I recently did some graphic design, photography, and web site development for my massage therapist. I don’t usually stray too far from nature photography on this blog, but I doubt I would be doing any photography today without Gin’s help.
I was pretty much out of commission for several months in early 2007, and I did not understand why. My doctor had no idea what was causing the pain and the various drugs he prescribed had side effects that were almost as bad as the pain. After months of this, I was not any closer to understanding what was going on, and things were not getting any better.
I knew I had a slight abnormal curvature in my spine in the vicinity of the pain so I thought a chiropractor might have some ideas. I found a great chiropractor, Dr. Hedgepeth, who could tell right away that the muscles in my lower back were in severe spasm. My doctor had never checked that! It’s not really his fault though, at the time I was not very aware of my body so I could not describe my symptoms accurately. I decided to look for a massage therapist to help me with the muscle spasms and that is when I found Gin.
Gin is very knowledgeable and skilled in a variety of massage techniques, and she has a rare ability to communicate her expert knowledge in a language that anyone can understand. There is just something healing about her. Gin not only relieved the pain from the muscle spasms, she also helped me become more aware of my body so I could better recognize the early symptoms of the muscle spasms and take appropriate steps to minimize them. Gin’s ability to communicate really helped me understand how my behavior was contributing to the problem as well as what I could do to improve my situation.
Gin recently started her own Ayurvedic massage business but she continues to do neuromuscular massage therapy as well. Check out the web site I designed for her if you would like to learn more about this ancient natural healing system.
Making the photographs for her web site was an interesting challenge. The treatments inspire some unusual images. The shirodhara treatment involves pouring warm oil over the forehead. This is a profoundly relaxing treatment, but finding a composition that conveys that feeling was difficult. I eventually settled on this very symmetrical composition.
There is obvious left/right symmetry, but there is also top/bottom symmetry in the dark shapes of the oil pot and hair. I think this symmetry helps give a sense of calm and balance that is hopefully picked up by the viewer.
The gandharva treatment uses a crystal singing bowl for sound therapy. The sound this thing makes has to be heard to be believed. You don’t just hear it; you feel it with your whole body.
I could not think of a way to photograph sound so instead I simply showed the bowl in use. This was the only shot that I did not have to light. The light from a window created just the right amount of depth and contrast.
I struggled with the meditation photograph. I tried several times to come up with something using several different models but was not happy with the results. On my third try, Gin modeled for me. I tried a number of different compositions against a red background similar to the photograph above, but I felt something was missing from those. Then, for some reason, I decided to shoot into the main light source (a window).
At the time I did not know what led me to do this but after giving it some thought I think I understand it. This is not just the hand of a person meditating, this is Gin’s hand. Her hands hold special significance for me because they saved me from months of pain. This light gives her hand an angelic quality. It conveys, at least to me, some of the awe and admiration I feel for her skills and her healing spirit.