photography is a gift.

I think I’ve written about 100 times here how photography has been a gift in my life. It has been a gift, not because I have great images to hang on walls or fill books. Not because it has provided income for our family. Not because of opportunities it has ushered. It is a gift because it allows me to see. There is something about that “click”…that moment captured and saved. I teach SnapShops (October registration is open) because I cherish the opportunity to teach others the basics of photography and help them learn to capture their days. However, the joy of photography is not limited to those with dslr cameras. The joy of photography for me is in the “click”.  A moment frozen, remembered, cherished. I don’t just “click” on the picture perfect moments. In fact, many of my favorite images are from an attempt to see the beauty in something that appears very mundane. Photography has been a gift. Photography is a gift.

I print pictures. I make books. I blog photos. But, even in all the sharing and saving…the joy is in the taking the picture. I have hard drives and disks full of little moments, little details…beauty in the mundane. Maybe I’ll use them one day. Maybe the kids will enjoy them. But, then again maybe I will lose them all. Maybe in one sift moment hundreds of thousands of moments captured will be gone. If that day comes, I’ll cry. I’ll grieve the loss, but in the end….I’ll pick up my camera again and risk losing it all again….because it is more about the slowing down of life that happens when I pick up my camera. It is more about seeing beauty in what can feel very routine and mundane. Photography is a gift.

The kids wanted a fort to curl up in and sleep together. I love that their favorite way to sleep is all together in one room. We read books under the strung lights and fought the battle of getting them all settled down and asleep. I’m pretty sure I threatened to move them all back to their rooms and their own beds 1000 times.  In the end, only the littlest FireCracker had to be separated back to her own room. Too many, “Mommy, she’s jumping on me again!” and “Mommy, she keeps licking my arm!” She wears me out. I didn’t grab my fancy dslr…just used Chris’ iphone. Beautiful moments of toes, tears, wrestling, and stories…no licking photos (she waited until I left the room for that).

Photography is a gift.

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  • Erica - Love it! I completely agree, the magic is in the “click”, the slowing down of time, the freezing of the moment. I love how taking photos of the mundane makes you so much more aware of the beauty in the details of life. Thanks for another beautiful post.

  • Kezia - Aww, so sweet! And so true.

  • Ashley - What’s with the licking? My two year old does that too.

  • Shelley - I love your photos! What kind of program do you use to make your photos look all shady and vintagy? I love the colors!

  • Tess S - it’s a gift. for sure.

  • Andrea - So well written. You are wise beyond your years. 🙂

    Have a great week!

  • cailan - Agreed. Thank you for inspiring me so much to capture the little things, the little moments, each day.

  • Jessamy - Beautiful!
    And seriously, what is with the licking?? My 2 year old is doing that as well. She claims she is a puppy. These kiddos are a joy and trial every age and every phase and you capture that in a gorgeously unique way! Thanks for sharing!!

  • e l l a - So true and so beautiful Ashley 😉

  • Julie B - I know I’m not some fabulous photographer but that doesn’t stop me! I just keep clicking away. One thing I have done is started to take more pictures of myself with the kids. I’m not always happy with my body and the way I look, but my kids don’t care! I know they will look back at me as just their mom without any of the criticism I have for myself. On a side note I lost my sim card yesterday and I’m sure if I just tell everyone I can’t find it, it will magically appear. I literally had it in my hand and now I don’t know what special place I put it in!!

  • Jamie - Very true. I took your (first ever) September Snapshopts online class.
    Using Manual mode, as been a gift for me! It’s really made some already special memories, even “prettier.” !

  • Amy - I just snorted out loud reading this. My 2 y/o Sophie licks her brothers, too!!!!! We do this same thing….tents, fun, all shoved together…& Sophie jumping on everyone & licking. Or claiming everything as MINE. 😉 Great post. I love capturing the everyday in my pictures. I often think about the days, the moms, before cameras. Not getting to see those pudgy toes again! The blueberry stained teeth! Love it.

  • Elizabeth Beattie - Yes it is! Thank you for sharing yours!

  • Emily - you are correct. It is a gift that allows us to learn how to recognize it when we see the miraculous in the mundane. Your children will cherish every time you hit “click.” As will your great-grandchildren. One of my favorite heirlooms is the scrapbook my great-grandmother made while she was in college (in 1926!) There aren’t a lot of photos – not by today’s standards at any rate – but the ones that exist are surrounded with stories and ticket stubs and programs and have taught me so much about who I am and where I come from. Every click is a gift – not just to you, but to people you haven’t even met, yet.

  • Jeannette - Slowing down life…you are so right. I need to be more intentional with picture taking!

  • Julia's Bookbag - I just came across this sentiment somewhere else recently — how photography allows you to really SEE and really NOTICE the little details that might have escaped you before. Such a lovely idea. I adore this montage you’ve created here today with the Iphone!

  • Jules - Wow! So nice to know you occasionally use a phone to take pics. I sacrifice too many moments trying to go get the dslr out and mess with the settings and then trying to recreate the moment, doesn’t usually work. Thanks for sharing your fort love!

  • Laura - you are SO inspiring. nuff said.

  • Tiffany Tomkinson - Hi Ashley,
    I found your blog when I was researching how to paint and stencil floors. My hubby and I bought a house built in 1936 and I can’t bring myself to putting carpet in the basement. I LOVED your stencil that you did for your floors and have searched and searched to find one similar to it. I even tried making my own which was a disaster! I kept telling myself not to contact you but….I would love to buy or even rent your stencil from you. I promise I wouldn’t post it on my blog or online to take the credit away from you. Your pattern is exactly what I was hoping for. If you agreed to send it to me I would pay obviously for shipping and if you wanted it back I would even be more than willing to send it back to you. I hope you don’t think I am nuts! I am just a DIY-er in love with your work! I can be reached best by email and would appreciate so much your consideration.

  • Nikkia - Love it, my favorite photos of my daughter are the ones when she is just being herself…not like I could get her to sit still and pose anyways! But I have a million of her pouty face pictures caught on camera just to be able to show her she wasn’t always just curls and cuteness! Thank you for always reminding me to take peasure in all of life’s simple and mundane moments, I often need reminded of this…and also for leading me to other great blogs! Godbless.

  • jami nato - it is indeed.

  • Christine - I totally get what you mean by photography is a gift! I have a 3 year old. Until she came along, I had never taken so many photos – of everything. I use a Canon EOS t2i and my iPhone 4S (with so many photo apps) and am very grateful we have this technology so readily available. Loving your blog; you’re very inspiring in many ways! 🙂