I adore watercolor painting, knitting, spinning yarn and most recently, needle felting. All those balls of yarn, reams of paper, the beautiful brushes, gorgeous wooden knitting needles...being surrounded by these tools is like being in the company of old friends. It's a bittersweet process for me to have the urge to create, knowing that I used to have a particular paint color, knitting pattern, or whatever... to remember that it was lost in the fire and to begin the process of trying to find a replacement. I do love looking at new art treasures but it definitely bums me out to think of what is gone.
"My children had lost everything,
my husband lost almost everything
(save for what was with him at work)
and I did not want to pick up
my camera ever again."
The day I got the call about the fire, I was at my studio. My dedicated creative space that stores my camera equipment, my computer gear, props & backdrops and is where I am most in tune with my mojo. I was terrified that the trauma of the fire would interfere with my ability to create. I didn't want to be in my studio because it was totally untouched and as much as that was such a gift, I had tremendous guilt for everything being in its place and completely unharmed. My children had lost everything, my husband lost almost everything (save for what was with him at work) and I did not want to pick up my camera ever again. My impulse was to close the business, sell my gear and never look back. (Instagram saved me - more on that later!)
My clients were patient, kind, and totally compassionate. Except for a few and despite my best efforts, I still let them down. Win some, lose some. Beat myself up for failing, torture my soul a while then forgive myself and let it go. In time, I returned to my work and have made some of my most amazing images since the fire. I have awakened something deep inside my soul that must be shared. Even if it's terrifying - which showing others what I've made (paintings, knitting projects, photographs, you name it) usually is... it is such an opportunity to grow both spiritually and artistically.
"Giving makes me all excitable and giggly."
When it comes to my craft projects, they are for me. Even those intended as gifts, the process is to feed my soul and sharing the product of the process feeds it further. Giving makes me all excitable and giggly. But when it comes to the artwork that I make for my clients, I'm often torn. Do I make it with my heart so that it feeds my soul first or do I mechanically churn out yet another widget so I can get paid. I think the latter sounds like some sellout, soul-sucking shit. I'll chose the first option, please and thank you and I bet, with a little thought & better planning, I can make it rock for me AND for my client!
Which brings me to my intentions for my business in the new year. Shoot fewer sessions, give clients a super-luxurious experience, fawn over each and every one of them because they are the reason I am able to do what I do. I am so very excited to be able to deliver such a high level of client care and for those whom this is the best fit, there will be joy flying all over the place. I realize that this won't be a welcome change for everyone and I even suspect that I may have a few clients reconsider our relationship. It is an unfortunate unavoidable side effect of growing and refining my business model. I'll be sad to see any of my clients not return and hope that isn't the case but the reality is, that if I don't implement changes that sustain my business, my life and my creative soul, then what is the point?
Also, as you may or may not know, I specialize in a very niche type of photography. I exclusively photograph newborns, maternity, and kids of all ages. That's it. No weddings, no corporate head-shots, no commercial or events either. With my studio situated downtown, I get calls for this all the time. I turn down this work all the time. My heart just ain't in it. I love photographing kids. My clients always say "I can't believe you captured THAT expression" or "he/she normally hides from the camera and you totally got HER/HIM". I'm not the best in the world at what I do but I am good at it. Plus I have a lot of fun. My images show that. Some of the changes that will go into effect in the new year will represent those specialties more truly. Especially with the introduction of my Urban Youth line. You may have spotted it around... it will rock your socks. Seriously.
That being said, I can't, nor would I want to be the photographer for everybody. What I do in terms of image creation and client care is unlike anyone else and is a truly unique experience. I am delighted to work with clients who understand that and can't wait to see what 2013 brings.
"You have to try new things in order
to come closer to living the dream. "
You have to try new things in order to come closer to living the dream. I already am so blessed to be able to do what I do for a living, now to laser focus my truest love - working with kids of all ages- I know I can bring some serious joy to a lot of incredible people. Maybe you're the next fabulous client who I get to work with!