I recently came across a photographer who changed the way I think about photographing my “real life.” when I first read the blog interview with Erika Ray on Clickin’ Moms, I wasn’t sure what I thought. I think that was because her approach was so different from what I am used to. I’ve been focusing on getting clean uncluttered images, and here she was telling you that you should photograph the mess too because that is what is real and that is what tells your story. I eventually caved and bought her BreakOut session simply because I wanted to see what she had to say and because after I listened to the podcast interview I really began to like what she was saying. the PDF was filled with great tips on shooting with some humor thrown in as well.
Erika talks about telling your story even if you think it’s average or boring. you are the only one who can tell your story. you want to tell your real story so years from now you or family members can look at it and know what was happening. this really struck me. I have several health conditions and I NEVER document anything about them. in fact, I generally try to hide them. I have a central line, which I clone out of my pictures because “it isn’t supposed to be there”. I haven’t documented such a huge part of my life. my illness is what motivated me to become serious about photography in the first place. so why have I been taking it out of every photo?
every day I have IV fluids and never once, have I documented it. so today, I documented this for the first time. my first instance was to go in the living room without the clutter, but I stopped myself. this is the counter where I hook everything up, those are the gloves I wear, the alcohol pads I use, and the pump I use. all of these things are part of the story. setting up a “clean” scene in the living room isn’t the real story.
I’m not saying that I won’t clone out my line in some photos, because I probably will. I am also not going to stop taking clean photos because those are important too. however, I now recognize the importance of documenting every part of my life because these experiences are important and should be remembered.