I haven't picked up my big camera in a long time to document my kids. I kind of lost the desire to see through that lens for awhile. I needed simplicity. I needed my phone to be my lens so I didn't have to think about composure, aperture, shutter speed or light while capturing our memories. There was so much going on in my head, I needed simplicity. I needed to rest the camera for a season.

But tonight I felt that old familiar itch. While my kids were playing in the backyard, the light stirred my heart. I ran in the house and grabbed my camera, and began to shoot. I resisted my kids posing at first. I just wanted to capture them playing, and being them. But posing for the camera and goofing off for the lens is really who they are. So I just let them be. They posed a bit, but then gave me a beautiful gift. They began to really be themselves, and laugh and interact the way I want to remember them years from now. The little faces that Calais makes, that are so expressive and sassy; Cosette's joy at getting to hug her sisters and bounce, and her dandelion hair; Cassidy's confidence, and yet vulnerability; Cooper being sulky, moody and thoughtful. Even the dirt, and the mess, and the scrapes are details I want to be able freeze in time.

I spent the last couple of years trying to get out of the fog that was dulling my senses and keeping me from really feeling and living life. As the dull and the fog has been clearing, I've picked up my camera more, but mostly for other people. I used to download the images I'd take, and have to leave them untouched on the computer for days before I could look at them with anything but disdain for the imperfection in my work. I was, and will probably always be my hardest critic.

Lately, though, I've enjoyed the process of photography so much more. I don't have anything to prove. I don't have to create a masterpiece with every photograph, and I don't beat myself up if that doesn't happen. I just want to capture another person in a moment of time, to document a slice of who they are from my unique perspective. And my perspective is imperfect, but it is mine. Now, I can often look at a series of photographs fresh from my camera, and quickly decide what I like, and ignore the rest. I can recognize that missed shots happen, and that every composition is not going to be perfect. I can also more easily recognize the good in what I have captured. I can see the beauty in the imperfection, and let it be enough.

I'm still working on doing that with myself each day. I still have to remind myself that I'm enough, and that the imperfection will always be there so there really is no point in dwelling on it. I'm learning to give myself, and by extension, those around me a little more grace. Some days are very hard, and I slip back into old habits. But I recognize that I'm slipping much more quickly, and make little changes to get back on track. I forgive myself for the imperfections, and simply try again each day.

The funny thing is, those things are what initially drew me to photography, and made me fall in love with the craft. Imperfection in a photograph can actually enhance the story being told. The play of light and dark, blur and motion, even exposure can be manipulated to bring out details or help them fade away. For too long, fear of imperfection kept me from enjoying life, and it kept me from taking photographs. Embracing imperfection, and giving myself grace was what I needed to enjoy both again.


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September 13, 2011

I got an email from a friend, Gina Maxine, of Gina Maxine Photography in California, about a group she is a part of called Elevate. The concept, led by the amazing photographer Nichole Van, is a fantastic monthly jaunt into the realm of fantasy and fine art. As I read Nichole's introduction to the project, I felt like I was reading about my own childhood dreams and playtime with my sisters when we would watch a marathon of Anne of Green Gables, or pretend that we were stars from the movies. Much like the talented group of women participating in Elevate, I love that photography allows you to bring those childhood fantasies to fruition through the lens.

Although I am not part of the group, I can't help but want to play along..... to expand my horizons, and push myself to create and think outside the box. So here is my contribution this month. I have had this rolling around in my head since seeing a similar shot from another photographer in a magazine. We drug out an old ladder and I snatched a few photographs of my baby sister and her husband as the light dimmed at the end of their maternity session. Then I set out to create the magic of the shot in photoshop. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Star art clouds2.jpg

Holly says:

I think this is pretty amazing Cindy! Your creativity is perfect. :) I'm sure this will be a picture that Katie and her fam with cherish forever.

(09.18.11 @ 05:18 PM)
Katie Joe says:

I LOVE this picture! It is going to be big above Maggies crib. :)

(10.04.11 @ 11:00 PM)
Sara Murdock says:

LOVE!!! You are an artist, my dear!

(11.02.11 @ 09:57 PM)
Gina says:

this is just amazing. concept photography is so difficult and you nailed it!!!

(12.03.11 @ 12:10 AM)
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Hello all.....yes I'm still here....What is that you say? Yes I have been gone awhile, and I must apologize for my absence. This year some other projects have taken me away from the blog and from focusing fully on Lily P. Studio. This has been and is continuing to be a year of learning for me. Learning to weed out the distractions in my life....that I only have so much time and I can't stretch in all directions. Learning to trust the Lord and the path he wants me to follow...and learning that he wants happiness for me, and if I would just stop digging in my heels, he would gladly take my hand along that path and show me the way. The past few months have also brought me this gorgeous little blessing...Maricopa-Newborn-Photograph.jpgShe has been so much fun. I'll post more about her soon. She has brought so much joy to our family and her personality is getting so fun! She has brought me a fresh outlook on life....reinvigorated my passion for the things I love.....and brought out the girliness in me that was buried under dinosaurs, scraped knees and Lightning McQueen. I can't walk into any store that has a baby girl's section and get away without falling prey to some devilish pink and sparkly temptation! 

Sooo.... I'm back and so excited to focus on photography. I have some fun projects in store, as well as a collaboration with my talented sister and stylist, Lisa to bring you some fun fall sessions. So stay tuned!

Robyn says:

Yahoo! So glad you are back and doing well. My goodness, that is one pretty baby. I wonder sometimes if there is any girliness in me anywhere :).

(09.13.11 @ 08:07 AM)
Shalee says:

Glad your back.I've been wanting to see pictures of cassidy. She is darling. You need to get on my blog, I try to post a lot so my family and friends from a far can keep up. Miss you, love you.. Glad your getting to do some girly things now.

