Montreal Storytelling Photography
I mentioned previously that, in the fall of 2014, I was enrolled in Molly Flanagan’s Visual Storytelling class at the The Define School, and, without exaggeration, it completely transformed my photography for me. It made me better able to pinpoint the kind of photography that speaks to me and what I want to document, not only for my own family, but for my clients, as well.
Soon after that class ended, an international group of alumni from the class banded together to form Sham of the Perfect. Spearheaded by Erika Roa, Lacey Monroe, and Natasha Kelly, the group’s mission was and remains to shed light on what real life beauty is, rather than the images of perfection we are bombarded with in family photography. The project has resonated with so many, and the community around this initiative has grown beyond our wildest dreams. As a result, 2016 has even bigger and better things to come. I am so glad to get to be a part of it for another year. If you aren’t already, I hope you follow along with us on Facebook, Instagram, and the blog. You can find the links to the other collective members’ compilations at the end of this post.
There were some weeks I was very prolific, stuck with the wonderful dilemma of having to choose a single photo to submit among a selection of favourite images from the previous days. More times than not, though, there were weeks when I had nothing, when I dreaded picking up my camera, when the light was bad, when the kids were about to go to bed, and the submission deadline was hours away. Somehow, though, I would be able to find something to photograph. In a way, those photos could be considered among my greatest successes because I was able to find something worth documenting, despite having had a crappy day, living through a never-ending home construction project, having lost a loved one, or just not in the mood.
As I put together this post, it’s really overwhelming to see my weekly submissions in a single series. 52 images. I managed to document a year in our imperfect lives, during possibly one of the busiest and most challenging years to date. If I could do it during 2015, there’s no reason why I can’t push myself every year. This project has made me more accountable as a family documentarian, made me question what “authentic family photography” means to me, and has forced me to become a better observer. There is always something worth photographing in our crazy, ugly, magnificently chaotic lives. As Bill Cunningham said, “He who seeks beauty will find it.”
Thank you to my Sham of The Perfect friends. I am so, so grateful to be included among such incredible photographers, and feel really proud of what we have created together. xo
To see the 2015 compilation posts of the other members of the Sham of The Perfect collective: