Saturday, October 6, 2012

Picture Guilt.

Most parents have all witnessed the school play, the piano recital, the birthday party, or the soccer game, where a row of moms and dads hold out their cell phones and snap away at little Aidan or graceful Emily. Many of you know the family member who spends the holiday gathering or family vacation behind a camera. I've done it myself, despite my mantra to "put the phone down". As much as I love taking pictures, that's not why I take them at holidays and school events. In fact, I'd much rather not take them. The last time Quin had an end of year performance at his pre-school graduation, I realized I had missed listening to the first song because I was frantically trying to get a CF card in my camera. I felt guilty. Luckily it started raining and they ran inside and performed it all again. But I still felt guilty. So why do we parents take pictures in the first place? If you're like me, it's often because of 'picture guilt'. That thought that if you don't capture your kid at that particular moment, you'll never remember it. That you'll child will somehow be worse off if they don't have a picture of every major moment in their life unless you document it. That all of your Facebook friends religiously post pictures of their kids' every move so you should too or you're the worst parent in the world. I feel it all of time, and I hate it. I want to be there, watching with my eyes, not my lens. I'd rather have the memory than an album full of pictures. But then the 'what-ifs' creep in, and I wonder if I'll regret not having pictures a few years from now. So I take them. In the past year or two, I've been trying to find a way to resolve it, to find a balance. So instead of feeling like I have to capture every moment of Quin's life, I've asked myself what I really want to remember.  And usually it's the little things. I want to remember that he loved legos and airplanes, how playing in the sink could entertain him for an hour, how he ate breakfast by himself before the rest of us got up, and the snuggles with Daddy. So now, in the quiet moments when I find him doing those every day things, I get my camera. Just for a minute or two. And I don't feel like I'm missing anything. He does those things all of the time. The guilt disappears, and I'm left with pictures that really matter.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Indiana Quin and the Mighty Tiger.

A few months ago, we went to hear Richard Louv speak at the Prairie Lodge. He is the author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle, books that talk about "Naure Deficit Disorder"and the need to reconnect kids with nature. As I sat listening, I thought back to my childhood and felt lucky that spaces in nature held such a lasting place in my memories. I would spend hours playing in the field behind our house in Michigan, in what at the time seemed like a vast expanse of tundra, full of varying habitats. There was "the grove", a small patch of young trees, just far enough apart that I could wind in and out through their trunks or hide in solitude. "The prairie", which for an eight year old obsessed with Little House on the Prairie, was heaven-full of waist high grass and the little brown orbs that revealed a small white worm in the center when cracked open. Then there was "the hole", a depression in the ground just deep enough and wide enough that I could lay down and be out of sight from the rest of the world. It often served as my house on the prairie, full of simmering soups and a comfy bed of grass. Sometimes the dogs or my sister would be with me, but mostly I remember being alone and having time to think and imagine to my heart's content. When I look at that spot on Google Earth now, and the woods behind it that we used to travel to and from friends' houses, I realize how small a space it really was. It's not the vast world that lives in my memory. But that place, that space, that patch of Earth was precisely what Richard spoke about that evening. It was My Place. It was one of my earliest connections with nature.

Shortly before hearing Richard speak, we moved into a house in the middle of the city. It's a house with "good bones", but in need of some TLC in just about every area. It hadn't been touched since the 1950's when it was built, but it was hard to resist-when you walk in it feels like a tree house. It's easy to imagine being in the middle of a rain forest while sitting in the living room. It's only a mile from campus, but it can take you to a much different place with a simple walk in the back yard. At one time, it must have been grand. The greenhouse was surely gleaming, the azaleas must have been pruned, the gazebo full of people enjoying a fall evening, and the treehouse occupied by a little boy or girl who called it their own. Now they are falling down, covered in spanish moss and vines, unloved. But I imagine that treehouse being rebuilt to its former glory-a space for Quin to call his own. A place where he can be alone and imagine to his heart's content. In the meantime, we've been taking adventures beyond the treehouse. We pick a walking stick, which we really use to take down any spider webs we come across, and venture out as explorers in the jungle. We journey down the creek bed as far as we can go-over logs, under trees, and around "tide pools", pretending we are Indiana Jones era explorers on a mission. This time the cat, a bold soul, followed us in our footsteps, traversing the same hazards and stopping on occasion for a good claw sharpening. Today the neighbor stopped us and told us there were some pretty flowers blooming on the floodplain-only for a few days. So off we went, on another adventure with Indiana Quin and the Tiger.

This is where we found Mies just before we went out. Lounging in my old wash basin planter, comfy as a clam until she saw us heading towards the woods.

And this is the view from the living room. You can kind of see the remains of the old tree house on the right. The azaleas, while beautiful, have been neglected for years and are in sore need of a pruning.

The neighbor was right, there was a beautiful patch of white flowers standing in a sea of leaves. Each one had a colony of little red bugs making a home of the petals.

Mies usually follows us down to the creek, but this was the first time she insisted on coming the whole way.

There's even a "wishing well" back there...

This is the spot Q loves the most. You can't see it, but just behind him there's an old, run-down bridge. It's holding itself together just enough that he can use it to get down the bank of the creek bed.

And here she is, in hot pursuit of us...

Q is fishing in the "tide pool". He wanted to go out and get some shrimp to use as bait. I think the shrimp would have been bigger than the fish.

Ever log he crossed, she had to cross too.

And so our journey went. They're not fantastic pictures, but they'll be fun to look back on. I hope one day Quin will remember the adventures in his backyard as I do.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cool Cat/ Gainesville Child Photographer

Don't worry, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.  I have been a bad blogger though.  Life's been busy...the camera has been in a corner for most of the's slowly coming out.  When I saw Quin pick up his accordion this morning and strike up the perfect pose, I knew I had to grab a few shots of him with it.  So this afternoon we took a quick ten minutes out of our lazy Sunday afternoon to have some fun out on the street.  There weren't many passersby, so the music was just for me, but I think he had fun anyways.  Here are a few of my favorites.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Don't Be Afraid of the Sun. / Gainesville Professional Photographer

I've been on a bit of a hiatus lately.  Mostly due to the fact that the mirror in my camera broke, so I had a month without anything to shoot with, but also because I just wanted the break.  It's been a great first year in business and I've enjoyed every minute of my sessions, but this is the perfect time to reflect on where I want to go from here and what I want the business to become.  It's also the perfect time for some creative inspiration, and there was no better place for me to get that than with the fabulous Shannon Sewell.  I find it pretty funny that I didn't discover her until we had moved here (she's from Portland).  Not only did I get a fun day of shooting with her, but I also finally had the chance to meet some other fabulous ladies in the area who are all wonderful photographers themselves.  I think one of the biggest things I learned from the day was that even if it's 3 in the afternoon on a bright, sunny Florida day, you can still get some nice shots.  Normally I would have been worried about finding shade, breaking out the reflector, and saying "oh my, I can't have a highlight on their face".  But Shannon wasn't the least bit phased.  So out we walked in the sand and the surf with three adorable models.  I can't wait to see what we all came up with from this shoot.  Here are a few of my favorites...