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Sunday
May122013

The crazy connection between motherhood and creativity

I don’t know if it’s a surge in hormones, true inspiration from looking at this tiny cherubic face all day or the feeling of accomplishment that comes from knowing I created one, perfect thing in life, but I have felt an absolute flood of creativity after the birth of each of my children.

After my daughter was born, I felt myself wanting to write children’s books, getting movie ideas from my dreams, jotting down verses on scrap paper and absolutely aching inside when I saw a place I wanted to photograph. Suddenly a regular car ride was a location-scouting trip; I couldn’t help but notice that colorful graffiti on a wall, a perfectly debilitated barn or the way the light fell on the sidewalk.

When my son came, so did my creative renaissance. I had so many ideas that my phone became more of a brainstorm organizer than friend-caller.

And suddenly, I wanted to blog.

I wonder if other moms have felt the same way. Does having a child give you a new passion for life? And if so, maybe that explains the surplus of the much-maligned mom photographers.

If you haven’t heard, there’s quite the controversy in photography circles about women who are mothers and also professional photographers. There’s this stereotype of a rich, bored housewife, whose husband buys her a fancy DSLR and the next thing you know she’s in business with little training. The dreaded moniker that’s hurled like an insult? MWAC: Mom With A Camera. Often, well-established and brick-and-mortar photographers lament how these women are taking away business and undercutting the industry without doing the hard work -- you know, learning the craft, paying taxes and other legitimate concerns.

These people definitely exist, but I don’t worry too much about this because I think customers can tell the difference for one, and that anyone who comes into photography on a whim will drop it when the going gets hard. It’s not easy shooting a wedding in a dark church or taking family photos with children who will not cooperate. You really have to love what you do and dedicate yourself to learning to be a success.

I think what happens more often is that mothers are not bored, but inspired. They want to capture the fleeting moments of their precious babies’ firsts. Suddenly they are seeing their lives through a new set of sparkly, creative, mojo-filled eyes.

I’ve seen a ton of vitriol online about how terrible it is to be a mom with a camera. It’s like the fact that you’ve had a child somehow negates the quality of your work. I think the opposite is true. Mothers can see beauty in the abstract because we’ve loved a child before we were formally introduced. Mothers have had their bodies completely saturated with intense love and pain all at the same time. We’ve given everything we have to our children and after they are born we start fresh learning, seeing and absorbing through the eyes of a child. Of course, I’m not saying you have to be a mom to be a good photographer or creative person, I just know that for me, being a mother has brought a new level of intensity and passion to my life.

Instead of being annoyed by all the moms out there who pick up a camera, we should be encouraged and inspired by them, and try to see the world through their lens.  

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing women out there.

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    Good Web page, Stick to the good work. With thanks!

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