It feels like I’ve been trying to tell this story for a long time but can never quite get it right. It’s never been very exposed – it’s been true but not really real if you know what I mean. This is my attempt at making it real so here goes.
I’ve loved photography since I was very young. The first image I took was of a crystal bowl when I was about 5 because I liked the rainbow colours it created. My mum didn’t agree with me and was angry that I wasted film. Waste was definitely not ok, however, in this day and age where everything is disposable and the environment desperately needs it not to be I’m glad she tried to instil not being wasteful in me. My mum is from Hong Kong but spent most of her youth in China. She had a very difficult life growing up – nothing most of you could imagine. If you’ve ever read Wild Swans by Jung Chang you’d understand. Her story could easily have been in that book. I love that book by the way.
There were lots of cultural divides as I was growing up and lost in translation moments. It wasn’t a thing back then to teach your children foreign languages like it is now so unfortunately although we love each other we’ve never really been able to have real conversations which had it’s frustrations for both of us. She was able to easily converse with my older half-siblings. They lived in HK and moved to North Dakota in the US where I grew up when I was 5. They are lovely and always tried to include me but inevitably I would get ignored and spoken about rather than spoken to so I often felt like an outsider. I think this is part of why I love photographing families. In some ways I’ve always been the outsider looking in. Being included and feeling as though I belonged and was loved is something I longed for so when I see that genuine affection and interaction between families I want to capture it and give it back to people so they can see the love they have for each other. It’s easy to take for granted so you need that reminder sometimes. Looking back maybe what I really needed was someone else taking the pictures and showing me what I did have rather than what I didn’t. Sure we have many photo albums of us on holidays all posed and smiling at the camera which mum worked very hard to put together - don’t get me wrong I love those too especially physically being able to flip through it and knowing mum put them in one by one but I’m talking about those moments in between. Some of them weren’t great moments but some of them were and those raw moments are truly the most beautiful. I needed to see that.
I now have my own children – my gorgeous boys, Ty and Blake, who are such an inspiration. Who knew you could love someone so much and have them change so quickly. I’m reading Mia Freedman’s book Work Strife Balance. She comments on her own children and how her son is one of her closest friends now. She says she loves him dearly but that little boy is gone now. He’s a different person – she loves them both and every changed little person he was and has become. I think there’s a solid little personality that’s always there throughout but yes my little boys will be gone one day and two little teenagers and then two men will replace them. I make sure I show them how much I love them every day and document them as much as possible! I still need time to myself though and need to recharge so I can be the best I can be. I hope to teach them to love and respect themselves and others around them – especially women. I have experienced discrimination as I’m sure just about any woman reading this has too so I don’t want them to be that guy – I want to teach them to be better, to contribute to the world becoming a better place for everyone.
I like to chat and catch up with friends but I’m generally not the one at the dinner party doing all the talking. I prefer smaller groups - then you’ll see me chatting away. I really like that time with people so I can really get to know them. That’s why I’m really in my element working in intimate environments with families and newborns.
That’s it for now lovely people. I’ll talk about past work experiences and starting my business in my next post . . .