I owe Oprah an apology. I tend to be a pretty cynical person, and I’ve spent years thinking I was beyond all her self-discovery, aha moment mumbo jumbo. I was a confident, together modern woman. I knew who I was and what I wanted from life. Then it happened. Out of nowhere, I found myself in a moment where everything I knew about my life and myself all sort of fell together and made sense in a way it never had before. I had a purpose, a vision, and damn was I excited about it.
See, like most people who pick up photography, or any art form for that matter, I’ve spent a ton of time over the past two years soaking up every tutorial, workshop, and blog post I could get my hands on – learning how to take better photos. I reached a point where I had the “how” pretty well figured out. I was chugging along, taking pretty, properly exposed, well composed images, but it felt like something was missing. So I started asking questions… I examined the work of photographers who I look up to, I explored my motivations for taking photos, and dug deeper and deeper until I was all the way back at the beginning: my family. They are my raison d’etre, and telling our story with my camera is one of my greatest joys and honors in life. I wanted my images to reflect that, and they weren’t. At least not in the way I wanted them to.
A huge breakthrough came from reading Erika Ray’s breakout session called “Let’s Get Real: An Honest Approach to Photography.” She’s a master at real, honest, authentic photography and I connected with her work and her words in a way that I never had before with any other photographer. She helped me craft my vision for my photography, and to own that vision. I started asking myself every time I pick up my camera, “what do I want to remember about this?” And the answer is often something that likely has very little meaning to anyone else, but has immense personal meaning to me. The challenge then becomes translating that memory into something more than a simple snapshot… taking your life and making art from it. And you know the amazing thing about doing that? You start seeing your life as art. Every day moments become as beautiful as any Picasso. Even when I’m not shooting, I observe my family, our home, our life differently now… through the eyes of an artist. Which sounds like an incredibly stupid and arrogant thing to say, but that’s the only way I’ve found to describe it.
So I had the “how” and the “why”… now it was time to figure out the “what.” What did I want my photos to look like, to feel like – both to myself and to other people? I know the answer, but since this post is already insanely long, I’ll save that for Part 2. In the meantime, I’ll share with you a bit of what’s come of all this soul searching. Once I had my big aha moment, I wanted to shoot all.the.time. I’ve never been an every day shooter because I work full time and before and after work is an elaborate, chaotic dance that rarely leaves time to sit and eat breakfast, much less snap some photos. But I stared down all those excuses and said screw it. You and me, June. It’s on. So every day this month I’ve been shooting my “everyday.” Each day, a new set of images that tell the story of our day… some days they have a common theme, or they’re of a specific time of day or event, but it’s always 5, and they’re always real, and honest, and basically the kind of photography I wish I’d always been doing but I’m SO happy to be doing now. This is my absolute favorite challenge I’ve ever done. Here are a handful of my favorite days so far…
6.1.14: morning tv time / meal planning / first nap at home in months / big park / nature’s highlights
6.2.14: (Weekday Breakfast) iPad in bed / brekkie / fuel / serenade / drinking the “juice”
6.4.14: If You’re Happy and You Know It / always pumping / end of year school celebration / sassy like his mama / happy to be heading home!
6.5.14: (Day in the Life of Jonah) wakey wakey / busted / showing off for his teachers / yum! / precious boy
6.8.14: (Weekend Breakfast) bacon, always / blueberry pancakes / blowing raspberries / blueberry face / helping Jonah with his puffs
6.10.14: (Day in the Life of Rocco) rise and shine / out for a walk / pondering / waiting / back to bed
6.11.14: (Between work/school and dinner) feeding puppers / Doc McStuffins / still snoozing from the car ride / daddy’s home! / so much love