Posts Tagged ‘film photography’

Personal Post: Suddenly a Stay at Home Mom

Stay at home mom, business ownerNot every women dreams of being a stay at home mom the way not every women dreams of being a mother. I never wanted to be a stay at home parent. I have to shake off guilt around saying this because I know some will interpret this plain statement, as me not wanting to be with my child, and that simply isn’t true. I love Juniper to the moon and back. She is my world, my playmate, my favorite person. And to those who are stay at home parents and to those whom desire to be, more power to you. The world is currently serving you an extra slice of respect.

For me, I crave time alone in quiet reflection to be my best self. I like to work independently and simmer on ideas in solitude. This way, my spirit is recharged, and when I see my family I appreciate them so much more. I see them with renewed eyes and so much gratitude. I designed my life for this. I built a business and outsourced, found excellent childcare and backup childcare, and set rigid boundaries so I could still spend most of my week with my family. And in my independent time I could fuel my business, source ideas, and make art.

The New Normal

Like many of you, I’ve been living in a “new normal” for the past few weeks, one in which my usual offerings as a business owner are not relevant. One in which I find it hard to even plan for a future in which they are, because the forecast ahead is so foggy. I am uneasy, I am worried, I am adapting. As I develop ideas during brief toddler naps, and try to complete existing work in little pockets of weekend time, I find myself in hustle mode, trying not to panic.

In my time with Juniper I am often distracted and impatient, and not proud of some of the choices I’m making. Is anyone feeling this? There are simply not enough hours to do all things well.

Your Feelings are Valid

I realize right now, I need to stop and check my privilege. People are dying in this pandemic. People are suffering. People are working on the front-lines in healthcare, and food service, and delivery, many of them with preexisting conditions that make them extra vulnerable. People are worried about how they will make rent, how they will get food, and if they will be safe at home. I am not one of those people, and I am constantly aware of how good I have it and how small my struggles are.

But I just need a moment to say that sometimes it’s still hard even when others have it harder. And it’s okay to feel scared or worried. It’s okay to be sad over the holiday traditions you are missing, the favorite spots you can no longer visit, the people you cannot hug, and the regular-everyday-put-on-pants-and-go-to-work life you aren’t living right now. Your feelings are valid. My feelings are valid.

We’ve Never Done This Before

It’s okay to not be ready for a positive spin. It’s okay to not get dressed today. It’s okay to put an iPad in front of your toddler so you can get some work done, or clean the house, or drink a glass of wine while no one touches you or asks you for anything. It’s normal to lose your temper, to feel stuck, to feel resentful. No matter what position you’re in, we’ve never done this before. We’re all just making it up as we go along.

In the meantime I will try to give myself as much grace as my best friends would give me (which is a lot). Because we’re all doing the best we can. My kitchen is covered in flour, my dining room table, in seed packets, and my living room is currently an obstacle course to prove this point. And yes, sometimes I will be working. Sometimes I will send Juniper away or ask her to play by herself so that I can complete a project or answer an email.

And I know, deep down, this isn’t hurting her. Juniper doesn’t need a 24/7 playmate and cook; she needs a mom. And sometimes moms work. Sometimes moms have big ideas they need to act upon. She is seeing this, and even if she doesn’t get it right now, it will be something she will understand later. The world becomes a better place for every woman out there each time we let go of how we were told things were “supposed to be done”. I was never one for arbitrary rules anyway.

Cheers, mamas!

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Film scans above shot on 35 mm Kodak Portra in summer of 2019 and scanned by Dwaynes Photo in Parsons, Kansas.

Personal Post: When Fear Makes You Doubt Your Gut

green bay film photographer parenting blog
For me, 2020 has been a season of big ideas and big doubts. I get excited about an idea, I share my idea, I doubt my idea, then I sabotage my idea. Has anyone else been there?

It’s not outright self-sabotage; it’s me letting fear guide my thoughts, and then letting my actions take me just to the point where things get scary and no further. There is safety in giving something half your heart and there is fear in giving it all your heart.

Fear Keeps Me Safe

Fear is keeping me safe. Fear’s job is to keep me safe. But here, what is it protecting me from? Predators, injury, death? No. Failure, ridicule, discomfort.

