Well, I don't know about you, but I'm over 2020.
I miss my family.
I miss my friends.
I miss my clients.
To those precious few clients I did see this year, THANK YOU. I'm so grateful that amid the chaos that has been this past year, we managed to sneak in some time together safely when the restrictions allowed. Those sweet moments and connections will stay with me always as a major highlight from what was a really hard year for my little business.
I shouldn't be too down though. All things considered, there were many happy moments for my family this year. My boys are learning to sail along side me, which when travel was kiboshed, became our go to adventure this summer. We spent many nights on our little sailboat, having fires on the beach, swimming, "fishing" off the dock, catching minnows with nets and even managed to get a couple of actual sails under our belt. Maybe next year, once I've got my practical sailing exam under my belt, I'll be brave enough to take the boat our without my dad... Maybe.
Also, while being laid off from my day job was a big blow, especially since I had just returned to the workforce full time last November, I'm going to choose to view 2020 as the year the universe gifted me a bonus summer of (close to home) adventures with my kids that I would not otherwise have had. We sailed. We rented a cabin with my sister and her family once restrictions lifted. We floated down the Pinawa river. We explored. We played in our own back yard, and even managed one popsicle shot when Covid numbers allowed us to briefly increase our bubbles.
I hope you enjoy this little highlight reel of our adventures.
Our yearly trip to Barrier Bay Resort in the Whiteshell. Pre-Covid this year.
Drew and I also celebrated our 2nd "official" wedding anniversary in style this year with a trip to Cuba. 12 years with and 8 years married to this guy and I'm grateful for every minute. Towards the end of our trip, we were watching as Covid began spreading in Canada.
A few days after we got home, my parents were scheduled to go to Mexico for their yearly 2 week vacation. There were still low rumblings about Covid leading up to their trip, but at that point there were no reported cases in Mexico, so off they went... Only to have the Canadian Government declare that all Canadians abroad should return home that very morning.... but that announcement didn't come through the tubes until their flight was already in the air headed to Mexico. Once they landed, my sister and I told them what was going on, and they made the decision to try to enjoy at least a little bit of their vacation.... after about 5 days of closely watching the goings on, we told them to get home now. They managed to rebook on an earlier flight ( 8 days before they were supposed) and made it home safely to a house full of groceries, ready for the mandatory 14 day quarantine.
And then it was time for spring break.... that was extended by two weeks... then a month.... then basically until the end of the school year. I'm sad that Q was all but robbed of kindergarten. I'm sad that both my kids missed out on so much with their schools. I discovered that being a teacher is NOT my forte. But it will be a year they will remember. It will forever be the year of zoom chats with school friends, of drive by birthday parades and of realizing just how much we value the people in our lives.
What a year my friends. These moments amid a less than ideal year are what will make it memorable.
I leave you with one last tid bit from 2020.... At the beginning of the pandemic, Insight Productions hosted the largest multi-network televised benefit show in Canadian history. And they chose little old me to contribute some photos for the opening song. So, in the words of Sam Roberts:
"We may never be the same again, we may never be the same again... Keep moving, don't stop. Keep moving, don't stop. Keep moving, just go go go."
Stay safe, spread kindness, and CHEERS to putting 2020 in the rearview.
Cheers to more hugs.
Cheers to being able to gather with friends and family, hopefully sooner than later.
I miss you all, and send you love, health and happiness.
Yep. You read that right. I am stopping this project.... for now.
Photographers across the pages of history are invaluable. Many of us capture split seconds of all types of stories and our photos have the ability to humanize events like this one, and all other life events both big and small, with our cameras. Whether it's a historic event, or a sliver of time captured for the clients we cherish.
But here's the thing, #fromthefrontsteps and #throughthewindow are non essential. As a family photographer, I view myself as a non essential service, and with the announcement in Manitoba that all non essential businesses have been mandated to close from April 1-14 2020, I personally feel that it would be irresponsible for me to continue until these closures are lifted. Will I keep going? Absolutely. When it is safe to do so. I'm sure I could find a loophole that would allow me to continue this project if I tried hard enough. Perhaps there is no loophole needed because of how we were conducting these sessions and the causes we were supporting. But I won't keep going. My conscience won't let me. My heart was telling me it was time to pause this project, even before non essential businesses were asked to close. As the aunt of an immune compromised nephew, I can't keep going right now. I won't be pushing the limits laid out before us.
