A Family, a Job, and a Photographer

Katie- Wales-yoga.jpg
mbfitzmahan. 2004. Wales, UK.  Katie.

When my children were little, I felt guilty when I worked on photography.   Who had time to work on art when there were all those dirty clothes to wash and diapers to change? Dinners to make.   Children and husband to tend to?

I got around this problem by making my girls my models.  “OK.  Katie sit here.  It will be just a minute,  then we’ll make scones.  I promise.  No…just a few more minutes.  I’m almost done.  Hey, Shauna, please come get in this picture, too.   It’ll just be a minute….”

mbfitzmahan. 2015. Pittsburg, CA.  Generations

I took this annoying habit one step forward.  I used film, set up a darkroom, and made prints. I read lots of art photography books.  I looked at lots of fine photographs.

mbfitzmahan. 2011. NY.jpg
mbfitzmahan 2011. New York. Summer.

Today, all three girls are photographers.  Erin took a black and white developing class with me. Shauna worked in the darkroom with me and helped me teach high school classes in photography.  Katie walked around taking photos with me, using one of my cameras. Later, Katie brought her friends into the darkroom and showed them how cool it was that a blank page could become a picture.  My husband, Don, helps me frame and reviews my photos.  Photography is a family activity.

mbfitzmahan. 2014. Pittsburg, CA. Liam

Two years ago, Katie, Erin, and I founded a group to help artists produce art.  These are artists who have other jobs, but want to grow as artists.  The Art Junket: https://theartjunket.wordpress.com/

I know that doing art makes me happy, makes my family happy – because they like my art and because I’m a happier, better person when I am doing art.  

Erin w Affinity.jpg
mbfitzmahan. 2015. Pittsburg, CA. Erin

Give some time to photography.  Can you trade a few minutes from watching a show on Netflix?  Or, a football game? Or, get up earlier or go to bed later.  Use your iPhone.  Use any camera you can find.  You probably take photos anyway.  How about making those snapshots into pieces of art?

Some of the best photographs are photos made within steps of the house.  Photographers like Imogen Cunningham and Niki Boon are people who have very strong family obligations and limited finances.  Just like most of us.

mbfitzmahan. 2017. Pittsburg, CA.  Katie and Erin’s Zen art.

When you are too busy to make photos, take your camera to work.  To home, to your office, to the factory, outside to the garden, to your classroom.

At HOME ASSIGNMENT: Take photos of breakfast.  Just one part of breakfast.  The toast. The flowers. The cereal. Or your coffee.  

Take a photo of something that arouses an emotion in you.  It may be happiness, guilt, anger, laughter, or love.  A feeling of being hurried.  A feeling of indigestion.  A reminder of childhood.  

Of these photos, choose one photo with the very best composition and light.   Can you change it into black and white on your computer?  Can you edit in your editing software/app? 

Let’s have a conversation about your photo.  Tell me, what kind of camera do you have? What editing app/software do you use to develop your photos? 

note: Thank you, Tami.  Your email inspired me to address the issue of so much to do, but so little time.


2 thoughts on “A Family, a Job, and a Photographer

    1. Thank you, Erin. A shout out to all my women friends who are pulled in many directions trying to make it good for everyone. An important role. I know for men, too, the pressures from work and family are very heavy. Everyone needs art vacations. And music, too.

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