Calling Them Home – A medieval stable boy walks out into the dusk to bring in his charges after a long day at the stable…
I have to admit right here, this picture is me. Totally me. Well, I am not a boy, nor so young, but it combines two of my biggest loves, horses (insinuated) and medieval history. If I could have traveled back into time, this is how I imagine it being. The dusk, the glow from the lantern, the worn gate…all of it has been etched in my mind ever since I had a fascination with castles and knights as a young girl that spilled over to my love of history and the stories that go along with it. I feel pretty lucky that now I get to tell those stories with my camera.
This is the third in my concept shoot series that I am doing as part of a pro-concept group. I have loved co-creating with each of my boys and feel that they all have unique pieces of art for their rooms. I only have one more concept to shoot – I am feeling kinda sad that June is almost here, but I am totally looking forward to this last one.
What have you enjoyed about this series? If there is anything you’d like to know about the series, concept photography, the inspirations behind these photos let me know! I would love to hear about what you are working on that inspires you!
I have wanted to have guest blog post on my blog for some time. I am honoured that Kristin Milito, a colleague from National Association of Professional Child Photographers , is my first guest. I find her post so poignant and relevant. All we have is the time right now and all we can do is live fully in that moment. I love how it has inspired her to give of her time to others…
What makes one feel compelled to give back? Is it because they’ve been blessed with unexpected gifts, or perhaps they endured a great loss in their lives. Maybe they simply were taught to live their lives with graciousness and appreciation. I suppose the impetus for giving back doesn’t matter, what matters, is that we do it. And I do know that when we give to others, we are also giving something beautiful to ourselves.
For me, I’ve been blessed. I have an incredible husband, 3 healthy children, my parents are alive and healthy, and there have been no recent catastrophic losses. No news is good news, right? Really, life is status quo.
I feel grateful, while also feeling a tinge of guilt (yes…guilt). How ironic, to be thankful while slightly “guilty” for having a plentiful life. I wonder where these conflicting feelings come from. It is a baffling mesh of emotions that kindles gratification and happiness while also tugging at my heart. Although I can’t quite explain it, it is exactly what fuels the fire in me to give back.
As a photographer, I do way more than click the shutter. I create, I direct, I observe. I guide, I see the story to tell for others and then find the best way to display it. The work is challenging and the weight is real. And so with the gift I have been given, I decided to pass along a gift to others who are losing the most valuable commodity that often goes unappreciated.
We want more of it, yet we spend our hours longing for the next thing while hurriedly losing the present minute we wished for just days ago. It’s a crazy cycle of discontent that never ends.
Until one day you are delivered a message from a doctor telling you your time is up. This has not been my story, nor the story of anyone in my family, but boy, for some reason I can feel the weight of that message. I have always felt so strongly about losing time here on earth. In fact, about 5 years ago, I decided to volunteer for Hospice. With slight embarrassment, I bowed out after days of training and just one day on the job. As I began to empathize with what these individuals were going through, the sadness swallowed me up. I hated to leave but could not bear the weight of the situation these individuals were going through. They were truly running out of time.
I freeze time. I literally halt milliseconds in time and present it to families on a piece of paper. It becomes beloved, adored, and in turn becomes art in the purest form. I can’t think of a better gift to give someone who is losing time then to give them a moment written just for them. A moment written in the form of a memory ingrained a photograph.
And so, 2015 will mark my inaugural donation session to honor a family losing a member to the father of time. I want to give this family something incredible to hold onto forever. My intention is to somehow inspire hope, to give meaning, and to freeze a moment in time this family will never forget. My hope is that the day they share together and the memories created will serve as a page in their book that never ends.
About the Images
In the 2 weeks it took me to write this article, I was wracking my creative brain (at times not so creative and this was one of them) to decide which images to include. I thought it would be compelling to represent family, a husband and wife, or children. Neither of those felt right to me. So, I decided I wanted to create images that conveyed the essence of time. Not so easy.
Yesterday I took the opportunity to follow my 2 year old out into the spring air and I followed his footsteps with my camera. I snapped away, trying to avoid the harsh noon sunlight while getting creative with everything he found. A two year old’s world is boundless and beautiful. And although it is both, I thought it wasn’t giving me what I was looking for. Of course, the images were beautiful. They were of my youngest and last baby, enjoying the birds, the sky, and rocks and flowers abound. But I believed they just weren’t serving my article justice for capturing time. And so I knew the next day I would be attempting it again.
The night came before me, it was a Wednesday night, a weeknight, and not typically a movie night in our house. However, I rented a movie I have been curious to see. Still Alice. Together, my husband and I began the movie, he fell asleep, and so not to interrupt him I moved myself into our living room. The movie moved right along, progressing quickly from beginning to end. I was captivated through its entirety. Ten minutes before it was about to end it very suddenly dawned on me that all along I was searching for the wrong thing. I paused the movie and began to cry. All along, I was searching for something that represented time: a clock, a candle, the wind. But I was missing what was right here in front of me the entire day. How sad. I was missing the present moment.
It stunned me. I paused the movie. How could I have missed such a thing? Here I was with my little boy, just him and me. Memories etched into my mind forever that I was also freezing with my camera.
