I want to thank you all for your support through my journey! I truly hope you've enjoyed reading my posts, both on my blog and Facebook page! Writing posts about client sessions comes super easy to me, I talk a little about my clients and talk about my personal experience during the session. It's kind of like a way to reflect for me. It's amazing to me the amount of detail I can remember about each and every session, even months later. What has never been easy for me is writing posts that at more personal, so I decided in this post, I'm going to do just that! I want my blog to not only give you a glimpse into my journey through photography, but also to give you a glimpse into the person behind the camera and help you learn a little about what got me to where I am today.
Because this is a more personal post, the photos are also personal. This is Callen, he is my WORLD (as you may already know, if you read the "About Me" section of my website). This little guy has challenged me since the day he was born, but my heart is so full of love for him. He is my wild child. I have no clue where he finds all of his energy, and I'm exhausted by his bedtime every single night, but I miss him terribly after he falls asleep :-) He makes me laugh on a daily basis, usually to the point where my stomach hurts. He gives me the fiercest hugs and will squeeze my cheeks so hard while looking right in my face before giving me a kiss. Most of the time, he loves having is picture taken, so he's often my shooting buddy when I venture out to check out new session locations. I could write this entire post about him, but instead I'm just going to share a bunch of pictures of him. Since he's my most frequent subject, I have so many pictures of him to share!
Anyways, I wanted to tell you about one of the biggest influences in my life, my late grandmother, Rose. She was an amazing woman, she was a photographer and a writer. I was lucky enough to have her and my grandfather live right around the corner from us when we grew up, so we spent a lot of time with them and they were the best grandparents.
As long as I can remember, my grandmother always taking pictures, but back in her day you didn't get to see the pictures right away. Thinking back on it now, it all seems so old school... I mean, she didn't even get prints made for the majority of her pictures, she had slides made that went into a machine and projected them onto a white screen, like a film strip in elementary school, remember those? (I feel like kids now a days probably have no clue what I'm even talking about, hahaha). I remember she had a whole room setup with a computer, that was used for her writing. She had a slide projector and screen, and she had a few chairs setup in the room for us kids to sit in. She would turn the lights off and proudly show us her work. I always loved it. In addition to viewing her photos in, what I referred to as, her workshop, I remember her taking me out on day trips to various outdoor venues where we would walk around and she would take in the scenery and snap some photos. These are memories I will always hold close to my heart.
In addition to being an amazing photographer, she also was a published writer. She always encouraged me and my brother's creative sides. She would bring us to her meetings with groups of fellow writers and photographers. I remember at a young age, sometimes feeling like that was boring, now I find myself wanting to find groups just like this to network and grow with. I wish I realized then how valuable it was for me to be around so much experience, and I wish I asked more questions and paid closer attention.
When I realized how much I loved photography, it was like I finally got it. I finally got why she loved it so much and I think I sort of got why she exposed me to this when I was young. It wasn't necessarily to ensure that I would end up following in her footsteps, but more to let me know that I could follow in her footsteps. As she was once a mother of young children and a member of corporate America, but in the end she was able to follow her dreams. She was letting me know I could do it all, if that's what I wanted to do.
What I haven't mentioned yet, is that 3 weeks into my sophomore year of college, my grandparents died, tragically, in a car accident. Even after all of this time, it's still hard to believe, and even harder to talk about, but I believe it's relevant to the story. Since finding my love for photography, I've never felt closer to her. I think about her all the time and wonder if she is proud of me, I like to think she is. I frequently wonder about what it was like for her as a photographer. I wonder if she if she was as critical of her own work as I am of mine. I wonder what it was like for her to submit her work into contests and have it judged and critiqued by others? Did she ever feel like giving up after hearing their feedback? I wonder what it was like having to pay for every single photo you took. Back then you had to purchase film and pay to have it developed before you could see the picture, there were no digital cameras. My grandfather was incredibly frugal and thinking back to how much film cost, and how much developing film cost, it's surprising to me that this was her choice of hobby. However, they were quite a creative pair, he was an oil painter and also did photography alongside my grandmother, so maybe that made it easier for her to convince him to spend the money (which, if you knew him, you'd know she must have done, otherwise he wouldn't have spent the money).
To me, she seemed invincible, she was always doing something. Her and my grandfather traveled a lot and when she wasn't travelling, she was running around all day giving herself to those that she loved. Often helping my parents drive me and my brothers around to after school activities or taking care of us on sick days when my parents had to work, going to her many clubs, groups, networking events or just visiting with other writers and photographers, being a mom and a grandmother, hosting Sunday night family dinners and all holidays. It was like she never stopped.
I think as you get older you start to realize that you are so much like your parents... Well, I've recently realized that I'm not only like my parents, but I'm also like my grandparents. I've realized since the beginning that I followed in my grandmother's footsteps with photography, but it only occurred to me this week that I did the same thing by writing this blog. I like to think that she's proud of me for that too, even if my grammar may not always be perfect. Something else you probably don't know is that, when I was in high school, I took a ton of art classes and my favorite was oil painting (coincidentally the same medium my grandfather used). They inspire me on a daily basis, and I know they would be so proud of me.
I don't think a day goes by where I don't think about the fact that my son will never get to meet them. I miss them so much and wish they were here to watch me grow in this journey, not only as a photographer, but also as a parent. I wish they were here to share their wisdom with me, as I know they would have so much to share.
* Rest In Peace * Grandma & Papa * 9/15/03 *