lifestyle photographer

An Unposed Session at Padre Island National Seashore

It’s been a quiet year in terms of photography for me.

Probably none of this seems immediately related to these photos so sorry about that.

I’ve been over here playing around with different ideas (not photography related), trying to figure out what my path is. I still don’t know what that path is, if I’m being honest and I’m still over here dabbling in it all.

I didn’t want to put pressure on this thing that I loved. I was afraid it would turn into something I didn’t want, if I kept doing that this year and that thought terrified me. I already saw my spark fading as I got caught up in the drama and BS related to social media and I retreated hard and fast and with that I backed off from everything photography related including photographing my own kids. I’m hoping all of that was necessary and is fulfilling some purpose for my furture self.

Social media is hard. It’s funny because I probably fall into the same category I always have in everything in life. Not quite cool enough for the mainstream kids, but not outcast enough for the outcasts. I’m just stuck somewhere in the middle without belonging anywhere. This is probably a little bit my fault because it’s no secret to myself that I don’t commit enough to people to really belong in a community. I hold myself back for fear of judgement. It’s rare anyone actually gets to see me all the way, which is why Tyler is probably pretty much the only person who sees it all.

What if I’m not who they thought I was? What if I disappoint them? It’s less stress (or so it sometimes seems) to just do it all on my own. This thinking is wrong, right? Is it imposter syndrome that makes me feel this way maybe? Why do I even care what “they” think to begin with? I know better, but I’m still here in this place.

I don’t really know what the purpose of all of this is other than it just feels good to talk about it. Maybe others feel the same and now they know they’re not alone. Maybe it just makes me make more sense to people. I don’t know.

I know this session is the first time I picked up my camera to do this kind of thing in a long time. I had a vision and I was nervous it was going to just bomb and I’d come away with nothing. The first probably 30 minutes felt like that actually. I had to let go in a lot of ways. Once I just decided to let my kids be free and occasionally prompt them into things that would bring joy, it got good. I let Saida get in the waves fully clothed because it felt like freedom and we needed that. Mostly this is just them and me there to see it for what it was and document it the way I knew I could.

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More Than Just Joyful Moments

Grief and heartache are beautiful in their own way. They come with emotions so overwhelming that shape us in ways we never expected; ways only grief and heartache can. Without love these things don’t exist. It’s part of our story and for each struggle we survive, we rise stronger and more beautiful than the person we were before.

The story of Amos is a roller coaster of heartache and uncertainty. I’m not a religious girl, but it’s one of God’s will and this sweet unborn baby never having to live outside of the womb in pain or struggle. But they knew him, they felt him, and they loved/love him and even though he’ll only be with them for just a short while longer, his story will stay with them always.

My friends, this is why I make photographs. It’s how we love and rise that makes our stories so beautiful. I’m giving you permission to document more than just joyful moments because those moments are really a very small part of what makes us who we are.

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A Letter to My Friends Who Use a Different Photographer

Y’all,

It’s okay!!!!

If you don’t read any further, just know that it really is fine and I’m not offended or upset. I don’t expect everyone to identify with what I’m doing or feel my style is the best way to represent their family.

So here’s a little secret about photographers… or at least me. We don’t want to be the right photographer for every single person out there, unless of course every single person is passionate about the exact same thing we are and completely shares our vision. I do something specific. I’ve spent years trying to figure out who I am as a person/photographer (still working on it), shoot in a way that reflects that, and cater specifically to those who are in the market for that exact thing. No matter what our style of photography is, we photographers recognize that we are made for a specific client or set of clients and those people aren’t always the friends we already have. They can be and it’s totally awesome when they are, but it’s also okay if they’re not. There’s a really good chance we’ll still be your friend anyway.

Okay, now consider this permission to go forth and work with whatever photographer you feel you and your family most identifies with and will represent you most accurately or in the way you’d like to be represented.

I’m still your friend,

Monica

P.S. To the friend who prompted this letter, thank you! I still think you’re cool and I probably needed to write this anyway.