• Samantha Leon

Funny thing about being home for months, I lost my inspiration and confidence! How was that even possible? Photography has been at the forefront of my mind now for years. I grapple to learn everything I can, study every amazing photographer I come across and ask lengthy, albeit I'm sure some annoying questions from those I admire the most.

I enjoyed being home for awhile. As a self proclaimed introvert I often struggle with small talk and meeting new people. People are the lifeline of my business! My fears of all of that never materialize of course and everyone I have welcomed into my studio have been amazingly kind and often share my own fears. Some of my client have become friends and that I am so grateful for.

About a month after I had to close my studio, I walked into it and looked around and that yearning to create wasn't there. Could it just be from stress and anxiety over our current situation? My worry for those I love the most in the world? Totally possible. A few weeks later I looked through my portfolio and just felt I can do better, I need to work harder and learn more and practice more. I finally decided I needed to put someone in front of my camera and see how I feel. Luckily that same day I had several hours where just my daughter was alone with me, so I did what every tog-parent does: I bribed her! I offered loads of candy and a pretty dress to wear. She promptly sat down in the most 3 year old way possible and after some laughs she positioned herself as she loves to watch me work and with her "soft smiling face" as I always tell my children, I was able to capture her sweet face.

How beautiful is my Madeline? Yes, I'll always have my "mommy eyes" for her but her grace and joy I feel is so evident in this image. Her spunk and zest for life are some of the things I love the most about her. She came into this world 3.5 years after our son and she has made our family whole.

After working with her for about 30 minutes I felt my mojo come back. We all strive to do better and be better and I think that comes just from being human. If we all feel that we know everything and have nothing more to gain; that's when our work becomes stagnant. I feel that it is that way with most things in life. To be an expert, according to Malcom Gladwell, you need to practice and work for 10,000 hours. That quite possibly can be true! Although I think some areas in life require much more, like parenting!


So, I'm curious to know, those that have been home this whole time, what have you done to keep your mental health up and or your creative juices going? If you are struggling, know there are many of us who are feeling much the same and you aren't alone. It's ok to mourn the things we have lost or had to cancel. I now those that thrive on social interaction are struggling the most and I see you and hear you. Let me know in the comments how you are doing. Biggest virtual hugs!


Happy capturing,

SL

Updated: Jul 1

Friends,

Can we discuss goals, goal implementation and failing at those goals? I started this year with a BANG. I have over 15 draft blogs that I have set aside, ideas that I just need to put down and help this tiny business of mine grow. I had the hope of blogging at least once a week. Guys, I already failed! Can you believe that? I managed writing 2 fairly lengthly articles, went away to the WPPI conference for several days, had 3 sessions in the last week (yay!! ) and taking care of and watching over my poor sweet boy.

Well, what I realized this past month is that we may fail (or we may THINK we failed) at those goals but, we can always start over. Pick ourselves up and try again. For those that know me personally know I have a keen ability to get myself back on track. So here we are. A very short blog, but a blog!

My whole point of this is, if you need to hear that it is ok to take a step back, you will be able to stand back up and continue moving forward. That is the thing about time, it's always moving forward. Successful people and businesses are deciding as it may seem that they became successful overnight, but that is rarely if ever the case. We don't get to see the behind the scenes. In my case, late night editing, putting a child back to bed and continuing on with working knowing that this small piece of me is making a difference in people's lives. I am so passionate about what I do and I refuse to quit and you can't quit either! No matter what your goals are, simple and mundane to monotonous mountain high goals.

We got this, we are in it together.

Well, off to write some meaningful photography articles I go...


Until next time... happy capturing!

Samantha

To talk about print and wall art is such a close personal topic for me that I felt it would be necessary to write a rather lengthy blog post about it.

