On special occasions, Nafsheen Luhar dons a vibrant sari, which arfully drapes her figure, showcasing a radiant face. Not everyone would look as remarkable in this dress as this amazingly talented young woman. Best of all, she's not just a pretty face. No sir. Genuine beauty shines through her eyes, and extends to her warm smile, revealing a heart overflowimg with generosity and love.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Nafsheen immigrated to the United States following the devastating death of her adored father. She was 18. Commencing education in her adopted country, she graduated from Sacramento State with a double degree in Graphic Design and Photography. A few years later Nafsheen followed her dream and launched Luhar Qreative Photography and Fine Art (www.luharqreative.com).
I love Nafsheen's explanation of her work:
"My greatest inspirations for art and creativity came from watching my father create, write and photograph exceptional pieces of art....When I saw the magic of my first image appear in the darkroom, a new world ...unfolded before me.
"Stemming from a traumatic childhood, which led to weight issues, low self-esteem, self harm, not being accepted, being constantly judged and suffering through an incurable endocrine disorder...(then later) diagnosed with endometrial cancer...in my time of deepest and darkest despair I found my light--an unbound...strength and power.... (After) all I had been through... (it proved to be) a blessing not a hardship....I felt complete gratitude for every moment of pain and every shed tear.
"As I honored my struggles, I found that some of the most extraordinary people I met were those who had been through unimaginable pain and ...came out stronger...more alive.... I wanted to honor and celebrate their pain, because our struggles are the reason we are victorious.
"Every face has a story to tell, every harship needs to be honored...." Exerpt From www.luharqreative.com
A few months ago, Nafsheen expressed a desire to photograph me. Well, dontcha know, I jumped at the chance to sample her handiwork. It just so happens I'm working on a revised version of this website (spoiler alert) and updated photos are appropriate. That's how I arrived at her home/studio for a sitting a few weeks ago.
We worked for a little over two hours, trying to capture the natural light on a gray chilly day in November. She made me feel like a celebrity. Frankly, I'm amazed at what she accomplished using this old face as her subject. I barely recognize myself! I marvel at her method, which at the time seemed simple. I've been photographed plenty over the years, but no other photo compares to these magnificent pictures. Okay, maybe her jewelry helped a bit. It could be that she magically photo-shopped a few wrinkles away (just being honest), and, okay, she did a make-up make-over on me before we began (could be a clue there), but I'm ever so pleased with the results. A big plus was time spent with a delightful, compassionate and supportive young woman.
My husband took a look at the package and pronounced his favorites as, "That one, that one, that one, that one, that one and...oh definitely that one."
No novice at photography, Nafsheen has amassed an impressive portfolio. I found her photos captivating. So expressive. If you're like me, you want to see more, so here are a couple of examples:
Awesome sense of mood and manipulation of light.
Dramatic application of black-and-white.
I got another wonderful surprise when she showed me a few of her paintings. Can't you just feel the wind flowing through this horse's mane?
At first glance, I thought this portrait was a photo, perfectly capturing the essence of one man's passion. Nafsheen painted her favorite guitar player during her harrowing battle with cancer. What an inspiring way to turn tragedy into triumph!
Nafsheen often works on commissioned pieces. (Check out her website: www.luharqreative.com)
Knowing a little about what Nafsheen has endured so far in her few years makes her remarkable tagline just perfect: "Transforming Adversity into Art". Her story speaks encouragement to my heart regarding my own personal struggles.
How about you? What feelings are you running from or stuffing down? Are you suffering right now or trying to escape from something in your past? Divorce, financial ruin, disease, chronic illness, addiction, abuse, domestic violence, or possibly death of a loved one? Maybe you've endured a natural disaster. Perhaps you wonder if you've been recipient of a cruel cosmic oversight. No one wants to hurt. Have you fled from your feelings into some habit, addiciton or behavior that now threatens to undo you further?
This world is full of suffering. Everyone gets a share. Take another look at Nafsheen's story. Notice that she not only persevered, she allowed God to transform her pain into beauty.
What's your portion of affliction? Are you trying to cope in self-destructive ways, thinking this horrible thing happened TO you when maybe God wants to use it FOR you? Where might God desire to turn your sorrow into something magnificent?
In my latest book, THE ROAD TO TERMINUS, Stryker's suffering escalates with each passing day. Yet God uses her adversity to change two strangers as they journey together along Route 66.
No matter what happens, God can transform tragedy into benefit.
Grab a copy of THE ROAD TO TERMINUS on Amazon today!