I just spent the last hour sitting on the deck with sunshine pouring around me, steeping my little jacket free self in the possibility of March. There is something about all of this snow bounce white light and blue sky that fills me with potential.
No better a time to share with you one delicious creative conversation my friend Jen Long sat down to have with me. She inspires me with her graceful balance of a thriving photography career alongside a vibrant family life. She is one of those women that when they arrive in your life, you instantly know you have found a bit of your soul and you have been sisters many times before.
1. What is creativity to you? What does your creative process feel like?
Most of my creativity takes place in just noticing and appreciating.
It’s the rainbow of light appearing in the steam. The calm and flood of love so palpable when a mama looks at her child. That sparkly giddy energy created when I ask two people in love to share a kiss for a photograph. I think being creative is all about how we look at our wonderful lives. I take those feelings with me into editing, recreating what I felt and what was communicated in those moments. I feel humbled and ecstatic to document the love, the connection, and the joy in someone's precious life!
2. How has your life changed since deciding to pursue making a living from being creative?
It is a lot more hectic! Like most mothers, I am always trying to find the balance between my family and my work. Most of the time, for me, it means a lot of coffee-driven late night or early morning editing. But the freedom is wonderful, and the ability to create for a living is fulfilling.
3. Describe what inspires your art making:
Life - the real, messy, love-filled, joyous, passionate behind the scenes life. And light.... ah, the magic of sunshine!
4. What are you working on these days?
Gaining a new client base! My husband and I recently moved our little family to the wonderful state of Colorado, and it’s like starting all over again! Its serious work to market and find a whole new client base. Another fun project I've been dabbling in is combing sound from the sessions with the photography stills. My brother is an incredible sound designer, and we've been working on combining our two mediums.
5. What do you love most about where you are now in the experience of living your creative dream?
I love my clients. I love the connection and trust that grows during a session. I mean, how cool and unusual is it to stare at another human being for over an hour? I get to witness their humanity, their insecurities, their love, their joy! It’s a huge honor to be given that opportunity and level of trust.
6. What do you intend for your creative business in 2011?
I'd love to move into a studio - with a lot of natural light!
7. What words of wisdom would you share with other artists pioneering a similar path?
Stay true to your vision. Learn your camera. Don't undercharge - you are not only selling yourself short, but you are short-changing the entire industry.
8. Please list (9) good things that came from following your bliss:
1. Working from home (mostly) - I love that I can stay home with my kiddos.
2. Freedom - being my own boss is beyond wonderful!
3. A sense of wholeness that comes with fulfilling my need to create
4. Confidence in myself... starting a business and sticking with it
through the hard times really is an accomplishment - I am proud of myself!
5. Connection with others - I love meeting and connecting with others on a deep level.
6. Creating happiness - it is the best feeling to get replies from
clients that are moved to tears when they look at the set of images from their session!
7. Being out in nature - being an open-air photographer is a wonderful thing for a nature lover!
8. Meeting and connecting with other artists!
9. Knowing I will never have to wonder, "What if I would have followed my dream to be a photographer..."!
(*) All images courtesy of Jen Long Photography