The launch of Berkshire, our new line of easy, East-y, can-we-please-just-have-one-more-summer-getaway dresses is just a few days away! And to get us in that East Coast frame of mind, today we are pleased to welcome Shawni Pothier, of 71 toes, a photographer, mother and advocate extraordinaire. Shawni will be with us all week, so strap in and get ready for a rocking good time!
When I sit down to think about it, I’m not really sure what, exactly, brought on my head-over-heels addiction to photography.
Maybe it was my memory. You see, it has always been bad enough that I felt like I must have a photo of things to really grasp them before they slip quietly out of my brain never to be remembered. To me, a photo is like a safety-net holding on to those things I cherish most in life.
Or maybe it’s the love of beauty my nature-loving parents instilled into each of their children. I see the beauty of things around me that takes my breath away, and right then and there I am on a quest to capture it. Much to the chagrin of my children, I just can’t let that perfect slant of the sun on a field in the evening go.
Or maybe it was simply the birth of my first child. After waiting my whole life to become a Mother, I wasn’t about to let his newborn-ness or his first smiles slip into the past without lassoing them first with the help of my camera. As his tall, teenager self stands before me today I thank my lucky stars I have him “bottled up” to a certain degree when he was my baby.
Yes, there are many reasons to love photography. Probably the most over-arching one, to me, that takes all these “maybes” into account, is that photography can capture moments.
And I’m all about moments.
The moment in time when my daughter could only run if her tongue was stretched down to her chin, somehow seeming to catapult her forward. Or that moment when a newborn soothes herself by clutching the side of her face, or all those moments when children seem to magically bond…their smiles connecting their hearts as they interact.
Somehow my love of photography swept me into doing family photography.
One wonderful lady had seen my passion for it and asked me to photograph her son’s wedding reception. Me??? I asked her incredulously? But it made my heart race with adrenalin that felt good, and pulled me into the world of capturing moments in other families. It gave me such a rush to see those families show up at our designated locations all dressed to the nines. I knew exactly what it took for that mom to get those children napped and fed and scrubbed clean and there on time (I was a mom, after all.) My heart raced as I got into my zone of capturing the “here and now”…the moments…those relationships that even tomorrow would morph into something different.
At the birth of my fifth child I was full-swing into my photography business. As much as I loved it, I felt it pulling me away from my family more than I wanted. All I ever wanted from the time I was a little girl was to be a Mother, and although I had been able to juggle things OK until then, I felt a nagging worry that my balance was getting a little out of whack.
But I continued bulldozing ahead with the things that swirled around in my life until one day when, after a series of worries and tests and doctor visits, my baby was diagnosed with a rare genetic syndrome, one that was going to take a lot more of my time, and my heart to help her and my family deal with.
Something had to give. I couldn’t keep up. And reluctantly I had to let professional photography go. Part of me mourned for a long time after that. I loved the rush of adrenaline photography gave me. It pushed me to do something hard, and there’s a great reward in that. But of course, my family came first (leaps and bounds first) and I knew it was the right decision to put photography in the back seat for a while.
Even though capturing other families’ moments is gone for now (some day I’ll take it up again), my family moments are still prominently playing before my eyes. And the world stretches out its glory before me every day. Yes, there are still countless things to photograph.
And I love to seek them out.