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[it's personal]

She decided to free herself, 
dance into the wind, create a new language. 
And birds fluttered around her. Writing "yes" in the sky.

Where has my heart gone? I remember as a child watching my dad photograph all the moments of our world and then proudly display them as framed 5x7 prints hung on the walls of our family home. Years and years of Us. Our story. On display for all to see. I have been wanting to create a wall of memories in my own home. But it’s taking me forever. Forever to complete a project, just for me. We all go through it. I know I’m not alone in this.  The excitement of photographing a session or a beautiful bride as she pledges her love, the precious moments in a newborns first days, the innocence of children being themselves all shown through the lens of my camera. My heart beats loudly at every single session, I love every minute of it. The session is over and then my real work begins. The hours and hours of sitting in front of my computer editing images. I hear the birds chirp outside my window, spring has begun here in the northeast. I hear kids laughing, the cyclists riding by, the sound of a mower gasping to start after a long winters rest. My curtain flaps loudly as a sudden breeze sends it gently in the air – I catch it out of the corner of my eye as I’m deep in mid edit. I want to be out there. To feel the sun on my face, to greet my little girl home from school with an impromptu picnic, a bicycle ride, or perhaps a walk on the beach to feel the salt air on our faces and hear the seagulls squawk their hellos. Snippets of our life. Together. Most times I ignore these desires these tugs at my heart. I.must.complete.this.session. There will be no reward until it’s done. But the problem is, before it’s done there is another and another session to be culled and edited and presented. How do I balance this? My life, my child, my work but most of all me? How do I bring back the joy of photography? Into my heart deep in my soul from my eye to my finger tip the thrill that sears through my body as I press the shutter.
This is what I’ve been struggling with lately. I decided back in January that I would be true to me. But that hasn’t happened. Once again I’m on the back burner. So I decided that this summer will be a return to me. I pledge to remember the joy that photography brought me way back when, in high school. I can still smell the mystery of the darkroom, the cool feel of the paper, the darkness as I entered until my eyes adjusted to the red light making me and my classmates look very dramatic. My heart pounding with the thrill of what this roll of film in my hand would turn into. The grain of the black and white – Kodak Tri-X 400 – my go to film of the day. I miss film. I want it back.

I pledge to start a project for me. I pledge to bring the thrill and the beauty of what my film camera sees right back into my heart. I pledge that along with that thrill I will not be a slave to my computer. I will learn to balance my time. I am not shooting weddings this summer, I am listening to my heart and we are running away – to discover the thrill of what the camera meant to me as a young girl and while I’m at it, I pledge to spend these moments of rediscovery with my little girl by my side. And when she asks me to play. We will play. We will dance. We will sing. And the work will get done but on my real life time. I won’t be afraid to say no, I won’t be afraid to be honest. And in these moments I won’t be afraid to look inside my heart and rediscover me.

[Will you start a personal project? Do you struggle too? I would love to hear your thoughts and sentiments regarding this journey I know we’re all on.]

I chose some wonderful images from our flickr pool that matched my sentiments. From the heart. xo


  1. Wow this is so beautiful you can almost feel the pain of not being true to yourself. Do I feel like this? I sure do more than I would like to admit. I tell myself "you have everything you dreamed of and then some" but some how I still feel the same pain of having to give up one love for another.

  2. Love this. I feel the same way when it comes to my 3-year-old. "Play 'sheens" (machines) with me, Mommy!" "In a little bit, Mommy's working." Ugh...sometimes it seems easier to be at a workplace instead of working from home because then they're not asking and you're not refusing. But it's so lovely when we can and do walk away, when we do play...when we wonder if this will be a memory they treasure into adulthood. Be true, mama, be true.

  3. I think everyone should run away at least once a year.

  4. OH...MY...GOSH. Your words came straight out of my own heart. I stuggle with this very thing every...single... DAY.

    I am constantly capturing precious moments for my clients and I'm loving every minute of it... but I'm missing my own moments. Moments with my 2 little ones that are passing all too quickly. I have tears clouding up my eyes so I can hardly see as I type this. I made the same pledge in January and I have failed.