The group of photographers that I've been working with on the "From The Front Steps" project have unanimously decided that we are all pausing for the time being. We should respect the current directives from the government. We need to set a good example for everyone out there who has been reaching out about this project. We have had the safety of ourselves and our families and our beautiful clients & communities at the forefront of our minds when we made this decision.
I've personally faced a lot of backlash about my "through the window" project and I have heard from many photographer friends who have faced the same, and it's been primarily from other photographers. It hurts. A lot. Especially since the backlash has never been direct. Not one of the people with concerns about this project had the courage to reach out to me personally to discuss it. Not. One. That was a hard pill to swallow. It might still be stuck in my throat. But, I tried to thicken my skin before I went public with this project as I knew there would be backlash. As with anything even remotely controversial there always is. Plus, we are all scared and nervous and navigating uncharted waters currently. So I'm also trying my best to remind myself to take all the hate with a grain of salt, and then wash it down with a glass of wine.
I will say though, that the feedback from the public has been wonderful, supportive and uplifting. I mean, Manitoba's head nurse gave us a shout out during the provincial press briefing yesterday (Click HERE to see it, fast foward to 5:54). I have had health care professionals reach out to me to participate in my window project AND the front steps project. I have had local businesses and politicians do the same. I believe that what have been able to do up to this point has been a good thing. And both my window project, and The Front Steps project group that I have been working with have raised over $10,000 for local charities who have also been hit hard by the current events. So to me, the good far outweighs the bad. I'll take some heat if it means we can help organisations that need it, and put some smiles on faces and give some small sense of normalcy to the families on the receiving end of our shutter clicks amid this chaos.
Though with that said, I'm repeating that I will not be going out again until the non essential business closures are lifted. My aim with all of this has always been to be part of the solution, not the problem. And while I know I am able to conduct these sessions safely, I won't put the integrity of myself and the group I've been working with on the line just so I can keep going.
But don't worry, I'll be back. I have a list of all those who have reached out to me. I WILL honour your portrait once it's safe and advisable to do so.
For now, enjoy what has already been captured.
Thank you all for your support over the years.
Thank you to the incredible group of photographers I've connected with for the "From the front steps" project. I cannot wait until I can hug you all in real life. We have done a lot of good. (If you want to see the beautiful face of Casey Nolin Photography, who brought us together, click here to watch her CBC interview).
Stay safe and healthy my friends.
And an invitation to participate in this personal project.
The elephant in the room that's not actually an elephant. It's been in the forefront of all of our conversations for about 2 weeks now. On the whole, I am incredibly proud of my fellow Manitobans with how we have (for the most part) risen to the challenge presented to the world at large. Working from home. Cancelling large social gatherings. Pulling kids out of school early if we had the means to. Practicing social distancing.
However, the reality of all these measures is rather terrifying.
I recently lost my newly acquired day job as a result of these crazy times. I hadn't been there long enough to qualify for EI.
My husband, part owner/operator of NeverGreen Pool Care, is wondering what the future will hold for his small business with the current economic climate.
He also doesn't qualify for EI.
And we are not alone. Not by a long shot. There are many many small businesses who are in similar or even more dire situations than us. There are single parents out there who are wondering how they will keep their jobs if school is cancelled for the rest of the year and they have no childcare. There are farmers who might not have access to their seasonal workers, which could jepordize our access to locally grown fresh produce. Small restaurants and shops are having to close their doors, unsure if they will have the means to open them again. The sad reality is that half a million people had applied for EI 2 days ago... I don't know where that number currently stands, but you can bet it's not lower. unemployment rates are through the roof and we don't know when things will settle down. I'm hopeful that I will have a job to go back to, but like so many of us, I honestly have no idea.
These times are scary.
It's been starting to weigh heavily on me.
So during these surreal times, I decided to channel my inner worry and frustration into a personal project that I've dubbed "through the window". I've been reaching out to family, neighbours and friends asking if they would allow me to take a portrait of them through their window to convey a feeling, not necessarily creating a proper "portrait", of the current mood I feel like so many of us are experiencing. Social distancing hurts my soul. I'm a hugger by nature and being asked to keep 2 meters between me and my friends and family is really hard. But it is necessary. The sooner we band together, realize this and stay home, the sooner we will come out on the other side of this madness.
We are in this together.
