I am an impulsive optimist. Which means I wasn't a very good lawyer. I bought my first "real" camera 10 years ago on a whim after a trip to Ethiopia produced hundreds of dull, flat images and I vowed that I would be a "photographer" by the time I returned. I justified the purchase by promising to read the manual from cover to cover. Because that would make me a photographer. And I did. Multiple times. I took photos of anything and everything that crossed my path, and yet I still felt like a hack. I asked my husband weekly, "Do you think I'm a real photographer yet?" And he would roll his eyes and ask me what I thought. I knew that for as long as I had to ask, I wasn't there. My confidence had to grow along with my talent. And it did.
Like any momtographer worth her salt, I bribed my kids with oversized lollipops and borrowed kids from neighbors in order to practice. And I realized that I enjoyed the process just as much as the finished product. I love capturing life as it is happening because sometimes the imperfect moments are actually the perfect ones. I embrace the fact that kids are not always smiling and looking at the camera. They are constantly exploring, discovering and experiencing. I try to capture those moments -- the ones that try a million times, you couldn't replicate.
I returned to Ethiopia in 2014. As an adoptive mom. And as a photographer. And the images I captured of my son's country justfied every minute and every dollar spent exploring my talent. My impulsivity has gotten me into sticky situations before, but not this time. Surely, not this time.