I am a San Francisco based photographer who recently received his Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with a focus in the Expressive Arts. I also founded the Springboard Workshops to help people start and complete their creative projects. It has always been my goal to explore a full range of our human experience through my art: sadness, joy, love, intimacy. This project has taken me on quite a ride, one that has touched my heart, deepened my connection to the people around me, and taken turns that I could never have predicted. I have licked leaves, chased babies, and smashed plates, all in the name of art and love. I have felt elated, sad, confronted and uplifted, sometimes over the same image.
My motivations for creating this body of work were myriad. For one, I like being creative, and I like doing it with other people. But I was also looking to deepen my relations with those around me. I have a lot of friends but many of them I only know casually; this project seemed like a good vehicle with which to get to know them better. Certainly, I was also hoping to learn more about love – it has never been something that has come easily to me. But most importantly, I simply thought that this would be a wonderful way to help people creatively express love.
The idea for ILYB came to me while on a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat. It’s amusing how much creativity emerges when you are encouraged to stop thinking. My thanks go out to the people running the center. I’d also like to thank all the people who have given me reflection and guidance as I got this project off the ground. A big thank you goes to TMC — this would not exist without you and I am lucky to have you in my life. I’d particularly like to thank the participants who have opened up to me and collaborated on making the moving photos you find here.
I am very excited about the current phase of the project, a section of the website where you can upload your own ILYB photographs. And so I invite you to answer the question: If you could complete the phrase, “I love you because . . .” how would you do it?
photo by Michael Rauner Photography