What other way is there to convey time than to capture its presence. That is all we have. We no longer have yesterday and tomorrow is nothing but an approaching destination. So here I am. Right here, right now. And so are you. Enjoy today, this moment, the people around you that love you.
And so these are the images I chose to include. They are beautiful in their simplicity and with a true representation of time. They are ordinary moments that are not so ordinary because it is the only reality we have. This moment, right now. That is the only time we truly have
About the Author: Kristin is a leading Chicago and Dallas newborn and family photographer. Kristin has been photographing children since 2007 and has an obsession for chasing the rays of the sun, particularly at dusk. Kristin’s photographic style transcends organic imagery. Her photography has been referred to as instinctive, poignant, and natural. View her work at www.kristinmilitophotography.com
I hope you enjoyed my first featured guest blog post! I will be having a few more guests join me soon!
A week later, and it still seems surreal. The whole thing. Being named the National Association of Professional Child Photographers 2014 Photographer of the Year. In the past week I have received a flood of emails, calls and well wishes – the amount of support has been overwhelminig for someone used to being really low key about things. And I know I have said this over and over again this past week, but they are a few of my favourite words and I mean it – “thank you”. I have read each and every note and email, listened to the calls, and drop ins and have been so very touched by the time each one of you have taken to congratulate me. It has truly been one of the most unique weeks for me, and I so appreciate all the support I have recieved. I am so very very grateful for it all. You have touched me more than you could ever know. It’s not often that you get an opportunity to say how grateful and thankful you are for the people and communities in your life. I firmly believe that no one is successful alone, and it takes a village to be successful as a creative, so I’d like to take the opportunity to thank mine.
To my clients – I am indebted to you. For believing in me and for choosing me to be your family photographer. It really means everything to me, and nothing I do would be possible without your continued support. I so cherish the relationships and friendships that have formed throughout the years and look forward to many more!
Many, many thanks to the NAPCP, Alice Park and her incredible team, the judges and the broader NAPCP community. I have said this before, but it bears repeating. There are lots of photography communities and associations out there, and what makes NAPCP unique is the intentional cultivation of a true sense of community. From incredible retreats, to informational articles, to being able to pop on and ask a question and have like minded professionals helping you out, I haven’t experienced anything like it. So many thanks the all for the friendships I have formed through NAPCP – they are my international support system and I am blessed to have such a strong community to continue to be inspired by.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart my photographer friends who I value more and more each day. An incredibly diverse group of people, you are all kind, supportive and authentic – all things I value in true friends. I so appreciate all your words of encouragement, business talks, glasses of wine shared, and openness. You make me want to be a better person, never mind a better photographer. Ardelle N; Mandy B; Barb T; Jenifer S; Crystal J; Suzanne T; Kristin M; Jennifer G; Paul F; Liisa S; Fritz T; Anne K; Robyn R and of course Hillary C. Little did I know how much my life would change when I randomly emailed you and asked for some help. Thank you for being an inspiration and mentor to me long before you even knew me (thanks to Dana P for the push I needed to contact you!). I so admire your hard work, dedication and passion for the profession. Thanks for believing in me. I am humbled to call you all friends and am so excited to see where the next journey takes us.
Thanks to two of the best photography teachers I have ever had. Andrea Joki, for kicking it up for me a huge notch and constantly inspiring me to be better, get the technical nailed and push the creative aspect. You are a kind and giving soul and I am always inspired by your work. Sam Hurd for an incredible workshop, sharing so freely and being so incredibly down to earth and approachable. I learned so much in that one day that I continue to draw upon. If either one of these photographers has a workshop in your area, don’t think about it twice, just go sign up.
A special thank you to Helen G for teaching me to set those bright and shiny goals and not get attached to the outcome – it really works ;).
Many, many, many thanks to my friends and family for their constant support encouragement, and partnerships too. I love having you in my tribe and am so thankful to have you in my life.
To my parents, Tim and Joan C. If you know them at all, you know they are the two of the most hard working, kind, generous and humble people you could ever meet. I am so incredible blessed to have the two of you of mentors and guides in my life. Thank you for your love and support, and for indulging me in my passions.
To my very own wolf pack. Thanks to you, I am no longer alone (I couldn’t resist). You complete my life and make me whole. My husband reacted to the news by actually using his social media accounts to spread the word, that’s how I knew he really was excited! Gabriel gave me a huge hug and told me how proud he was; Liam wanted to know where we were eating to celebrate; and Evan got very emotional, hugged me and said “Congratulations Mom, one of your dreams came true. You must have worked very hard”. Indeed I did. But not without a lot of help.
With gratitude and much love,
Photography is like telling a story for me. However long, whether it’s a single frame, a family session or a wedding, there exists moments which are perfect and complete unto their own, and say so much, without ever having had a word spoken.
This moment was like that. It was quiet and loud at the same time. It was shrouded in significance and meaning, and shining with a new beginning.
What a story that unfolded….
Thank you for letting me tell your story.
This was one of my last sessions of last year, an extended family session, which are some of my favourite sessions to photograph! Although we originally planned an outdoor session, we moved it indoors to accommodate everyone’s needs in the family. I really feel that studio sessions can be a lot of fun! Some of my favourite pictures from this session of the cousins together really show how despite the distance (they came from all over the States and Canada), there is still such a strong bond and sense of play
Thank you for inviting me to photograph your time together. It was an honour