If you want to be a part of this project, please reach out to me on Facebook or via email. While my family is struggling with uncertainty right now, I am not asking for payment for these portraits. I am however asking that if you have the means, you make a monetary donation to one of the charities that I work closely with as they are facing hard times right now too. I will also point out that I fully understand and appreciate that many of us don't have the means to donate right now though, speaking as someone who just lost her job. If you do however have the means to make a donation of any size, you can donate to You Can't Spoil a Baby HERE or to K9 Advocates Manitoba HERE.
**EDIT** Pamela, the beautiful soul behind You Can't Spoil a Baby, has requested that any potential monetary donations be paid forward to Winnipeg Harvest. Due to the current outbreak, YCSAB has temporarily paused all operations in the interest of keeping everyone safe and healthy. You can donate to Winnipeg Harvest HERE!
And please, for the love of everything, LAY OFF THE TOILET PAPER. There are some of us who are legit going to run out soon...
Stay well my friends. Cheers.
Summer has arrived! We are into our last week of school and I for one am excited for school to be out. I'm excited for later bed times, no (ok, fewer) commitments, and some new adventures. Other than a couple of weeks of day camp and a trip to grand forks with family, we don't have much for plans which is the way I like it. I'm a total fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal. We make this story up as we go along because summers allow for that spontaneous outlook!
One little bit of planning you should do though, is choosing a date for your summer back yard or adventure session! I say this now because the summer booking bonus ends on July 15th. Didn't hear about the bonus? Well I'm glad you're here then. Here's the low down:
You get a one hour session either in your home, back yard, or one location of your choice in Winnipeg* for $300! (which is a $50 price reduction from regular price). Also, if your session is booked before July 15th and takes place before August 30th 2019 then you get a BONUS! And you get to chose your bonus:
Option A) an additional 30 minutes added onto your session
Option B) an 8x12 matted print of your choice from your session
So that's awesome. A discounted session AND a bonus. Can't go wrong there. So let's make a date! Get in touch with me by clicking HERE. You can also click that button and I can send you my client guide, or you can just message me with any questions! I'm an open book and I'm excited to make some amazing memories with you!
*if your location of choice is a place with an entry fee - read; the zoo, then client is responsible for my entry fee
As I visited with some friends last night, an aspect of parenting that I've always believed to be true was painted very vividly in front of me yet again.
Parenting is freaking hard. Moming is hard.
As we sat and chatted openly and candidly about our own unique parenting struggles, from struggles at school to stress about finances to single parenting and everything in between it hit me, as it does fairly regularly, that I am incredibly lucky to have this village of women to share my parenting journey with. A circle who won't judge me. A safe space to word vomit all the crazy thoughts that spin through my head about how hard I am screwing up this parenting gig and about that time I said the wrong thing to my kids once when they were 3 or that time I yelled instead of hugged them and I'm sure I've messed them up for good this time... and my village will hug me and share their mistakes and their struggles and their perceived flaws, and I instantly feel less alone. I start to think that maybe I'm doing ok. That we are doing ok. That when we unite in real and raw and honest motherhood, we have the ability to give ourselves more grace simply because we realize that our hot mess of a life isn't all that unique after all and that we aren't really alone and we aren't screwing up as badly as we think we are.
I try to remind myself of all these chats from my village when I am behind my camera. From documenting women becoming mothers to mothers becoming grandmothers, and all the incredible life events that happen in between, motherhood is a beautiful mess of perfect imperfection. It's pure chaos with a toddler behind the wheel. It's sleepless nights and never having the bed to yourself. It's unfolded laundry and skinned knees and a sink full of dishes. The beauty in our lives as moms goes so far beyond what we typically see and share.
It's beautiful chaos.
So today, let's remind each other that we are stronger together. That we are each walking our own path and doing the best we can. Let's remember to show ourselves some grace in motherhood and hope that when our village sees us do this that they will in turn show themselves more grace. Let's remember to be vulnerable and share the ups and the downs of our journey because this whole parenting business is made much easier when we know that we aren't alone. That we aren't the only ones who make mistakes.
Unite in motherhood friends. Unite in parenting. Find your village and grow with them. Support each. Share the journey. Parenting is not meant to be done alone. If you don't have a village, make one. I can guarantee that there is another mom out there who is feeling just as lonely and lost as you are.
And for real, if someone out there has a parenting manual and isn't sharing, imma be super cheesed.
Happy Mothers Day friends.
We've got this.