Healing Through Photography
Greg and I have no problem getting pregnant at all. The doctor told me what they tell a lot of people when you're almost 40. They're like, "Now, this could take some time "and we don't want you to panic "about how much time it can take." Most people average a year, sometimes longer so whenever you're thinking about starting a family, you can just like start trying. Greg and I got legally married in December 21st and then we had our wedding in Puerto Rico, January 2nd. So the evening of December 21st, we just pulled the goalie, so to speak, and didn't think anything of it coz whatever. Then we go to Puerto Rico and have a very good time, a really good time where I might have had a few cocktails at our New Year's Eve rehearsal dinner. I was having a really good time until I wasn't having a good time anymore. We get home from our wedding and I'm late and I said, "There's no way I'm pregnant." and I've taken tests before but Greg never had so I pee on it and then he's just staring at it an...
d me. I said, "It takes like three minutes! "Just let it come up." and he just kept staring at it and looking at it and looking at me and it and then he would be like, "Ooh." and I was like, "It's been 45 seconds. "Doesn't have the results yet." Three minutes later, he just puts it down on the table. He's like, "I think you need to go look at that." and it was positive and I was in shock. I was like, "No one tells you the first time! "They only tell you it will happen the first time "when you're 16 and they don't want you to be having sex. "This does not happen when you're almost "the first time you try." That pregnancy didn't end up sticking but looking back, I'm not really shocked that that pregnancy didn't go according to plan. I partied pretty hard but we knew that we could get pregnant so we tried again and every time we tried, we got pregnant. Like every time. This is my fifth pregnancy in a year and a half but we couldn't get it to stick and so we were working with the doctors to figure it out and we thought we got it to stick in April and I got to about nine weeks and we got our ultrasound coz I had started bleeding and it looked like it was an empty sac, a missed miscarriage if anybody's had one or knows what that is. So it means like you got pregnant, it implanted but then something happened and the embryo didn't go. So it didn't keep growing. This was two days before we were leaving for Europe for eight weeks and they said, "You have two choices. "You can go get a DNC "which is gonna cost you $9, "coz we were out of state and we have to put you under "and it's gonna take a day to recover "or we can just give you this pill for $10." and I said, "We'll go with the pill." So I took the pill and we left for France and the miscarriage started but anyone that's had one with a missed miscarriage, you need what's called the sac to come out and that's the worry if you take a pill to have the miscarriage because if the sac doesn't come out, then you have to go to the hospital and infection and whatever. So I was really worried about the sac not coming out and I kept messaging my friend too, "Am I gonna know when the sac is out?" She's like, "I promise, you'll know." We're at the Eiffel Tower and I feel something that doesn't feel normal and I just say I have to go to the bathroom. Well, the only bathroom available is in the underground public bathroom underneath the Eiffel Tower. I'm wearing a long skirt and there's just like the United Nations of urine on the floor like an inch and lots of women and I get into the one stall that doesn't lock and if most of you women. Our poor man guy, he deals with urinals but have you ever done the like holding the door like this and trying to pee? Okay so I get in there. I have a big bag and something is happened down here and the door won't stay shut so I am propping my hip here, I've got this big bag, and I'm like, "What am I gonna do with my skirt? "Oh, I'll put it in my mouth!" and then I'm like, "That is a lot of people's pee in my mouth right now." and I'm like trying to take care of it and it's definitely the sac that's come out and my only thought is, "I really wanna take a picture of this." and then I was like, "Should my husband be in here with me? "I don't know what I should be doing." It was a big mess. So afterwards, I get down and the sac is out. We need to go. So we left and I've never gone through depression. I've had some rough down times but I've never experienced actual depression and I went through post-partum because my number is really high and so no one warned me that if your numbers drop just like if you have a baby, sometimes you can get post-partum so I was extremely depressed for a good three weeks until most of the hormones got out of my body. The whole point of telling you this is I decided to use photography to help heal me through this process emotionally coz I wasn't near my doctor so I couldn't get medication or anything, I just kinda had to deal with this and work everyday in Europe so whenever I had free time, I would start shooting on the street. I'm not a good street photographer at all but there were goals that I set for myself and I also noticed that what I do in family work was kinda coming through with my street work as well but I wanted to work on color theory and seen multiple colors come up in the same scene because you really can't control it at all and I was working with really interesting compositions while I'm traveling and just working on light and showing where I was but I also have a sense of humor on the street. I'm not as smart as Matt Stuart who is incredible or even Elliot Erwitt has done incredible things in the field but I was finding like my own way through this work and I was like still trying to find humor but I was working on also clean, straight line work. Some sets that I never had done before in my other work. Just like equally simple composition as well as complex composition and repetition. Here's some more color theory but I was noticing I was still drawn to the chaos, multiple things happening at the same time, using text to work with things that were happening and when you're doing street photography, you can use that a lot but it has to work. It really has to work. Getting close, I'm scared to get close with street photography but there's a class that was just on Ash Gilbertson. Is that his last name, Gilbertson?
