"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Focusing on a life artfully lived

By on August 28, 2018 in Arts with 0 Comments

Erin Nash treated herself to high adventure on the Tour de Mont Blanc trail in the French Alps this July.

By Susan Lagsdin

Erin Nash was last seen by our readers last year on a cover of The Good Life in a super-selfie, leaping into the air with her friend Brianna, with Wyoming’s Grand Tetons as a backdrop.

Her story and photos centered on mountains and why she’s drawn back to them after some years in the city.

No gap decade, boomeranging or failure to launch for this woman. Last year, Erin (Cascade High School ’07) returned, but not to the family table. This year she’s turning 30, renting her own home in Leavenworth and aiming double-barreled in a firm professional direction, with years more vagabonding still ahead of her.

She’s back in the Cascades that inspired her and is turning her artistic skill set — photography — into a viable career. At the same time, she’s creating an enviably balanced creative life.

She’d been raised to love the arts. Erin recalled, “We’d always put something in the Fair every year — whether it was a picture or a sewing project. My mom is a photographer and gave me disposable cameras when I was really little — I think that may have started it.”

When Erin enrolled at Western Washington University, a new photo-journalism program had just opened, and it suited her perfectly. “I did everything — writing, design, photography, video, photo editing for the campus paper. It was a great experience,” she said.

Inevitably — read the statistics — after graduation a series of useful but unrelated jobs followed, some involving serving coffee, and Erin earned enough to travel the world once a year, always taking photos but rarely freeing them from her computer files.

Closer to home, she was Director of Development for Leavenworth’s The Hope Project, then event manager at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts.

Erin brought her good talents to the tasks but knew there was more out there for her.

Erin and her friend, Brianna, leap for joy — and a fun selfie that made the cover of The Good Life — during a hike in the Grand Tetons.

“I was looking for a place to land — so much of our life is work, and I realized it’s important to do something that you absolutely love.” (She likes this four-point query: What do you love? What are you good at? What will help the world? What can make you money?)

She’d been doing commercial photography: portraits, engagements and weddings, but, “Last summer I realized I can actually create a space for myself in the film world,” she said. A fortunate connection with Cashmere-based video makers Voortex Productions lead to part-time work; now she’s soundly on staff and loving it.

Of her fellow artists, who both inspire and teach her, she said, “Every member of the team is so skilled and creative in their own way — it is wonderful working with them.” Currently, they’re making a promotional video for a coffee company in Burundi, Africa.

Erin, who’s been used well in the small company, has found a niche creating scripts. “I realize that my art is storytelling, and that I’m a very visual person. This is a great way to use both my writing and my photography — I am forced to be artful, clear and concise.”

Maybe it was the solid career footing in cinematography, maybe it was the kind of epiphany that comes with decade-birthdays, but Erin made a confident pact with herself last winter: “This is the year I’m going to share my own photographs with the world. It’s really scary putting yourself out there, but it is time.”

Independently, but grateful for the advice and support of other artists, Erin created a business website (Lens Joy Photography) for future clients, and she is preparing choice shots from her international travels for a local exhibit this winter. The theme is connections, appreciating the essential humanity that is the same all over the world, whether in the Philippines, Italy, Liberia or Brazil.

Early in her life, Erin dreamed of living here on a ranch and riding horses in the mountains, but she realized for now she’s perfectly content to roam the peaks on foot, her all-purpose Canon 5D Mark iii at the ready, with her two adventuresome dogs, Waldo and Carmen San Diego (as in “Where is…?”).

Erin holds the real and the ideal, the commercial and the personal, independence and teamwork in a delicate balance that works perfectly for her life right now, remembering a time of disconnection when her “intentional creativity,” which goes beyond her good eye and problem-solving skills, was secondary in her life.

“I like my life as it is even better than the picture I had in my head,” she said. “I didn’t really think of myself as an artist until now — but I’m bolder about letting my art be seen and letting myself be seen through my art.”

Young artist and businesswoman about to turn 30? Bring it on!

To view photos by Erin, see www.lensjoyphotography.com.

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