I am stepping completely outside my comfort box and for a very important reason - my daughter.
Like many people, I fear getting in front of the camera. Oh, I see the irony in this being a photographer, but fact of the matter is I hate being photographed. I loathe the entire process, finding clothes that make me feel good, doing my hair and makeup, feeling awkward posing and worst part is seeing my self image in the photographs. So I totally understand wanting to sit out and being a photographer has provided me with the perfect excuse to do just that.
I read this great article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html) a couple of years ago and it made me realize that I am taking away precious memories from my daughter and my family. As much as I really wanted her to SEE how much she is loved by me and not just feel or hear it, it has always been difficult for me to be on the other side of the camera. I had been taking time for granted, while at times it feels eternal, in the blink of an eye that can change. It did change. Last winter I had fallen ill and suffered 5 weeks of giddiness (no laughing matter, it's like vertigo but instead of spinning it is a constant swaying). I was pretty much incapacitated and thankful for the many friends and my very supportive husband who were all able to rearrange their schedules to make sure Katie got to and from school, extracurricular activities and play dates. In my misery, I was faced with something even far worse that made my troubles so light in comparison. I had a client pass away. A beautiful young mother taken away from her young children far too soon. I had photographed her family less than two years prior knowing the battle that was ahead and I was devastated when I heard the news. I had been in touch with her in early winter for a session, but at the time I wasn't able to accommodate, I had given her some referrals or we'd wait for spring we decided. Unfortunately she did not make it to spring, and there would never be another session. While I am so thankful her children will have the precious memories of our past session, my heart breaks at the session that never was. I think of her often and her passing made me reflect on what I would leave behind if something tragic happened to me. I have plenty of photographs of my daughter and husband, but very few of me. Photographs are the story books of our lives and I have a lot of blank pages. I also knew that it wasn't just the physical memories I was depriving my daughter, but my insecurities would be passed down and that wasn't a legacy I wanted her to carry on. I want to teach my daughter about being beautiful, as this blogger so eloquently wrote http://momastery.com/blog/2013/12/31/6676/. So it was time for some changes.
I remember my first year working for my current travel management company (bet you thought I only took pictures for a living) and there was a huge banner across our main wall that read "Change is Good". It has always stuck with me and over time I have learned to better appreciate the meaning. Change can be sudden or take enormous time but no matter how long it takes, good always come from it. It was time to embrace who I am and stop waiting for who I wanted to be to emerge. There's never going to be a more perfect time than the present. Face time with the camera became easier. I added the Disney Photo Pass to our vacation package and anytime I saw a Disney Photographer I made sure we took the photo opportunity. I knew being in Florida walking around Disney wasn't going to be a prime photogenic experience, but it was proof I was there, enjoying these real moments and I am thrilled to have these memories to share. I also bought photo prints from our cruise and gave my dear hubby the camera to make sure he snaps a photo of me too when we are out. It does get easier and easier each time the shutter clicks.
I am luckier than most people as I have the tools and skills to take a great photograph, but as a professional, I am here to tell you it's not just the quality of the photograph that makes a wonderful image, but also the quality of the moment that is captured. That spark of life. It's what I try to do for others through my photography. I love hearing my work being complimented but I strive for more than just pleasing your eyes, I want to please your heart. The perfect photograph is felt, it is not photo shopped. The perfect photograph is a memory of a time and place created by our hearts, not conjured by our thoughts. While I could liquefy, smooth, and blend myself into a better vision of me, it's not who I am. I am real, I am loved and I accept it. So here I am, perfectly me...out in front.
I give shutter credit to my husband and mother for the family portraits you see.
Our Disney memories are all courtesy of Disney Photo Pass.