I ordered some business cards for my little photography obsession a while back and they came yesterday. I thought I should have something on-hand with my phone number and the address of my blog just in case someone asked, you know? I sat there staring at them and then I got to thinking...
What makes me special? How am I different from all the other Moms out there with cameras shooting quick photos of their kids? What sets me apart from the average, everyday snapshot-taker? Why would anyone want me to photograph them?
It's pretty eye-opening to sit and think about those things and find out just how "normal" you are. Under regular circumstances, "normal" is fine. For photography, though, you want to be eccentric enough to be different, but still centered enough not to scare anyone. It's a weird place for me, really.
I've been thinking a lot about what makes my photography special and it brought me to the question "Why did I start taking photos in the first place?"
That's an easy enough place to start, so here's my story.
I got my DSLR for as a gift from my husband for our 5th wedding anniversary. I've owned a point and shoot camera for the last decade or so, but I became increasingly frustrated with motion blur. Trust me, once those little bundles of joy can move, they immediately become as fast as a rubber band ball flying down a flight of stairs. My regular camera was just not capable of freezing his motion, so DSLR here I come!
I started photographing my son when we would go new places and try new things. I feel that photographs act like bookmarks for our memories. It's not that we ever really forget our children growing up, but without photos, we wouldn't necessarily have a reason to recall those memories and share them with others. They are the common thread that allows us to preserve this exact moment for our future. In sharing our photos later in life, we can go back in time to that specific minute. We have just linked past, present and future in one piece of Kodak paper. Whoa - trippy!
Taking photos of my son soon morphed into taking photos of everything. I mean everything. The dog, my feet swishing in the pool, my sister making a funny face at me, and whatever else was around. I started taking photo walks on my own, going down to the local marina at sunset by myself (a glorious treat) to photograph the boats docked there. I joined a local photographer meet-up group and went on some photo walks with them, soon thereafter I was promoted to an Assistant Organizer. Cool!
I have built a little escape for myself out of the shelter my camera has provided. I've become more independent and I am so liberated by the idea that photography is subjective. As long as I like it, no one else's opinion matters. I get to photograph what I want, when I want and how I want and no one has any say in it. How amazing is that?
Recently, I've started branching out and doing mini portrait sessions. I spent two hours with my mother-in-law's horse, a little while with my friend at the horse races, and I'm starting to get some positive feedback on the final product.
Where it will take me is anyone's guess. All I know is when I had to fill out the "job title" on my cards, I knew it had to be different. It couldn't just say "photographer" or "owner" or any of those other generic descriptions. I settled on calling myself a Moment Preservationist. It makes me happy and isn't that what it's all about?