrait © Sarah Allegra
I’m sure everyone reading this has had times when they felt like the often cited square peg in a round hole. It’s a pretty universal human experience. And, of course, we shouldn’t all fit neatly into every hole society expects of us. If we did, there would be no one to rock the boat, to bring about desperately-needed change, no inspirational leaders, no one going against the flow and showing us we can do the same.
We need those people who obviously, obtusely, refuse to contort themselves into whatever-shaped hole is expected of them. We need our spiritual leaders, those who bring about social reform, who call out those in power and refuse to let injustice stand. We need artists and creatives who show us with words and paint and dance and pixels how the world could be different. And we need them all to help us make this possibility a reality.
It feels cliche to say this as an artist, but I have always felt different from most of the people around me. I rarely felt like I fit in, except for with the occasional kindred spirit I would meet, shining like a beacon in the night. Those other beautiful, misfit souls who also felt like they didn’t belong; when we were together, suddenly, we did belong. And I am very lucky to have married such a man! Having just a few people like that in your life, people who truly understand you and appreciate you for you you are right now in addition to what you might be can make all the difference in the world. It can be the difference between life feeling like a desert wasteland or a lush garden, full of birds who eat from your hands and fawns who curl up on your lap like a Disney movie.
Humans need to feel understood, to find their tribe. I am very grateful to have found so much of mine, both online and off!
This square hole is in my mother-in-law’s house and usually houses a very handsome metal owl sculpture. She was kind enough to let me move the owl and Geoff was sweet enough to help me shoot with self portrait in it (along with a number of other self portraits which I’ll eventually get around to editing). He was also in charge of making sure I didn’t plummet to my death; one side of the hole is about chest-high on me, on the second story of the house, but the other side opens into the main living room, probably 20 feet high. I am quite scared of heights, but I will brave a lot that I wouldn’t normally endure for the sake of art… especially if Geoff is there to make sure I stay safe. 🙂
Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t fit in. You will find your people. And once you do, the whole journey will feel worth it. Dance to your own drummer. Break out of the mold people try to put you in. Live your life authentically, because you’re the only one who can.
Square Hole: a self portrait © Sarah Allegra
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged adobe, artist, authenticity, be yourself, brunette, conformity, curl, D5100, dirty, experience, female, fight, fitting in, girl, hole, human, los angeles, misfit, model, nikon, peg, photographer, photoshop, round, sarah allegra, self portrait, square, stand out, stay weird, struggle, universal, you do you | 4 Comments »
It’s been quite busy in my life since I last posted! It seems that’s always the way though, isn’t it? Part of what I’ve been so busy working on is what I’d like to show you in this post: three whole new product lines!
Well, to be strictly honest, one is brand new and the other has been around for a bit but I’m just getting around to blogging about it. I’ll start with the one I’m most excited about and I think you guys will be excited about too!
I have a new Etsy shop! I’m sure you guys know about the one I use to sell my prints through; this shop is for completely different kinds of things. I’m calling it “Spiritual Skincare!” Let me tell you how this came about.
I have long been on the quest for the perfect skin serum; something completely natural, vegan, with ingredients which not only help my skin in the short term, which prevents premature signs of aging, but is also extremely gentle, healing and will only make your skin healthier and healthier the longer you use it! I’d narrowed in on several key oils that I knew my skin responded to well so I decided to create my own custom blend! And, as it turns out, the oils are all incredibly good for your hair, nails; basically every single part of your body!
In addition to all that, you also have the option of having vitamin C serum added to your oil blend! Vitamin C acts something like a bouncer for your skin; it keeps all the bad stuff out. Anything that might try to sneak it, it finds and throws it out on its ass! I have not been able to find reliable information on what vitamin C serum might do for your hair; until I do, I can’t recommend its use in hair, but it’s fabulous for your skin!
Artos The Bear’s Wares: Spiritual Skin Care Products and More – All images © Sarah Allegra
My exact blend is proprietary, but I can tell you that my blend contains vegan squalene oil, argan oil and rosehip seed oil (and vitamin C serum if you choose). I won’t bog this post down even more highlighting exactly what INCREDIBLE things each of these oils do, but I’ll give you a brief highlight! My serum:
- Is all natural, vegan, completely cruelty-free, fragrance-free and pure, with no fillers.
- Is extremely gentle, suitable for all skin types and (despite it being an oil) actually fights acne!
- Fights virtually ALL signs of aging – lines, crows feet, sun damage and stimulates cellular membrane and tissue regeneration.
- Heals scars and stretch marks, dark circles, under-eye bags and acne.
- Is extremely moisturizing, penetrates deeply, yet absorbs quickly and feels light, not heavy.
