Friday, April 6, 2012

what inspires you?

I recently joined a photography club close to where I live and luckily for us the 2 ladies that organize it have some great connections and have been able to hook us up with some fantastic photographers in our area.

I was really looking forward to tonights meeting where Sharalee Prang would be speaking to us about "finding light in your home" I like her original advice which is "I just tell people to go outside!" She was really fun to listen to, and her ease and humour made the subject matter easy to understand.

One of the first things she asked us tonight was "What inspires you?" She continued to ask what it is that inspires you to take photographs? What are you trying to portray in your photos? Are you trying to tell a story about the event in the picture? Are you trying to capture a moment that normally would be missed and forgotten?

As a club our main focus for our photography is our children. So obviously part of our inspiration comes from our children, but what else?

She asked for us to speak up and share what our inspirations were...

After a few moments people started sharing.... and I... I got a lump in my throat and my eyes started filling with tears.

I had to look down, and I couldn't even say what I wanted because I knew as soon as I started to share my answer I would start to cry and there was no way I was going to be "that" girl, the blubbering fool at the back of the room trying to profess her love for her children in a stammering stuttering voice.

I realized that there are a couple of  reasons why I enjoy photographing my kids, and why I am making the effort to learn how to take better pictures of them.

1. I want my kids to be able to look at the photographs of themselves and see how I saw them. I want my pictures to portray the kind of love and admiration that I have for them.

 I want them to see themselves through my eyes.

And when I am no longer here I want them to cherish these photos. I want the photos to trigger a memory, the sights and sounds and smells of that day.

I don't want my photos to be staged and made to seem that we lived a life we didn't. I want to capture the real moments, the moments that will define who my girls become.

Then there is the other reason... and that reason is advocacy.

I take pictures of my kids to show others that we are a normal family, and Ola's diagnosis isn't as scary as some may think.

I take pictures to show that just because Ola has Down syndrome it doesn't make her any less beautiful. 


I would say that in the group last night there may be only a handful that know about Ola having Down syndrome, and while I am not ashamed or shy to share that fact, it can be awkward to talk about with a room full of mothers. And like I have said many times before, it's isn't the defining point of our family so why should it even have to come up? I feel the need to share Ola's diagnosis all the time, and it's purely to put it out there and to let everyone know that I am totally cool with it. I feel like if I don't say anything and I see you walking in the mall tomorrow you might wonder why I hadn't mentioned it. Don't get me wrong I am not like "Hi my name is Leanna, I'm 5'3", an aquarius and I have two daughters and one has Ds." I am proud of Ola and all that she goes through so I like to bring her up. Who doesn't like talking about their kids?

I digress...

When Sharalee asked what inspires us that question hit me like a Mack truck.  I feel like I have been trying to figure out what inspires me and what motivates me a lot lately. I have been knocking a few ideas around in my head and I think once I finish up with a few commitments that I have in the next couple of months I might delve deeper into those ideas.

Sharalee, I bet you had no idea that asking what inspires you would dig all this up. Or maybe you did... Thank You for asking it... I just figured out how to say in two sentences what I was trying to say for this whole post.

My kids inspire me to take photographs so that they can see themselves through my eyes. Every parent is inspired by their kids but luckily for me I got a little bit of extra inspiration just like Ola got a little more of the 21st chromosome.

If you are in the Fraser Valley and are interested in joining a group of like minded women who have a love of photography and their children come out to a meeting of the Fraser Valley Moms with a Camera photography club!


Sonja said...

Leanna, what a beautiful post! Your love for your kids just spills out through your words and your photos. I'm so glad that you are in the group and that we can get to know you better. And usually I'm the blubbery crying one, so it wouldn't bother me at all! ;)

Laura said...

Oh, Leanna! My dear friend.
I am completely and unabashedly in tears reading through this post. I LOVE LOVE LOVE love love what you poured out here, and I bet it was a refreshing to write from your heart as it was to read. I am so in love with your family, your heart, your words, your girls. Thank you for allowing us as your readers to take a little glimpse into the sunshine of your spirit.

It's breathtakingly beautiful in there, you know. xo

Vintage Home said...

ah ...I cry at everything so you are as it seems here also in good company!
Your love of our girls already shows in your photos & that's b4 Sharlaee taught you a thing!...Can't wait to see what you have to show us after a few lessons!
Terrific post!

The Informal Matriarch said...

I might want to join that group. I love photography too. I kind of went away from it because I felt more pushed to do it for money than the love of it I think.

I am the same way. I wanna tell the world about Silas and his autism and how amazing he is.

Ola is beautiful, not only are your photos advocacy, they are also showing people the absolute gorgeousness that is DS. She is the CUTEST and you capture it perfectly!

PS I know Sharalee and her husband and I also know Laura and her husband! Small freaking world!

PPSS you and Laura are making having a kid with DS seem like the coolest thing ever with your gorgeous photos and stories of how they brighten your life. Keep it up!