February 27, 2012

the secret ingredient.

The kitchen is warm and cozy and I offer to make eggs, pulling the carton out of the fridge and cracking one, two, ten eggs into the bowl. The shells find a place in an empty pan and the silver whisk turns in my fingers. I sprinkle the salt and add a dash of pepper, and then add the secret. A smidge of sugar. I was making eggs and my mom said, "wait! you don't know the secret." So she whispered it to me and I laughed and she laughed and we laughed together.

"Is that what makes them fluffy?" I ask, half-jokingly. She laughs again and shakes her head. "Yes. And no. I don't know what it does -- probably nothing, but that's how my grandpa made them. That's how we make scrambled eggs." She says it likes its the surest thing in the world and somehow, it makes such perfect sense that all I can do is add a pinch more sugar.

Because that's how my great-grandpa did it. That's how my grandpa does it. That's how my mom does it. That's how I do it. That's just how we do it -- my family and me. It's these traditions that truly make life sweet; these way-we-do-its passed down that separate the ordinary from the special. Food sometimes is an anchor to our past, and in this case, I can see my mom, young and wide-eyed with her grandpa in the kitchen. Him leaning down and saying, "now here's the secret."

The little things like remembering that her grandpa always made scrambled eggs with a pinch of sugar are the memories that we hold onto. And maybe, just maybe, it's the reason why homecooked meals tastes the best. They may not always be restaurant quality, but there's something about them that that's better than the fare of kings. They have memories and traditions baked into them that no restaurant can ever hope to come close to.

We all have our secret ingredients. This is one of mine.

February 25, 2012

Photographer of People // Interview with Tim Coulson.

I stumbled onto Tim Coulson's site almost a year ago. Since then, I've fallen in love with the raw and genuine images he makes. His photos celebrate family, life, love, and the little things. I think you're going to like him. Oh, and did I mention the Coulson family is going to get a little bigger? His wife Kesh (you'll like her too) is pregnant with their first. I have a feeling the baby is going to be just as awesome as its parents.

Share a little about yourself + family + life.

I live in Australia, on the South Coast of New South Wales, in a tiny beach side town. Our numbers swell in summer, when the city folk travel to our beaches. I like the colder months, where it's just us and our village. I live with my beautiful wife, in a house we painted black. In a few short months Kesh will give birth to our first child. I will be a father, and Kesh a mother. And we can't wait.

I have a Bachelor of Management with a double major in Marketing and Human Resources. I worked in the Marketing industry (primarily in fashion) for five years. I then took a more traditional Marketing role with a large company. It was a job I disliked very much. I quit and decided to become a photographer because that's what I really wanted to be. With Kesh's support, we sold our house and have been taking photos ever since. That was 18 months ago.

How did you get into photography?

I worked in and around photography for a few years in my role in the Marketing team at General Pants Co. As part of my role, I was encouraged to look at all kinds of photography. The Sartorialist was a massive influence for me and I actually started out doing street fashion photography. Unfortunately, I was too shy and it didn't last long.

I left General Pants Co. for another Marketing role in a bigger company who offered to pay me a lot of money. I realised quickly that this job did not fulfil me - at all. I would get depressed on Sunday afternoons, just thinking about going back on Monday.

It was at this time I evaluated my life in it's entirety and realised I needed to do something that I loved, something that I was passionate about. Kesh and I filled our blackboard wall with a list of all my possible career paths. Photography was number one on the list.

What's your favorite part about being a photographer?

I love that I can help people see. I love that I can show them things that were already there, even though they hadn't seen it - not the way I see it, anyway.

What do you hope to convey with your work?

I look for beauty and love in everything I shoot. And I promise you, it's always there.

If you could start your photography journey over, what would you do differently?

I would have believed in myself earlier. People around me recognised my talent but I didn't. I still struggle with it at times.

Best tip for an aspiring photographer?

Want it more than anything. And take action based on that, every single day.

Pretty rad, right? You can check out his images on his blog, like him on facebook, and follow him on twitter. Also, make sure to give Kesh a follow too, and check out the crazy beautiful maternity series they've been doing. And one more thing -- leave a comment and say hello to the man behind the camera!

Thanks so much Tim!
all images in this post by Tim Coulson.

February 23, 2012

making art that matters.

I've been working on intentionality in all areas of my life. What I do, what I eat, how my time is spent, what I say, what I don't say, what I write, what I watch, what I read, what I listen to, and lately, what I shoot.

Instead of just snapping away, I've been purposeful with my images. Taking time to study the composition, the light, the moment. I've noticed a lack of purpose, direction, and inspiration in my work. But through being intentional, I've found my vision again and have been so inspired. I've fallen in love with photography all over again and remembered the reasons why I started shooting in the first place. To celebrate life and the beautiful, ordinary moments and things that we miss in the everyday, to be a documenter of love, and to create art that is meaningful. That has depth. That is authentic and genuinely matters.

I've started to see the things I've missed while blindly taking photos and hoping for a good one. Details, moments, the way Eli leans into my mom when he gives her a hug, how Sam's feet hang crossed over the back of the chair, the light falling in the house as the sun sets, steam from supper curling over the stove.

Photography is just like any other art -- it's a craft that has to be practiced. Like painting, writing, singing, dancing, cooking, playing guitar, and so on, you have to allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes. Because the freedom to make mistakes fuels you and brings growth. Oftentimes a mistake or missed shot lends itself to the knowledge and vision of the next image you're going to make.

It's not about the camera, the lens, the editing program, the degree, or whatnot. It's about your vision and your eye, the only thing that is uniquely yours. Why do you take a picture? What do you see in an image that makes your heart sing? What about the photo speaks to you? Why do you do what you do? If you could only take one photo, what would it be? What do you want to communicate with your work? And what is your favorite thing about photography?

Ask yourself these questions -- it's so good to be refreshed. Be intentional with how you take pictures. Probe deeper and look harder and remember why you started taking photos in the first place. Then go and make photos with purpose. I guarantee you'll be inspired and fall in love with photography all over again. But don't shoot like someone else. Shoot like you. Take the picture because you like it, because you see potential in it, because you want to remember. Take the picture because it's your vision, not anyone else's.

For me, I take photos because I want to remember. I want to celebrate the everyday and the beauty that is found in the ordinary. I've got a new project that I can't wait to share with you all, and I have so much more I want to say, but for now, a few shots from the last few days. I'm really proud of this set.

"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph." – Matt Hardy

"You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper." – William Albert Allard
(and okay. haa. this turned it a lot longer post than I originally planned. I've been mulling some things over lately, and this is just the beginning of my thoughts. you were warned. ;)