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Background: Born and raised in Southern California, I picked up a camera in my early 20s and never put it down again. It started as a way to record my children and family, but I quickly learned that my passion went further.
Has your perspective and
point-of-view changed since becoming a mom? And if so, how? I was very young when I had my first child — only
18 years old. I had my fourth and final child at 26. The eight years in between
are a bit of a whirlwind and a fog — if I didn't have photos from that time, I
don't think i would be able to remember a thing. So, in a way, I grew up
in motherhood. It's difficult to say what changed me more — becoming a mother
or just getting through my 20s.
What do you find most
rewarding about motherhood? Almost all of my children are now teenagers, and
I have to say the greatest thing about being a mom at this stage is what we
share together as people. I love talking to them, and listening to them. The
dynamic changes as they get older, and you can share more of your humor, your
stories, your feelings and dreams. We spend a lot of time together as a
family, and my people are funny. We laugh a lot and we are here for each
other. That is what means the most to me.
What do you find the most
challenging or surprising? The hardest thing for me is not imposing any one
set of beliefs or ideas onto them, and instead staying open to the way they
view the world. I value individuality and free thinking, but that can be
challenging during times when a child is in a rough phase. (Ahem, puberty.
Ahem, middle school.) It's easy to get stuck in a fretful mindset, where you
forget about who your child really is, and suddenly you are just thinking, "I
have a lazy kid, or a mean kid, or a bratty kid — WHAT AM I GOING TO
DO?!" The best advice I ever got was, "Everything is a
phase." Just because one of your children is going through a rough time,
doesn't mean they will be in it forever, it doesn't mean they are lazy or mean or bratty. It's just a phase. My mantra is "Love them through it." Just like
everyone eventually gets potty-trained — everyone eventually figures themselves
How do you
store/organize/display/showcase your photographs? I shoot digital and film. I store all of my files
on my computer and on an external hard drive. They are organized by year >
month > event. I have framed images all over my house. We have a
large display of nine 20 x 20 images over our couch. We also have a tradition of
getting photobooth pics taken once a year, and I frame them and display them
in a hallway. I love to print 4 x 6 pieces and have them randomly shoved into mirrors
and in boxes on coffee tables, or taped wherever I want with masking tape. I
also make coffee table books with vacation photos or collections that I have
stacked on a table in our TV room.
Any recommendations for moms
trying to capture those beautiful moments? When my kids were young, I used my telephoto lens
a LOT. That way, I could sit back and watch them play, and photograph them
without disturbing them. I prefer natural shots to posed, and I never like to stop a moment to take a photo. Or at least, I try very hard not to. So that
telephoto lens worked out well for me. Now that they are older, I can instruct
them a bit more, but I am careful about it because I don't want them to ever
feel annoyed or obligated. The best light for photos is bright shade. Think: under a tree, in a garage. The best time of day for photos is early or late.
Midday has harsh shadows and bright sun.
Any situation (good or bad)
where you wish you had your camera? Luckily, with the iPhone, I always have a camera.
:) But if I could go back in time, I would have made
sure there were way more photos of me with my babies and toddlers — breastfeeding, holding, snuggling, etc. I was always behind the camera. That is
one of my biggest regrets.
What makes you feel beautiful
as a mother? When I see a photo of myself, smiling/beaming at
one of the kids.
What advice can you give other mothers who might
not feel beautiful in their bodies? You know what? This world is full of people
trying to be perfect. I say, perfect is boring. Relish in your quirks, play up
your individuality. Plus, I am pretty sure your kids think you are the bee's knees. Try and see yourself as your family sees you. Your kids don't care about
your soft tummy or your jiggly thighs. Be gentle with yourself. Wear clothes
you feel hot in, paint your nails red. Flip your hair around, put on a bathing
suit and just have fun.