Fine Art Stories: Dana

Two years ago when I moved back home to New Jersey, I decided to close my photography business.  I was going through a divorce which pretty much stole all of my emotional energy.  I put down my camera for a long time and didn’t pick it back up until I took a trip to Seattle for the Brooke Shaden Creative Live workshop.  It was here that I rediscovered my love for photography, and where I learned how to tell my story through images.  Photography quickly turned from taking pictures into making art.  It was healing my spirit, and helped me through a rough patch in my life.

Since then, I have really embraced my new life and I’m ready to start my business back up again.  This time only shooting what I love, Fine Art.  I am over the moon excited and passionate about the two packages I will offer:  Fine Art Portraits and Fine Art Stories.  For now, I wanted to talk to you about Fine Art Stories by Julie Belton Photography.

I realized a few months after I started making these conceptual surreal images how it was a healing process for me.  A way for me to tell my story without using words.  So I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be cool to use what I know about photography, photo manipulations and story telling to tell other people’s stories…. enter Dana =) This beautiful lady approached me much around the same time as I was dreaming up this new business plan up and I realized it was a sign.  This is what I need to be doing.  Her story is one you need to hear.  I didn’t want to summarize it for you because I could not possibly serve it justice so I asked her to write it for us.

This is Dana’s Fine Art Story –



The most tragic day of my life….November 5, 2013

It was sudden and completely unexpected, in a blink of an eye the man I loved and adored since the day I was born, was gone. In that one moment, my life, my heart, my thoughts and the light went out in my world. During the past 11 months I have experienced the deepest, darkest pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I questioned everything – my identity, why did this happen, what would happen next and how can I possibly live my life without my father. My life will never be the same – I will never be the same. 

My journey through grief has taken me down a very difficult and painful road of overwhelming sadness, shock and disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, confusion fear and frustration. I’ve come to learn that you never really “get over” losing a parent, the loss becomes part of who you are and you learn how to live with it. 

I perceive grief as an outward expression of thoughts and feelings. Since I find it difficult to express my thoughts and feelings in words, I decided to capture the impact that my father’s passing has had on me though symbolic representation. Not only did I want to capture the pain and emptiness in my heart but also the constant yearning for things that I knew I could never have again like his hugs, his kisses, his “I love you” and our conversations. 

Each of us has our own rhythm of suffering and grieving. The pain of a loss is a reflection of how deep and hard we love. Amidst the sorrow and the tears, I’ve realized that I don’t want to “get over” my grief; I also don’t want it to hold me back from enjoying life again. I want to embrace it and use it to help me draw strength and gain a new perspective on life.