Vivienne McMaster is a photographer, workshop leader and positive body image advocate. She helps folks around the world to see themselves with compassion through their own camera lens through her program Be Your Own Beloved. Her photographs have been seen in such places as Oprah.com and The Huffington Post as well as numerous books and magazines. The camera and selfportraiture helped her heal her own negative body image and brought forth a creative career of helping people to cultivate positive selfesteem and body positivity through the creative process of self portraiture.
How do you define creativity and apply it in your career? To me creativity is stepping into the unknown. It’s that question “What would happen if I…” and following that intuition. It’s at the core of my own work, especially when we’re talking about seeing ourselves with compassion through a camera. We think we know the answer to what a photo of us would look like, whether it’s through our own camera or someone else’s. But healing how we see ourselves comes when we step into that which we don’t yet know. Applying creativity to our relationship to our bodies and selfcompassion changes it big time and that question is at the heart of both my personal photographic practices as well as my work.
Where do you find your best creative inspiration? My best creative inspiration awaits me out in the natural world. Almost daily I go for a photo walk around my neighbourhood be it the evening light rays or the beauty growing in the community garden. While this is pivotal for my content creation process, it also helps me fill up my own creative well. I think often when we make our creativity into our work and add pressure to it, we can unintentionally lose that way the creativity nourishes us. These walks have been a part of my creative process from the beginning and help me remember to take photos for the joy of it, not just for work. But of course it also gives my mind space to let ideas form and I usually get stopped somewhere along the walk to jot ideas down in my journal.
What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person? I wish I’d known how much we can chart our own course as creatives. The tools and technology that we can use to do creative work has changed so much even in the past 5 years and I couldn’t have imagined it as a young person. That the possibility of what a creative work life could be is only as limited as we let it be!
Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings? I’d love to hear Jessica Wood speak. She’s an incredible photographer and part of the Tea & Bannock Indigenous Photographer Collective, a website and blog I’m deeply moved by.
How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger? I help people make peace with how they see themselves in photos and change the lens they see themselves through, through their own creative expression and their own camera.
What’s your one guilty creative indulgence? Polaroid film. Up until recently it was finding really old expired film for one of my vintage polaroid cameras but now it’s the beautiful Impossible Film that I’m so grateful we have as an option going forward and that Polaroid is still alive and well in so many ways. I try to save it only for when I travel but then I let myself go wild with it. It gives us that instant gratification of seeing the photo but also the old school beauty of film.