21 December

Portrait, Jackie: The Joy Of The Creative Spark

by Jon Katz

Jackie is one of the belly dancers in Maria’s dancing group, I’ve only spoken to her once or twice, but I could take photos of her all day.

One of the beautiful things about photography for me is that it attaches me to people, whether they know it or care.

I find I am especially drawn to photographing strong women, people who radiate strength and feeling and are fearless about their bodies and full of attitude and joy.

I’m not sure why this is so. My friends are almost all strong women, my wife is a strong women, my favorite portrait subjects are strong women.

Maria’s belly dancing Hafla (celebration) was the perfect start of our Christmas week and Jackie, a hotel manager, a grandmother and mother, is a wonderful symbol of the Belly Dancing ethos – this is who we are, and we love who we are with style and attitude, take it or leave it.

What a fine prescription that is for life.

Jackie also is a testament to the creative spark, according to the mystics, God gave each human a creative spark and he is said to have told his people that the only real sin is not using the spark to creative love and joy and happiness.

When I look at Jackie, as when I look at Maria, I see the creative spark, burning so brightly, every day, demanding to come out, insisting upon it. I had no doubts about belly dancing, and little confusion, but if I do have any, all I have to do is look at Jackie.

Her face is full of emotion, strength and the joy of creativity. And yes, Belly Dancing is an art, it is pure artistry.

She’s been entered in my fantasy photography show: portraits of strong women. I am grateful to have married another. These are the women I love and want to photograph.


  1. Maybe not a fantasy photography show, Jon. I see a real photography show in your future. Now, more than ever, the world is waking up to the needed creative spark of strong women, and you are our champion. We need you!

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