Finding a center in the midst of the mad rush

Reylia Slaby


“Burnout” Photography by Reylia Slaby

We are not here to live perfect lives. I know this, but to apply it to everyday thought has remained a challenge for me over the years. My inner climate can change abruptly, and for a while I’ve been trying to persuade myself that this manic rush is good .

The other day my partner told me something that I’ve been meditating on these past few days. “You need to relax just as hard as you work.” While on the surface level I knew that not only to be true, but something that has been told to us as creators for a while. Of course we need to rest. But hearing it put in that way made me realize how much I’ve been rushing, with very few breaks and limited moments of peace.

Sometimes it can be tempting to throw yourself in the flames. It can be very beautiful to watch something burn. I just didn’t think that my own combustion would be so addicting.

In retrospect, it is a bit funny that this picture was the first to be made in the series, that before everything even started there have been intense moments of burnout and spinning.

Image sketch by Reylia Slaby

The truth is that I don’t have the answer or the cure for my ailment. Not right now, I’m still here, still questioning my own motives. Trying to uncover the Why in it all, and dislodge my optimism that buried itself under a mound of rush and running around.

But among it all, I still see those small glimmers of joy and purpose. Perhaps that’s all I can have right now, without the temptation to run away and try something else, instead of looking at what’s in front of me.

I learned so much with this piece, including the need to be able to have the freedom to do a re-shoot. Very few things are perfect on the first try, and this shoot took two separate days of fire and this lake beach in Shiga.

I learned that Zippo lighter fluid is a good friend, for one, and that there are so many ways for a shoot like this to fail. By the lake, the elements all work against you. The wind pushes everything in directions you don’t desire, the sand disrupts balance and angles, and the light is an ever-changing foe. Not to mention rainy season is upon us here in Japan, and it makes planning any project a roll of the dice.

And yet, despite this mad rush, I keep coming back to it. But I think my relationship with it needs to change. I need to let go of this sense of perfection, and while properly planning, I need to find my own sense of calm again. I can almost see it. It is almost here, and the light hasn’t gone out yet.

Photo of Reylia Slaby after the shoot

The works will also be sold as limited edition prints of 3 and will be sold from September prior to a year-end exhibition in Tokyo. If interested, pop me a message :)



Reylia Slaby

Reylia Slaby is a Fine Art photographer, writing about her love for creating, and how others can use art in their lives reyliaslaby.com | Insta @reylia.slaby