Category: Storytelling Photography

His boyness is still there | Sayre, PA Photography

He’s changing so fast and I’m not ready for it. He’s not dressing up like superheroes as much as he used to. He’s not asking if he can wear a ninja costume to the store.

He’s not jumping off the couch quite as much. He’s too into TV and the digital world. I’m already hearing a heavy teenage-like sigh when I tell him it’s time for a computer break. 

He doesn’t play as hard or do the wild things he used to quite as often.

But it’s there. . .  Somewhere under his sly grin and smirk, his crazy boyness, if that were a word. At a moments notice he’s jumping on a board and striking a pose as Iron Man or Spider-Man. Suddenly he’s tugging off the polo shirt he wears to school and making it into a cape.

There is my little boy. 

I haven’t lost him yet.

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Spring is so close. . . | Child Photography Athens PA

We have had a very mild winter so I really shouldn’t complain and actually I’m not complaining, but I am saying I’m ready for spring. I’m ready for days without cold temperatures followed by days with slightly colder temperatures then weekends with warm temperatures and then back down again. The yo-yo weather is not something favored by my sinuses, but of course, blooming flowers probably won’t help those either.

After a week of super cold temperatures we were tempted with signs of spring this past weekend when the weather was warm and dry enough for me to grab my kids and my son’s friend and head to the local playgrounds for time on the slides, but also for more important things, like sword fights (or pretend ones at least).

 

My bedspread is not white | Athens, Pennsylvania Photographer

When I look at Instagram this is the impression I get: 
Every photographer owns white bedspreads in rooms with white walls and white ceilings, perfect for angelic photos of their blue eyed, blond, curly haired babies sleeping while wearing homemade neutral colored sweaters or magazine worthy pajamas on a furry blanket.
Every photographer has hardwood floors, perfect for capturing the reflections of their solemn faced cherub, sitting in a stream of light with their teddy bear/doll/dog/cat/sibling/something cute or cuddly and oh so photogenic.
Every photographer lives behind the most amazing forrest known to man and everyday beautiful light streams through the trees and on to a soft bed of leaves where the photographers little girl spins in a white dress because white denotes perfection and purism and all things good and holy in the photography world.
Don’t forget the home of a photographer is spotless, their children are spotless and well behaved and when they come to photograph your family you will appear the same way.
Everyone will see your photos and know how lily white perfect your family is. Not how real they are but how pretty they can look in front of a camera.
Yes, you’re reading a lot of snark in my words. Maybe because I’ve been a quiet observer of the photography world for a long time and have become a bit disenchanted with the way photographers like to recreate reality and then get very twisted up inside of their reality does not look like their Instagram feed. Maybe it’s because I had become that photographer and this year I want to disengage from the photography world and capture authenticity. 
My house is dirty. My kids are dirty.
I have one off white bedspread my parents gave me and I rarely put it on my bed; no reason why, I just forget I have it. My bedroom walls have horrid brown panels and there isn’t one big, beautiful window casting light on to the bed, the clean children or the hardwood floor. If there was any white in this house my children would have already marked it up or I would have already spilled something on it or my aging dog would have already peed on it.
I’m not rambling about all this to condemn photographers for showcasing pretty pictures of their lives. I understand Instagram and Facebook and blogs are only a snippet of a person’s real life. Those photographers can do what they want. I just prefer not to be one of those photographers. Then again “those photographers” may really have pretty white walls and bedspreads and their lives might actually be that sunny all the time. If it is then that’s what they should showcase because that is their real life. It’s just not mine. 
I’m almost 40.
The last four years of my life have turned me upside down and shook most of my insides out and I’ve shoved myself back together and I’m not who I once was. Every day I care less and less and less about what others think of me or what others think I should do or be.
Dr. Seuss said it best “I’m me and there is no one else I’d rather be”.
What a freeing feeling when you no longer see a well lit, white washed view of life and think it has to be your own; when you realize life creates scars that you didn’t ask for, didn’t deserve and that you aren’t alone in not being perfect.
Here is my goal from now on: photograph what I see, perfectly beautiful moments or not. I plan to capture real life and if that real life makes someone a bit uncomfortable or makes them turn away because they don’t see a world of white and sun, and perfect smiles then  I’m ok with that because I’m photographing for me, not for perfection.
 

