When you’ve witnessed someone grow and blossom for over 1/2 their time on this earth…you capture it.
Well, first you cut and color it….then you capture!
“…please enter the last 4 digits of your social security number, followed by the pound sign.”
I get asked all the time…”What’s up with the ‘hashtag’?” Well, my answer is always, “How much time do you have?” ‘Cuz quite honestly, while it can seem silly (as seen here with Justin Timberlake & Jimmy Fallon on SNL) in reality, it’s pretty awesome! What used to be known only as the symbol for the pound (the U.S. lb. of weight measurement) AND used as a symbol for number, society has adopted this symbol to help us search for things on the internet, Twitter and Instagram…it’s called the “Hashtag”. If you are not an #IGaddict (Instagram Addict) like I am (@sue.craig and the newly launched @suecraigdotcom) or have a Twitter account (@thenewsusan) you probably think this is all just a ridiculous fad and wish people would “just stop!” the fact is…wait for it……it ain’t goin’ anywhere.
The “#” symbol is now being used to help you find people, places and things as well as those people, places and things finding YOU! Whether you are an individual, a new start up company, or an established one, this has becoming the new search tool. Now I’m not saying that folks aren’t out there still “Google-ing” cuz they are (90 million searches a month! That’s 1 trillion a year!) but let’s say you’re on instagram and you want to see a recent image of like, say…..Tokyo or the Golden Gate Bridge or heck, even a tattoo, you simply (with NO spaces) would go to the search bar and type in #GoldenGateBridge , #Tokyo , #Tattoo and BAM! You can sit for hours scrolling through image after image of whatever it is you care to search for. Sometimes I find such compelling and stunning photography that often times I will begin to “follow” the individual that posted that image or at the very least head to their feed and see what other sorts of things they’ve posted. A current fave of mine that I connected with in Croatia is @brandoncronan he “liked” some of my “hashtagged” #Croatia #Dubrovnik and #DalmatianCoast pix that I posted while I was there so I looked into his feed only to find that he was there at the same time! We were a day or 2 apart…it was fun to see our different perspectives of similar areas! Also, he has this great travel blog: Life Reengineered which I’m now addicted to as well! Just sayin’. This is fun…you can search for a hashtag just to see if it’s already in use and if it’s NOT, start a personal one like I did in Africa #SueFari or #Sueprisetrip for when I traveled to surprise my nieces on their spring trip…then you have your own little album!
Some of my Instagram hashtag searches have yielded a lot of laughs too: #BellyUp (for all my animal friends) #Fail (and you’re welcome) #WorkFail and a fave: #HelpingNotHelping You’ve been warned! 🙂
As for Twitter, as an example, back when Prince William and Princess Kate married, I had set my alarm to wake and watch it live (#fail). Once I got over my hatred for myself AND my alarm clock I grabbed my phone, sat on the porch and took to twitter. I did a hashtag search for #RoyalWedding and BAM! I got to scroll through and read commentary from all over the world! Pretty cool. Although, NOT how I envisioned I would witness the nuptials, it’s all I had. That and TMZ later that day! Twitter is a great search tool if you are looking for information on ANYthing! Well, because let’s face it…people share EVERYthing now…present company included. Want to find out a concert date? Search #KeithUrbanTour2015 …anyone that has posted with this hashtag will let you know! Couples getting married have been on the hashtag wagon for a while now requesting their guests to post pix on twitter and insta’ using special custom hashtags like: #KateWedsWilliam2015. I was recently at the Walker Art Center’s Internet Cat Video Festival in St Paul, MN where they, naturally, encouraged event goers to post with the hashtag #CatVidFest When you land on that feed you can see all the crazy cat people enjoying a beautiful night in downtown Saint Paul at the brand new Saints Stadium!
Then, of course, there’s the #OMG #ShouldHaveStayedInBed #Love #WhatWasIThinking the list goes on….
It doesn’t end there…don’t be afraid to use is whether you want to search for a restaurant review, an event, a city you want to travel to, OR just boast about your brand #SueCraigDotComROCKS. Quit hating and fear not, the hashtag..okay, quit SAYing it, but stop hating! 🙂
Everyone says: “How do you do it?” Quite honestly, it’s gotta be God. ‘Cuz how else could you agree to volunteer to cover such a grief stricken time in a couple’s life.
I wasn’t on call today but as God would see fit, I was available this morning…to cover a loss. So I texted back: “I can take this one.”
