Before having kids I worked for years on the visual side of Anthropologie. It is a retail company dedicated to women living colorful lives of continual inspiration and learning. This lifestyle is reflected through each woman’s curated home decor and clothing style.
I find every Anthropologie store to be a place of inspiration in itself with elaborate displays and carefully chosen products. During my time employed there we had Inspiration Days once per month. These days are like adult field trips. Instead of working in the store that day we would go places like art museums, gardens or thrift shops. We would observe, brainstorm, find new ideas for our current projects, and mostly find new ways of looking at things.
Recently, I took one such Inspiration Day away from my mom-duties at home to photograph at the McMillan Greenhouse on the University of North Carolina campus in Charlotte. I had no agenda but to observe through my camera lens, craft beautiful images, and awe at the creativity of God’s creation.
I firmly believe every workplace should take these adult field trips! We need time to get out and explore, see new things, have our daily view refreshed.
Where can you go this week for some quiet and change in perspective?
My cousin is an organic vegetable farmer in Ontario, Canada. We have an on-going 20-year conversation that has made its way through e-mails, AOL Instant Messenger, and now iPhones. Many of our messages are just nonsense, but we will talk about anything and everything. Sometimes we get into some meaningful chats. Around the one year anniversary of my dad's passing he sent me a text saying he was thinking of me. Then he went on to talk about carrots. He can be quite poetic. Carrots were an important part of my dad’s life the last three months. Three-times daily carrot juicing became a rhythm of my parents' days. His words also reflect the way Dad did things, methodically and deliberately, with experience. He was quiet, but rhythmic in his consistency in my life.
Carrots are a big part of the growing we do. We are known for them. They pay our salaries. We take great pride in them. We put a significant effort into growing perfect carrots. We seed them a couple times in the spring and then one big seeding in late July. It's the last chance to plant carrots to get a Fall harvest and it's a tricky time of year to do it because it is so hot. In the best weather carrots are finicky. Fall carrots are the best carrots.
I had feelings of anxiety as the one year anniversary of my father’s death approached. I became distracted with hospitality and the usual caring for little ones. The day came like any other that year, one with an awkward gaping hole left in his absence. But a weekend in which we celebrated his life—all those good years we have to be grateful for—with things he would have loved.
Documentary Style Family Photo Session Idea
Surfside Beach, SC wasn’t necessarily our favorite seaside town or ocean escape. But it was the ocean. And I made a point to stand in the waves, letting them crash into me, resonating God’s greatness, remembering his gift of creation. Overnight trips like this don’t have to be anything elaborate to capture artful, but memorable time with family on film.
I dragged my whole family to Asheville for a last minute family photo shoot at the North Carolina Arboretum over the weekend. Then dragged them (not really, my five year old lead the pack) + friends up the mountains on the Tennessee border. I can proudly say I have hiked some of the Appalachian Trail up to Sams Gap. And Asheville, I will be back.
This weekend was Charlotte SHOUT! It was also constant on and off rain. So we dodged some droplets and headed Uptown to check out the installation art of Prismatica and Intrude.
Later in the weekend we hit up the strawberry patch at Wise Acres Organic Farm before the rain hit. The 2019 crop was delivered with a root fungus that ruined two-thirds of their plant growth. But we did it for the fun of it and took advantage of the extra challenge of scavenging for red berries. What a perfect tradition for a family documentary photo shoot session.
Hi. I'm Suzanna.
I like running outside, eating real food and crafting beautiful images. I am captivated by documenting everyday life–revealing what authentic, adventurous and lovers of life we all are.