This is a two-fold blog: the first part are some ruminations of mine about how I define what I do. The second part are photographs of one of my most recent photo-sessions, with a client whose wise words brought calm to my career musings. (If you want to skip my musings, just scroll down.)
As a family & life photographer, I want to photograph families and people and life. But "family photographer" has a rather narrow and tedious definition. Well, if you look at dictionary definitions of anything, you'll get bored.
Even 'family' can have strange definitions. Here's a funny one I found here:
Family: "a group of people united in criminal activity."
That is decidedly not the definition of family I have in mind. Mine is a little bit more open, more concerned with all those living beings that are close to you and cherished by you and that cherish you. The living beings that make your life brighter. That is family.
Family photography has come to carry even an more niche meaning. It often conjures up images of parents and young tots, dressed in matching outfits, against the backdrop of a blurry forest, in the golden hour light of dusk.
Well, that just ain't me. In fact, that is but one of the styles of family photography that should be available to you. There are many more. Documentary is one.
Which leads me to the more broad label that describes what I do: life photography. Incidentally, life photography also includes weddings or special events, birthday parties, whatever. It also covers those quiet mornings when you want to capture some of the beauty and joyful solitude you find yourself immersed in. The mysterious world, whether in the dry heat of the summer or the still quiet of winter.
So this blog is a sort of announcing that I reject the sharp delineations of being a 'family' photographer. I promise I will never ask you to wear matching outfits, for one.
I never stop being surprised at just how much I enjoy meeting each new person I photograph, each new family, and being welcomed into their life. That's the best bit about documentary photography, I suppose. That whole bit about being a fly on the wall - who knows if that is true? Flies buzz around in your ear and unnerve you. A documentary photography experience normally has the opposite result: it calms and grounds people, and makes them see the beauty in the lives they lead.
As for me? I simply enjoy watching life unfold, and figuring out how to best do it justice with a camera.
So, no matching outfits, ok?
And now, here are some photographs of a recent client photo-session, which included forest walks, pets, and talks about life and dreams. Documentary style ;)
My client helped me recently - with a blog post on her website, among other things - which encourages the reader to "begin where you are and go from there". As I ponder getting into this second career as a photographer at an older age than most of my peers, and leaving a career as a parenting scientist behind, these words were just what I needed.