Every single year, I tell myself I'm going to do a year in review post. I tell myself I'm going to post all of the best images from this year into a blog post, and I'm going to talk about the awesome people I met this year (including the awesome photographers who allowed me to work alongside them), and I'm going to talk about how much I shot, how many stories I captured, and talk up all the big awesome amazing things that the next year is going to hold for my little business.
Obviously, that blog post didn't happen this year. And as I sat here this afternoon, on January 4, 2016, I felt like somehow, I had failed. I didn't have a New Year Resolution that has anything to do with photography. Sure, I had ideas, but none of those came to fruition. I didn't get a blog post out like I wanted. Heck, I know there are still personal and second shooting sessions that are buried on my hard drives and haven't even been touched since I downloaded the images onto them.
I feel like a mess at times. My business feels like a mess. And sometimes I wake up and ask myself, "What the heck am I even doing?!"
But something amazing happened over this last month that garnered this post, and an awakening inside of me as it pertains to the way I choose to carry this business.
A while back, I thought about the possibility of documenting birth stories. Yes, birth stories. If you are unfamiliar, it is when a mother carrying a child in her womb decides that she wants that child's entering of the world to be documented. It's bloody, and messy, and (most times) the mother feels a million other things besides beautiful. And holy moly, it sounded so raw and real and amazing to me. As someone who hasn't experienced child birth just yet, I can hardly imagine what that moment must be like, but I know it's important, and I know it's worth documenting.
My friend, Kassidy, lives about an hour south of Salt Lake City, where I live, and was pregnant. She was to be induced on January 6th, and told me she'd love to have me document her birth to see if it might be something I want to offer in the future to clients. I was so elated! I signed up for a birth photography forum, started asking so many other photographers questions about what to expect, talked to a doula I met through my part time job, and was really starting to get excited about documenting this moment.
On December 21st, Kassidy's mom called me to let me know that Kass was heading to the hospital because of decreased fetal movement. Within an hour, they rushed her in for an emergency c-section. I was on my way down there when her husband sent a text to let us all know that baby had entered the world, and that her and mom were doing okay.
I was bummed that I wasn't there to document sweet Adaline coming into this world, but that isn't what this story is about. It is about the conversations had with Kassidy after her experience. Phrases like, "I know I can't be the only one" and "I think it might help other people if I talk about this experience" kept flooding out.
And the more we talked, the more I realized that this was it.
Photography isn't about documenting only the pretty moments. It's not only about the first kiss. It's not only about the moment he gets down on one knee. It's not only about the first breath the baby takes, or the first time she is held by her mother. Documenting these real, authentic stories is about those moments in between- the sweet hug shared alone after you've had your first kiss and walked down the aisle; the mundane of learning to live together as husband and wife; adjusting to not just having one child, but two, to take care of daily.
Brian and I had some awesome visions for where we wanted this business to go a few months ago. We were thinking big and crazy and never-before-seen stuff. And then, sitting in the NICU with Kassidy while she held her sweet baby, it hit me. This is it. This is what it's all about.
2016 is about dreaming big, yes. But 2016 will also be about celebrating the in-between and being content during the process.
I have some amazing stories that are tucked away from 2015 that still need to be told, and they will be, soon. And I have some amazing couples for 2016 who have a contagious joy that I can't wait to share.
I'm going to put this out there, and I'm going to be confident that the right clients, the right couples, the right mothers and families, are going to come along with it- This year, we're documenting the process, the in between. If you only want looking at the camera, grinning from ear to ear, pretty pictures, I have some other amazing photographers I can refer you too. But- if you want those tears during your ceremony, the way she looks at you when you aren't paying attention; the tired, scary, anxious, breathtaking, exciting moments of the process documented- then, man, we are so honored that you are going to choose us to document your story.
We can't wait to meet you, and live in that process with you. Let's get to storytelling.