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Self-Discovery through Photography: Exploring the Question "Who am I?

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

This question will undoubtedly open a void, an interval. If fear prevails, we may step back, avoiding the abyss. However, that emptiness will inevitably return, calling us back to itself. This call originates from within, representing the deepest part of us.

Who Am I?
Who am I?

If we don't listen to it, we cut ourselves off from our life.

Many people wonder - who am I? - in times of crisis. Strangely, these are the best times when there is a very good chance of opening up to 'know yourself' beyond what we have believed or perceived about ourselves up to that moment.

What is a crisis?

A crisis means rupture, and what comes to shatter is an image of oneself that had supported us up to that moment. Therefore, we feel displaced and suffer emotionally. But this is a good opportunity to ask ourselves: "Who am I?"

Seeing a part of us disappear before our eyes will help us understand ourselves better. We are beyond that identity that we had built for ourselves; we acquire a greater awareness of our being.

We all consciously or unconsciously aspire to be someone.

We admire those who have courage, who fight for their ideas, those who stand out for some reason, showing their creative ingenuity and going against the tide.

We would like to be like that too, but what price are we willing to pay? What are we willing to face within ourselves? Those who achieve something significant, those who self-realise, those who make a difference in the world, have witnessed something original.

Original is something that has to do with our origin: the value of all great works lies in the direct connection with the origin from which they come -the individual who created them. They show uniqueness, contact with the divine. How unique and divine is their creator, in their essential identity.

We all want to be original creators, but we are so busy being "normal" that we invest our energies in staying within the norm. And then we complain that our life is flat and that we are bored, and we don't know what to do with ourselves; we don't necessarily seek adventure, even when we apparently boast of being nonconformists!

The price to pay for being someone is the acceptance of being completely ourselves, with all that entails. But 'to be ourselves,' we have to know ourselves. And we can't really know ourselves if we don't know who we are.

So again the question - who am I?

The price to pay for being someone is to be emotionally alone. It is not loneliness; it is the beginning of true love. It is giving up those emotions that bind us to false identities, to the false image that we are ready to show on several occasions. Both positive and negative emotions, which we normally mistake for ourselves, are not who we are.

The energy that we waste in those emotions can flow into the creative project, into self-realisation. It is the energy we need to give life to ourselves. It is dying to that world of conformist relationships that keep us trapped in projection patterns for which we are constantly pushed to play a part.

Again the question - Who am I? - which does not leave us alone.

Once we know who we are, we recognise ourselves.

We begin to recognise our true nature, we respect it, we follow it. We no longer need the recognition of others; we no longer seek outside of ourselves what we are unable to give to ourselves.

Who am I?

... is the only question worth asking in life, digging into yourself with all your strength, but it is not an easy job to do alone as it requires direct contact with yourself.

I discovered myself through photography. I touched my essence in every sense. I know I still have much more to discover, but now I'm more serene.

Photography gave me the opportunity to open up to new worlds.

The photographs I took of strangers allowed me to observe myself through images and conversations. As the 'observer' of myself, I saw myself desperate, lost, looking for love, courage, acceptance.

I was once afraid of fear. I don't want this to happen anymore - I said to myself.

In the middle of the night, I had panic attacks. I needed to talk to someone. Only to bring attention to something real, to the present moment, to confuse my mind. It made me believe I was going to die. Those false thoughts, created by a worried mind, chased me incessantly and deceived me. They told me things that didn't exist, and I projected them onto the surrounding reality, turning it into a nightmare. I couldn't see the truth, couldn't confront my mind, couldn't acknowledge the pain that belonged to me apart from myself.


To identify oneself is to open up to confidence with oneself that was not possible before. Maybe the price to pay for being someone is to discover that we are nobody.

Then, one afternoon, I read Osho's "Seeds of Wisdom." A message, which I want to share with you:

I used to ask myself: "Who am I?"

It is impossible to count how many days and nights I spent asking myself this question. The intellect gave me answers felt by others or as a result of conditioning. They were all borrowed words, lifeless and unfulfilling.

They resonated on the surface and then disappeared. The inner being was unaffected. No echoes were heard deeply. There were many answers to that question, but none were correct, and I was unaffected: none could rise to the level of the question.

Then I realised that the question came from the center, while the answers only touched the periphery.

The question was mine, but the answers came from without, the question arose from my deepest being, the answers were imposed from without.

This insight became a revolution, and a new dimension was revealed.

The responses of the intellect were meaningless. They had no bearing on the question. An illusion had been torn apart. And what a relief it was! It was as if a door had been thrown open, filling the darkness with light. It was my intellect that gave the answers; this was the mistake.

And because of these false answers, the real answer could not arise. Some truth was struggling to emerge; in the depth of awareness, some seeds were trying to break through to the light. The intellect was the obstacle. When this became clear, the responses began to dwindle. Knowledge acquired from the outside began to evaporate. The question went even deeper. I did nothing, just continued to observe. Something unusual was happening. I was speechless. What could I do? At best I was a mere witness. The reactions of the periphery faded, died, became non-existent. Now the center began to resonate more completely. 'Who am I?'. My whole being was shaken by this thirst. It was a violent storm. Every breath trembled, shuddered. 'Who am I?" Like an arrow, the question pierced everything and headed inward. I remember it was such a strong thirst! My whole life had gone thirsty! Everything was burning. And like a tongue of fire, everything remained there. 'Who am I'. The surprise was that the intellect was completely silent. There was no longer the incessant flow of thoughts. What happened? The suburbs were completely silent.

There were no thoughts, there were no past conditioning. It was just me and there was also the question. No, no, I was the same question. And then the explosion...

In a moment everything was transformed. The question was dropped.

The answer had come from some unknown dimension. The truth reaches us with a sudden explosion, not gradually. It cannot be forced to appear. It arrives. Emptiness is the solution, not the words.

Becoming unanswered is the answer.

Someone asked yesterday, and every day some of you ask, "What's the answer? If I tell you, it has no meaning. Its meaning is found in grasping it for yourself.

by Loredana Denicola


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