Monday, January 27, 2014

Documenting Reality


While I was on my way to my first photo shoot of the day, I realized what an honor it is to be able to document a part of a persons life story. It can often be an emotional time, to meet with a total stranger - within the walls of their sacred space to discuss their lives. You never know where the conversation will go.

Though we are both fully aware as to why we gather - I begin to ask questions- to peel back the layers in order to reveal something personal - their story. The same story that is often set aside- over looked, put on a shelf, covered in laundry or forgotten like a grocery list on a kitchen counter. 

As we lock eyes and I reach for my camera , I share my story and my reason behind the project. During a series of goose bumps -It seems to hit a soft spot. Their body language changes and  they often pause and reflect. Thinking about their journey as an artist that turned into a mother. The sleepless nights and the constant caregiving. The start and stop process of working on a project. The painting in the basement that never saw the light of day. The sketch book that was purchased but never touched. A time of self sacrifice - a time where the season of life changed, turning a new chapter. It is what we call LIFE.

What is also realized - is that the Mother Artist Project sheds light on the truth behind self sacrifice and the balancing act of the two worlds. My mission behind the project and purpose of meeting them is not only to take their picture but to listen to them. Making them aware that they are not alone in their journey.  

The beautiful thing is - as I document each mother artist , a circle is forming - a circle of raw, honest stories about the lives of dedicated mothers who love what they do. Who work so very hard to obtain a sense of balance in order to create harmony in their lives.

Every story is different and while words are passed back and forth, tears are sometimes forced back into their eyes or wiped away . Or she pauses to quickly instruct her children to be patient. After all - they are often kindly waiting for the interview time to end. 

Even a simple interview - is an act of balance. The toys they brought may not entertain for long - and oh, we just ran out of snacks . The child may not want to participate or sit still long enough for a photo- but I take the pictures anyway. Reminding the mothers - this is real life.  

 My favorite part about this project is that  I am not out to take pretty, and flawless- happy photographs. I am after the real story. Documenting reality. The truth about the balancing act . The real lives of hard working , dedicated mother artists!

The beauty here is rawness. My hand is pulling the curtain back to shed light on this beautiful thing called balance. I believe in it and I hope to help you believe in it too. It takes a dedicated person to seek and find true balance. To be able to nurture everyone else and still find time to nurture yourself is an art form of its own. It is my sincere mission to capture the beauty of their reality - the same beauty that society may label as chaotic, imperfect or messy.

Sometimes the mothers are quick to admit that balancing both worlds isn't so easy. I admire them because, It takes courage to say motherhood can be difficult and being an artist/mother can be even harder. Everything revolves around the family nest. Even the push and pull of what takes priority .. A "real" job or being an artist  can be a painful decision. If you've done it- then you understand. Often times what takes priority isn't that one blissful hour of total peace and quiet in the studio, but three baskets of laundry. Sacrifices- The common thread among all of these mother artists. 

However, what Ive noticed beyond the self sacrifice and hard work, Is that  they possess a unique drive. A strong desire to remain in touch with themselves. Using their passion as a voice and often times this voice-  is the one that they are the most comfortable using..   And that they seem to be saying the same thing - here I am, take my work seriously. This is not just a hobby!

I have discovered and I am confirming - through this project that we are all connected. That we are not alone in how we feel, what we love to do or what we struggle with. I hope this project can inspire, encourage -and shed light on the hard work that is being done behind the scenes.

From one artist to another-
Erin 

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this project! As a mother artist myself, I often feel like there is something wrong with me that I struggle and often fail to balance both family & art. Why can't I do both? Why do I neglect one side to nurture the other? Reading about these other mother artists has made me feel like I belong not only to a community of amazing women who care for a family while trying to create art, but that I belong to myself. I'm not broken. Balancing both is difficult. However, I am not alone in the struggle to find balance.
    I'd love to be a part of this growing circle.

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