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Monday, June 3, 2013


My husband and I were talking the other day about how when you have children you just expect that they'll be miniature versions of you, and how you'll just love them because of that. And then as you have children, you realize that though they may carry some of your physical traits, and possibly some of your temperamental traits, they really are just individuals that you have to learn to work with in a very intimate way.

I remember when my sweet Sophia Louise was born. I looked at her and saw nothing familiar. It was the strangest feeling to me. With both of my boys before her, I felt somehow connected to them while they were still in the womb, and though I didn't "recognize" their facial features when they were born, I did feel like I recognized their spiritual features.

 When I was pregnant with Sophia I struggled with feeling that same connection with her in the womb. I feared that meant something was wrong, or that I wouldn't be connected to her throughout her life. So she was born and I stared at her with complete unfamiliarity. No physical features made sense...she reminded me a cat. Her eyes were intense, her eyebrows so strong, her lips so pointy, and she had this distinct line that connected her nose to her lips.

We had a not-so-great experience at the hospital when she was born. It was the weekend before the 4th of July and the hospital was on skeleton staff. I have had c-sections with each of my babies (much to my disappointment), and after this one it seemed they doped me up on morphine at tremendous levels. I couldn't stay awake, and was so miserable trying to fight it. I couldn't fight it. I wasn't in control of my body with all the drugs they were pumping into me.

On day 2 or 3, I don't really remember (time melted together and I slept through most of it), I finally was coming off of the cocktail they'd given me. With a job and 2 kids at home, my husband had been in and out of the hospital, and had assumed the hospital nurses and doctors were doing their job in checking in on me and Sophia, so he wasn't very aware of the goings on at the hospital. I looked at my daughter laying in the little bed next to mine, and realized she hadn't nursed since I could remember. I looked at her diaper log, and realized that no one had noted anything since the first few hours of her birth. I looked over at my board and realized no one had checked in on me all day.

Jason came in within the hour and I asked him to pick her up so I could feed her again. I asked him the last time she ate, and he asked me if I'd fed her during the day. Honestly, I was so knocked out from my meds that I slept all day. It had been almost 8 hours since she'd nursed last. I felt terrible and he handed her to me, but we couldn't get her to wake up.

We rang the nurses, who took their time in coming to us, and we were very upset. "Why hasn't anyone been checking her urine output?" "Why hasn't anyone been massaging my stomach?" (A necessity after a c-section.) "Why hasn't anyone come in to pick her up for me to nurse, or to get me up to walk around?" "Why hasn't anyone checked my bleeding?"

Turns out the staff was very negligent, and not only was I having some health issues due to their lack of doing their jobs, but my daughter was quickly slipping into a diabetic coma. We could not wake her. We rubbed her back vigorously. Nothing. We took her clothes off. Nothing. We rubbed ice on her back...barely phased her, and she slept right through it.

 Through all the grogginess I somehow got mad. Hell hath no fury like that of a mother. My child HAD to wake up. She had to nurse. I needed it for my health, as much as she did. Literally. My uterus had retained all the post-partum bleeding and was not contracting from the nursing (also from the lack of massage).
Despite the unfamiliarity, and almost detachment feelings, my instincts as a mother kicked in, and I kept her on my breast for hours. She would suckle a little here and a little there. I would rub her back vigorously and cause her all sorts of annoyances to get her wake each time she'd drift off. She wouldn't take a bottle, but luckily this was enough to give her what she needed to come out of her stupor.

I have often stared at this creature in the years since those beginning moments of her life. I have awed over her beauty, and she has often reminded me of a cat still. She is fierce and FULL of LIFE. She is one of my very best friends, and I pray that she always will be. I love her so, so much. She is turning seven this month, and I've been impressed with how much growth she has experienced in the last year. Her reading has taken off, she plays the piano (without my asking her too), and does it beautifully. She has offered help many times, without asking. She has the ability and often shows it, to empathize with others. She is creative beyond measure. And she has started recognizing some of her weaknesses already, and is taking steps to find solutions. In just a few short years of life she has gone from unrecognizable, to one of my most treasured relationships.

She has learned to roll with life's punches. She has taught me some good lessons. One of my favorite: Sometimes, all you need to do is be a little silly, and stop taking life so seriously.

Definitely something I need to take to heart.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Has it really been so long since I last posted? (And I thought I was doing so much better.) 

