I recently completed an 8 day Social Media fast which included Instagram and Facebook. I learned some important truths about my time, my impulses, my thinking and my business. Possibly the most important truth about me? I like face-to-face communication the very best. It’s worth the investment, because it almost always involves those closest to me. It also allows for a depth of feeling and understanding that can’t fully be achieved in any other way. I think most of us are drawn to social media because it connects us with people, but if we aren’t careful it can become our primary source of connection. I think that’s why, as studies have shown, that spending too much time on your phone or your computer can lead to self-worth issues, depression and anxiety. What I have always cherished about my job is connecting with people.
Consider this session right here: This is Ellcy. She has a magnificent little heart and an imagination to match. Before we even started I was presented with a one-of-a kind drawing of a Pegasus. For the entire session she twirled, blew ripe dandelion seeds, climbed trees and looked for fairies. She informed me that she is part Ninja, part cat, part mermaid and part bird. I know, you like her already…..
These kind of interactions are a gift of being present.
Recently I took her an edited photo of herself with wings and a butterfly. She gasped when she saw it and said “I didn’t know there was a butterfly!” Her mom and I just smiled and winked at each other.
If I had to send in a remote controlled camera to do my work I’m pretty sure I would have given up on this dream-of-a -job a long time ago. I still really want a drone though- but that’s another story.
I’ve got a soft spot for redheads. Self-serving? Maybe. I was a full-on carrot top by 5th grade. I like 5th grade Ginger more now then I did then. Isn’t that the way of things? Also, you guys! My name is Ginger. I was a bald baby if you’re wondering about my parents motivation here. These days summer has turned me into a bit more of a strawberry blonde but it loves my freckles and they come out like stars in the night sky. So when the opportunity presented itself to spend a little time with Lucy I jumped.
Freckles? Red hair? A field of giant, red oriental poppies?
……..Swoony is the word.
To see all of the photos from this session click here
Childhood is fleeting. Like a message in a bottle, bound for other shores. The receiver unfurls the unyielding scroll reading the inscription, ” Hold me closer, treasure the seemingly mundane, ignore the mess, celebrate chaos, hang on, let go…. Capture it anyway you can.” If he is wise, he will listen.
Listen- I’ve heard the quote that goes something like- if you have a meaningful Sunday you’ll look forward to Monday even more. Yesterday I was taught, filled with exciting ideas for change, heard kind words from my friends and renewed my covenants. I rested, spent time with my family and most of us were in the same place at the same time- ALL. DAY. LONG. But, let’s be honest, sometimes Mondays are hard because Sundays are so good. The reality is that I have to take all of that Sabbath Day delight and do something really amazing with it….. like wake up and put one foot in front of the other and hope that all of those Sundays are adding up to better Mondays (and every other day of the week too. ) Isn’t that really the point? Also, today is my Mom’s 75th birthday and she listened to my entire song and even complimented me in all of my hamminess. Boom!
I hope it’s a hopeful and happy Monday everyone.
Now… look at this darling girl here and just try not to smile.
Nearly seven years ago our oldest daughter was planning to participate in a foreign teaching opportunity in Mexico. We paid the deposit with faith that somehow we would find a way when it was time to pay the remainder of her costs, but we were experiencing a serious financial low in our lives and had no idea what could be done. When the time approached for the balance to be paid, after much thought and prayer, I had the idea that I could offer to take photos for donations to the cause. It worked!! In that one month we made more money than we did in any other month of the year. It wasn’t a lot of money but it was a lot more than anything we had seen in many months. Off she went to Mexico and in that decision a business was born.
Recently I attended a photography workshop where the speaker talked about how to avoid burn-out as a professional photographer. Guess what? It’s never happened to me. I’ve had some serious learning experiences, failed to please clients, undercharged and over-worked, and on and on, but I’ve never felt burned-out. Maybe I haven’t done enough work to get burned out or maybe I just really love what I do. Or both. But, I was still intrigued by the idea of staying fresh and always loving my craft so I tuned in. Here are two of my take-aways 1. Try new ways of capturing people, like a new angle or a new lens or even a new way of using that lens. 2. Find out what you really love to do and become a specialist at it.
