When I first began taking pictures for other people I struggled a lot trying to figure out who I was supposed to be. I scoured Pinterest searching for the best poses, interesting gimmicks, and articles on how best to pose people. I searched for the “right” way to do things. The “right” way to photograph families. The “right” poses. The “right” way to be. The “right” way. Certainly, if there are wrongs (and there are) there must be “rights”, right? The comparison game so often stole the joy of the journey and drowned out my own heart as I sought out what I was “supposed” to do.
Over the years, things have become clearer. I’ve been able to untangle the “supposed to’s” from the things that most make my heart sing. That’s not to say that the comparison game isn’t played or that doubt doesn’t creep in, because they do. But in the quiet moments, in the moments when I breathe deep and allow my honest voice to rise up, I am grounded in who I am rather than who I think I’m supposed to be.
Maybe it’s because I am a member of my own beautiful chaotic family. Maybe because there is never a time when anything in our life is (Pinterest) perfect. Maybe because even when the exhaustion of the daytime hours makes me wonder if I’ll make it another day, a deep breath as I lay down on my pillow at night is all I need to see the incredible gift it is to live the chaos of our life. Maybe it’s because I see the beauty in the imperfect, the chaos, the honesty and truth of family life. There our countless reasons, I suppose, why capturing the real moments makes my heart beat a little faster. It is such a privilege when people step in front of my camera. I love to get to know them, to invite them to be who they are, to see behind the perfect to the beauty of who they are.
Spending time with Mark and Amy and their extremely fun crew felt a lot like spending time with my own family. Siblings who love each other in the way that ALL parents know siblings love. You know the kind of love–the kind that will pick on each other brutally, but no one outside of this crew better DARE even try to pick on them. I love watching Mark and Amy step back and watch their kiddos with the kind of laughter that all parents understand–the kind that says, this is us. . . we are crazy, but we love us. There is nothing easy about family life. Nothing at all. But as Amy told me just yesterday, we know someday we will miss these days.
The love between Mark and Amy, the tolerance of Will, the joy of Grace, the orneriness of Henry, and the rambunctiousness of Beatrice. This is family.
Mark and Amy, thank you for stepping in front of my camera once again.