- Is incredibly good for your hair and scalp! It can be used as a flyaway-tamer, added to your conditioner or styling product, or a few drops can be used on their own for a light hold (I love using it this way myself).
- Comes in three sizes so you can try a little before you stock up.
In addition, to make it really my kind of serum, each and every bottle is infused with the divine, healing energy of the angels and Unicorns. Every time you apply your serum, you are getting a little dose of unconditionally-loving, magical, ethereal angelic and Unicorn energy absorbed straight into your being! Geoff even asks me to apply it to him every night! I utterly adore it, I’ve gotten wonderful feedback from it and I think you’ll love it too. 🙂
I think you all know that I’m a big fan of the site Fiverr! It’s a wonderful site where people sell products (mostly digital) and services of ALL kinds – all starting at, you guessed it, $5. What you probably don’t know is that I have several of my own gigs on Fiverr!
Do you like the textures I use in my images? I sell my own grunge-style textures in this gig. For the base order, you get a total of 10 textures, perfect for adding atmosphere and mood to any image!
One secret trick of mine is using layers of light textures! I use them in almost every single image I create these days. They can be a bold or subtle wash of color, which helps lend a dreamy, ethereal, beautiful look to your photos! I have a LOT of these textures which I have all shot myself, so while the base gig starts at $5, if you want more, you can get up to 25 at a time!
I’ve been a Reiki practitioner for a number of years now. It’s a really beautiful and powerful energy healing modality which does not even require the person I’m working on to be in the same room as me. Pure, healing energy knows no boundaries of time and space! I’ve had wonderful results from this as you can see by the reviews, and I can also attest to having had incredible feedback from people not on Fiverr! I offer Reiki sessions for people (yourself, a friend, a child, anyone whose permission I have to send energy to), or I can send it to the animal (wild or domestic) of your choosing. Animals respond very well to energy healing!
Now that I am an officially certified Unicorn Healing™ Practitioner, I can also offer Unicorn healings, again for yourself (or any person who has given permission) or animals, wild or domestic. Unicorn healing is like nothing else I’ve worked with or done before. It has a very different feel than Reiki energy; neither is better than the other, they’re just different. The best way to describe it is that Reiki feels more earthy and grounded, while Unicorn energy feels much more celestial and divine. I have been COMPLETELY blown away by the incredible changes I’ve seen in myself and others, often after just one treatment!
Both kinds of energy healing work to restore balance and vitality to every part of you; mind, body, emotion and soul. By its own nature, it can never harm and will always work for the recipients’ highest good. I highly, highly recommend trying one of them, it can be an absolutely life-changing experience!
Last for my Fiverr gigs, I now have an oracle card reading gig! I tested this with both friends and strangers before I decided to start charging, even just $5, to make sure it would be worth peoples’ money. Boy, was that an overwhelming success! I really enjoy doing oracle card readings, especially with the beautiful deck my sweet friend Andrea gave me! Got a question? It doesn’t matter what kind of question it is, the cards will help reveal the answer to you!
Lastly, this is not a new product, but it has a whole new price! My online self-discovery-through-photography course Introspective: An Online Quest is currently hosted on Udemy.com. Udemy recently changed its pricing structure and capped all its classes at $40, which is WELL below what Introspective is worth. However, until I figure out a better way to deal with a host for the class, I’m happy to let people get in on this deal! Prior to this, Introspective was priced at $75 for the entire 8-week course, so enjoy getting almost 50% off until I have time to deal with this! 🙂
Here’s a brief description of what Introspective is all about: Introspective is an eight-week, on-line course in which you will use your camera to explore your inner self. Each week, you will receive assignments challenging you to delve into your secrets, fears and joys. This is not a class about camera basics such as f-stops, apertures and shutter speeds…although links to helpful technical articles will be provided. This class is about digging deep into your core and capturing what you find there in photographs.
So there you guys go! Enjoy, and please feel free to leave feedback on any of these!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged 50%, aeir, amber, angel, animal, answer, anti aging, argan, artisan, bags, beautiful, bokeh, bottle, buy, camera, card, care, class, cobolt, condition, course, crows feet, cruelty free, dark circles, deck, distance, divine, dreamy, emotion, energy, energy healing, ethereal, etsy, exploration, eye, fancy, fear, fine, fiverr, fragrance free, free radical, gentle, gift, gig, girl, grunge, hair, handmade, healing, health, high quality, infused, introspective, joy, layer, light, love, magic, moisturizer, natural, oil, online, online quest, oracle card, pearl, people, pet, photography, photos, popular, product, psychic, pure, quest, question, reading, realm, reiki, rosehip, sale, sarah allegra, seed, self, self discovery, self portrait, serum, skin, spiritual, spiritual skincare, squalene, styling, tarot, teri wyble, texture, udemy, unconditional, unicorn, unicorn energy, unicorn healing, vegan, vitamin c serum, woman, wrinkles | 1 Comment »
Somehow I managed to miss the fact that January 24th was my photography birthday! I like to remember that date; it helps me see how I’m moving forward and assess my upcoming plans and projects.