You can probably see how these two ideas really work together and how oppositional they are as well. I am still, even after 7 years, very much exploring my craft. But I am starting to see the world in a new light and it’s definitely causing me to feel more brave
Soon after this class I took Max for a walk in the woods. As part of this session I practiced using my lens baby and freelensing. It was rather magical.This was the first time I dared to do this with a client and the results made me more than a little bit happy with the results. I’m still little as a photographer, but I’m little making a big difference. Shouldn’t we really all feel that way?
My first session after this class was with Max. His mom came along, and reluctantly found her way into some of the photos. I practiced freelensing…
And I practiced using my new lens baby.
I did something I’ve rarely done on purpose with children,… I shot from far away.
I had made a conscious decision to just let Max wander and I would watch. I’ve always let children do there thing after getting the shots I wanted, but this time- I made this my primary focus…. It was magical and the beginning of breathing more life into my photos
I spend a whole lot of my time trying to make my life perfect. Was I ruined by the Normal Rockwell images of my youth? Did I subscribe to Martha Stewart for one-too-many years? Do I honestly believe that the condition of my front door (awful by the way) tells the story of what’s inside? The answer to all of the these is “yes, probably” My hubby likes to say that we need to become really comfortable with “the gap” (not the clothing store btw, I’d sure jump on that idea) . The gap between our expectations and our reality. This is where we all live. We set high standards for ourselves and often others, and then we must learn to live with the reality that we’re all reaching for some pretty lofty goals and failing over and over again. And we’re supposed to. So I say, let’s look at, read about and learn how to become better. Let’s never lower our standards but always strive to be more. And more than anything, for me, I’m trying to remember that it’s messy, discouraging, down-right painful and extremely beautiful to just keep reaching.
I recently spent an hour with one of my favorites. At 40, Carolynn’s a new mom…again. It’s a welcome and exhausting surprise. Baby Nora is beautiful, bright eyed and almost never set down. I quickly discovered that she notices everything with those earnest blue eyes, engaging with my camera, her mama and light at every chance. Carolynn is clearly smitten and happy to be spending most of her time carrying, changing clothes (both hers and Nora’s) and relishing this one last, very happy, surprise baby.
I ‘m still thinking about how meaningful this session was for me. The spirit that a baby brings into a home is special for many reasons, but for me, this day reminded me of the importance of simplicity and how it brings with it a more concentrated ability to love.
If you embrace motherhood it’s still exhausting, but maybe less-so emotionally because you’ve made the conscious decision to put a lot of things down so you can pick up what’s most important. I am currently trying to do this with my own life, put things down, pick things up. I like where it’s taking me.
I can see where it’s taking this mama. And it’s good.
I’ve been a weakling in the world of social media for a long time now. Giving the better part of my efforts and far too much of my day to Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really love Instagram. Seeing all of my work in tiny little squares brings me a unique sense of accomplishment. And it’s easy to do. Quick photo, a few words and Shazam! I’m out there! Well,..sort of. Because it hasn’t required much risk I’m not really out there. You know…the kind of risk that comes from sharing more than a photo. Talking about the process, the failures, the successes and the fears. All are a lot more risky than a perfect newborn or a brilliant sunset. That’s why I am here now, to share more. But don’t worry, I’d rather talk than type- so I’ll try to get right to the point. Unless I don’t.
I hope you’ll stay.
For my first image it had to be people and landscapes. I love both and you’ll see a lot of both here. This image was taken at Cannon Beach, Oregon with a Canon 5D Mark III and an old Russian Helios 44-M Lens. It has a manual aperture and amazing bokeh. If you like to experiment and your budget is tight well then this clunky little lens is just the thing. It will only run you $35 and probably an SLR mount screw (plus shipping from somewhere in Eastern Europe.) I’d love to hear about your favorite lens and why.