It seems silly when it’s laid out like this, but it’s hard to go from understanding your fears are not keeping you safe to making a choice to reach beyond fear. This requires belief in our purpose — belief beyond doubt — and it asks us to recognize that who we are is someone already deserving of what we want. It asks us to step out from the place of “when I do this, I will be worthy of…” and into “because of who I already am, I can do this.”

I Can Make Bad Art Without Being a Bad Artist

I have always been one to value myself based on what I can create and how hard I can work. Instead, I am shifting into someone whose value is already there, without needing to prove it to anyone (myself included). And if I already have value, I can create bad art without being a bad artist and I can make a mistake without being a failure. This provides grace. This provides space for big ideas.

On January first of this year, Jen Berres-Dart of Jenstar Yoga asked a group of us, “What do you want to try that you’ve been avoiding because you don’t think it’s possible?” And now I ask that of you…

What Are You Avoiding Out of Fear of Failure?

In 2020 I am working on myself, I am chasing ideas, I am taking chances, and I want to take you with me. Come join us at Mama + Maker to see what my big ideas are all about, or comment with yours, because ideas are a lot less scary when we say them out loud.

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Film scans above from our January trip to Florida. Shot on 35 mm Kodak Portra 400 film and scanned by Dwaynes Photo. 

Personal Post: Giving My Daughter Space to “Do it Wrong”

35 mm Film Photos Door County Raising a toddlerTalking about parenting right now means putting a vulnerable voice out into a critical culture. This isn’t to say our generation is somehow more judgmental than past generations; we just see more of one another’s lives thanks to social media. So now instead of collecting “feedback” from your auntie and mother, you can also collect it from that friend-of-a-friend from high school and someone you used to work with. Oh joy. And whether or not you choose to post to social media or comment on the posts of others, you are probably still consuming the media and drawing your own conclusions.

The good news is this criticism has sprouted from the best of intentions: concern for the safety of children. But when concern for safety becomes concern for lifestyle and we aren’t prepared for how to interact in this culture, we end up stuck in a place of shame, guilt, and fear of “doing it wrong”.

Parenting in the Toddler Years

That said, I know some people will find my parenting too hands off (I get looks as my daughter runs through the farmer’s market 20 feet ahead of me) and some will find me too rigid (really mom, she can’t have any juice?) I’m sure others will find ways to see me as overprotective, old fashioned, or crunchy, but for myself, I am quite surprised at the kind of parent I turned out to be.

When I thought of the future, I imagined myself fretting over my child’s every move, holding my arms around her to protect her from bumps and bruises, chewing my nails and saying that warning phrase one extra time to give myself peace of mind. But what I failed to account for when I imagined myself as a mother, is that I would be a mother to a little person with a personality all her own.

Juniper is fast and loud. She climbs everything, devises complicated ways of stacking things to reach what she wants. She likes the fastest rides and the biggest challenges. At two, this kid eats more at a meal than I did in middle school. She is bold and talkative, and usually searching the house for her galoshes so she can find a way to be outside…even if it’s raining…even if it’s 6:00 am…even if it isn’t her house. She. Is. Wild.

But this wildness comes from her curiosity and her passionate impulse to consume everything as though life is something to be swallowed whole. And can I just say what a gift it is to see life this way?

Leaving Room for Imagination

Things I haven’t the smallest interest in, she will find deeply fascinating. Toys which have a specific use will gain new life with her interpretation of their purpose. She wants to reorganize the crayons instead of coloring with them, use the bath boats as teacups, and make car noises as she pushes the doll stroller. And I’m going to let her. Just like I’m going to let her eat the uncooked zucchini that fell to the floor as I was making dinner and wear swim diapers over her clothes. She can ride in the cargo portion of the stroller, wear all my jar lids as bracelets, and refer to every full grown dog as a “little baby puppy” (with her voice high and her nose scrunched).

Doing these things “wrong” isn’t going to hurt her or anyone else. She’s learning what it means to make her own decisions and she’s figuring out how things work (or devising new ways for them to work). And, when it comes right down to it, it would be pretty self-important of me to tell her the “right way” to play.

What Does it Mean to “Do it Wrong”?

My grandma has a story from when she was a little girl that has always stuck with me. She was at school in art class drawing a sky filled with pink, fluffy clouds. When the teacher saw it, she told my grandma it was no good because clouds aren’t pink. Imagine all the ways we can crush a child’s spirit in the name of teaching them the “right way” to do things.

