Everyone is creative.
Hearth asks the questions:
Both of my parents are highly creative people, though neither of them currently hold artistic careers. My mom is a teacher, my dad is a barber, and we grew up in an extremely rural, unincorporated town that was far from everything- even groceries and gasoline! I had such an imagination as a child, and owe a lot of my creativity from being free to express myself within my home, and being well-rounded in school. Coming from a smaller town gave me opportunities to experiment in school with things like art, band, and theatre, most of which I wouldn’t have had the chance to with a larger, city education. When the time rolled around to start college, I had longed to go to an art school but ended up in a ritzy, neighborhood private school studying bio chemistry and spending my days in a lab. I was absolutely miserable and thousands of dollars in debt. I hated college. I think that was a pivotal point for me, finally realizing I had made a wrong decision and I needed to be creating art. I purchased my first digital camera in 2007 and haven’t looked back. I’ve grown a lot as an artist since then, experimenting and teaching myself the craft. I stay inspired constantly from my husband who is my talented better half. He’s always pushing and pulling these ideas out of me I never even knew I was capable of dreaming up. And Sofia, my daughter. I could write a book on what that girl has done for my creativity. I practice yoga and hula hoop, I love the farmers market, I love brunch, and generally just try to lead a natural, healthy life. All of these things integrate to make me who I am, and all equally act as the fuel that keeps me motivated as an artist.
Your work is so honest and raw. I love that you are showing life and showing your life through your images. Do you see yourself as making art or documenting your life or both?
Though I am only doing something as simple as documenting the moments that happen in our daily life, I do consider myself to be making art. Each photo I take has a story behind it, and what I want people to realize is that if you’re creative and resourceful in what you have, a reading lamp can become a fantastic spotlight, just as standing on your kitchen counter can give you a risky, yet interesting perspective. I use my living room shades as soft boxes all the time! We can all utilize what we have around us to take an ordinary moment and make it extraordinary, and this is when we can begin to take our skills to the next level.
Having a family has certainly given a focal point to the documentary side of your personal work – prior to having your daughter did you document your world as much, or has having a child helped you to stop and focus on the little moments of beauty more?
Having a child has absolutely, 100% influenced the documentary side of my personal work. Sometimes I just wasn’t inspired to pick up my camera, I was always waiting for that seemingly perfect opportunity. After Sofia, I realized, sometimes disheartendly so, how much beauty I had missed right in front of me. I never realized how magicall it could be to capture the everyday moments that happen in our home, to remember how big the world must look sometimes to my daughter who is still so very little, and experiencing a million things for the first time that I take for granted every day. It absolutely has changed me. Rocked me to my center, even. It’s like I’m starting over, too… and with her, we all learn together to re-appreciate our world, and these lives we were blessed with.
Does the knowledge that you have an audience viewing your personal images change what you do or what you show at all?
Seeing the eerily perfect family with their spotless home on blogs was something that always freaked me out. (I mean really, who ever has their house that clean?) While I’m not perfect and have thought twice about posting photos where you can see my laundry pile in the background or dirty dishes in my sink, I’ve never staged or changed anything about my life. I find that authenticity is something my readers loved about my blog since I’ve started, so I’ve continued to showcase just that- snippets of our very normal, very messy, un-censored life. It’s scary putting yourself out there like that, but I’m such an advocate for being genuine whatever the consequence. I find myself drawn to people doing similar things. I love that “what you see is what you get” aspect of viewing someone’s work or reading their blog.
You also specialize in family and wedding photography – do you approach each of these shoots as a body of work or do you approach them differently to your personal work?
I’ve honestly never thought about it until now, but I do seem to approach most work in the same manner. While obviously there are certain moments at a wedding I’m required to capture, I am still constantly seeking emotions and the unexpected. It’s the same with families. I treat them like I would my own, silently observing and honestly interacting with them. Capturing the moments that can show all these wonderful people how amazing they are without trying- how beautiful works of art each of their individual lives are, effortlessly.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
Haha yes, getting this portfolio site finally up and running! (Joking!) I’ve started a series on my blog called Remembering Now, which consists of weekly candid portraits of our daughter growing up. I have a few things in the pipeline that should be surfacing soon, so the blog is the best place to catch any recent news and updates!
Do you work in mediums other than photography? I notice you hula hoop also!
It’s a bit of a strange hobby, yes? To me, it has always been such a beautiful form of dance. It’s so expressive the way the body interacts with a simple round piece of plastic… even the physics of it is intriguing. Performance to music can make a bold statement. Hooping has been such a strong community for me, I’ve learned to respect my body and what it’s capable of, I’ve learned to dance with fire, I’ve gained confidence to freely perform and express myself and have even brought joy to others by sharing my hoops to those that ask or seem interested. It has brought so much bliss to my life.
How has your own art practice changed over time?
When I used to approach photography, I would research for hours trying to find the perfect location, or the perfect pose, leaving myself nothing but the stress of building up this one shot. I look back now realizing how little I’d grown in that time because of the sheer lack of photos I actually took- I spent more time pining over little details! Through the years I’ve learned to carry my camera with me and constantly snap. A lot of it wasn’t good at the beginning… a LOT. But, through practice and a more open mind, I started looking for the shots in-between the photos I planned on taking- the ones I wasn’t able to find before. I started surprising myself, and it felt good to chase that feeling.
What role do you think art has in society?
Art is so influential in society whether or not we realize it, being such a broad spectrum of mediums. Creative expression has an uncanny way of bringing groups of people together, to give inspiration, to give hope, as a dinner conversation, or even just evoking an emotional response in those that encounter it. Whether you’re visiting a museum, the theatre, your home, or your favorite blog… art can give anyone something they resonate with.
What art do you most identify with?
The un-staged, unposed snaps. Strange cropping. Accidental blur. Basically anything that most people would consider a “toss out” frame is something I’m drawn to. The imperfectly perfect.
What inspires you?
The awesome light I get on my front porch, my family, making the time to adventure to places we’ve never been, or simply just those make-believe moments in the backyard. Inspiration really comes from anywhere. For a lot of people like myself, all I can say is that once you’ve found it, it won’t take much to start that fire.
Name three people doing great things (across any platform) we should be looking out for?
My husband Erick’s “Created by Us” video series featuring many un-recognized, yet talented startup artists
Tim Coulson’s photography inspires me daily, so you can only imagine my excitement to learn he’s now offering workshops to amateurs wanting to learn more about emotional shooting in his “The Nursery”
Shakti Sunfire, yogi, hooper and mentor of mine wrote and performed and incredible piece called the “Symphony of Silence”:
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At the first glimpse of sunlight I begin to stir, still nestled warm between the sheets. I see my family sleeping soundly and I know before long, I won’t be the only one softly kissed by the dawn of a new day. This day is unlike the others, and each of us knows it instantly. This isn’t the day for working, for obligations, for cleaning or to-do lists. This most certainly isn’t the day for worry.
Today is Wednesday.
Sofia runs at full pace into unchartered territory, eyes beaming as sweat forms perfect, tiny ringlets through her hair. She learns about birds, airplanes, picking up sticks, and eating dirt. We share laughs and we grow closer, each week discovering something new about our world, about each other. As we finally return home late in the evening, time returns to its hurried pace and we pack lunches and lay out our clothing for tomorrow’s work day. We tip-toe to the bed and draw each other near, drifting to sleep the same as we greeted the day. Together.
Wednesday, you will always hold a special place in our hearts. You bring out the best in all of us: sun kissed cheeks, windswept hair, and dirty fingernails.