It feels like we move…a lot. In the past year and a half we went from Annapolis, Maryland to the middle of the Australian Outback to Williamsburg, Virginia. As a military family the move isn’t always our choice. In this case, the last leg of our journey was entirely out of our control. This is a very long story and for your sake I’m going to jump straight to the highlights.
Brittany Maynard Photography was started out of a passion for people and photography. And if we are being honest, a side hustle because before stay at home motherhood, I was a teacher. And every teacher needs a side hustle. Teachers do not get paid nearly enough. But I digress….Brittany Maynard Photography was created and soon after, our first child was born. A few weeks after A came into the world, we were given the wonderful opportunity to live abroad. Preparations started six months in advance and then rather unexpectedly we found out that we were going to have another baby. Cue N’s entrance. A year and change later, with a 17 month old and a 3 month old we headed for Australia.
Australia is amazing and I suggest everyone go. It is worth it. The people, the places, all of it is just beautiful. Our time there was filled with adventure and some of the best friendships I’ve ever had. We were meant to be there for several years but 6 months into our adventure, Baby N went into anaphylactic shock and our world was forever changed. At the time it appeared that our son had a lot of food allergies and we assumed that he had somehow gotten ahold of one of those foods. My husband and I thought he was acting strangely and with nothing but a gut instinct we took him to the hospital. We arrived with minutes to spare. It seemed N was OK and we would be sent home with Epi Pens. No big deal. And then, it happened two more times in 24 hours. We eventually learned that N likely had a rare disorder called Systemic Mastocytosis. Which is a very fancy way of saying that N’s body thinks it’s allergic to the universe and his mast cells, which release histamine, will eventually attack his organs. A very big deal. It was quickly decided that the Australian outback was not the place for us any longer. After months of waiting, and long days and nights in and out of the hospital, we found out we were moving to Virginia.
We arrived in May, immediately started working to find N the right doctors, and of course a place for our new family to call home. We found an amazing doctor at the local Children’s Hospital and fell in love with Williamsburg. We bought a home and attempted to find some sort of new normal. Since our big move, N has went through a lot of tests and we recently learned that he is not systemic. He does have a mast cell disorder but let me repeat, he is not systemic. I cannot explain the relief we felt when we learned that the worst case scenario was no longer our reality. Time was no longer something to fear. He will be OK. It was like suddenly, our lives could move forward.
Which brings us to the now, the end of a not so relaxing six month hiatus. Another beginning for our family. Another beginning for Brittany Maynard Photography. If you’ve been keeping track, that is three beginnings for this little business. One in Annapolis, one in Australia, and one in Williamsburg. For the record, there will not be a fourth….for now.
I wanted to share this story with you for a few reasons. For starters, I wanted to explain the long absence. I think it’s important to be transparent and open with you. After all, I ask you to do just that when you sit on the other side of my camera. Most importantly, our experience in Australia has led me to embrace a different aspect of family photography.
When I thought our time with N could be short, I wanted to document all of it. And I mean all of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Suddenly, the setting didn’t matter to me. The dirty clothes, the messy house, the sub-human mom I had become (seriously, not a lot of self care happened during this time). It didn’t matter, I wanted to make sure that I documented everything that I could. From dancing in the desert rain with A to the way N looks in those tiny hospital gowns.We don’t always choose the things that happen to us, but we can certainly choose to find the beauty in them.
As I began preparing to open Brittany Maynard Photography in Williamsburg, I realized that I wanted to bring this new found love of the raw and authentic moments to the way I photograph families. I’m not saying you need to invite me over so I can photograph the mayhem that ensues while you try to simultaneously fold laundry, rock your toddler to sleep, and do 5th grade math. But for the record, I would. I totally would and I would love it.
What I’m suggesting, is that you step away from sessions that revolve around photographer led poses. Step away from the perfectly planned Pinterest session. Step away from anxiety inducing, outfit coordinating, husband convincing, child bribing photography sessions. Instead, move toward sessions that embrace your family, the things you love about one another, and the things you love to do. Embrace the beautiful imperfections that make your family yours!
In the coming months, I hope to show you the beauty that can be found in all aspects of family life. From the birth of a gorgeous baby to the simplicity of a nature walk or listening to your child read their favorite book. There is beauty in all of it.