And whether those clouds were pink or neon green or floating underwater or made of cotton candy or drawn with dandelion rubbings, I never want to be the person who makes the world a little smaller by closing the door on possibility and imagination. Grandma gets her revenge every time sunset turns clouds from white to yellow, yellow to orange, and from orange to a bright, rosy pink.

I guess what I’m saying is, Juniper will have plenty of opportunities to learn the correct pronunciation of the word, the right purpose for the tool, the proper way to respond to the circumstance, but for now, there is play. There is big, big play. And I’m going to give Juniper all the space I can to “do it wrong”.

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Film scans above from this summer (May-July) from 35 mm Kodak Portra negatives.

Personal Post: Travels To Savannah Georgia

Travel Photography Kasey and Ben TravelI love packing for a trip. Let me rephrase that, I love planning outfits for a trip. Rolling up clothing and puzzling it together in the suitcase brings me great joy, and having just the right number of pieces to mix and match lights up the “type a” planner in me. This was even more fun for my trip to Savannah because I was traveling with my mom — no hubby to plan for, no baby stuff to pack. I knew I would miss my little family while I was away, but the luxury of packing carry-on only and thinking only of myself cannot be denied.

I was headed to Savannah for a business retreat with other lady bosses from the Green Bay area as part of Rise Retreat. For three days we stayed in the gorgeous De Soto hotel in the historic district expanding our ideas of what we are capable of, sharing openly with one another about dreams and struggles, and taking notes like wild women so we would be ready to make big leaps when we returned home.

Savannah, Georgia Travel Photography

I invited my mom to come along, as Savannah in spring seemed like the perfect girls’ trip and she is an excellent travel buddy. In the days leading up to the retreat she and I walked the squares, ate lots of food, and spent time by the water (including a beach day at Tybee!) It was easy and blissful. I was able to get some sketches in, enjoy warm weather, and soak up the history and arts culture of the city. It’s amazing what a break like this can do for the spirit. Sometimes we need a little reminder of who we are as powerful, capable women. I think this is especially true for us moms whose identity can get consumed by one title. Savannah was the perfect little reset before the busyness of summer!

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Film scans above shot on Kodak Portra 400 35 mm film and developed by Dwaynes Photo.

Personal Post: “pictures of the summer to prove that it really existed”

Fingers crossed and saying my prayers for safe transit, I packed up the film I shot all summer long and shipped it out to be developed. When the package arrived, Ben and I sat in bed together and flipped through the prints, my heart exploding with every photo. This summer wasn’t just any summer, it was Juniper’s first summer, something I anticipated since that second pink line appeared 18+ months ago.

Part of the joy of parenthood is sharing the things you love with this new little person. It may be your 200th visit to the beach, but it’s the first time she’s felt sand in her toes, and it may be your annual camping trip at the usual spot, but it’s the first time she has woken up to the sunny pattern leaves make on the tent walls in the morning.

This summer was full of “Juniper’s firsts”, and part of that was sharing places with her that meant a lot to us growing up. We visited The Farm where she held a kitten and giggled when she touched a baby goat. We went camping at Peninsula State Park where she rode in a canoe and took naps in a cargo wagon. She ate fruit straight from the orchard, visited beaches, parks, and pools, and soaked up the summer sun right in our own backyard.

Every outing required more planning and packing than any previous summer (babies come with SO much stuff), but as anyone who has ever loved anyone knows, the joy of wonderful things is multiplied when you see someone you love experience that joy. And we are closing out the summer with a heart full of memories and a head full of stories to tell as she grows up.

It’s amazing how children can change how we experience our world. Everything is new again — just like magic.
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Photos above from 35 mm film scans July-September.
Blog title taken from song “People Take Pictures of Each Other” by The Kinks.
If you like this blog, check out The Family of Over-Celebrators and Summertime on Film.

Personal Post: the gift of curiosity

Since it’s off season for us, I have yet to really try my hand at the artful act of balancing life and work. It’s an intimidating task and one with few examples to follow as my job doesn’t give me a 9-5 schedule or any difference in work and living space. This is both a blessing and a curse as it means I can work in my robe and pajamas (please don’t come knocking on my door unexpectedly), but I have to use my judgement to know when to call it quits, shutdown the computer, and turn off email notifications.

