Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mother Photographer!

I often tell Kiera and Shawna that I feel somewhat jealous of my male colleagues who leave their homes behind for work. I imagine an endless well of focus, of brainstorming, and of planning. Stringless errand running! No babysitters to coordinate! Ah! The freedom. I do realize that I've created a covetous world that these man friends live in and I know it isn't real but still, but still. As a mother, as a full-time mother who loves mothering, I find myself making excuses for myself artistically and this male photog idealization is an example of one.

It feels nearly impossible to work at developing creative ideas when my work away from home seems like all I can do. If I'm out of the house for 10 hours a week and editing late into the night for 10, then I begin to feel that the only work I can do is the work that comes in. Forget personal work! Booking and shooting is great but it is no better than sitting down to paint without a concept, than trying to teach a lesson without putting in the time for inspiration. If I shoot to book then complacency results from exhaustion and I become overly confident about last years ideas, when this year had totally new and unique ideas to offer that I passed by because I "didn't have time" to explore them and develop them.

Here is the fact about my life as a photographer and a mother. I choose both of these passions. I choose two close-in-age babies. I choose the multifaceted heart-on-your-sleeve work of being a photographer. I choose the triumph and trial of both and I want to live the width of both. I cannot be away from these babies without it mattering. I want to be deliberate and if that means taking a few hours a week to brainstorm or work on something personal then I must. I owe it to myself first and foremost and if clients book then I count that as a blessing after an obedience so to speak.

Business, personal work, composition- the excuses are in the fabric of every creative vision and if they aren't sorted and burned then my work suffers. It is extremely hard to find ways to let ideas grow. And I am convinced that every artist needs to find their approach individually. For me, ideas come and I am fortunate in that way, but developing the initial impression is a thing I feel too guilty or too busy to do. Why? Isn't that bushel hiding? I realized a few weeks ago that it is. So I decided to brainstorm again. So I sat with myself and admitted what I don't know, what I like and what my strengths are. I dissected my Pinterest boards and I asked myself, of particular and compelling images, over and over and over, "Why do I like this?"

Unless my photographs speak to me of some fear conquered or some idea expressed then I loose interest quickly and I can't see myself in my work. At that point my time away from my family is, in my mind, wasted. I may as well work somewhere where my work can be left behind at night because though personal business ownership is filled with benefits and freedom, leaving it behind (mentally, emotionally or physically) is not often one of them.