mile markers

i’ve always been interested in pictures…. especially old pictures and family pictures… and old family pictures. haha. intrigued by everything about old photos — the contrast in lifestyles fascinates me, from architecture to modes of transportation, from clothing to storefront signage… and especially comparing the way things have changed. ultimate documentation — on a grander scale! one of my FAVORITE things to do is compare a cityscape — then and now — to take note of all the changes…. or compare baby pictures to a previous generation’s baby pictures…. looking for similarities…. sentimentalities…. the pure nostalgia warms me.

pictures tell such a story, and i appreciate each one. i have been deemed the ‘keeper of the pictures’ in my family. old, falling apart, albums and boxes upon boxes of loose pictures have been entrusted to me… because i’m the one that cares about keeping them — and eventually preserving them. this is one of my favorites. it’s my husband’s maternal grandmother and her brother, circa 1917.


[charles & helen]

the awesome thing about an image is that it can have three stories — potential perspectives or interpretations given from the person being photographed, the photographer and the person that views the image later… i’m always the one that wants more information — and if you’re hearing my story you may hear more than you asked for… assuming everyone wants as much information as i do… i feel like i gain so much perspective and insight from a picture. it makes me feel connected.

growing up, back in the days of 35mm film, i considered photography to be too expensive a hobby. i lacked self-confidence too. i didn’t realize the amazing connection made between the photographer and the subject — be it a person or a rose bush — would be so intense for me… until i met my daughter, kelsey. i never knew anything or anyone could be so beautiful until the moment they laid her on my chest. i was completely in awe of the first pictures taken of her in the hospital (


[kelsey laurel, 1 day old — bella baby photography]

and from that moment i became very passionate about documenting her life through pictures. i quickly put our newly purchased sony cyber-shot to good use. at 2 1/2 months old i captured this shot during tummy time. this was the first time i truly felt i had connected with her THROUGH the camera… and the sensation was incredible. i had frozen that wonderfully silly expression we now call the ‘what you talkin’ ’bout, willis? face.’ it’s one of my all-time favorite pictures of my child. she’s not smiling. the background is nothing special. she’s not wearing pretty or fancy clothes. we’re on the floor of her room. the room i worked on for months – painting and decorating. we were both on our bellies, face-to-face… i remember that MOMENT like it was yesterday. and i cherish it. and i’m thankful to have snapped it. in auto mode. haha.


after i took that shot, i remember looking at the display and smiling, and i continued snapping away. that night i downloaded it and smiled at her face, big on my computer screen. not a clue that my love of pictures might lead me anywhere — that i might, eventually, be working toward a full-time career in photography… but i did know that i craved that type of connection again. that was my first mile marker on this journey. it was the true beginning, i think….

in spring of 2010 we had an unseasonably warm day and i decided to take kelsey outside. we sat on a quilt spread on the grass in the front yard. it was probably about 6 o’clock — approaching what was the ‘golden hour’ (for march), though i had no idea what that meant or what that could do for my images. i realized that night, after downloading and looking at everything big on my computer screen, that i was not only in love with my child and images of my child…. but also the amazing difference natural sunlight makes in photographs! this was the day i fell in love with shooting in natural light… mile marker number two.


the third mile was marked by this shot of kelsey and her bff, riley (aka riman). with this shot, i realized the true beauty of capturing a connection between two people. they were only babies then, but the look they are giving each other is so REAL. to have caught it with my camera felt slightly… magical. i know, i know… getting a little sappy over here…. and maybe it’s because it’s my kid and my bff’s kid in the wagon together, looking so incredibly sweet, but… i dunno…. it just resonated with me — filled me with emotion…. i caught something special. me. maybe i’m kinda good at this… i was at the right angle with the the right light at the right time and…. the idea of taking photography past my little family became real. the seed was planted. why not day dream about doing something that REALLY makes me happy??


… i’m always reflecting back… obsessing… scrutinizing… ruminating… about how i’ve gotten to where i am in this life — not just in my photography. the next installment will be coming soon. i promise. i’ve got a lot to say.

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