On the slow days I’ve been thinking about the kind of parent I will be. And although it’s likely I have little choice in the matter, I can’t help but consider what I want Juniper to receive from me beyond a warm house and a full belly. And it comes down to one thing: curiosity. The gift I most want to give to her is the ability to look at the world with an open heart and curious mind — exploring, daydreaming, wondering. Curiosity means probing into the things we take for granted and asking questions. It means walking off the path, getting dirty, and breaking rules.

Juniper comes from a long line of well-intentioned rule-breakers who are curious to their core. Curiosity leads to passion, and when people we care for love something with great passion, we learn to appreciate what they love because their loving it makes it special. There are a million things I want to share with our baby girl: hundreds of books I want to read, scores of cities I want to bring her to, and many acres of land I want us to explore. But whatever her interests, whether they overlap with mine or not, I hope to pass along this great gift. That way she can love whatever she wants to love and chase whatever she wants to chase, and curiosity will call her to dig deeper every time.
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Film Scans above from hikes in February 2017 at Cave Point, Newport State Park, Potawatomi State Park, and Whitefish Dunes in Door County.
In the top photo I am pregnant with baby Juniper but don’t know it yet. <3

Personal Post: i am thankful, pain for pain, joy for joy

Hazel-Door-County-Film-Photographer-Northwoods-Summer-1 Hazel-Door-County-Film-Photographer-Northwoods-Summer-2The day my film scans arrive back is like magic. When we wait for weeks or months, the memories of long weekends and summer nights begins to fade, but in handling the prints, I have those feelings back in tangible way – the good, the bad, and the bittersweet. Every moment is replayed in emulsion with the soft texture of film and I remember vividly how I felt when I made each image.

I have been absent from the personal blog for a few months. When I write these posts I write from the heart, and sometimes it can be difficult to touch upon what I feel and what I want to say about it. Even now, with so many photos I want to share, the clarity of phrasing isn’t quite clear, other than to say I am thankful. I am thankful for my beautiful home, my capable body, and most of all, my family. When things are good, family celebrates in our joys, and when things are bad, they are the people who check in every. damn. day. Not out of obligation, not because they’re sad we’re sad or happy we’re happy, but because they feel it 100% – pain for pain, joy for joy.

I have people like this in my life – family I am related to, and people whose lives have become intertwined with mine in the unlikeliest of circumstances. I am grateful for both. Life is built experiencing the feelings of others in whatever way we can. I am showing up for that – pain for pain, joy for joy.

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Film scans above ^^ from summer events with friends and family around Fourth of July.

Personal Post: why we travel

California-Travel-Wanderlust-Big-Sur-San-Fransisco-Beach-Photographer-Road-TripIf you’re in contact with us often, you’ll find that a few times each year your email will bounce back with an out-of-office message telling you that we’re away somewhere exploring. Sometimes it’s a big trip (like our spring visit to France) and sometimes it’s a few hours north for a weekend in the land of no phone service. I’ve always had the travel bug, and, aside from blaming it on genetics, I often wonder where it comes from. What is it that drives us to travel again and again?

Let’s start with what it’s not. I know it is not dissatisfaction with where we live. I love our little downtown home in a city that’s just starting to rediscover itself, and I love where I’m from originally – the beautiful Door Peninsula with beaches 20 miles in any direction. Instead, I think it has to do with two things: curiosity and re-appreciation. Curiosity is what drives the desire to plan the trip. It’s what has us wondering, “What do the buildings look like there? What does the food taste like there? What does the weather feel like there?” It’s a sort of yearning to experience new things that aren’t a part of our day-to-day lives (which can be as simple – or as profound – as seeing mountains for the first time when you spent your whole life in the flatlands of eastern Wisconsin).

In my experience, if we give ourselves enough time with one place, these discoveries are followed by a humbling gratefulness for being more connected to the rest of the world.

