Beth Jennings – The Journey Captured » I capture the journey of people in their personal and professional lives. I teach amateur photographers how to capture their life in beautiful photos. Photography, Melbourne Photographer, Photography Workshops, dSLR Camera Workshops, Creative Camera Course, Photo Course Melbourne, Camera Class Melbourne

Inspiration

The world is a playground, wouldn’t you agree? I’m blessed to have travelled (a lot) and been able to use photography to keep alive the memories of all the amazing places I’ve been to. Without my camera, I’m sure a lot would slowly be forgotten over time, even though when it happened, I swore I’d never forget…

Why do we forget? Because we’re busy. We’re running madly around trying to be all things to all men. Paying off mortgages, keeping the wife/hubby happy, putting food on the table, getting the kids off to school on time, keeping the house clean….we’re rushing around so madly just trying to keep up…that we forget the details. We swear we’ll never forget but we often do.

Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this.

This is my sister Heather, pregnant with her first baby, with hubby Darren, enjoying their summer weekend away by the Murrumbidgee River on their holiday property called The Hut.

When the bump became my niece Lauren, time stood still for my family. I’d been in my sister’s wedding which had been a momentous family occasion and of course we had professional pictures taken. When I went to meet Lauren in the hospital, everyone was there and I thought it would be a nice idea to take my camera.  After I got the pictures back from the lab, I noticed that I’d documented the wonderment and newness and tiredness and scrumminess. I didn’t even dream of doing a ‘family portrait’ with fake smiles and contrived poses.  Everyone was just so buggared and preoccupied with the baby. Luckily, the memories won’t slip away into a dreamy fog, because we’ll always have the actual moments in our hands to look at, any time we want.

A few months later I went overseas for two years. Lauren turned into a gorgeous little toddler with beautiful curls and ripe red tomato cheeks.  When I came back, my nephew Angus had just arrived.  Our wonderful little man that needed a brace for three months for his clicky hips. His first days at home and I went in for the photo hunt straight away. Again another baby, and anything goes in terms of what I was going to capture – you can hardly tell a baby to smile.

Then, something happened…something magical that led to the birth of Your Family Story.

Literally, during this photo session, I had these thoughts flying though my head…what’s happening herewhat am I really doing hereit’s like I’m watching a live movie and hitting pause on the special moments….what is this, it happened with Lauren at the hospital too. I was a documentarian to these very real family moments. In doing it periodically I was literally photographing chapters in their on-going, real life story. I thought, it’s like… I’m photographing… their family story. And thus, Your Family Story was born.

I’m a cry baby. I cry at weddings, I feel things, I was always a sensitive child much to my mother’s consternation.  For some reason, my heart responds to other people’s stuff. I went to my friend’s mother’s funeral. I’d never even met the woman and here’s Beth blubbering away at the back of the church…oh, I’m a shocker sometimes. What I’m saying is, I think it’s in my DNA to do this work. I find family connections infinitely fascinating, and photography is the perfect vehicle to express what I find.

So here we come to the present moment. And you’ve discovered that Your Family Story is very close to my heart. My eye sees but my heart captures the special moments.  And trust me, those special moments, they’re going on all the time. You probably think those lovely little happenings are just ordinary moments, but in my experience they are the most extraordinary.  Why? Because they are uniquely yours.  No-one else can share and experience that special stuff that only exists in your family.

I love it when a family takes time out to literally, just, be together, and to invite me along to document the real live moments. Because when you come to the end of your life, I believe it’s those special moments and connections that you’ll try really hard to remember.

When I photograph your family, I’ll tell you to focus on your family, not the camera.
When I photograph your family, I’ll ask you to let me be a part of the family, just for a couple of hours.
When I photograph your family, I’ll only create lasting images that amaze you and leave you feeling proud of what’s most important to you: your family.

B

PS The story continues…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trish - April 4, 2010 - 8:47 am

The Family Story project has been an incredible journey for us, not just in documenting our childrens’ lives, but in discovering the pure enjoyment from having beautiful images framed and up on the walls. I think we always hoped we would one day have a house with walls covered in some kind of art, but we never really considered the impact of photographs.

Every person who comes to our house for the first time is drawn in by Beth’s pictures on our walls. They are art, there’s no question about it, and I think they’re the most valuable things we own in terms of their significance and importance in our lives. I never tire of looking at them, of seeing my children at different stages in their lives. And not just their smiling faces, but the way they moved or stood or laughed back then. Beth has truly captured exactly who they are, and she managed to do that right from the beginning, when she hardly knew them.

I think that’s what I love about the style of picture Beth takes; she doesn’t direct them at all in front of the lens, she just sits and watches and waits for the moment when she sees they’ve forgotten that she’s there, and away she goes. I know that might sound like a technique that anyone could master but I don’t believe it is. I think Beth has a wonderful gift for reading people, and for seeing the bits of them that are most real. It really is quite a talent. And she’s pretty handy with her camera 😉 Quite the killer combination.

The only thing I would say to you before you book your Family Story session with Beth – make sure you’ve got plenty of space to hang all the pictures.

Beth Jennings - April 4, 2010 - 12:19 pm

Trish, that has truly floored me! Thanks so much for your comments. This means a lot to me, it really does. Nobody could vouch for the accuracy of the images of your children but you, and you’ve said it so succintly. Yes, I do sit back and wait, and I don’t direct people but it’s also not a watching game, it seems to sit comfortably somewhere in the middle. Somehow that seems to work doesn’t it?

A number of years went by and then I was back in your house and saw the original set on the wall…what a rewarding feeling that gave me, to know that every day you are getting value from your images. It was so nice also to see them as they were intended, up on the wall, beautifully framed and being enjoyed every day.

B

Trish - April 4, 2010 - 11:50 pm

One day (soon) we’re going to design a house from scratch, and the brief to the architect will include a note about making space for your pictures. And then we will hire a professional picture-hanger-upperer to come and hang them for us. They’re a bit higgelty-piggelty around our house at the moment, and the triptych in the dining room is completely out of alignment which feels dreadfully disrespectful!

Beth Jennings - April 5, 2010 - 1:42 am

That’s good to know actually, well, not the part about everything being out of alignment, but the part about consulting a professional picture hanger person. That might be worth building into the service. I can’t do that myself, but there are certainly people out there that can….thanks Trish, very helpful indeed!
B