Thank you so much for stopping by. I will be taking 2018 as a creative sabbatical and will not be booking any clients for the year. I appreciate all of my wonderful and amazing clients and look forward to working with you in the future.
All my best, Pam
I had the great pleasure this past winter to work with an amazing calligraphic artist named Rachel Jacobson, who helped me design a new logo for my business. The process was fascinating to me, as she delved into why I wanted to bring a new look to my website. She asked many questions, and my own answers forced me to take a deep look at what I wish the blog to be and to become — a place not just to post sneak peeks, but to engage in conversation or to share what I’m thinking about, regardless of whether it has to do with photos or life in general. The resulting design she came up with couldn’t have been more perfect for me, and so here today, I’m introducing the new logo that will begin to infiltrate my work. The idea behind the new name for the blog “All The Little Wild Things” is that I want to encompass all of the crazy-beautiful-wild things about life; and in pictures, this covers everything in my mind from the tiniest littles to the high school seniors to the octogenarians I admire. I wanted a name for this other than my own name, as I feel that it gives me more freedom to express myself in a multitude of ways, so at some point in the very near future, you’ll begin to see the title “All The Little Wild Things” at the top of the blog page instead of my name alone.
I was chatting with a girlfriend of mine today, and we were talking about the amazing Anna Quindlen. How her words spoke to us 14 years ago when our children were babies, and how she has another book out titled Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. I haven’t yet read this one, but just bought it when she told me about it — she said it’s terrific, and I can’t wait to read it. In the meantime, this was one of our favorite columns of hers, and it still resonates. The take home message for me: Live in the moment. If you haven’t already read this essay, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. xo, pam
On Being A Mom by Anna Quindlen
“If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the blackbutton eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin. All my babies are gone now.
I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.
Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete.
Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.
What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations — what they taught me was that they couldn’t really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One boy is toilet trained at 3, his brother at 2.
When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing.
Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.
I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton’s wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk,too.
Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons.
What was I thinking?
But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.
Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I’d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.
The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That’s what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts.
It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.”
* * * * * * * *
Re-reading Anna Quindlen’s essay got me thinking about a couple of our favorite daily-life pictures, the ones that were truly in the moment snaps. This image is one of those that I love as a mom — my daughter just hanging out on the couch on a summer morning, the house already all closed up to keep out the heat. A glimpse of what our mornings often look like in the summer…..
And the image below is one of my favorite images of my older daughter, from a weekend trip to a cabin in the mountains. This is so perfect — so her — writing away, hanging out in her beautiful mind. Documenting these moments of our daily life, living in those moments — it’s precious to me.
Inspiration comes in many forms — a fantastic song, an unusual painting, the way an author says something that speaks to your heart, a powerful quote, the smile on your daughter’s face, a poignant image…….the list goes on. This winter, every day, I have been incredibly inspired by Montana’s natural beauty, by our landscape and the pale colors of the sky and although it’s been too long ago now, the heavy falling snow. And of course, it goes without saying, that I am constantly, always, and forever inspired by my daughters.
On one of those incredibly serene wintry days, my younger daughter and I went to play outside for a bit.
Everything was quiet down by the river, except the occasional gurgle of water flowing under the ice. It felt magical. I remember when I was a child (growing up not in Montana, but in South Carolina, mind you), and I would wake up in the middle of the night and look outside and see the moonlight falling across our yard, and I would be utterly convinced that it had snowed – I wished so hard for that magical snow to appear – but it was South Carolina, and that just didn’t happen very often. The three or four times that it did happen, I was ready to bounce off the walls and couldn’t wait to go out into it. Snow was sugar coated magic for me. It was the essence of wonder and joy cast into a perfect frozen flake. And that’s what my daughter and I felt the day that we went down to the river, the day she was my own little snow queen. It was magic. xo
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” -Victor Hugo
For me, photography is about many things, not the least of which are capturing the beauty of motion and light and feeling a moment in your heart in relation to the people you love. Expressing that emotion is a personal choice for each photographer (be it the professional or the amateur or the hobbyist) and how she or he chooses to light, frame, focus, and post-process the image. Often, such moments and choices converge in a way that excites me the second I click the shutter, but some of my favorite moments are also the subtler ones that evolve in a different way — like this one. She was twirling, moving around in a joyous dance to her own rhythm, and there was just color-and-light-and-happiness. xo
This is what I’ve needed lately……a little bit of snuggling with my own children. I’m always saying to other people that they should treasure those little stolen moments with their children, but I haven’t been stealing my own moments enough lately. So, one morning recently, my younger daughter and I had the laziest morning. We cuddled and talked….and took pictures….and had fun. Just for us. Do I look like a million bucks…….um, no. Do I love these pictures…….yes, more than anything. Why? Because we were having so much fun, and because this is us — this is what we do — and who and how we are. It was early in the morning, and no one else was awake, and I could soak in the smell of my sweet daughter’s kissable little cheeks, and I could listen to her darling little voice say, “Take another one, Mom….” So I did. And it was just this: pure love.
I spend a lot of time behind the camera, and not nearly as much in front of it. I want to look back when I’m old and see myself at this age with my girls, even if I’ve just woken up, haven’t brushed my hair, and maybe still have the lines of my pillowcase etched in my face. I’ve realized that I can’t wait until I look this way or that way; there is no perfect time — time is marching on, and we should exist in photos for our children. For us and for them.
If you can touch one person with something you can give or do, it makes a difference.
This is a copy of an email I received last night from a young woman in England (name removed for privacy). How my Freckles page reached her is amazing to me, and I was touched that she sent me this,
“Hello, i just saw your page about people with freckles, if this is the right person, i feel really inspired because im covered in freckles head to toe, and it makes me feel less beautiful then other people, thanks alot your page really made me smile!”
Wow. I’m honored that she took the time to let me know this.
So, on that note, to all of you who have something special you can do, I implore you to use that gift. Inspire others, give to those you don’t even know, and recognize beauty. Or as Garrison Keillor says, “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”