That moment when I know for certain that I am going…I become someone else. My head becomes clear of all the clutter, that is my life and I methodically gather my gear, fill my water bottle and grab some sort of bar, toss it in my camera bag, get the keys and I’m out the door. Nothing on my mind except arriving safely and in a timely manner but often times I pray. I pray for the families that are gathering, I pray for the staff and I pray that I can make the most beautiful images for the parents…for these will be all they have, of their little one, once they walk out the door of the hospital. Then, the moment that the nurse draws back the curtain (or pushes the door open), pokes her head in and says, “…the photographer’s here.” This is where I come in. I set my bag on the floor, slowly make my way to the bed (where often both parents are seated holding their little one or in some cases ‘ones’), introduce myself and extend my sorrow for their untimely loss. Never having had any children all I can do is imagine….imagine what a loss like this would be like to endure. Sometimes I say nothing….all dependent upon how I read the situation. Always tho’, I’m required to get a parent to fill out and sign the form stating that they have requested that we (Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep) be there to photograph for them…I hate that part…”hey, can you take a moment, dry your eyes so you can see to sign this form?” HATE it…but, it’s a must. Can’t really do anything until it’s signed. In the rush of things, I’m certain that they don’t even remember or realize they did..it just protects me and the foundation. Covering these losses always gets me thinking about stuff…life mostly, and what we do with ours (or the very least, what I do with mine). Seems I always come away from them with a clearer sense of the life I should be living. These sessions are great teachers, if I let them…and I usually do. My mind, body and soul connect and I thank God for giving me the talent and the ability to step into this role…that of someone who can help make healing possible for these parents and families for the days, weeks, months and years to come.
Hmmmm…what I love most about photographing kids? Good question. What I love most about photographing children is the opportunity to get together with them year after year on or around their birthday to see and capture their growth both physically and to see who they are becoming as a person. I have had the pleasure of capturing Kathryn for 10 years now and she never ceases to amaze me. She’s 11 now….. WOW! What a joy she is. So grown up, full of both confidence and humility.
We try to do something different each year to mark her birthday milestone and this year I asked a friend (Jenny Phillips of The Country Camera) if I could borrow her property out in Medina and we set the date. While Kathryn actually turned 11 back in May, we went ahead and let summer happen then grabbed a great autumn day and let Kathryn…be Kathryn….
Then we added her cavachon, Sam….
The youngest of 3 means, quite clearly, you rarely get to do things first in the family. It’s either been done, being done or no one gets to do it. But don’t tell that to Amanda, she’s a trail blazer and doesn’t normally let things stand in her way. You see, being 3rd also means that the bar has been lowered by each previous child making things, sometimes, more attainable. Now, I’m no parent but I occasionally get the opportunity to “fill in” and my style, well…let’s just say…it’s pretty loose. I even get the “green light” from time to time with some of my nieces and nephews because…well, people trust me…and by people, I mean…my siblings. They trust that I will use my better judgment and not get carried away, make a scene or lose my mind. Yesterday was no exception. It was Amanda’s turn to redeem her (October 22nd) birthday gift from aunt Sue….a new “do” and a photo session.
I’m pretty certain that most 10 year old girls (outside of “toddlers and tiaras”!) don’t get to have highlights put in there hair and then toss on a little mascara and head out to a location and have their own private photo shoot compete with props. Yippee for Amanda cuz that’s just what we did yesterday. Due to the fact that Amanda has 2 older (girl) cousins and an older sister that have received this gift in the past she has a tendency to want to emulate their sessions and often likes to get a little serious. But we have fun too, don’t get me wrong.
We got a late start yesterday and with daylight savings time ending I’d forgotten to plan on the sun setting earlier but we got it done! Being 10 also means that high on her list was getting to a family function on time for cake that afternoon and it set the pace for the shoot! Amanda wanted to hit the same location that her cousin, Jess, hit on Saturday for her shoot so once the hair was perfect we hopped in the car and headed back out to the University of Minnesota’s Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
I love her. Here’s a few of my faves from the day….can’t believe she’s 10 already!
After much consideration, Jessie decided to go red. It’s fun, playful, vibrant and best of all…it suits her. We’ve tried all kinds of reds…highlights, solid, red-brown, brown-red but yesterday we mixed up an electric copper-red…Framesi (frah-mee’si ) makes a color line called FRAMCOLOR 2001 and this, my red headed friends, is level 6TRP…with some super bright highlights (Schwarzkopf Bleach). This was fun! Getting your hair done is a definite mood changer and propelled the photo shoot! Thanks Jess. I love you.
Today, my niece is coming over to redeem her birthday present…Fresh, new color & cut and an environmental photo session. It’s just something that I do each year for my niece’s birthdays. I like to call it the gift of time…I get some face-time with them and they, in turn, get to look and be FABulous for the day (and have some photos to prove it!). I love the fact that I have a licensed salon space in my home and can concoct ANYthing for anyONE! Truth be told I think it’s more fun for me!
Here are some shots I’ve gotten of Jessica over the past 5 years..WOW!
What color will she go today????