The A* Family | Elmira NY Newborn Photographer

Their home was cozy, so well decorated and coordinated. Honestly, I was a bit jealous of how organized it all looked, though I’m sure there are crazy days there too with a two year old and a newborn. Even more than jealous, I was impressed with how the family had made the small home into a cozy place for a sweet family.

The walls were not only decorated with beautiful phrases and verses, but also beautiful family photographs, which shows me how important it it is for this family to document their history.

Thank you to the A* family for letting me peak into your life and your new beginnings with baby Maxwell.

 

Winter weather, cold babies, and weekly favorites | Athens, Pennsylvania Child Photographer

Part of my Weekly Favorites series, where I post some of favorite photos from the week.

She stood there in her winter coat and boots and made those questioning little trills she makes with her voice when she is curious about something or asking if she can touch it. She wouldn’t keep her mittens on and the wind that day was one of those winds that feels like needles being shot into your skin.

Once her feet are on the ground she takes off down the sidewalk or the road to see what she can see and experience and learn away from home and mom’s voice of caution and concern. I honestly wasn’t expecting this to happen so early. I had hoped she would wait at least until

I’m convinced she would have ended up at the end of our street, half a mile away, if I hadn’t stopped her. She didn’t seem to understand how cold the air was that day until about ten minutes after we’d been outside. Her expression changed from curiosity to confusion and soon she was reaching up for me and tears were pouring down her cheeks from the cold wind.

Her brother, a lover of all things snow, didn’t even last as long as he normally does after our first snowfall. He threw the snow up in the air a few times and then was more than happy to retreat inside for hot cocoa and cartoons before homework.

Inside, Baby Girl immediately wanted to nurse, to find comfort in the warmth found against her mama, confused by the tingling pain in her fingers and face. I didn’t even take our coats off.

Instead I sat in the floor in the entrance of the house and held her against me as she clutched my chest and played with my hair and enjoyed the moments I knew would pass by too quickly.

10 on 10 January | Pennsylvania Photographer

It was like she had found the most exciting location in the world the way my daughter stomped her tiny 15 month old, boot-clad feet in the mud puddle in the park of a city we’d visited for the day.

We hadn’t brought extra socks so her dad and I wavered between telling her and her brother to stop playing with the icy water and not wanting to squealch their childhood fun.

Water splashed out onto the brick road and up her legs and she threw her head back and giggled.

And when she giggled her brother laughed. But with the laughter I remember tension and sadness because I didn’t let my nine year old splash as much as he would have liked. He was wearing his school shoes and we didn’t want him to get them wet and dirty.

I’m not good at being a strict parent. I’d rather be the parent who has fun and lets my children have fun, unless they are risking their safety.

I remember my son’s sad, disappointed expression on his face, the way he looked at his sister, as if to say “she can stomp in the puddle, why can’t I?” Looking back I wish I had let him stomp in that puddle. The fun of splashing with his sister was much more important than his shoes, which, if we had had to, we could have found the money to replace.

I look at these moments that leave me with a twinge of sadness as learning moments. The next time we’re near a puddle I’ll let him jump in, as I always have before and did one day after school, ignoring the other parents watching as my son jumped up and down and sat in the muddy water of a deep puddle.

Life is too short to worry about mud covered shoes and too precious to give away moments of pure joy and laughter. (Even though his shoes are these really cool light-up Batman shoes and I’d hate to have had them ruined with the muddy water, so, yeah, maybe it was OK to say no this time. Ha!)

This post is part of a blog circle with a group of other photographers. We post 10 photos on the 10th day of the month. To continue the circle visit Katie Brenkert!

 

Letters to my Son January | Athens, Pennsylvania Child Photographer

When I look at this photo of you I see a little boy who has my heart completely and has since the day I first learned you were growing inside me. I see your brilliance, your wit, your charm, your amazing ability to look at almost any situation in a positive light. How hard it must be for you to have been given parents who sometimes lean too much toward the negative yet God gave you the gift of compassion and encouragement because he knew we would need to be reminded. 

You wanted to cross the entire bridge that day but daddy and I were tired and said “no.” I wish I had said yes. I don’t ever want to limit you in your dreams or your goals. I don’t ever want to slow you down.

Your future is so wide open and though I often want to keep you close to my side, tucked under my arm, I know I’ll someday have to let you walk the path there on your own.

Before we know it it will be spring and I hope we go back to that bridge because we are going to walk all the way across it together.