(09.13.11 @ 02:24 PM)
Aunt Robyn says:

Your little one is so beautiful. Little girls are so fun to have. Can't wait to get to see her. Hope life keeps getting better and better for you guys and so happy you are back on the blog..aunt robyn

(09.13.11 @ 06:59 PM)
Holly says:

I am so glad you are back too! I had been wanting to see a picture of your little cutie! I understand a little too well about the devilish girly temptations at every store. My husband always threatens me before I go out, but it never works out in his favor. :)

(09.14.11 @ 07:00 AM)
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I love springtime. Here in Arizona, most of the winter season feels like spring, so I'm not going to complain about the winter here at all. We'll be heading into the sweltering heat of summer before we know it, and I've got a nasty sunburn from this weekend to give me a taste of what summer will bring. But for now, we are enjoying spring here. This week, we planted two gardens. Yes, you heard me, two. We get the fantastic opportunity to participate in a community garden, and just planted our little plot last weekend. We participated in the garden last year, (I have months worth of images that really wanted to be blogged last year, but just didn't make it) and I looked forward to my time in the dirt every weekend. Here is the start of our garden last year.

_MG_1394.jpg_MG_1382.jpgWe went into the garden with very low expectations. We had no idea just how successful our garden would be. 

_MG_2700.jpg_MG_2721.jpgWe ended up with the most gigantic zuccini and squash that I have ever seen, more tomatoes than I knew what to do with, and a love for gardening that I definitely did not expect.

_MG_2726.jpg_MG_2739.jpg It was like therapy for me to go out each week and weed and harvest. I looooved it. So this year, I decided that one garden just wouldn't be enough. Yeah, I'm reallllly lame, and need a little plot here at the house too. We don't have much room, but I'm carving out a little space between our house and block wall.

We took some of what we learned at the garden last year, and changed things up some. We planted less zuccini and squash (I don't know that many zuccini recipes!) and branched out to try some other vegetables, like carrots and bell peppers. We discovered that we hate, hate, hate armenian cucumbers, so we are switching those out for a different variety, and trying a few different types of tomatoes, rather than having 6 cherry tomato plants.

For our home garden, I'm trying for some herbs, carrots, spinach and a salad mix (though I think the summer heat will kill them too early, but I'm an optimist). I'm also trying pumpkin at home, so we'll see how that goes. Cooper and I decided to try and grow our seeds in little dirt pots in the house (don't ask me why cause I have no good answer other than we thought it would be fun). Here is our little garden now, complete with the list of which plants are which.


It has been really fun to check on the seeds from time to time during our day, and see the progress. These are less than a week old.

We have our salad mix




_MG_0291.jpgSpinach (though it looks a lot like onions in its infancy so I could've goofed)


_MG_0292.jpgsweet basil


_MG_0317.jpgwhite pumpkins (I really hope these guys make it, I have visions of a beautiful centerpiece at thanksgiving)


_MG_0334.jpgonions (allegedly, I think they just look like tiny salad prongs right now)


_MG_0354.jpgand watermelon


_MG_0358.jpgThe rest are hopefully growing too! We'll see how we do, and how our little garden experiment shapes up. We already have some mint and strawberries growing out in pots in the back. Mint juleps (disney style- have you tried them? you should.) are on the menu later this week, so we're looking forward to pinching some leaves off for a garnish.

Really, even if nothing were to be edible, I wouldn't care. Going out with Cooper and working in the dirt somehow makes me feel happy. I think I'm going to go play in the dirt now.

If you have a garden, I'd love to hear what you are planting. And if you have any tips, send em my way!



Robyn says:

You even make dirt look beautiful!

(03.22.10 @ 09:47 PM)
gina says:

serious, how do you make dirt look beautiful? i love your garden...

(03.24.10 @ 01:00 AM)
Christina says:

I love gardening. And your little seedings are wonderful and beautiful. Here is a helpful tip for when you transplant them. Make some manure tea and spray them down with it as soon as they are settled into there new home. This helps them to fight off disease, that is caused by bruising while you are transplanting. Gardening is one of my most favorite things. :O)

(03.29.10 @ 11:00 AM)
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When I planned and created this blog, and the direction that Lily P. Studio would take this year, I hoped to get everything wrapped up and running smoothly very quickly. As I've learned over and over throughout my life, my timetable is rarely the one that ends up being reality. This short span into the new year has been more than a little unpredictable, in both good and bad ways. I surely didnt' plan on debuting my lovely new blog, only to leave it idle for weeks if not months. This past week has been challenging personally for my family, and I am reminded that life does not work on our timetable.... that we can allow ourselves to be swept up, and give ourselves permission to speed up and slow down with its ebbs and flows. So I'm letting myself go to the flow of life, at least for now. I had a mini session today with a young lady I have photographed since Lily P. Studio opened our doors. I was a little bit down today, and she was just the pick me up I needed. At the end of the session, as we drove back to my house, she sang Annie's "The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow"  and as I sang with her (a little bit off tune, but that's o.k.) my heart sang with her, and I was reminded that no matter what today becomes, tomorrow is a new day, and the sun always comes up. Thank you, Emily, for that little reminder. _MG_8547.jpg

Lisa says:

Beautiful picture Cin. She looks like an angel!
Love you, Lis

(03.17.10 @ 11:08 PM)
Christina says:

Georgous as always Cindy!

(03.18.10 @ 10:08 PM)
KCW says:

Oh Cindy, you are a true artist.

(03.21.10 @ 10:13 PM)
Jana says:

Cindy, you are amazing! WIsh you lived closer to me...

(03.22.10 @ 05:43 AM)
gina says:

i love this post... she's beautiful and the sun WILL come up tomorrow!!

(03.24.10 @ 01:01 AM)
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