    I am constantly jealous of my clients... I need to soak in the moments with my own kids and capture my OWN photos... but there's always another session to retocuh. I have 11 open jobs and I'm booked clear to the end of September.

    It's good to know that I'm not alone in this... and I wish I could slow down... but financially, it's not an option for me. I'm afraid that when it DOES become an option... my kids will be grown and it will be too late. (Can I sob now?)

    I'm VERY blessed to do what I love for a living and I don't take that for granted for ONE second. But, I realize that my own kids' lives are passing me by... I'm a photographer... I need photos of my own kids!

    Thank you SO much for pouring out your heart which seems to be an exact mirror image of mine. I needed to read this, and I thank you so much.

  5. maybe that's it. maybe it's that simple. maybe listening to my heart is what i haven't been doing and maybe it's the only thing i should be doing.

    thank you for opening my eyes.....errr, ummm, my heart !

  6. Wow. I can really feel your pain and frustration. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings here with all of us. It truly made me feel like I'm not alone. I think we're going to find that you've touched lots more like us out there.

    I work a full-time office job at a law firm and do photography on the side. I have a daughter who will be 2 in June. It's SO hard. I want to spend what little time I do have at home with her. Then, when she's asleep, I'm too tired to do anything that I should be doing to build my business. Every day I think, "Must work on my website, must download, must upload, do edits, work on my daughter's '1st Year' project that has been waiting for me..." I keep thinking one day this will all be worth it and I might be able to make my own schedule. But like Keri above, I'm hoping it won't be too late.

    In addition to all of this, the fact that I, myself, am in only rare pictures with my daughter is like a knife in my heart. I'm actually considering splurging and hiring a photographer just to take mother/daughter portraits of just the two of us!

  7. O, yes! I relate to you ~ completely. I believe you should listen to those tugs on your heart. Do not dismiss them. Glad to hear that you are balancing your life this summer - just for you - your heart. You deserve it. Be well. And have an awesome, adventure-seeking, beautiful summer. :)

  8. I feel your pain! From July to October I have to weekends off. Two. While I love what I do I also love my daughter very very much. I'm torn between wanting to make my business everything it can be in order to give my little girl the life she deserves, and walking away from it all to be with her. But would I be truly happy to only take photos of her for the rest of my life? I don't think so... So there it is... I need to find balance. If you some how manage to do just that could you tell me (us) how?

  9. I could've written your post for you. Every day I struggle with the same things. January I vowed this year would be my year for MY children. Fourty or so sessions later nothing has changed. I still say yes. I still take on too much. And my kids still watch too much tv. Your post really brings it back home and makes me want to change. Thank you!

  10. Seriously, it's like you pulled the thoughts right out of my head. My work-life balance is usually lacking in LIFE and BALANCE. I keep promising myself I'll limit my shoots, but it's hard to say no...but I'm bookmarking this post and reminding myself WHY I need to say no...so I don't miss my kids growing up just to focus on my job...no matter how much I love my job.

  11. thank you all for your kind and sweet comments. i knew i wasn't alone. and as i begin my journey back to film i actually took time out yesterday and shot a roll of portra. i'll keep you posted on where i'm at this summer. i love tml! xo

  12. You bless my heart by your honesty. Relativity to this I'm sure every photographer shares. Thank you for this post.

  13. I just had to come back and say after I read this yesterday (in between editing pictures) I walked away from my computer for the day. I tended to the house/laundry even that stuff falls by the wayside, I laid on the floor with my baby, I loved on my older boys, and I finished the night with a drink for mom. I was having so much anxiety yesterday about all the work I had to do, taking a break was exactly what I needed. Perfectly written!

  14. I can't even tell how reading all the comments and this post has lifted my spirits. I have been struggling with making myself and my family a priority and growing my business. I also still work a full time job on top of all of it. Every year I make a list of things that I am going to do to change (like not schedule sessions the day after a wedding) and every year I cave. Baby steps...that is what it has to be for me.

  15. Thank-you so much for choosing my image and especially for this post. I too am going back to film. I dream of photography morning noon and night but never of the computer! I am grateful for all digital photography has allowed me to learn but it is time to change the balance


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