Yeah, and I watched some of that and I really loved how he just actually asked permission. Not all street photographers do but he encourages asking permission. I was kind of getting close and "Is it alright if I take this picture?" and that was helping me get through my fears and also work out my emotional stuff. Homeless guy versus like a hotdog and getting really close to this girl shooting. Again like that simple composition. Since then, coming back, now I've noticed that that has influenced the new photos that I'm making. They're cleaner, they're even more deliberate, they're either more simple or more complex and it really helped me. This is one of my favorites. This is when things come together and I absolutely have no control over it but the complex versus the simple, color theory, getting close including the whole environment, these like clean, complex shooting at F16 type of photos that are really, really hard to make. Here's that idea of the using the text compared with what's happening, using the public, waiting for people to walk through, complex scenes with repetitive colors, then there's always just weird. Okay. The baby. So obviously I did finally figure out how to make it stick. Baby aspirin, anybody out there having a hard time, try baby aspirin. Greg and I disagree a lot but we don't really fight that often and I'm pretty chill but one day, I just was really mad at him. I have no idea why. To this day, if you ask me what we were fighting about, I have no idea but I was screaming at him and all of a sudden, I was like, "I'm going to a hotel for the night!" Okay, so I leave and I take the dog which really upset Greg and I get to the hotel and I go to take my seatbelt off and I'm like, "My nipple feels weird." and I was like, "There is no way that I'm pregnant again." coz I thought I had missed my cycle and I had already taken like 20 pregnancy tests three weeks before it, I was like, "There's no way I'm pregnant but I'll just go to CVS. "I'll pick up two different ones. "We'll see how it goes." I had like a dribble of pee that I could get on the stick and the minute it hit, it was positive. I was like, "That's why I'm in a hotel right now." and so I sent the picture to my husband and this was his response. (laughs) (audience laughing) Still have a sense of humor. I said, you want me to come home? He's like, "No! You stay in that hotel! "You just chill out, take a bath, drink some wine. "You come home tomorrow when you're feeling better "and then we'll call the doctor." and the beautiful thing is now, we have a baby on the way and it's healthy and active and I think by not stressing so much about my situation and just taking it as it is and allowing photography to heal me in a way to get me through it, it got me to a place where there was no stress and we kept problem solving until we figured it out and I was able to have a baby. I'm very grateful that I had that in my life to help me through because I didn't have any doctors to help me, I didn't have anything other than just me. I'm gonna work with my two ladies in a second but I wanna finish this up. Jackson gets asked this all the time. "Jackson, what do you wanna be when you grow up?" And usually, Jackson will be like, "A fireman!" or "An astronaut!" but Julie wrote me and said, "This is the funniest thing I've ever heard Jackson say." They were at a restaurant. Waitress is like, "Jackson what do you wanna be when you grow up?" and she goes, "I've never heard him say this before." but he said, "I'm not sure but whatever it is, "I hope I'm still awesome." and I want all of us to feel that way and to feel good about saying, "I'm awesome the way that I am." I want you to feel good about your work. My work is awesome as it is. Is it where I want it to be? No. But what's awesome is that I'm in the process of making it better and just like you guys are here to learn to make your photos better, I'm challenging myself to make my photos better because you always can get better. You can always learn and sometimes, the best place to start is within yourself to push yourself to make it better.