At the heart of my photography inspiration, and why I became a photographer is family. I am the youngest of 26 cousins (Yes, you read that right), so there was never gonna be any lining everyone up in nice poses with nice faces for a nice picture. Add to that the 35 children under 13 years old that my 26 cousins have had, and you have one marvelous party of chaos. It’s magical really.
The point being, a posed family portrait just wasn’t a thing. Plus, I didn’t like trying to corral a few people, let alone everyone in my family, so if I was going to get any good pictures, I had to learn to see the whole picture differently. My early pictures leave much to be desired, but it was in this rambunctious group that I learned to sit and watch, to just be in the background and wait for the moment to unfold before my lens.
My Photography Inspiration
In waiting for the moment to unfold before my lens, I began to see the power and simple beauty in the small moments of our lives. The longer I would sit and watch, the less I would like posed pictures. They kinda started to drive me nuts, actually. They weren’t real, they didn’t show real life, real moments. I wouldn’t have a name for it for years, but I was falling in love with documentary photography.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few times talking about what documentary photography is, what it isn’t and why it might be right for you. Today, I’m gonna share two of my favorite documentary photographers with you! I’m not going to share their work here, ‘cause it’s not mine to share.
When I stumbled across Kirsten’s work is probably when I first realized that documentary family photography is my thing. It’s what I’ve been doing all this time, and how I love to shoot. It’s real, raw, unscripted, hilarious and beautiful.
I became a fan of Rachel’s work for much of the same reason as Kirsten’s, but I also love the spunk and personality Rachel infuses in her work and brand. She’s probably my favorite creative that I follow.
What Inspires Me Most
The most wonderful thing about the above photographers’ work is that even in the same genre, it’s so different. Maybe that doesn’t seem novel to you, but I have had people say to me, “So and so is a documentary photographer, and your work doesn’t look the same.” Of course, it doesn’t! We’re different humans, we see the world differently! I love watching the work of Kirsten Lewis and Rachel Greiman as it inspires and challenges me to see a scene differently, to really just sit and be, and remember why I got into photography in the first place.