I was so happy to receive an email from JoAnn this summer. JoAnn is expecting her second child and she wanted pregnancy photos as well as photos of her cute family. JoAnn got my name from Maria, the mother of the 2-year old who’s birthday party I photographed in the spring, and Maria found me on the internet.
I love that I have been in business for 3 years and I have yet to make business cards… word of mouth is way better than business cards– and it saves trees too! (Although, I know I will receive grumpy comments from my loved ones who wish I had business cards so they can pass them out…. so it is only a matter of time until I give in to the little white rectangles.)
Anyway, here are my favorites so far. I took a few rolls of film too, so as usual, there will be more to come. It was such a fun photo shoot… gorgeous couple with a super happy 2 year old and big beautiful windows. It was a great way to spend a Sunday.
When I took this photo of my friend Juliet, almost exactly three years ago, it was hard to even imagine how much all of our lives were going to change. We had no idea who that little human inside her belly was going to be, let alone who the the next one was going to be, or that in three years they would move out of this house and Arann and I would move in. Life moves so fast and sometimes you don’t even realize how much things change until you stop and look back.
So now I am back in London…..with a box of prints and a stomach full of nerves. While I was in the US, I had thoughts that maybe I didn’t even need to come back, because I had already learned what I needed to learn.
I learned how to photograph with a medium format camera, I learned how to tackle a big project, I learned how to put myself out there, I learned how to make mistakes and fix them….so why should I come back to London where it is so expensive and far away from my loved ones.
But to be honest, I was not looking forward to sitting down and showing my work. I was dreading it. I was insecure that my work wasn’t good enough. That my portrayal of a small American town would be insignificant and dull next to my classmates’ worldly adventures and documentation of major current events. I would try to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what other people think, this is the type of work that interests me, so that is the most important thing……but still the nerves twitched. So I knew that this was yet another lesson that I needed to face and learn….
I was happy and relieved when my first tutorial with Oliver went well. He was complimentary; he said I had some good images and that I had mastered medium format…..(which means I did a really good job editing and he didn’t see the mountains of out of focus or flared images). So that day I felt good…..but then we had our group presentation…..and now, in our third term, I know how this goes, and I know what to expect….
It means, a long day of seeing other people’s work, which is good…..but because there are so many people in the class, it is kind of pointless as far as getting feedback from the other students or our tutor, who may or may not be paying attention, and therefore it generally leaves me feeling pretty unsatisfied and frustrated…..and this term was just the same…..maybe even worse, because I am much more fragile and desperately craving feedback.
I don’t need someone to tell me everything is good and I am the best photographer in the world, I need someone to be thoughtful and look at the images and make critiques and tell me their honest opinion….it is called constructive criticism. In my opinion, that has been a huge gaping hole in this program.
So after the group presentation, the confidence roller coaster dipped down again….until I had a great meeting with Homer Sykes. Luckily the person who signed up after me didn’t show up, so I got a longer time with him than the meager 30 minutes allotted and during that time he filled me with hope again. Homer told me the things that didn’t work, but then we looked through other photos that I had not selected. The process was so helpful and when it was over I actually smiled, which he was relieved to finally see.
Homer chose this one from my pile of extras……and because he was choosing more of my atmospheric photos, it sent me back to my original files to search for others that I may have skipped in my initial edits, and I found this one of the fire house, it makes me smile too……
And the roller coaster goes up again.
“I think it is getting better because you can find more organic food.”
“Shopping is my high, when I am depressed I go shopping.”
“When we die, we will be covered by all the things we purchase, that is going to be our hell.”
” I just think about all the things I could give up and give to people so that they could survive. But instead of doing anything I just feel guilty.”
Welcome to strip malls and chain stores. Welcome to anywhere USA.
But what are families supposed to do, when there aren’t many other options, and time and money are not disposable? For young working families, it has to be cheap, fast and convenient. This is life for millions of Americans….
This is my mom. She is a bit of a rarity in her neighborhood….I would even guess some of her neighbors might call her a bohemian because of her unconventional unruly yard….and if her neighbors knew about her technique to get rid of the Japanese Beetles that eat the flowers on her crape myrtle trees…..they might call her worse.
As a gardener she is a good environmentalist…she does not spray her plants with pesticides that would protect them from even her worst enemies, the Japanese Beetles. So instead she cups her hands around the flowers, shakes the bugs into her hands, then rubs her palms together….the sound is amazing and the color of her hands afterwards is definitely a work of art….and that is my mom.