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I found The Way. It’s in Virginia.

On a barely paved road, miles from anywhere.  There’s no cell phone service, but there is a Buddhist temple and a wonderful community of artists.  And I have Facebook to thank for showing me The Way….  And for connecting me to the talented photographer Jyoti Sackett and make-up artist Lulu Schwall.

Also, it got me thinking about two things: social media and newborn kittens.

Truth: As an outgoing introvert, I find Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., daunting sometimes.  When I’m in “gig” mode, it’s easy.  But on days when my most vibrant accomplishment is laundry, it’s less so.  And forget about those times when the music biz is less than kind.  It’s always fun to post about a great show, full crowd and adoring fans waving money at you to buy your albums.  It’s the not-so great shows that no one shares.  Yet it’s these “working” gigs that define you. When the sound system is terrible, and you’re playing to two drunks and the bartender, and the only thing you hear is the sound of apathy, you find out pretty quick if you want to do this for a living.  It really becomes about the music.  And sharing one’s experiences, both good and bad, is what makes social media so engaging….and hard.

Needless to say, I have a very conflicted relationship with my social media outlets. So, it was funny that Facebook led me to find The Way and to find Jyoti Sackett.

Facebook is like connect the dots on steroids. I found Jyoti’s site because I “liked” the site of another English photographer who had “liked” a guitarist who “liked” a singer/songwriter that I had “friended” after we did a show together.  Whew. But that’s how it went.  I loved Jyoti’s work and we started corresponding about a year and a half ago. Last May, after I had just finished basic tracks for my new album, “Haunted Heart”, I knew I wanted someone really special to shoot images for this. Jyoti was my first choice.

But Jyoti was in Virginia, which isn’t so much a hop, skip and a jump from Boston but rather a large leap. As luck would have it, I happened to be down in NC attending my first SERFA.  So, since I was roughly in the neighborhood (what’s a few hundred miles between friends?), I decided to susan cattaneo picture kittendrive from NC to VA to meet and work with a person I’d only communicated with on my computer. I drove and drove until the highway ended, and the countryside took over.  A lonely two lane road turned into a gravelly stretch, then a rutted grassy road led me to a remote white house in the woods. Heading up to a big wrap around porch, I noticed a large cardboard box near the front door that was full of newborn kittens.  In my mind, I was mentally crossing my fingers. Please let this work out….

And then I met Jyoti and Lulu, and all my concerns went out the window. In photo shoots past, it’s been hard for me to like how I look in photos. This experience was different. Picture after picture was just beautiful. Jyoti only photographs women, and she only works with natural light.

Jyoti Sackett and Lulu Schwall

Jyoti on the left and Lulu on the right

lulu schwall susan cattaneo

We shot in this abandoned schoolhouse and at a neighboring Buddhist temple in the quiet heat of the May afternoon. Thanks to this talented and caring team, I felt confident and relaxed.

So, I hate to admit this, but thank you Facebook for making this connection possible.  I was so fortunate to work with such talent, and how perfect that the pictures looked as beautiful as the music of Haunted Heart sounded to me.

And while spring feels like it wants to be sprung, I haven’t quite put away the winter clothes yet. But when I do, I’ll throw ’em in the wash and tell you all about it on Facebook!