These thy gifts: A Magic Hour Session

There are gifts that often times we can't see right away, maybe because we're afraid to see, or gifts that perhaps seem like a paradox. Gifts that bring us immense pain and joy at the same time (or sometimes just pain!) Gifts that might initially cause suffering but eventually in time bring enlightenment and happiness.

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Personal Project: 365 January 2017

I had heard about 365 photo projects before--some of them beautiful montage of ones life, others a time-lapsed series of the same frame. I had always fantasizes about doing one for myself, documenting the good/bad/ugly/crazy (especially crazy) of my life. After all, that is what I do for my clients. If I can do this for other families, why not my own? Then reality set in and I thought, "Julia, are you crazy? When exactly do you think you'll be taking out your big camera, taking pictures of these meaningful moments of your family, uploading them to your computer, culling and editing them, and the posting them to social media--EVERY SINGLE DAY?? In between editing client galleries and negotiating vegetable intake with my girl's Viola and Elsie? Or maybe after the girl's 30 minute musical beds bedtime routine? The whole idea began to sound like a swirling vortex of failure, so I scrapped the idea and buried it away in my bag of pipe-dream ideas.

Cue in: peer pressure

I received an invitation from another photographer to partake in a 365 project with other fellow documentary photogs. She decided to start a group--a safe place to post our images for critique, dialogue, and most importantly in my opinion, accountability. My pipe-dream of having beautiful images of my sweet girls' bath time antics, my husband sportingly in purple nail polish applied by our girls, our perfectly imperfect house in a beautiful constant state of disarray, all of it came racing to my frontal cortex after reading the numbers "365".

I knew if I had any hope of making it past the first week, I was going to need support and this group seemed to fill that need perfectly. Before I had the chance to talk myself out of it, I signed up and told the next 5 people I saw about it (see what I mean? Peer pressure and accountability.) I was locked in. I was committed.

However, knowing thyself as a recovering perfectionist, I decided to give myself some guidelines:

  1. Don't throw in the towel even if I miss a day (or 30). Life happens and at the end of the day, I am a wife and mother first. Every other hat comes after.
  2. This is not a contest. There is no winners or losers in the end. The prize is the process and experiences I'll obtain while participating in the journey. Enjoy it.
  3. iPhone photos are OK. Sometimes it's the only thing I have around to document the moment.
  4. I WILL take crappy photos. There is no way I could possibly be on my photography game every single day of 2017. Crappy photos are inevitable and that's okay.

Well I made it past my first month and while there were days I wanted to give up, I'm so glad I didn't. I showed this slideshow to my family and the response was pure love. I think it finally answered my girls question of "why is mommy always following us with a camera?" And unlike a lot of curmudgeonly husbands, I am so grateful that Keith has been on board with ALL my photography endeavors since day one. I can't wait to watch our lives unfold throughout the year!

31 days down, only 334 to go!