In this touching article, Eleonora Oleotto tells us how she created a career that has a strong meaning for her, and deeply resonates with her values and her innermost self. Thank you, Eleonora.
I’m an architect, photographer and coach.
Two years ago I decided to stop working in architecture and start following my deep passion: photography. It was a big challenge but now I’m really happy because I can work with therapeutic photography to help people “see” themselves and start a journey towards awareness and transformation.
The decision to leave my job, my house and all I had, came after a period spent alone, listening to my feelings and my emotions.
I realized I wasn’t happy about my life and something needed to be done. I embarked on a change, which started from within myself. I then understood that when you change inside, everything adapts to your new you.
I needed to find the purpose for my life, why I am here, what is my aim on earth. So I started listening to my inner voice. I lived in silence for months. It was an amazing time. No words. I let my feelings and emotions come to the surface, and then I turned them into thoughts. I started to know myself in a new way and to really respect myself, my needs and dreams. It was the best gift I could give to myself.
How did everything start? Some years ago, the end of the relationship with my partner made the bottom fall out of my life. It was a moment of intense mourning for me. It was the end. I needed help because I couldn’t cope on my own. I turned to professionals and also felt the need to shoot some self-portraits to see me in that present moment. These pictures helped me a lot. Through them I could see what was going on inside myself and became aware of where to start a new life from. This is how the photographic project “exploring emotions” came to be. You can watch its video here.
To “see me” was crucial to overcoming my pain. I realized I could and I must do something to help other people in the same way. I started to share my project with others. Not easy at the beginning. It was painful to remember all the difficult moments of the past, but I suddenly realized that this was a precious gift I could give to others. I was dealing with universal pain, universal emotions: everyone could understand them, because each one of us has experienced something similar at some point in their life.
Many other questions about life were still open, though. I dove into these topics by reading and studying books, attending workshops and finally staying in a Buddhist Institute for two and a half months. I found deep answers in the Buddhist philosophy. I learned about meditation, self-awareness, emotions, how to recognize and change them, about empathy and social relationships.
At the Institute I met a woman who asked me to take some pictures of a scar she had due to a heart surgery. She was afraid to show it to others and so she asked for my help. We did the photo shoot and with every shot her scar became, little by little, more beautiful. Giving value to pain: this is the great change of perspective and the therapeutic process she went through with my photographs. In the end, she was no longer afraid to show her scar.
By acknowledging their suffering and seeing it pictured in my photos, people can see themselves and find the courage to act, to improve and change their lives.
That experience opened my eyes and I felt that this is “what I am here for” and what I want to do in my life. I’ve decided to move from Italy to London. Since I arrived I have had great opportunities to present my artworks at important events hosted by art institutions like The Royal Academy of Arts and to work with big companies like the BBC.
In my professional practice I offer a personal, confidential service to support and help people and also professionals such as psychologists and coaches, through therapeutic and emotional photography in one-to-one sessions, group workshops and customized projects.
I help people who wish to change and improve their life, individuals who want to explore and work on their emotions, on self-perception, acceptance, self-esteem, self-confidence in their bodies, on their image, their own identity, their relationships with others (partners, family, colleagues, and so on), their creativity, and on emotional intelligence themes.
I combine therapeutic photography, body language, performance, mindfulness, creative writing, coaching and other techniques to accompany people through an experience that will lead them to see, to become aware and then to transform their issues and to start a new life journey.
Results are amazing and I’m so proud of my choice!
Besides my work practice, I focus on my personal artistic projects and artworks, sometimes working with Claudio Pacagnan, an Italian musician and composer, who gives voice and sound to my images.
Through my art I want to create awareness about life and spirituality by sharing all the positive things I’ve learned during recent years that allowed me to create a better and more meaningful life for myself.