Life is full. Very full. So full, half the time I feel like I can't keep up.
But that's normal, right?
I know it is MY normal. It's how I function, really. Keep busy or be bored.
I don't like "bored."

But sometimes I need a breather, and sometimes I stare out my window to just be still. 
(Because every soul needs to be still sometimes.)

I've been doing some thinking in some of those still moments.
Thinking about what I want to do with my life. 
How is it I'm 33, and still don't know what I want to do with my life?

My baby goes off to preschool in the fall. 
And I'm afraid of that B word I mentioned earlier (bored). 
And I've wondered, do I start business back up?
Do I go back to school?
Do I get a job? 

I'd nearly talked myself into taking on some clients again...
I started feeling overwhelmed by the idea, and I've realized...
it's still not the right time.

But my heart yearns to create.

"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.
No matter our talents, education, backgrounds or abilities,
we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create.
You don't need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty. 
You might say, I am not the creative type. If that is how you feel, think again.
Creation is your opportunity in this life...Start small.
Creativity does not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano.
Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you. You will make the World a better place.
Improve, beautify, extend, smile, cultivate, develop, create."
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

 And so it goes. I yearn to create.
I yearn to have a place to share the inner working of my heart.
I yearn to influence and inspire.

So I'm thinking I may pour some of my time into redesigning my online presence.
Change things up a little. 
Share my images, my words, my music, things that inspire me, thoughts...'s a work (really, just a thought) in progress.
But it feels right.
And I've learned to go with what I feel is right.

In other news, I was recently featured on a blog for my images on Instagram!

I love instagram, and it's been a fun social and artistic outlet for me.
Do you Instagram? If you do, I'd love it if you followed me.
(my username is joannataylorphoto)

And that's all for now! I have some more images to share with you soon!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I got a phone call...

My sister asked if she could use my house to do their family pictures one day, with another friend as their photographer. I was happy to donate my house for their session.

That morning I got a call from the photographer who said she had pink eye, and wondered if I could do their session instead. Poor girl! Of course I would step in. would give me a chance to play with film a little more.

I used two rolls of film. One on my Mamiya 645 (which gave me only 15 pictures), and the black and white images were on my Canon A1 (35mm), so I got several more images on that roll.

I crossed my fingers that some of them would turn out, and that I would learn something from doing the session.

Well, some of them didn't turn out, like, at all. But some of them did! I also learned (re-learned?) something: I stink at focusing wide open with manual focus. So, I need to stop down until I get better. But here are some of the results that I was happy with!

This was originally in color, but I liked the drama of the light in black and white better, so I converted it.

I love the look of film. What about you? Do like how they turned out?

P.S. Please let me know if the horizontal images are cutting off on the right hand side of the image on your screen. I don't know if I've sized these too big or not.

P.P.S. I took some images in digital too, but I wanted to share my film. I may share some of the digital images in the future.

Monday, March 25, 2013


We all grow, don't we? Sometimes it's just part of life, sometimes it feels good and exciting, and sometimes growth just plain hurts.

I've been through all phases of growth in my life, and I imagine I am not out of the refining fire yet. Growth will continue to come in ways I cannot foresee. You see, growth is inevitable. But you know this, because you've grown too.

You've learned that life sometimes is about learning how to play the game.

A couple of years ago, I decided to close my business. I absolutely adored what I did, I fell in love with so many of you/my clients (whom I would have easily called my friends), and I loved the practice of creating and yes, growing. Running a photography business was not always easy, but I can honestly say I didn't hate it. I learned a lot each year. I learned a lot about business, finance, best practices. I learned a lot about other people, love, and heartache. I watched, listened, and learned as you shared your stories of growth with me. I took them into my heart, and held them there. And I grew too. I learned more about what I liked, what I didn't like, and more about my authentic nature.

I closed my business because after having my last child; life was simply too chaotic with a small baby, three other kids (who happen to need a lot of help and attention in life), a husband that worked long hours, and running a business. It was more than I chose to bear. I had to pick my priorities, and of course family came first.

But families grow, and babies grow, and I, of course, continue to grow. My little one turns four next month. Four! How is that possible?

