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MY ISLAND by Janavi Held

My first love was black and white photography…

Perhaps I’m something of a minimalist, so what to do when film is all but gone, and the digital world has, seemingly, endless options?  I remember cutting class in high school to spend time in the darkroom; it was a magical place where pieces of the world I’d collected, or captured with the lens of my camera would take on a new life, altered by filters, paper choices, long or short exposures, long or short baths in the chemicals that would induce the images to appear on paper.

So, to me photography is collecting bits of beauty or ugliness, faces or places, the animate, and the inanimate, to bring them home, and share them with who ever is watching. Today I‘ve found a way to alter, and play with my digital photos, giving in, just a little, to the numerous possibilities.  After all, the chemicals in the darkroom smelled pretty toxic.

Most of the photographs in this video where taken on the beautiful Garden Island of Kauai, where my mother lived for many years.  I loved wandering the island with my camera and notebook. I explored places on Kauai that felt like arriving at the end of the earth, so primal, so alive with all manner of living beings; it inspired so much writing. This poem, in short, describes my experience there. I felt honored to spend so much time walking over, swimming through, and exploring the intimate recesses of that exotic, poetic piece of God’s creation.
Kauai by the author,  Janavi Held

My Island
by Janavi Held

Silk water embraces
toes and ankles
knees and thighs
pulling my body
all directions
lost in endless motion
turned backwards
forgetting longings
left them
on the shore.

Strands of twilight linger over my island
I pull those last bits of sunlight
through the strands of my bleached hair
as I wrap my hands inside the curves of waves
tossing my thoughts to the shore.

(Click play to view Janavi's photographs of Kauai) 

Janavi Held started writing poetry and wandering around with her father’s camera as a child.  At the age of nineteen, she began practicing Bhakti yoga. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Goddard College where she studied poetry, photography, and media studies.  She is on the verge of releasing her first book Letters to my Oldest Friend: A Book of Poetry and Photography. 

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~


  1. I just love this Janavi. It reminds me of a life shaping trip to Kona in 2001. Thank you for your beautiful poetry and meditative photography.

  2. How lovely, both words and image. What I wouldn't give to see the beauty of those isles one day!


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