Six years ago on January 24th, I took my first self portrait. I did it simply for the sake of doing it; I had an idea, so I executed it. I certainly never imagined I was starting down a new, wonderful path that would effect everything in my life.
Cultus Procul Meus Sanctus Templum – not actually my very first self portrait, but one from early on in that first year, and one which I’ve always felt was the first time I really felt like I’d started to find my own style.
I would like to take a moment and thank all the wonderful models whom I’ve had the great pleasure of working with over the last six years, especially those gluttons for art punishment who keep coming back shoot after shoot. Tom Nagal, Dedeker Winston, Sandy Moore, Aly Darling, Veronica Ricci, Katie Johnson and Travis Weinand (in chronological order) have all been repeat collaborators.
They have endured getting up before dawn, smiled through bitter cold, boiling heat and snow, accidentally stumbling into stinging nettles (while nude, no less – sorry, Dedeker!) and the most awkward and uncomfortable poses, props and costumes. They’ve balanced precariously on horses, stripped themselves of their clothes (and inhibitions), been gawked at by curious strangers, laid in freezing cold creeks, let me cover them with mud and dirt, dodged ubiquitous Frisbee golfers, covered themselves in flour, held their breath through smoke bombs, submerged themselves in water I can only describe generously as repulsive and waited patiently while I spent weeks and months editing their images.
And they do it all without every breaking character. These models are worth their weight in gold! I appreciate them all more than I can ever say and am so glad that they trust me to turn my weird-sounding ideas into something beautiful. They are people I can happily call friends. I know that I can always count on them to do their absolute best and I try just as hard to give them my absolute best.
An early image I shot with Dedeker, inspired by The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle.
I am still hard at work on the new chapter of DreamWorld! I got some important hunks of crystal, amethyst and fluorite in this case, from my dear friend Jessi, fellow spoonie and owner of the Etsy shops Mineralism Crystals for all your crystal needs, and The Hopeful Spoon, full of beautiful handmade jewelry. Thank you, Jessi! These are so beautiful and they’ll make a truly gorgeous prop for DreamWorld!
On a last note, Jessi’s beloved cat Simba is going through an expensive medical crisis. Jessi started a gofundme page to help pay for his treatment; please consider donating to it if you can! Even a small amount would mean a great deal. And of course, you can also help support the fund by purchasing items from Jessi’s shops! I’ve bought from them and I have LOVED what I’ve gotten!
Simba needs our help! Save this beautiful kitty!
I hope to have a new piece to show you guys soon! I’ve been working on it slowly between other DreamWorld things. 🙂
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged adventures, aly darling, anniversary, art, art punishment, artist, birthday, celebration, characters, conceptual, crystal, dedeker winston, dreamworld, etsy, female, fine art, friends, girl, great models, jessi chval, jewelry, katie johnson, male, ME, ME/CFS, mineralism crystals, model, nude, painterly, Peter S. Beagle, photography, portrait, raw, sandra moore, self discovery, self portrait, shop, six, spoonie, store, the hopeful spoon, the last unicorn, tom nagal, travis weinand, update, years | 2 Comments »
I have actually known about Forgotten Plague for a couple of years and I’ve been anxiously awaiting its release!
Now, finally, the documentary has been completed and it is available to stream through Itunes or Amazon for $4.99. That is an amount I am more than happy to give to help support one of the few existing documentaries on ME/CFS.
Forgotten Plague’s creator, fellow ME/CFS sufferer Ryan Prior, does an excellent job of explaining just what ME/CFS is (as far as we currently know), what makes it so complicated to understand and treat, how it has been stigmatized and ignored by the medical community, and hopeful glimpses of a future with answers… maybe even a cure.
Honestly, I woke up today already at the end of my energy. I feel like I can barely string words together right now, but this movie is far, far too important for me to not spread the word about it right away. We NEED movies like this. We need people who do not have ME/CFS or personally know someone with it to understand our struggle. We need healthy people to help us fight for answers. We need the stigma and misunderstandings to end. We need people to have any idea what we’re talking about when we tell them we have myalgic encephalomyelitis.
