“It’s not a job, it’s a JOY”

(“UNLIMITED” ©2008 Angel Burns)   Underneath it all…


I started out as a dance photographer because that was a world I knew. I was a dancer myself– and I understood it. Dance is about living inside the music, letting it penetrate until your emotions join it and are amplified. I wanted to capture what it FELT like to be a dancer. How you bring your whole life’s experience, your whole self to the process. It’s free and shamelessly bold. Naked.

Then I wanted to capture the magic that happens when the intent of the musician and choreographer found perfect expression in a gesture. That’s bigger. The moment when the message is crystal clear and the audience feels the honesty of it resonate inside them.

Pretty artsy stuff, huh?

Later, I realized I was looking for that same kind of enlightened ‘Truth” in every face I shot. Every medium I worked in. Every individual I met. It’s the “I See You” idea, as illustrated in the movie “Avatar.” As an actor, that was always my goal: to always look IN, rather than at. Not to miss the real soul inside of the facade. We do tend to window-dress ourselves sometimes. We also tend to take people only at face value.  How to tell the story of what is going on within?

I hope my work continues to reveal what requires a deeper peering, something that we all recognize as like ourselves: messy (imperfect), vulnerable, wistful- and yet still glorious. Humans are magnificently made!

I’m lucky to be an artist and have many methods to make a point. I’d like to take you with me, visually, to find your own dreams.

My work is about saying YES. About telling everyone ‘yes you CAN,” and it’s far easier/better/closer than you know. It’s about sharing, reaching, encouraging and reassuring. It’s a positive message grounded in reality, not mere Pollyanna optimism.

Do you know how amazing you are? What you are capable of? That your potential is larger than you think?

Why do I believe this? Because I’ve seen it, over and over, in the most obscure places and least likely situations. I’ve spent long hours in hospitals, churches, rehab centers, shelters for the homeless and abused, sound stages, school rooms, boardrooms, laboratories, airports and other countries. I’ve worked in entertainment, with fancy sparkling people in fancier surroundings, traveled to the poorest places and interacted with the wealthy. I have seen extremes of madness and intelligence, birth and aging, the intimacy of death, the medicine of hope. I don’t claim to have seen “everything,” but certainly enough to find empowering. So-called “miracles” (of action, of change, even health), happen EVERY single day! You may easily surprise yourself.

We are all more alike than different. Human bodies are built for resilience. Life is full of real magic, without the need for fictional placating. The more I learn, the more I am reminded to show it and share it. Have some! It’s free, it’s abundant, and it’s everywhere if you pay attention (and know how to look). May the job that brings me satisfaction, bring you more.  Cheers!

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2 thoughts on ““It’s not a job, it’s a JOY”

  1. Angel,

    I love your approach and I especially love your point about looking IN to see the real soul of the people we meet. Too often that gets lost in the busy-ness of our lives and yet it’s so important to the human connections we need to make.

    1. Dennis, thank you so much. You are so talented in retouching those movie posters to bring out the best in people (the magical way we see them), without them ever looking plastic and out-of-reach. Your comment is much appreciated!

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