January and February are typically our slow time. So Ryan and I use these months to do our taxes, sleep a little and take some time to reflect on the year and re-evaluate where we are, how we feel about what we have done the past 12 months and set some goals on what we could be doing better. It's a good time to step back and focus again on what we want Ely Fair Photography to be.
I recently listened in on a webinar through Creme Brands, which encouraged artists to create their brand around the why, not the what. Answering the question of why I am choosing to shoot weddings and family portraits, and not focusing on what is inside my frame. Which in general I feel like I'm pretty good at having the perspective that I am "creating memories for people".
So, awesome, how more general and stereotypical can I get on the why? Of course every single person who owns a camera wants to "make memories." Thanks for that Kodak marketing.
Anyway, so I took a moment to really think why being a photographer was meaningful enough to me to step away from a steady 9-5 job that had benefits and more friendly tax incentives to pursue Ely Fair. And, because I'm not a word person, my mind settled on these photos.
You see, I didn't grow up around my grandparents. It was a relationship that was saying hello over the phone on Easter and Christmas, cards with checks in the mail on my birthday and a visit every 3 or 4 years. I probably had more one-on-one in-person interactions with my pediatrician than I ever did with my grandparents. And I'm definitely not saying this to complain, there's no hard feelings between anyone-- it was just life living several states away. I love my grandparents-- but it was hard to know them.
I think that innately as humans we crave to be known and to be known by others. And for me the way that I got to know my grandparents was sitting down with my Grandma Mecozzi and going through boxes of old, faded square photos with creamy white boarders. She had three boxes, one of them floral print, one blue and one pink. And she would sit down with me and tell me all about them. Every photo came with a story and a new jumping point to have a deeper understanding of my family. In addition to the time together, it allowed me to know my Grandparents in a way I never could with out a time machine-- I got to know their past.
I got to see my grandma when she was pregnant. So adorable, although she wasn't too keen on the photo. And see my Grandpa so handsome in his Air Force uniform. And hear the story about how he didn't have a middle name until he enrolled in the AF and had to choose one. George is what he chose. And stories and images of my Grandmother's favorite house she ever lived in. And what it was like to shop on the base grocery store. And the photo of my grandpa holding up my Aunt in front of the cows-- so imperfect with the disheveled chair and a little underexposed-- but that photo speaks to me in silent words that touch my heart.
So for me, photographs are about relationships. The way that they can start a story that allows you to have a deeper relationship with others today, and in the future-- and that's what I hope will happen with my work. I think it's really hard these days with Pinterest and Instagram to feel like you have to create a world that is perfect, with clothes that are matching and the latest cute trend. But when it comes down to it, my heart leans towards the moments of everyday because although they may be messy and a little disheveled, the everyday is real and worth knowing.
So, you tell me. What speaks to your heart? I would love to hear.