Inspiration | {my life}

Towards the end of last year, I was photographing an event. During the event, where I have been the event photographer for the past eight years, another professional photographer stepped in front of me couple of times and even bumped me in the back of the head with his knee. No apologies. No eye contact. It was like I wasn’t even there.

Later in the evening,  I ran into a friend during a break who happened to be at the venue site. I started talking about what a rough night I was having and the frustration of it all. Jokingly, he asked, “Don’t they know who you are?!”

Wow. The problem was, I wasn’t sure who I was. Amongst my friends and the clients I have built up in recent years, I knew who I wanted to be and who I was to them. And I was pleasantly happy about where I had gotten to in those years with two young children, a job at the newspaper, etc.

I am an introvert. I guess the correct term is an outgoing introvert. If I am comfortable in my surroundings, I am quite loveable. I love watching human nature and people interacting. But I am shy and can’t just to go up to people and just start talking. If I am not introduced, I will try to make eye contact, smile and once we are engaged, I will attempt to draw you in. On that night I tried several times and was shut down every time. And that is okay.

But my good-natured friend, because he has known me for a dozen years and has seen my work, asked a question that got me thinking.

“Who am I?”

Who am I as a photographer, as a wife, a friend, a sister, a granddaughter, as a stranger?

Pretty deep. And with the new year around the corner, I attempted to answer these questions — or at the very least, ponder them.

I learned that I am an introvert while reading a workbook I had bought a few years ago, but hadn’t actually read. Again, very busy kids… lol.

The photographer, Skye Hardwick Edmonds of Work of Heart Photography, described the personality that we both share. As my gaze read across those words, little “aha” moments began popping up. Basically, it came down to, I am not broken. As a youth I was pretty outgoing and as a Leo, there was nothing I liked more than being in the spotlight, which seemed to happen easily. But as I have grown up a little bit, I have sat back more and began to watch more than participate — which for a photographer is great. I want to be there without being noticed. I need to seek out those tender moments that no one thinks you are watching.

I got the term outgoing introvert from photographer Jasmine Star. I am following one of her seminars now. When she spoke those words, I realized that is me. If I am with the people I am most comfortable with, it is hard to get me to stop talking, be silly or laugh my awkward laugh. You know the one. A little snort will pop out if you aren’t careful.

So who I am I?

I am a photographer.

I shoot love, light and life.

I am the mother of two fantastic people.

I am shy.

I am the wife to an awesome man who is even more introverted than me. But he would go to the ends of the earth for us.

I am in love with the Lumineers and Mumford & Sons.

I still love getting little gold stars and pats on the back for my craft.

I am a mommy to a handsome boxer, Joe.

I am an Instagram obsessed photographer.

I love tacos.

I am inspired by the beauty all around us. I find the detail that this world shows if you know where to look.

I am most comfortable in jeans and a worn t-shirt.

I love farmhouse style anything.

Rust is awesome.

That evening sun filtering through the trees in the yard, hitting me in the face reminds me how great God is.

I am a closet bird lover.

Did I mention tacos yet?

I love making a red velvet cake with my husband at Christmas.

I am a photographer, documenting our life and love here.

***

In January, a Lodi photography friend surprised me as one of her inspirations. I am truly honored. Especially since I consider her an inspiration both photographically and as a mother. Both of our sons played on the same football team this past season — our first year of tackle football. Julie of Julie Nicole Photography is an awesome photographer. Her work is timeless and bares the light of the individual or family. I cannot say enough about her. She is sweet and works hard.

I am going to steal her 10 things that inspire me now but instead I’ll do a baker’s dozen… in no particular order. Julie was number one.

2. Gina Lee of Gina Lee Photography. We started out as blog friends. Then Facebook. Now Instagram. I love her work and her carefree nature. When I get little Instagram comments from her, it is like getting winked at by a rock star.

3. I stumbled across photographs by anjuli one day and fell instantly in love. She is another photographer that speaks to my heart when I read her Orange Wednesday’s. She reminds me that as as a mom, I am not alone. And her photography is ah-mazing!

4. The Urban Hippie. I have known Lauren since she was a wee lass spending summers at my grandmother’s house as she was being cared for. Fate brought her back into my life when she arrived at the newspaper where I worked. She is now a beautiful soul that is one of the most creative persons I now. She is a strong woman. But it is her ability to create from nothing and make anything look pretty and artful is one of the things I love most.

5. My dear friend from high school, Komé. We share a love of boxers. Because they are the most awesomest puppy to have!!! Komé is a fellow Leo and is fearless. She inspires me through her strength as a young breast cancer survivor. She has a style all her own. I love it. Very vintage-chic. Her blog is cowboy jack vintage and her etsy shop rocks!

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6. Lemonade and Lenses. It is great place for me to learn something or gather new little tidbits of inspiration.

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7. Lyanne. She amazes me with her energy, giant love for an active lifestyle, and big heart. She is like the Energizer Bunny. lol She just keeps going and going and going. And through her I met Kim, her sister-in-law. A quiet pillar of strength whose smile is infectious and sweet laughter makes all feel at ease.

8. My husband and kids. Everything they do inspires me to be a great wife and mom. My kids taught me to shoot kids and realize that they are only small once and how quickly it seems to fly by. My husband’s quiet but big love for me and the fantastic father he is is always awe-inspiring.

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9. My grandmother. Period.

10. Light. It energizes me to explore the way it falls on the face, filters through the trees, silhouettes birds on the water, colors the sky.

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11. My sister. Katie makes me laugh as she searches out the perfect shoes. She is another strong woman that knows what she wants and goes after it. She has come a long way from being that little pesky little sister. She has grown in to a smart, successful woman. I enjoy our annual cookie mania at Christmas time. And she gave me a brother-in-law that I actually like! LOL Ryan is the little brother I never had and he is pretty great.

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12. Janet. She taught me to shoot from the heart. I think of her everyday. I honor her with my craft.

13. Antique shops and fairs. Love old stuff. LOVE IT.

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To the photographer who didn’t see me — thank you. Without you, I wouldn’t have gotten frustrated, told my friend and been posed that important question that made me question myself.To all of you out there, reading this… thank you all for allowing me to do what I do. I look forward to meeting you and capturing your love, light and laughter.

– Jen