I love how the conversation about incarcerated pregnant women and mothering in a prison nursery keeps spreading. Thanks to writer, Sheramy Tsai for doing such a thorough write-up.
I was recently interviewed by Jenny Stein, host of The Family Photographer podcast. Last fall, Jenny was pregnant with her fifth baby and talked a lot about midwifery, birth, newborns... all the preoccupations of a pregnant woman. Jenny is always saying how much she enjoys hearing from listeners so I sent her an email and included a little about the work I was doing. I didn't hear from her until several months later and was really surprised that in between giving birth and caring for four other children - along with hosting a twice monthly podcast - she actually answered my email. She said she liked the work I was doing and would like to talk to me, so we arranged a time for a phone conversation. This went very well. Jenny is extroverted, curious, loves photography, and of course, loves her family. This is a great combination of characteristics for a woman doing a show interviewing photographers about their work, usually related in some way to family photography. Many of her guests have fairly large followings, so when Jenny wanted to set up an official podcast interview with me, I was honored.
I have to admit that public speaking has never been my forté. And, when I listened to the interview we did, I was chagrinned by my ums, giggles, and at one point, my brain freeze. Nonetheless, I stand by the points I made about the convictions I have that largely drive my photography life.
So, if you have the time, click on the black "learn more" button below and have a listen!
Several months ago, I was invited to become a member of FotoFemmes, a women's photography collective that holds monthly meetings in Seattle... but, it is much more than monthly meetings. The group provides support, encouragement, and feedback, sharing new ideas and information, wisdom, and camaraderie. And photographers know what a loner sport this passion can be - so having a group like this has been a real gift to me.
Every month, we have photo challenges. This month, the challenge was rather mysterious. The woman organizing it had a pair of items- kept secret -that she worked with for three days and then wrapped them up to mail via US Postal Service to the next person on the list. When I opened the package, I saw brown mailing paper crumpled up around the items which were "gift wrapped" in blue tissue paper and tied with a white string. At first, I wondered what I could possibly do with these two ceramic tiny hands. But, imagination took over and I had much fun playing with these little hands. Three days later, I mailed the package to the next person on the list. We will post our 5-8 favorite collective images on Tumblr in July.
I used the brown wrapping paper, the blue tissue, and the string in several of my images. Here are my eight favorites although I thought of more possibilities. But, that's life, isn't it? We are all limited by time, priorities, and deadlines.
I always have a good time being surrounded by beautiful and well-cared for babies and toddlers. I get to witness their mothers learning new parenting skills at a time in life when a child's neurological development is rapid and significant.
"I’m in treatment and I’m so glad that I did it. I’m realizing the things that brought me to my addiction and a lot of it stems from my rape by my uncle when I was sixteen. Going to counseling has been a struggle. It’s bringing up some feelings that I’ve kept hidden. I’m trying to realize that it happened and I’ll never forget it but I need to start getting over it because I haven’t. I will probably never really get over it, but I dwell on it a lot so I’m trying not to.
"I let it consume me and I need to stop. That’s one thing I need to work on. I’m doing IOP (Intensive Out-Patient) now and when I get out, I’ll do both counseling with my counselor and outpatient treatment.
"My counselor did an assignment on triggers – and a lot of my triggers are when I think about that. So, I when I think about it, I try to numb the pain. We watched a video on meth the other day. I learned that meth doesn’t numb the pain. I thought I was numbing it but I was just making the issue worse by getting high. It’s crazy. I’m in prison for possession of meth."