Make Good Use of Your Sidebar

Use this space for anything from simple blocks of text to powerful widgets, like our Twitter and Flickr widgets. Learn more.

To access Website Management, hit the 'esc' key or use this Login link.

Entries in creativity (2)


Thirty-something things only my close friends know about me (Milwaukie, Oregon photographer)


My parents used to go all out for birthdays when I was a kid. I’d wake up to banners and balloons and I was treated like royalty for days on end. It was the best. Now I’m a grown-up, and I’m supposed to be all cool and nonchalant about my special day, but honestly, I still really love birthdays. I like to spoil my friends and loved ones on their birthdays too. If we voted at work, I’d definitely win the “most likely to bring cupcakes to the office” designation.

So, just because I love to spread out a good celebration, here’s a birthday-related post full of factoids about your friendly neighborhood photographer.

Without giving away my age, here are a certain number of facts about me that may or may not add up to be the same number of years I’ve been on this planet.

 10 of my favorite things:

  1. My kids. Of course I love them because they’re mine, but they are truly rad little people.

  2. Thai food. I love almost every dish I have tried.

  3. Quirky, dark comedies like “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.”

  4. "30 Rock"

  5. Pedicures. 

  6. Going out dancing — hip hop, ‘80s, salsa, swing, you name it.

  7. Staying anywhere with a view. 

  8. Wandering around Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Target or any number of the cute boutique shops in Portland.

  9. Singer/Songwriter Brandi Carlile. (I have seen her in concert at least half a dozen times.)

  10. Warm weather, being outside and exploring new parks.

 15 things you might not know about me:

  1. I played adult dodgeball on a recreational team for two seasons. We were even named rookies of the year.

  2. My first time on an airplane was when I was 23 years old, and it was a 13-hour flight by myself. (You know, other than the crew and passengers.)  

  3. Growing up I had a turtle named Myrtle and a Dalmatian named Domino.

  4. I got braces six months ago.  

  5. I have a thing for water parks.

  6. I’ve only cried at two movies: “My Girl” and “Marley and Me.”

  7. I studied abroad in Spain, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

  8. I don't sit still very well and I love to learn. I like to spend my free time watching webinars and tutorials, reading articles and taking classes and workshops. I love to learn about photography and graphic design, as well as social media and marketing, Spanish language and culture and how to be the best parent I can be.

  9. I photographed my first wedding when I was still in college.

  10. My creativity skyrocketed when I became a mother.

  11. I love to go to karaoke, but I never sing. 

  12. I had a reputation as a kitchen disaster when I was younger, so now I feel all rebellious and empowered when I’m cooking dinner. My worst offense was serving my friend toast with what I thought was grape jelly, but was actually a super spicy Korean pepper paste my roomate's mom had made. Poor guy was not expecting that! 

  13. I'm a middle child.

  14. Choosing this guy as my partner was the best decision I ever made.

  15. I have taken nine years of Spanish. My daughter watches "Dora the Explorer." Somehow, her accent is better than mine. You should hear her say "piñata."

8 things I’ve recently learned:

  1. My mom is the toughest lady on the planet.

  2. It’s great to philosophize about what kind of parent you’ll be, but when it comes down to it, so much of parenting is just reacting to kids' wants and needs with barely enough time to think. That’s why my goal is to just be a kind, honest, healthy, positive person and teach them by modeling what it means to be a good person.  

  3. I love the article, "How not to say the wrong thing." It may seem obvious, but I think it's such a clever way to think about being a supportive friend.  

  4. There have been several times in my life when I thought, "I can't do this," but then I just went ahead and did it anyway. 

  5. On a similar note, I’ve found that you can get through anything if you surround yourself with the right people who love and support you. I'm super lucky to have a great group in my corner. 

  6. No matter how it turns out or if you never do anything with it, completing a creative project is satisfying to the soul.

  7. Happiness is a choice you make every day. It's pretty empowering to know you can control what kind of day you have.

  8. Pretty much all the cliches are true. ;)

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.