When I was growing up, being human didn’t seem like such a good thing. I always wanted to do everything right – and I was GOOD at it. But keeping all those plates spinning wasn’t good for my heart, and eventually, I found myself seated – not so neatly – in the middle of a pile of shattered plates. I learned to stop lying. I learned to set boundaries. I learned to say no. I learned how to choose my yes. I learned to be human, and to walk more humbly than I had previously believed was okay.
Before you think that I think it’s a glorious way to live, let me tell you about my cluttered house that only gets fully picked up about once per month, about the dishes that sit in the sink all day, about small budgets and giving shoots away just to get opportunities to photograph people. Let me tell you about eking beauty out of a very real life with three children and homeschooling and breastfeeding and trying to get thirty minutes to myself in a given day. Let me share about mistakes I make, about panic attacks when I inadvertently forget something or fail amazingly, about very honest phone calls and emails to people who really don’t need me for their brand anyway, especially when I have let them down. Let me tell you about putting my foot in my mouth, about embarrassing moments and no no no no no…
There’s something about my being a photographer that can feel a little bit… inauthentic, especially when I edit and edit and crop and adjust and cull and retouch and sort and organize and reorganize and set and reset on any given day. But because I am an artist, every step reveals a bit more of my true self, because being an artist means bringing a vision to life. That means I’m not just capturing what is in front of my lens. I am processing it on every level, interpreting and almost re-communicating my own experience within your experience.
i carry you with me into the world, into the smell of rain,
and the words that dance between people
and for me, it will always be this way, walking in the light,
remembering being alive together.
– story people
Being human and being alive means that you take risks – to have the babies, to ask for the opportunities, to try new things – and you shoulder responsibility that you wouldn’t otherwise shoulder if you had just said no and kept your life small. And being human means that you’re going to drop things and feel things and treasure things and make messes, and IT IS OKAY.
I have to tell myself that a lot.
God has to remind me that I am dust. A lot.
And usually He’s reminding me that He remembers it, whether I do or not. He’s got all the grace for me that I need, whether I’ll receive it or not.
What you find here at my blog and on my website and in your home and inbox after I photograph it and send it out into the world – there’s a human behind those images. There is out-loud laughter, there is giddiness, and tears, and thoughtfulness. I breathe in and out as I process, giggle and squeal when I shoot (and sometimes, I just ooooohhh and aaaahhhhhhh too), and I hold my breath every time I hit “send” or “publish.” Everything I share makes me a little more human, a little more open to criticism, a little more vulnerable to rejection.
But as I share, I am learning what my voice sounds like. I am learning that I have things to say that are important for me to say, whether they are heard or not. I am learning that I don’t need anyone else to give me permission to be a person in the world, and I am learning to deeply value the people who see me as a person. It’s why I still share here, because I hear from you who are still reading and cheering me on as I grow.
I love being a human. I love the curiosity and the anticipation. I love the exquisitrie of suspended chords, the breath before the kiss, the curve of the petals in the blush. I love the dirt on my boy, the non-stop chatter from my Pip, the warm cuddles from my baby. I love watching the light play in different ways around my new house. I love the smell of frying bacon and the yeasty-warm scent of fresh bread. These things come with being human, and I am so very glad God thought to let me experience them when He made me.
I am so very glad I am not so perfect that I am missing my life.
The image above is a preview from what may possibly be the most perfect shoot of my career, and I can’t share more of it because it is has been submitted and is awaiting a response from a publisher. I love what it says. I cannot WAIT to show you more.