Saturday, August 30, 2014

Smiles, Joni

I tend to end my emails with the closing:

I started this long before I ever even owned a nice camera.
Good-bye...see ya later....from...sincerely...
always seemed a little too proper or stale for me.
It doesn't seem to suit me.
Smiles, fit.

I liked the idea of closing a conversation with a smile so I made the choice
to end my notes that way years ago.

It's felicitous that I would title this specific blog with such.
You're wondering why.
And I'm lolly-gagging explaining why because it's hard for me
to actually type the words.
I've reconciled in my heart and mind what I'm doing, but
it's hard for me to close this one out.
I've already changed my voicemail,
and for those of you who have inquired,
you've heard my attempt at an explanation.

It's still hard for me to say out loud (or typed for that matter).
However, I know the timing is right and now is the
opportunity for me to put the cover on my camera lens and smile
gratefully back at photography.
I'm no longer taking pictures of my darling friends,
their amazing families, the new babies, and the new friends
I've met along the way.

*big sigh*

At the end of last year I accepted a full-time teaching
position at my children's school as the Research-Information Specialist
in the library.
I love my community.
I love my school.
I love the library.
I love kids.

Last week we started school and my plate is full.
My heart is full.
I am busy doing what I love, again.

When I decided to start taking pictures, it began as a fun hobby. Along the way it
turned into something that could actually pay some bills (I made this realization
with the help of some supportive friends).
I've had awesome referrals and have met some of the neatest people along the way.
Many of you have become my dearest friends.
I've watched your babies grow, and captured your milestones.

I've laughed with you, cried with you, bribed your children with you, and often
made a total fool of myself in the deepest attempts to make your family smile.
It has been rewarding on so many levels.

Recently, I had the opportunity to capture a very close family-friend wedding.
It was bittersweet for me.

You see, my bride Taetum was my little buddy at the age of 3.
I babysat her for one summer while her mama was pregnant with her
brother.  She's dear to my heart.
She was also my last wedding.

It was truly bittersweet.
I knew then that I was saying good-bye to these milestone moments.
Moments where I was capturing lifelong memories.
Memories of people I adore.
But I know it's right.

And just to keep it real, I'm including this real-life, after wedding picture.
Steve snapped this at the end of the evening and I cracked up when I saw it.
After I laughed, I looked at this picture for a long time and I started to feel sad.
The honesty of this picture showed me what I've been feeling.
I've known for quite a while how exhausted I feel.
I know that the next day I can barely walk.
I know how much I've sweated, wiped by brow, and rubbed my neck.
Seeing myself on the floor laid out in exhaustion confirmed my decision.
It's not staged.
I didn't "pose" for this, and I didn't know he was taking it.
True, "tank-on-empty" is how I feel after a day shooting a wedding, and most sessions for that matter.
With all of it's wonderful-ness... shooting pictures takes a lot out of me, and I'm tired.

Humbly, I say, "Thank you."
Thank you for believing in me as a photographer.
Thank you for supporting that dream.
Thank you for your referrals.
Thank you for hanging the pictures on your wall.
Thank you for letting me capture your joys.
Thank you for letting me say "goodbye" with a smile.
I'm grateful.

Forever smiles,