|Sienna sums us up in magnetic poetry (children's version)|
Just over a year and a half ago, I realised what my passion was. Is. Could be. It came to me suddenly, and clearly, and since then has constantly been percolating in the back of my mind. It's not something wildly different, for me, but rather something that has been gaining clarity progressively over the last couple of years. And something that is deeply important to me, both as a mother and a photographer.
The thing is, I am a professional photographer. It's taken me a long time shooting to get to this place, and I've technically been here for a few years now. While I have dabbled in fashion, commercial, nature, and I've enjoyed weddings as well, I feel that I am primarily a family and children portrait photographer. I really love it. Even before becoming a mother, I was always most excited by photographing children – so unpredictable, challenging and joyful.
The other thing is, I am a mother. I was a photographer first, but I've been a mum for over 11 years now. And for more than 6 of those years, I've been a particular type of mum, I guess you could say. An autism mother. I've written about my family before, and they are uniquely amazing and fascinating to me. Sometimes challenging, particularly when transitions or social demands push them past their comfort zone.
Sometimes I feel I need to clarify, I don't have my head in the sand either. Things aren't always easy, but they could be a lot harder too. Today it took an hour before my 9 year old would let me leave him at school. This morning my 11 year old wanted to curl up in the fetal position in the boot of our car because her drawing wasn't perfect, I had to hold her back so that I could take her into her regular appointment with her psychologist. My 5 year old screamed - and I mean really screamed - whenever the sunshine came through his side of the car during our drive home. This is all pretty typical stuff for our everyday life on the spectrum. But that's ok. We have moments. We move on. And I think they're overall pretty brilliant people.
And from here comes my clarity...
My heart feels most rewarded by the surge of love and meaning that I get from offering family photography to other families with autism, additional needs and special challenges. It feels gloriously important and beautiful to me, to be that person for a family, to be there to see them, to see their connection, their bond and their love. To be comfortable and relaxed enough that I react easily and lightly to any difficulties that arise during a photo session, to any uncertainty that comes in to play. I can give you that, the calm, the fun, the seeing of who you are. And, more importantly, the capturing of that.
This is something I can give, that I love to provide, which has value far beyond the cost of a session fee, or anything else. I can give a family a treasure, which is not only an acceptance, but rather a celebration of how wonderful they are. Real, flawed perhaps – as we all are – but true and together and beautiful in that. It's important, it's who your family is. It's your story. It's your wonderland.
This what I am going to do.