this is us right now — Interview with Amy Grace – San Diego Family Photography

Amy Grace takes my breath away with her honest and raw and beautiful portraits of her children.  And her words so I will let her say it:

“i have said to myself, at my son’s bath time, hundreds of times: “i wish we had pictures of us here.” because here is as close as it gets, as full of comfort and longing at once. here is where we live. this is the feeling of us, the feeling of the memories on my skin, tattooed in my heart, with pictures like dense spirals of smoke.….i love these because they are true. they are not a set up. they are instant nostalgia. i took a picture of it, instead of waiting, or lamenting the passing of this time later. he is wading the waters between baby and boy, and i am holding his hand, helping him find his balance. he helps me find my own too. the antidote to the dark and twisty parts of me still trying to find their way out. and when they do now, they are met with this crazy light of a boy. ”

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“the thing that i would tell a new mother, right before her baby was born, would be how insanely close and physical it is to love a child. the heat, the hugs, the weight of them, the incense smells they give off, the perception that they are of our own skin, long after they leave it. and so this is what it looks like as that feeling wraps around my heart like a wave, curled and forceful and unstoppable.

it is important to find your way to the pictures you really want to take. the personal work that is so personal, it is as sharp as it is gentle. it can be so simple, and it may even help to close our eyes. start with a feeling and see yourself from the inside out. it is what i see here; the roots, then the branches reaching to the light.

these are all shot with my d700 and 35mm. and so much love for this kid.”

My interview with Amy:

1. i do shoot clients, though sporadically. but i LOVE it when i get the chance to say yes. i am a one woman village for my kids right now. we are far away from family, and my husband travels during the week. right now i am trying to find a way to fold client sessions in naturally, to the rhythm of my family life, aiming for once a month, so that i can really give my all to a person, a family, and to my own. connection is the reason i love photography. i don’t just like making pictures of people, i love knowing people, i am moved by people. getting to witness what they are made of is an honor that i take seriously. every new person is a new world. i am slowly learning to show people the naturalness, the love, the movement that gives me chills from my own kids. i think when everyone is themselves, photographer included, you can feel it in the images. i would love to take more sessions in the future, as well as work on some personal projects outside my home, and for charitable organizations. i am fascinated with stories of survival and redemption, and so many of us have them.

2. writing is who i am. it is a direct line to my feelings, my memories, the making sense of things that is so important. the layers unravel, i can see the arc of our lives. it is work, i take it seriously; it is worth it. the pictures and words go together for me. they are born in the same place. even though i have only been taking photographs for about two and a half years, i have had this whole lifetime of practice seeing, feeling, paying attention. words, playing music, a camera – they are different ways to get at the same things. the weekly ‘motherhood with a camera’ started a crack that has opened up everything in me. writing about the beauty and pain at once, the pull of motherhood, the challenges, the pure light, the hard road to right now, i think about it all the time. it is an arrow pointing me where i need to be. it is my dream to be able to turn these stories into something more. connecting to other people, being our own beautiful messes together, finding meaning in photography, buried in the mundane, shining through, it is truth for me. so yes, i am writing all the time, taking notes, building on personal essays, looking for a place for them to live together. i have also been lucky enough to contribute to a few publications recently, but my soul is in this personal work.

3. my instinct tells me that my style may be a little too messy and raw for some of these other blogs. there are so many gorgeous sites out in our little universe. yet, so many of them are rooted in style. my work is emotive, my house is pretty dark, cluttered, filled with art and music and loud voices and unmade beds too many days. i’ve found myself moving farther away from the polish, the pretty, in my pictures, and closer to our truth. and this so mirrors my own life, the way i choose to live in my own skin. so i think it may be best to leave the styled shoots to the people who do them best 🙂

4. the 35mm is new, and amazing for capturing things in our tight house. it feels cinematic. it somehow captures the way i see more naturally than any other lens – like still frames from a movie. i have a huge crush on it right now, and it is helping me to see bigger, more of the scene, the context. without it, i could never have captured my little boy in the bath like i did in this set of images.




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