Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl. Her life teetered between living the storied existence of the literary characters she loves and the real life challenges of a 12 year old. The characters she loves are strong, smart and sensitive, much like her. While it may be more glamorous to dwell in the story of these characters, she's unaware that she's truly the heroine of her biography. Like every protagonist, she struggles to find herself as the plot unfolds. This young hero must learn to adapt, learn to persevere and learn to thrive. Each day she must balance the demands of her routine while seeking out life's best adventures. But like any reading audience, I can't help but believe in this heroine from page one. I wait breathlessly for what will be spelled out on her next page. As I read along, I see her come to light and the hero emerges. How will she save the world? Life is a great series and the people we love are its heroes. Believe in them and this book will have the happiest of endings.
I love how the iPhone takes the moments we normally never photograph and turns them into virtual memories. Almost always unplanned snapshots, the device reminds us how to be spontaneous. And while they may not be archival paper quality, the importance is still there. The blurry shot of a kid sleeping or the photo of a mini-golf score card snapped to prove who the reining champ is; well they all define us. While 'll remember the monster camera for the marquee events, it's the little device that helps tell the real story. Looking at my random iPhone photos, I often wonder about the oddball treasures others have on these portable hard-drives. I thought I would share a few of mine (and a few taken by my kids) here.
Unlike my 40th birthday, 41 feels like a comfortable old oversized sweatshirt. I have had a full year to get over the fact that life is moving along at warp speed. I am beginning to think that the wind swept hair that goes with it, suits me well. If only when I looked in the mirror (like kitty here), I could find mirror me to help chip away at the growing to do list. The day I turned 40, I vowed to never let a day pass feeling unfulfilled. 365 days later, this year’s photo catalogue has swelled to well over 60,000 photos, hinting to me, that I haven’t missed out on much. I wouldn’t want it any other way. While Chris suggest that I have taken every photo that could possible be concocted, I do believe that I am just beginning to find my stride. Like the halfway point of the marathon, life has found its rhythm.
I have a distinct memory of my mom at age 41 while I was in 8th grade (similar to Kate and I right now). She seemed like Micky as the Sorcerer conducting life’s greatest symphony. She danced the dance of motherhood so gracefully ensuring that everyone would be better off. I can only hope that someday I’ll make her proud as I reach for the star she so perfectly crafted.
It was around this moment that we all watched the TV in horror on September 11th. My son, almost to term, kicked me from within my large belly and my toddler unknowingly played by my feet as I watched it all unfold. On a beautiful clear morning, our world was transformed and I immediately wondered how my children would fare growing up with this new burden to bear. Eleven years later, I watch the live feed of the memorial and see a mother with her arms around a boy Peter’s age. He lays a rose upon a nameplate as he tightly grasps a photo of the father he probably never met. In this moment, I want to reach out to him and tell him we love him. How fortunate am I that I have the ability to tell my kids I love them every day. I believe that the love we show our own kids will come back to this boy in some way over the years. Love trickles down from one to another. The children of 9-11 will always be held up by love itself.
A photography client told me the other day that my work has an organic feel to it. She called my approach to photography unspoiled and under-influenced. (Thanks Peggy!) I started to think about it and wondered what brought her to that conclusion. Every photographer starts somewhere. My journey into photography started in the fields around my home. As soon as my kids would climb the stairway on the bus, I would disappear into rural places, hoping to capture some unexpected treasure. Untrained on so many levels, I would turn dials on my camera haplessly hoping l could get my clunky Nikon machine to capture the world as my mind was seeing it. Personally, the most riveting observations have always come my way when I see the marriage of nature touched lightly by the human hand. When nature and humanity mix respectfully, the beauty can be undeniable. When we tread gently this earth we stand upon, the result seems ethereal. This subtle mix is what makes a photograph memorable (See Molly above). The flip side can also bring an interesting result. Bring a person into a heavily human developed entity, and the human in the photo takes on a different role. Here the subject of the photo can play the master role like that of Leonardo Davinci, creating a picture filled with the possibility and brilliance of mankind (see Heather below). As I dive deeper into my photography obsession, I realize the need to make the subject become an integrated part of the bigger picture. This will always be at the very core of my thinking before hitting the shutter button. Your photo somehow needs to tell a story. Now that I am fortunate enough to capture some HS seniors behind the lens, my thinking hasn’t changed. The required headshot may define one's look and style, but the wider angle tells a more poignant story of how we seem to fit into this world. While a portrait may be about the individual, it's even better when defined by the bigger picture. The trick is to make it believable. Placing a person into a setting and making them look like they belong there requires trusting your subject and the setting. At the moment it clicks, is when you press the shutter. I'll stick to finding inspiration in the everyday miracles I see in front of me. I plan on defining my work with this sentiment in mind. Perhaps, this is why I always look forward to seeing whats around the next corner.