The second part, re-appreciation, is harder to explain. Re-apprceiation (although it’s possible that I just made that word up) is the thing that has us coming home from a trip happier and more bonded to the people in our lives. When we travel as a family, as a couple, or as a group of friends, we are working together to overcome obstacles (language barriers, getting lost, travel anxieties) and there are moments that require skills we don’t often use at home. Partners are reminded of the wonderful characteristics and talents possessed by this person they love that are easily forgotten in our day-to-day lives where so many “conversations” revolve around how much laundry there is to do, or the leak that needs to be fixed, or the obligations that fill the weekend. We can more easily feel those skills – patience, flexibility, creative problem solving, street savviness – when we are out of our normal spaces, away from our jobs, and more open to everything around us, including each other.

This is why we travel. This is why each year includes plans of an adventure to someplace we’ve never been. It’s why my idea book comes home fuller, my film all spent and memory cards depleted, a suitcase of dirty laundry, and that feeling of happy exhaustion.

Images above are 35 mm film scans from our trip to California in late February.

Personal Post: toy cameras and liking what you like

Travel_Film_Lomography_Mini_Diana_Double_Exposure

With photography as a career and a first love, sometimes it’s hard for me to remember how to “play” at creating artwork and documenting my life.  We focus so much on getting “the shot” –  what the best lenses, lighting gear, poses would be, that there isn’t much of a chance to toy around with just plain liking something and wanting to capture it.  I think one of the best art assignments for idea-book-keepers like myself, is to make a list of things you like.  There is no pressure to love something, and no specifics as to what can or cannot be included.  The list will start with obvious things your friends could list for you: coffee, pizza, the beach; but a few pages in you start to get into stranger, more specific territory: new ballpoint pens, having someone wash my hair for me, finding things that were lost.  I think there is something to this – something about being able to just like something, to enjoy it without the need to explain or analyze.

This is what I love about my Lomography cameras.  They are film cameras, but they are created like cheap, toy cameras – plastic, no batteries, the only adjustment for exposure is sunny or cloudy.  These cameras allow me to “play” in my interaction with the world.  I don’t have to consider my lenses or gear; I don’t have to worry about how it will look in post-processing.  Each frame is a surprise.  It could be a double-exposure; it could be filed with light-leaks or vignettes.  There is a joy in not needing to know the end result, and there is a joy in not editing my actions.  I haven’t gone through the process in my head to determine that the shot will be no good and isn’t worth taking.  I follow my impulses, and I honor my likes.

All photos above were taken this summer with my Lomography Mini Diana Petit Noir camera on 35 mm film (one roll of b&w, one roll of color).

Personal Post: summertime on film

Door_County_Film_Photography_Family1 Door_County_Film_Photography_Family2

Ever since I was a child, summer meant traveling up to the farmhouse in North Bay with my family.  It meant watching the leaves flutter overhead as I looked out the window driving through Jacksonport, turning the corner into Baileys Harbor where the view opens open to the unbroken horizon of Lake Michigan, and finally pulling in the gravel path lined with cedars.  These feelings remain unchanged for me as an adult.  It is still where I go to connect with my family and explore nature.

During the summer I spend a lot of time shooting with my Nikon F4 35 mm film camera.  This camera was bought second-hand and chosen for me by a stranger, and there is a part of me that feels like it had to be a bit of destiny.  I went to college knowing I wanted to do something artistic, but certain I would choose an emphasis in painting and study graphic design to support myself.  I had never owned anything but point-and-shoot cameras, and everything changed for me the day this little Nikon F4 arrived and I started Photography 101 with Sarah Detweiler.  Having this camera and this amazing professor, completely altered how I saw the world around me.  Things I never questioned, I found reasons to investigate, and things I never saw connection between began to form relationships.  That was it: I was a photographer.

This little Nikon film camera stayed with me all throughout my undergraduate degree, traveled to Italy on a study abroad program, and finally road with me on my month long Route 66 trip.  Now, with photography not only as my artistic expression, but as my career, capturing my personal life on film keeps me rooted.  It reminds me to take the time to get each shot right and to find the moment where the image “solves itself”.  It calls forward everything I love about photography and it refreshes my spirit.  Funny how something so simple can mean so much.

Captured on film this summer are lots of little events with the people I am closest with: Ben crawfishing with my cousins (and the miniature crawfish boil it led to), hay rides to Cana Island, Door County parades, and a train ride in the northwoods.  It’s the everyday moments with the people in our lives we love most that remind us of who we are.  Holding onto these moments helps me remember that.