We had little money, living that paycheck-to-paycheck life. But we’d just had our first baby and as he grew I noticed that the small mundane moments, the ones I treasured, wrote about in my journal even, were only being held on by memories and that wasn’t good enough. I need more than memories. Because those sweet little babies, those wrinkles on their backs and chub on their legs, need to be photographed. I saw the value in having photos and wanted even more, to slow these moments down. So regardless of our financial situation, my husband being the gift giver he is used Leap Day as an excuse to get me my first camera.
Throughout that first year I played around with it and began learning. Taking it to anything and everything with me. I took courses in college where I learned how to make my own camera (out of a license plate I might add!) I developed and scanned my own film and learned all things darkroom. This experience to me added so much value and appreciation for the world of film and started my passion. The sense of accomplishment that came from seeing the result through tedious patience left me wanting it more.
Film is not a fast process. Everything that goes into it is thought out. From the time it’s loaded into the camera, to putting my hands in a black box and having to feel around in order to carefully to unload it and roll it onto a spool so that the negatives could be developed. Once the negatives were developed, I needed to enlarge the negative and change them into positive images for them to FINALLY be scanned in digitally. This process alone was one of trial and error. I’d go through each image trying to produce what I had envisioned. And there were definitely images that absolutely did NOT turn out how I’d hoped and I’d even be a little disappointed in some. But then there would be images that surprised me. These ones were the ones that kept me coming back for more despite the frustrations. Each time I learned a little more. It started turning into a challenge, “what could I create,” and “what would happen if I did this with my photographs?”
I won’t pretend that I don’t find myself discourages with film every once and awhile. But I think the beauty that comes from learning and improving is what I’m addicted to. I’m constantly drawn toward trying harder, doing things a little different next time, a little better. I believe that’s what has fueled my business to where it is now. I never would have imagined that little License plate camera would open a world of possibilities.
Families, engagements, weddings. I remember in the beginning when just shooting one wedding, was my goal. Some nights I’d sit down and just bawl as I wrote the frustrations down in my journal. “I don’t feel like I will ever get to the place I’m hoping to be.”
Down the road a little ways and I’m past the place that girl was praying she could be a couple years ago. And as I’ve grown and things have shifted in my life, my goals and focus have as well.
Last year, we were blessed with our second little baby and I’m pulled back into needing those photographs to slow time down. I’m an avid journal keeper. I’ve completed over 17 journals in the past 10 years and I often go back and re-read them. I find there’s so much insight that comes with being honest in the moment and allowing yourself to return years later to see the progress and remember the feelings felt. I’ve often reread what I’ve written and easily remembered the experience as it unfolded along the page. But as soon as I pull out those images, I’m caught right there in time, remembering every vivid detail, smell, sound, thoughts and feelings as though I was in that moment.
When I pull out the printed images from Eddison’s Birth, the ones where I was terrified to do it on my own, where I clenched onto my husbands arm and buried my head in his chest for hours, and accomplished, with patience, what I set out to do, I’m flooded with all the emotions of that day. The fear, the joy that it was over, the complete awe of my capabilities, the gratitude for everyone who was there, and I never want that to fade. That is why I love what I do, why I want to give you that same way to look back and FEEL what you felt on that day whether it’s your wedding day, the birth of your first child, second, or third, or simple the moments of everyday that are begging to be seen. I want you to feel those feelings, forever.