finding the joy / by Carey

I have a dream photography workshop that I'd like to do... but finding the funds for that just yet is somewhat out of reach, not to mention when exactly would I find the time to do such a thing right now in this phase of tiny little ones!!!??? In the meantime, the Finding the Joy workshop came onto the scene. I got the early bird pricing, which made it something more in the realm of possibility. I decided to DO it, which if you know me and my inability to make decisions, particularly ones involving money, is a big deal!


I studied chemical engineering in school. And by the time I graduated, I was pretty much burned out when it comes to schooling. The idea of EVER going back to school for ANYTHING leaves an intolerable taste in my mouth. And it has... for the NINE years since I graduated. (seriously, how did that happen? NINE years?) I don't ever want to be forced to study again. Forced to do projects. Forced to read books. Forced to do homework. Forced to take exams...

Perhaps part of the problem was that chemical engineer was probably not the right choice for me... most people who meet and know me now, not having known the engineer me, are downright flabbergasted that chemE was my major and profession! Perhaps my burnout was more related to studying the wrong thing? It doesn't really matter now. What is, is.

At any rate, I have avoided all things remotely related to school like slugs avoid salt. No WAY. So to do a workshop.... with assignments and such... this was a big deal decision for me. Another deterrent was the recent personal discovery that having an assignment, like the tutu images or a staged posed shot for a Christmas card, totally turns off my creative function. I was scared I couldn't do it... and then would have wasted money.

But a dear online photography friend said she was going to do it... and I decided that I'd be her company along the challenge. And I'm so very glad I did!

Finding the Joy is about rediscovering the JOY of photographing your children. While I wouldn't really say I had totally lost the joy... I would say I was frustrated. Cora is still being a great subject, but the last 6 months of Nathan's life have been a photographic challenge. He doesn't want to look at the camera any more. And while eye contact is NOT something I require to enjoy and image... and beforehand would have said I really cared less about... I still want to SEE his eyes.... occasionally. It just seems that once he realized what the camera DID, he stopped looking at it. His eyes are so beautiful, and I WANT to capture them. And he just won't let me. And that makes me FURIOUS, if I'm being honest.

Plus, I've shot our playroom. Ten thousand times. I've shot in the kitchen. I've shot in the backyard. I've shot EVERYWHERE here in our lives. I know the angles. I know the settings. I suppose in many ways, I was BORED with photographing here... especially with uncooperative subjects. So I had hoped doing this workshop would awake some creativity I had lost contact with.

And it so has. I am so grateful.

I am SHOCKED at just how much I have ENJOYED the assignments! I only wish I had more time to dedicate to this! It is really unfortunate that the first week of the class was the week we were our our annual family vacation, so I couldn't really focus on it. And then the second week was returning from vacation and all that encompasses. Unpacking... of course it was at the beginning of the month, so I had to do finances. And then a BIG project that I can not WAIT to share about on here... but I'll have to. Oh, but it's neato jeeto people! Anyway, I haven't really been able to focus on this like I wish I could... but that is just Life. Our life. I've done what I could.

And I have loved it. It has made me rethink what I'm doing. Forced me to go into places I normally avoid, because the light stinks or the scenery isn't "portrait worthy". I am loving the creative spark it has ignited in me. As cliche as it may sound, it has given me back some joy I really didn't even know I'd lost.

I am really looking forward to sharing with you over the next few weeks the images I get. Another thing this has done is force me to process MY images. I have so little time to do this kind of thing that I spend the majority of my photography time working on the few images I have done for others. It's really quick atrocious how slow I am at this! Part of that is my issue with indecisiveness... but I'm working on it! And working on letting go of the attainment of "perfection". At any rate, I have not worked on ANY of my own family's images from ... March, April, or May!!! We're into JUNE! Let alone the 1600 images I took at the beach last week on our vacation! This has sparked me into looking at MY images again, with a fresh perspective and fresh purpose. Awesomeness.

One more quick plug. This workshop is really designed for someone at ANY skill level. There are technical tidbits that I already know, mostly. But the creative aspect is what I've enjoyed most. So if you are just a "normal" person out there... I really suggest taking this and seeing where it takes your own family's images!

Week one was on relationships. I'll be posting those images this coming week for you to see. This past week, week 2 was on places. Those will come next. : )