One of the amazing and wonderful women who made it that much better during my PhD was Jen. She was doing her post-doc at that time, and we quickly grew close. (At first, I just talked too much, while she tried to get her work done efficiently so she could go home to her then very young daughter).Read More
When I was nine, a boy who liked me (he was 13) trekked through half of Sofia in the pouring rain to knock on my apartment door and hand me a bouquet of soggy purple irises. I looked at him suspiciously, I took the flowers... and I said
"Thanks for the flowers. That was really nice of you… but you shouldn't have wasted all your time."
Over the years, you have learned - without realizing it - that your real life is ‘ordinary’. You have learned that the everyday moments, those regular things that happen daily, are less than ‘special’.
What you have learned is a lie.Read More
As a young teen in the UK, I found a photo in a magazine. I cut it out and stuck it to the wall of my tiny bedroom and gazed at it every day. It was of the Twin Towers in Manhattan. I drew an arrow toward the very top of one of the towers. It was meant to depict where I’d stand one day, overlooking the entire world, arms out, free as a bird. That was 1993.Read More
The images and stories and songs I yearn for are somewhere between beauty and dream. They don’t need to be coherent, in the same way dreams don’t need to be. Ever try to tell someone your dream? Yawn. Even if you’re a damned good storyteller, you’ll induce some snoozes. The thing that compels you to tell someone your dreams is the feelingyou’re left with when you open your eyes. It’s the emotion that grips you, but that's attached to an ineffective or half-baked story. That emotion is hard to put into words. But could it be done through music, sound, or pictures?Read More
Two years ago, I walked away from academia. After pursuing it relentlessly and devotedly for some seventeen years (if you count my undergraduate degree), I walked away.
It wasn’t a dramatic, flailing arms and hair-pulling act...Read More
Insofar as social media exacerbates social isolation because of feelings of inadequacy (think of all those ‘perfect’ people, places, lives), documentary photographs offer a way forward. They offer honesty. They tell a story of each person and each family just as they are, in all that makes them human, flawed, relatable.Read More
When I first got into photography, I was fairly daunted by the mental image of setting up a studio in my unsightly aged farmhouse. But wasn't studio family photography the way it was done? The only way?Read More
Before I became a family photographer, I was a parenting researcher. I was interested in how parents behaved, and how their children developed.
However, most of the hands-on data collection and family visits were not done by me. They were done by research assistants who would collect the data and hand it over to us, the researchers.Read More
You've seen the photos social media tells you to have. You've seen it all.
What you might not have seen is that there is another way. Another way to document your days. Where the authentic is given full reign.
Ask yourself this: why did you fall in love with your life?Read More
My studio photos from when I was a kid - I think I’ve got a couple of those - are empty vessels. They're fully devoid of context. Other than my cute pig-tails, and the virginal white dress, I can’t answer any questions about the time and place. What was I into at that period in my life? I didn’t wear dresses except on that one day my grandmother took me to the studio, and I didn’t wear my hair in pigtails, either, I know that much. I wore "boys'" clothes and played with sticks and stray kittens and I was afraid of frogs (which hasn’t changed). None of that comes through in my childhood studio portraits. Not even a tiny bit, though I wish it could.Read More
My moral responsibility as a photographer, as I have come to understand it, goes a step farther: I encourage what is true and what is good to shine through without shame. I aim to find your tireless self - the one that wakes up with ten snoozes of the alarm and burns the coffee and raises her voice and mentally checks out from time to time and takes a hot bath when shit seems to be hitting the fan. Contrary to what you might feel, that self is not constantly making blunders and fumbling through life. That is the hardest working self you've got. It's the self that won't quit on you even when you feel like throwing in the towel. That's the self I'm interested in photographing.Read More
While blissfully immersed in my stolen slice of time-space at Toronto Pearson Terminal 1, I was perusing the shelves of a bookstore, looking for a quick and painless read (I sometimes like my literature to be like my photography). I picked up a book called Dirty Rowdy Thing, by someone called Christina Lauren (actually two people), and bought it without hesitation.
I consumed it while on the plane, and that, my friends, was the beginning of my love affair with contemporary romance.Read More
The mare curls her lip and butts the Kid in the face. He falls backwards, lands on his butt in the wet grass, starts to cry. There's no blood, no scrapes, no bruises, but the Kid's heart hurts. He's lost his surety, maybe his trust. Some horses are like that, Kid, I tell him. You gotta be careful. But some horses aren't. You just can't know it on the outside.Read More
I’m not worried about what lies above,
I am concerned with what emerges.
How meaning comes to be.
How lines and dots and shadow
come to resemble memories
and are extinguished once you’re gone.Read More
Maybe it's ironic that toward the end of my academic career, I was fighting tooth and nail to dismiss with subjective rating scales of parenting quality, and focus on the moment-to-moment behaviours, without judgments or messages. Or maybe it's telling.Read More
When I shot on auto for years, whether I got real good stills of motion or blurry ones kind of depended on external factors. How much light was coming in, mostly. I'm into limitations, so it was a little bit neat to wait and see what turned up.Read More