Shutter Speeding Through Life
Capturing life's little moments, one aperture at a time...
"All right, no one move! Everyone look at the camera and smile on the count of one... two... three!"
We often think of the perfect portrait as poses on point! Everyone smiling and looking at the camera, not a hair or fabric out of place. Sure, I have fine art and posed "smiling at the camera" portraits in my home. However, looking around, one might notice that most of the photos in my house aren't the "perfect posed portrait". My favorite thing about photography, and one of my biggest inspirations, is capturing the essence of who we are and what makes a moment so special.
Being able to capture a moment in time, and allowing the memory of that moment to be relived over and over again. A perfectly posed photo is a "nice" portrait. "Oh, you have a beautiful family." But, imagine a portrait that takes you back to a time and place, allowing you to feel as if you're living in the moment all over again. You can hear the laughter. You can feel the sand between your toes. You can see your children playing. You go beyond what's just in the frame. You relive the whole experience. Your mind takes you on a journey back to that moment.
Imagine ten years from now. Your children are older. They grow so fast. They'll have changed drastically in ten years. Their childhood is just a memory of the past. Now, imagine being able to travel back in time to when they were little. No, time travel does not technically exist. But, imagine getting to relive certain moments. Such as certain smells can trigger memories forgotten, a photo that tells a story can invoke emotion. It can take you back to a time and place to remind you what it felt like being in that moment. We remember the tiny details. It can take you on a journey through the whole experience, unlike a, "One... Two... Three... Smile!" photo.
Capturing the essence is more than just a lifestyle portrait. Lifestyle photography has been popularly trending on Pinterest over the recent years. I do love lifestyle photography, but instead of searching through boards for inspiration, I look to my own children. I watch them play. I study how they interact with the world around them. I change my perspective to see through their eyes. I see their little minds full of wonderment. I think back to my own childhood and remember what it was like exploring and imagining. I want my photos to show that there was a whole experience behind a moment.
As adults, we see a blade of grass as nothing more than just grass. Actually, we probably don't even notice it at all. We just walk over it. It doesn't even exist to us. But, to a child, a blade of grass is everything. They see it. They stop what they are doing, and their whole world momentarily revolves around it. They see it as beautiful and interesting.
I could have stopped my son, and told him to look at me to smile for the picture. That picture would have just ended up stored in a scrapbook somewhere, or worse, a hard drive. Yes, I would have loved it because I love any picture of my kids. But, it wouldn't have expressed the reality of that day. His childhood innocence. His imagination. His interest in the world around him. This photo has become one of my all-time favorites. It captures the essence of who he is.
This photo was taken in 2016. The older he gets, the less interest he has in the world's tiny details. It happens to all of us. The closer to adults we become, the magic of the world slowly fades away. I will always have this photo to remind me of his childhood. Not only what he looked like at that stage in his life, but who he was on the inside.
The essence, to me, is capturing the experience. The magic. Capturing who a person is. Telling a story.
Looking around my home, I'm reminded everyday of the joy our memories hold. I'm reminded of things that I might have otherwise forgotten. I'm reminded of the little details. The details that often get overlooked. Every photograph in my home takes me on a journey.
I love watching them grow, even though I wish they'd stay small a little longer!
It's no surprise that my children are the biggest inspirations in my life. I've always had a passion for photography, but my children allowed a sleeping giant to awaken from what was a hobby, to grow into what it is today. My interest and love for all things art began when I was just a child. It was so much more than just something I liked to do. It was therapy. A coping mechanism. A means of control in uncontrollable circumstances. Perhaps this is where my OCD began as well! Ha! That's for another story though.
Where did it all start? My earliest memories are still pretty vivid. From the first moments I can remember, my granddad had a paintbrush in my hand teaching me to paint and draw. He was a talented man. A poet. A painter. A craftsman. A photographer. An artist. It was those moments with him that created the spark. Everyday, if we weren't watching cartoons, making mud pies, or coming up with songs about the bees together, we were painting.
When I was 4 years old, life decided to throw those unexpected curve balls my way. Multiple curve balls came at me from different directions, but let's talk about just one. I was diagnosed with a rare incurable kidney disease. Unfortunately, some of these memories are quite vivid as well. I spent a portion of my childhood with doctors, hospitals, and strong medication. I learned very young how to swallow a pill. In fact, I remember wrapping each one in tiny pieces of bread so they'd go down smoothly. I remember handfuls of pills multiple times a day. The medicine had strange effects on me. Understandably so, the mgs were higher than what most adults could handle.
Where does art come into play with this? My little body had a hard time processing the stress. The medicine made me extremely hyper. I didn't know what to do with myself, nor did I understand what was going on within. My mom began to notice the only times I was peaceful and in control of my actions was when I was either writing, drawing, or painting. I started focusing my energy on art. There were times that my hands would hurt because I wouldn't stop drawing.
I went into remission when I was 14. My love for art continued. Through my childhood, I also developed an interest in cameras. I was always producing epic videography with puppets, toys, and the occasional cooperative pet. My amateur skills may not have improved much over the years, but my inspiration grew into mountains! In college, I started taking photography classes. I found new inspiration through moments captured in time. It was a new outlet to express myself. Unfortunately, society discouragement and terms like "starving artists", began to diminish my dream of becoming a professional photographer. After college, I got a "real job". Art became just an occasional activity because life left little time for it. The truth is, the flame started to burn out.
In 2011, my first child was born. I quickly realized how fast time actually flies. You hear your elders speak of it, but it doesn't have true meaning until you see it for yourself in your children. A child changes each day. It's shocking how much they change in such a short amount of time. The hands of time have no mercy. You blink, and you miss something.
The wick began to spark again. I wanted to document each detail, memory, and stage of our lives. I didn't want to miss a thing! I found myself investing in a new DLSR. The spark became a flame.
I became a trigger happy Mama! Snapping as many moments as I could. This helped further develop my eye for photography. This is why I tell other photographers to shoot something everyday. No matter what it is, shoot something. Practice is growth.
In 2014, we welcomed our second child. At this point, the flame had become a full blown wildfire. The innocence of childhood inspired me to begin telling stories with my photos. I found inspiration in the way my kids interacted with one another. The way they explored and discovered things in this world that were new to them. The way they looked at things. I could see their little minds full of wonderment. Imagination and excitement.
Those are the things that I wanted to express in my work. I wanted to bring that imagination and the magic of childhood to life in my photography. I began to discover other photographers that specialize in child portraiture, such as Page Kuepper and Amy Van Heerden. These amazing photographers inspired me to pursue my passion, and helped me realize I could do this.
As artists, we see things differently than the rest of the world. It's much like the way a child sees things. Letting ourselves change perspectives for a moment to see through the eyes of a child, we can discover new inspirations. My passion is the art of photography. Whether it be organic moments, or bringing imagination to life through composite imagery. It's capturing moments that we'll treasure for a lifetime.
Find new inspirations everyday. Go for a walk an hour before sunset. Look at the light and study the way it paints the trees. Inspiration is all around us. We just have to look for it.
What inspires you and drives your passion?
Hi! I'm Ashley. I'm a mom of two. I'm also a wife, artist, photographer, business owner, and now a blogger! I'm a southern girl, born and raised in Alabama.