Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Passion in Art - by Lori Gebbie

Robert is the main artist in our family, but I hold my own.

When I was young, my calling was music. I remember my father playing Ella Fitzgerald and June Christy for me, saying, “Now, THIS is music, this is how it’s supposed to be done.” I was five, and we were sitting in the living room listening to good music. My siblings had all been musical, my father was a pianist, my mother was a dancer, it was just right. I went on to sing for a number of years, quite happily. I had my chances with stardom, at 16 I was offered a 2 year internship with private instruction from Mr. Pavarotti himself, which I reluctantly turned down. I was in a Showcase of Talent at a club, where I happened to work with George Lopez while he was still working his day job across the street. But that wasn’t where I was headed. I met my first husband, and we went into business together, and that took up all of my free time. Singing was put on the back shelf, I could always get back to it later, couldn’t I? In my late 20s, I was living overseas, and joined a local choral group. I didn’t speak German, I was still new there. But we could communicate through music, and I was immediately accepted into their group.

The joy to sing what your heart feels, the pride and swelling sensation, tearing up when you hit a sweet spot in the song, feeling your whole body pulse with the music coming from your lips… This is what singing was for me. And all of a sudden, about three months after I joined this choir group, right before our first performance, I got sick. My neck hurt, and it was hurting to talk. And I heard the dreaded words I never wanted to hear, “We can perform surgery, but there is only a 30% chance you will keep your current voice, otherwise you will be at a whisper.” I opted out of the surgery. My thyroid had crashed, and the extra vibration with the singing had escalated my condition to a point I had no choice but to stop singing completely. So, as the years go by, my voice gets deeper and more scratchy, a sad reminder to the pretty voice I once owned.

So, with a teary farewell, I gave up my passion in life. Along the same time, I had picked up a camera again. Oh, sure, I’d been in Photo Club in school, and knew how to knock down an old canister in a darkroom and use developer, etc, but hadn’t messed with it since I was a young teen. I didn’t want to send my pictures through the military system, there was always talk about not getting the right set back, etc. So I went “on the economy” to a German photo store. The more I brought my pictures in, the more interest the owner took in me. I used a lot of my time in Europe traveling, and took some amazing pictures. The owner would always comment on how clear my images were, and he even bought a few to blow up and display in his store. I also made poster prints for people there, selling them for a pittance, but happy that someone liked them enough to purchase them.

I took casual pictures, here and there, but I had lost my passion, I had lost my voice, and nothing was replacing that loss. Little did I know, my life was headed down an entirely different road. Within a few years, I had traveled back to the United States, and ended up single and in Las Vegas. I didn’t really have a direction, or an interest. I floated from this job to that one, trying to find some passion in my life again. I went into business another time, and learned about some pitfalls the hard way. (We lost that company in a hostile takeover from a shark investment company.) I started a slow spiral down, I may not have been done with Las Vegas, but it was done with me. I found myself sitting at my father’s kitchen table, him and my mother helping me decide where I was going to move. Oregon called me louder, so I hopped a plane and was on my way. I stayed with my sister for a while, then I met Robert.

Since then, my life has passion and meaning again. Robert showed me some of the work he had done, and for the first time in a long time, I felt the pulse, the heart beat of passion. It was intoxicating, and I was hooked. I encouraged him to start drawing again, and he was able to finish a print he had been stuck on for 2 years. We also went on drives with the camera, taking snapshots here and there, enjoying our time together. We’d been together about a year and a half when he told me he wanted to take my picture. He started digging around and pulling out suitcases and poles and equipment and stuff. He set up a backdrop and set up his lights, and we did our first proper shoot. Years before, he had packed all of his equipment up when he shut his studio down, so this was a significant step. Word spread, and he did a few shoots for friends, mostly for chat sites. Then the word started really spreading, and soon, people were asking who the photographer was. It wasn’t anything he was interested in doing, he already had a real good job as a Quality Control Inspector. That’s where he met Jim, and he and Jim started talking Photography.

On January 10th, it will be one year since Robert came home for good. We’ve worked together 24/7 for the past year, and I’m so grateful for the time. We both learned so much about the other, and we are at peace together, truly best friends, wrapped up in passion for our art and each other. My passion lies with Robert, I fuel his passion to create the way he creates. His photography has life. The more he creates, the more real he gets. And my heart swells with pride when I hear the glowing reviews, or when we make a sale.

I also sculpt the Wermz we have for sale. You can see them at our Etsy site, http://www.RGebbiePhoto.etsy.com. We donate from Wermz and Print sales to a charity. Our charity during these cold months is Meals on Wheels.



Eboni said...

Your writing shows your passion.

Eva J. Mah said...

What a beautiful story. I am so glad that you shared it.

beth pulsipher said...

Hi Guys -
Included you in my Blog Tag on my blog -

:) b

Anonymous said...

I loved reading about your story ... it had me all choked up and teary eyed. Knowing that I was a part of bringing you and Robert together made me feel proud. I'm so glad that you guys were meant to be together. I'm very Happy for you both.

CHarmon said...

Lori, you have quite a talent in writing! A very well-told story, I felt your pain and passion, and the love you hold for your arts and your man. You should flex this muscle more often. :)