I’ve been grappling a lot lately with what kind of photographer I am. People have been asking me more since I put up this blog, and a lot of times I’m just not sure what to say, or how to define my work. Documentary photographer is my go to, but sometimes I feel like it’s too vague.
I love photographing my daughter a ton. What parent doesn’t? I want to make sure I don’t forget anything. I love capturing her growing and changing stages. But does that make me a kids or family photographer? I’m not so sure.
And ever since I came across Eric Kim’s site, I fell in love with the idea of street photography. But does it count as street photography if I live in Clovis, NM, and not in a big city? Or if I take more pictures of the buildings and actual streets than people?
I honestly spend about as much time driving around photographing Clovis and the surrounding areas, as I do snapping pictures of my child. But I don’t live in a big city, like most street photographers do, and many of my favorite images from my adventures don’t necessarily include people. So where does that leave me?
I used to think that maybe it’s a flaw I have, not being able to categorize myself. Everyone does it, so why can’t I? I’m sure fitting more comfortably into a specific type of photographer would help me sell myself more, too. But the reality is that I just can’t bring myself to pigeon-hole my photography too much.
I think maybe it’s because I’m labeled in a hundred different ways each day, from single-mom to millennial and frankly, I’m tired of it. Photography is my creative outlet. It’s one of my favorite things that continually brings me joy, and allows me to express myself. And in order to do that, I need to feel free to photograph whatever the hell I want, without worrying if it fits with a specific label.
I think I just have to live with the broad term for my work: Documentary photography. For me, documentary photography means photographing the things around you as they are. And all the things I get the most joy from photographing are in a documentary capacity. When I photograph my daughter, it’s about documenting her childhood, so always remember. I absolutely love documenting the town I live in, and the quirky small town vibe that comes with the streets, buildings, and people of Clovis. I bring my camera just about everywhere with me so I can’t miss anything. It’s all about preserving the life around me, everything I love and find interesting, in photographs so I won’t forget.