I believe that each person has a list of things that makes their heart beat a little bit faster. Certain things that make your soul feel at home. Coffee, grandparents, old barns, home-cooked meals, old photographs, dogs, drawing, kids laughing, old country music… I tend to be a very nostalgic person. The smell of coffee in Grandma’s kitchen or the smell of Dad’s garage… my list goes on.
Have you ever noticed how everyone has different smiles? My mom has a distinct smile when she knows she’s said something that we are all going to tease her for. Grandmas have the biggest, light-up-your-face smile when they see family come through the door. All kids have their own “I’m up to something” smile. The proud dad smile.
It sounds like two separate ideas, but for me they are very connected. I always loved to draw and create, but I never knew what I was going to do with it. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, and I hoped the rest would fall into place. I took photography and design classes in college. (I should add “darkroom” to my list above.) I was amazed at how much you could do with black and white film. When I became a mom, I became even more fascinated with what a camera could do. It could freeze these moments with my daughter that I knew were passing quickly. I loved taking photos of my friends with their babies, and felt it a personal challenge to show them just how happy they looked in their element. As friends and family members started trusting me to take their photos, I knew I had found something that I loved to do. My brother looked at me one day while I was going through images on my camera that I had just taken of my newborn niece, and said, “Ames, I think you found your niche.” Maybe I have a distinctive smile when I’m looking at my camera to see if it captured what I saw?
For this season of my life, this is my niche. It allows me to combine my love for nostalgia and my love for seeing people happy. I love spending time with families and getting a glimpse of what their “list” is. What their different smiles are. The best compliment I have received as a photographer is when a mom tells me, “You really captured my son’s personality in these photos!” That’s what it’s all about. Being able to look back in 20 years and remember what made your kids the happiest. What made you the happiest.
I am blessed to have a husband that has always supported me on this journey. My camera is the reason I have been able to stay home and be Mom to my kids, which is what my number one dream was all along. Thank you to every one of you that has given me the opportunity to photograph your family, or passed my name along to someone you know. This has been a very part-time adventure for me. Now that my kids are getting older, I hope to dedicate more time to it. Thank you for sharing in my journey!