Please watch Forgotten Plague, tell your friends about it, share it on social media. This excellent film could help our community in profound ways, and we need that to happen. Everyone wants to be understood. At worst, watching this movie will help you get what my life is like.. and why I have had to slow down so greatly in all areas. And you’ll probably enjoy my Enchanted Sleep series, on living with ME/CFS, a little bit more.
Thank you to everyone who will watch it and share it. And a huge thank you to everyone who helped work on this magnificent documentary. I’m sure it was utter hell at times, trying to make a movie while having ME, but the results are brilliant. Thank you for validating our experiences.
Now, go watch Forgotten Plague!
A Poisoned Sleep Of Kissless Dreams © Sarah Allegra – model: Katie Johnson. An image from my Enchanted Sleep series.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged #MENotSEID, advocate, art, cfids, Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, chronic pain, conceptual, cure, documentary, dreamworld, enchanted sleep, fibro, fibromyalgia, film, fine art, Forgotten Plague, katie johnson, ME, ME/CFS, movie, myalgic encephalomyelitis, photography, post-exertional malaise, rent, review, Ryan Prior, SEID, spoonie, stream, understand | 2 Comments »
This is one of those things that built up slowly in my head for a while, then suddenly crystallized with numerous people and sources suddenly (unaware of each other) all started giving me the same advice. After some thought, and a little bit of regret, I’ve decided that they are right and I need to make some changes in how I approach my art.
I need to slow down. This is very hard for me to do; art is my obsession and I want nothing more than to be producing all that I can as often as I can.
I also need to set my focus more narrowly on DreamWorld. There is SO MUCH that you guys have no idea about yet, and I need to get to the place where I CAN show you all that stuff!
The thing is, I have to accept that for the time being, I have very limited supplies of time, energy and money. I’m hopeful, of course, that I will eventually start feeling better, but for now, I have to accept that this how things are right now. My energy and time allowances have shrunk every year since I first came down with ME. My chronic pain, daily headaches and frequent migraines don’t help anything. Since I’m dealing with far, far fewer productive hours in the day than your average person has, I need to hoard them and make the absolute most that I can with them. None of those minutes can be wasted.
I’m still weighing things, but I may (for now at least) not edit every shoot on my hard drive. Don’t despair, models waiting for images, I’m not saying none of them will be edited, I just have to really pare things down and only spend the time editing images which I REALLY love.
This also means that I’ll probably be putting out fewer images per year. This makes me sad, and is the main source of my resistance to the idea of slowing down. It’s really hard to watch all my friends and colleagues churn out fantastic image after fantastic image and have nothing even on the radar to be shown soon. You get used to a certain amount of being left behind by the rest of the world when you’re always sick, but it doesn’t make it sting less each new time you feel it. I love getting to show you guy a new piece! It’s usually the highlight of my week when I post an image. :) But despite this, I know that this is the right thing for me to do now.
I’m also making some big changes with a lot of DreamWorld concepts; changes which will make the images I do create even better and more impactful, but which requires quite a lot of work on my end which and won’t produce anything I can show you guys, even as a work-in-progress sort of thing. On one hand, I feel dangerously close to being forgotten and left behind while other artists quickly turn out magnificent pieces… but again, I know that I need to do this preliminary work. It’s going to have a ripple effect through all of DreamWorld and the images which come from it will be better than ever! I hope you guys will be patient and not forget about me or DreamWorld in the periods when I have nothing new to show. 🙂
Thank you all for the love and support you have shown me and my work over the years. It really means so much more than I can say! I am so grateful for every single person who enjoys and follows my work. Even if I can’t put out as many images as I have in the past, I can make sure that the ones I do create are the BEST that I can do. It may frustrate me sometimes, but the extra work I’m pouring into DreamWorld is only going to make it better, brighter, tighter, more emotional and more meaningful. Thank you for bearing with me.
You’ll notice there isn’t a new image with this post; that’s kind of the point!
And thank you, as always, to Geoff for being an unending font of wisdom, clarity and sage advice. 🙂
A Strange New World © Sarah Allegra. A self portrait, one of the first images I shot for DreamWorld. I imagine this girl has just returned to our world after years of journeying through DreamWorld only to find that not a day has passed, much like Narnia.🙂
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged adventure, blur, Chronic Fatigue, chronic illness, disease, dreamworld, dress, dusk, energy, exposure, fibro, fibromyalgia, frugal, girl, glow, home, house, invilisble illness, Invisible Illness, long, ME, ME/CFS, myalgic encephalomyelitis, neurologic, night, organizing, pace, pacing, pain, planning, rationing, return, sarah allegra, self portrait, slow, spoonie, spoons, warm | 4 Comments »