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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Galvan

Creating in Reflections

As a photographer who primarily shoots family and wedding portraits, I have grown accustomed to capturing life’s most cherished, once-in-a-lifetime moments in real time, while adding my touch of creativity to tell a life story. That’s not to say, however, that I don’t enjoy shooting lifestyle photography or the occasional model portraiture as well. What I do love most, is when my creative juices start to flow and I am hit with a spontaneous urge to create images solely for the purpose of art. It could be driven by a simple concept I’ve seen in a movie, our island's rich culture and people, or just something straight out of the good ol’ internet.

Well, um… let me just say that that hasn’t happened in a long time! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE what I do. Putting my tiny grain of sand in a family’s story means more to me than anyone will ever know, but I also miss having opportunities to create. I also miss blogging about my photography experiences along the way just for the art of C R E A T I N G!


Luckily for me, my favorite muse in the whole entire world is 99.9% of the time ready and available to model for me, in the blink of an eye, just as that creative juice starts to stir in my mind. I am so grateful for my daughter Yaira, who goes with the flow and puts her best foot forward, regardless of how ridiculous the concept may be but the real question here is, when would that spark hit me again?

In the midst of all the chaos in the world surrounding the global pandemic of COVID-19 or as some call it, “Karonaviiirus” (in my Cardi B voice), we have been practicing social distancing as our leaders in health are recommending, using stay-at-home hashtags to encourage others and recording endless TikTok challenges, in hopes of not only staying safe and healthy, but also remaining mentally sane during this isolation phase.

Many have found hidden talents and awakened their inner chefs, bakers, seamstresses/tailors, just to name a few, while the world waits for this virus to be "under control". I also tried my hands at baking some goodies with the extra time on my hands but let's just say, baking is not the creativeness my soul hungered for. I think its safe to say, I will not be opening a bakery anytime soon! Ha!

But then, out of the blue, just as I was used to when my photo sessions were few and scheduled far apart and in between, Diana Dias messaged me about a feature she was writing for the St. Croix Source. She was writing about how our local community was using social media as a means to cope with social distancing and thought of me, my presence in social media and my work as a photographer. She wanted me to, read it slowly… C R E A T E something for creating’s sake! Wait, what? My mind was immediately bombarded with the hundreds; yes hundreds of pins I had saved on my ‘creative photography’ board on Pinterest which I kept adding to over the years with hopes of replicating some one day.

Even with so many ideas on the board, the questions now was: Which one would I choose and how will I make it work? With less than 48hrs deadline given to “create”, I did have one aspect down of the concept she wanted--a Madras face mask I purchased from Regal Christopher of Designs by Regal. Regal is a local designer on St. Croix who primarily uses our cultural fabric (similar to a plaid pattern) in her fashion designs and clothing. Given the current circumstances and need for facial protection, she has taken advantage of the opportunity to showcase our culture and style with beautiful madras fabric face masks.

Shop for Madras face mask here:

I chose a mirror concept of reflection for these images because during the past month of quarantine, I know a lot of us has done some type of reflection of our lives. I then got down to it with whatever resources I found at home. I cleaned up an old mirror we had tucked in storage, quickly searched the closet for something to wear, grabbed the face mask and got right to it! My daughter and I spent about 30 mins on this mini session but mehn was it satisfying! :)

Unbeknownst to Diana, my heart needed this and my mind was beyond grateful. I could point out many things I wish I had done different with these images (yes, the self-judgement is real) but one thing I will take from this mini experience-- to allow myself to be free enough to create while still being me. I've learned the more you trust God in the process and deserts of life, the more peace you will find and self-discovery you will have in the midst of the world’s chaos.

We are not defined by the calamities that befall us. We are more than the sum of our hazards, hardships and heartbreaks. We are defined, as individuals and as a nation, by the positive content of our lives and, in this; even the humble craft of drama has a role to play. The arts and culture we have turned to in the past and coming months to fill our time in isolation has provided us not just with distraction, but with meaning. ♥ And that meaning sometimes comes from the most unexpected of places.

Here is my inspiration behind my images courtesy of Pinterest. What do you think? Hit or miss?


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Yessenia Cruz
Yessenia Cruz
Apr 22, 2020

I LOVE your creativity and all the talent God has blessed you with. Storytelling comes natural to you and I couldn’t be prouder of all the work you do. It is truly inspiring!!!


Apr 22, 2020

What a wonderful work, I am so proud of you. The only thing that I regret is no having you in my life since an early time. I will make the best of whatever remaining time that God gives me to make you happy. I love you my wonderful daughter, may God bless you for ever!!!


Apr 21, 2020

Wow, this is absolutely stunning and yes, you nailed it! Keep searching deeper within you, because you do have more! Love all your work and the blogs that you create naturally!

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