Oh, the cycles of life. He goes to pre-school in the fall, and I find myself wondering what on Earth am I going to do with myself? I get bored way too easily. I've been considering starting things back up very slowly, but don't really know if it's the right time. There are so many facets to consider in this decision. I've been in the market before, I know the ugly game. I question if I have it in me to get in the game again?

Either way, photography calls my name, and I hope you'll enjoy as I share my continued growth, and my journey forward. I'm looking into a few changes around here, and it will take some time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Figuring things out

So, all that history brought me to deciding to take an incredible workshop on film, given by the amazing Ryan Muirhead and Becky Earl. What an incredible workshop. I loved it, and it (as hoped) re-inspired me to get out and experiment with film. I now understood a few things better, and I bribed my daughter (who else?) to pose for me so I could work on my focus and exposure.

I love how this roll of film turned out, and I am so excited to send in some more film. I have three more rolls waiting to be sent off.

I love dirty, gritty black and white images. Indie Film Lab did a good job processing these just how I wanted.

I shot this next one through the window. The sun was shining so harshly, but I love how it didn't appear that way. Film is beautiful!

Are you working on anything right now?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A little moody

These images are from my first roll of film. They are not technically perfect, but I love each one of them for the mood they invoke. When I look at pictures from my childhood I am filled with so many different feelings, and these images do the same thing: fill me up.

My little one, who is growing up so fast I want to scream. He goes to pre-school in the fall. We secured him a spot with a pre-school I hope will be a good fit for him. But it leaves me wondering, what am I going to do when he's gone? I know I often say I'm excited to have the time, but this little one has been such a special blessing to me, and I will truly be sad when he goes off to school. Last night he was cuddling on my lap, and I whispered, "Can you stay this little forever?" He turned to me and with his dimpled smile, said, "Yes." I told him thank you, and as he yawned and burrowed into my chest just a little deeper, he whispered, "You're welcome, Mommy."

Yes, I think I will miss his baby-hood.

My oldest "baby" in a common scene in our home: playing the piano. My heart leaps in boundless joy when I hear him play. I know his lesson-days are coming to a close soon, and it breaks my heart, thinking I have no reason to "force" him to play for me. He does enjoy playing some things for fun, and I hope that he'll continue to explore music. Selfish, maybe, but I think it will also be good for him. I am not a good pianist (far from it), but when I was a teenager, I would sit at the piano and play some of the same music over and over (I'm still trying to really learn those songs all these years later). As I got older, I began experimenting on the piano and have written several of my own songs. They are nothing complicated or spectacular, but music has been such a source of therapy for my endless waves of intense emotion; a way for me to work through my demons with sounds and words.

And this one, well, I really just love it for no reason in particular. It's my husband, whom I adore. He works so hard for our family. I've never met a more loyal person in my life. I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice he makes to provide well for our family. Sometimes it leaves me a little lonely, and a little stressed out as a mother, but I know it's his way of showing love for us. I always hope that he feels a great deal of satisfaction in what he does, because he does work so hard. He's been blessed with challenging, and interesting opportunities in his career. He's grown and grown because of them. He is someone who needs a lot of intellectual stimulation, someone who needs to feel like he is part of something "interesting," and someone that is wholly devoted to what he does. It's no wonder he's been so well-received in his career, and I'm happy that others recognize his value. He is a great example to me.

Do you have any favorite photos that bubble up your emotions? Make you think or feel? What do they look like? What do they mean to you?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Expired Film

Besides my Mamiya 645, I picked up a Canon A1. It's 35mm camera, and is smaller than medium format. This will be nice so that I can carry it in my purse. Also, it will be easier to photograph my kids with it. I had a REALLY old roll of some consumer grade 35mm film (Kodak Gold 200)...I don't know how old it is, I'm guessing more than a decade. I just needed something to make sure the camera functioned okay.

My results are nothing spectacular, but they remind me of pictures from my own childhood, and there is definitely something in the nostalgia factor for me. My son just read that sentence and said, "awww, that's sweet!" I turned and said, "what?" and he said "that it reminds you of your childhood." Yeah, that is pretty sweet. I love looking through old photographs, and the grain definitely gives more texture to my emotion as well as my eyes.

This last one I am so sad my focus fell off of her eye closest to the viewer, and instead on her back eye. I really love the image, especially with all the grain. But, I'm still figuring out manual focus, especially when I open wide and get in close. That is going to be what I need to practice on most.