At the end of the article here I have added two images that have so much meaning in them. The images that I had printed and keep safe in this stunning folio box are of my two children, Theodore and Madeline. My son Teddy is holding the violin that belonged to my grandfather, Albert as a young boy. Albert worked so hard to purchase this violin for himself during a time when the country was struggling to feed those that lived in farm towns. My great grandparents provided the necessities for their children but, anything beyond that, my grandfather and his siblings had to pay for for themselves. To purchase this violin when he was just 15 years old, Albert got a job at a local grocery store in Madera and rode on his bike there and home every day after school. This violin ended up being one of his most prized possessions. It survived him leaving for WWII when he was very young, marrying my grandmother, having four children and many moves between California and Montana. When I was but a young girl, I found the violin case in my grandparent's closet and my grandfather excitedly opened it up to show me. At that time, sitting on the floor of their closet, he promised the violin to me when it was time. I had no idea what that meant, I just admired the case, the very old French box that he kept all this time that contained the resin for the bow and the love of my grandfather for me. When my grandfather passed away in 2015, I was so grateful that he had the opportunity to meet my son and they also had an immeasurable love for one another even with Teddy only being two years old. On what would have been my grandfather’s 100th birthday in October 2019, I explained to him what the day was and pulled out the violin to show Teddy that when he is an adult, it will one day be his. His eyes got wide with excitement and he was the one to ask to do something special for Great-Grandpa. We went into my studio and he hugged the violin with such emotion I gratefully was able to capture it in my studio. I have gotten this image printed on a beautiful canvas and it hangs in our new home. Unless you know the story behind it, you would just see a young boy with love on his face and a violin. I print my images and have many of my children around our house. With not having many images of my own father, I vowed to take many of my children to show them how loved and valued that they are… all of which small children cannot see behind a computer screen or on social media.


So many people have family portraits done each year, most photographers upload the images to a link, clients download them and stay on a computer with a hope that the computer will not die before they can have them printed. Many parents that I speak to about this topic often tell me they spent hundreds of dollars on images of their families to have lost them due to user error or technological failure. I myself have been victim of this. Although, can I really call it victim if it’s my own fault? No. After my dad passed away in 2008, I had bought a brand new Mac Book. I was so proud of it, I had worked so hard to purchase it. It had my LIFE on it. I went away on vacation in 2016, came home and promptly put the vacation images onto my computer and two weeks later it died. I cannot get it to charge and I lost everything. I didn’t back it up to the cloud or to an external hard drive, nor did I print many of my images. As heartbreaking as it is, I learned a valuable lesson on the importance of saving images and printing them through a professional lab.


My generation, the generation that created social media and are on computers longer each day than not. We snap images of our families or loved ones, upload the images and quickly forget about them. We don’t typically re-visit them unless an event such as a loss causes us to frantically find every image or video that we can and keep them safe. Studies have shown that we and our children will be the most photographed generations ever, however, those images will be lost along with our legacies.


This excellent article further explains my thoughts on this topic. If the internet collapsed, how would we access the cloud and our most important memories? Not to mention important documents that many companies urge and encourage consumers to upload to applications and websites.


The next image below is one that I took of my daughter last fall. In the image, she is holding a picture that my grandmother (my daughter’s namesake) had taken just after she married my grandfather. I work only with the finest professional labs, even my folio boxes shown below are from Poland as I could not find a lab here in the United States that met my quality standards. I had my grandmother’s picture printed on an archival paper by an amazing vendor that was able to preserve my grandmother’s handwriting. She wrote a note to my grandfather and gave it to him as he left for WWII. How amazing is that? Nearly 100 years later and her legacy will live on in my children. Her love for them was priceless and I’m so thankful I grew up with a family that taught me the importance of preserving our history. I'm sure many that if they knew would think I do go a bit overboard with sentimental items of my family. I just feel with how quickly life moves these days, we so often lose sight of things as simple as saving a card or two so we can remember someone's handwriting. I can't possibly be the only one with a recipe box? I actually made my aunt hand write one of my most favorite recipes this last Christmas so I'll have it forever. She could have easily emailed it to me, but how wonderful will it be to pull out my recipe box at the holidays and always have her with me?


I could talk about the importance of printed mediums, whether that is a framed archival print, deep framed canvas, or images in a preservation folio box, I will try to educate as many people as possible about this so they too will have a family legacy to leave. We get so caught up in the day to day, the struggle of schedules between work and family, we forget to take a step back and look at what we have right in front of us. We all (including myself) need to pause more often and breath in the blessings around us and capture our love for one another.


Happy capturing and until next time,

Samantha



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Fresno, California

Clovis, California

Located in Fig Garden Village

760 W. Shaw Ave Suite 104

Freno, California 93704

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