Have a minute?? (or 20??) Your Augusta Birth and Family Storytelling Photographer
It seems fair that if you will be inviting me to share an intimate day with you, you should know a little (or a whole lot!) about me. Here goes!
I'm Jennifer Crow. I've been married for 25 years. I fell in love with him immediately though the feeling wasn't mutual at the time. It took him a while. Ha! We dated 7 years. He teaches high school. I've been a stay-at-home mom since our oldest was born. Tom and I have four kids together that are now in, or graduated from, college. They move out, and back in, and then out again... Sheesh. Empty nest might never happen. I've lived in Columbia County since I was 8yo so this is home to me.
Random useless stuff about me.... I've never liked coffee. Iced tea is my caffeine. I don't like the taste of liquor except for a margarita or two a year. I love Facebook and home remodeling ideas on Pinterest. I love sushi (the boring cooked kind) and 3 Musketeers bars. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love October since it's my birth month. I hate spicy food. We go out to eat too much. Pralines and Cream milkshakes from Baskin-Robbins are a guilty pleasure. Most of the items in the last couple sentences are the main reasons I have so much weight to lose. I adore my suburban which I've had for 20 years. I'd rather be in the mountains than at the beach.
I was a summer exchange student to Japan when I was in high school. Tom and I honeymooned in London and we hope to travel Europe for an entire summer in the next couple years. My extended family of 20 wears matching jammies every Christmas. We are a foster family for a 2 local animal rescue groups. I am the worst house keeper every born. I've had at least one dog every year of my life. I'm debating letting my grey hair grow out instead of another visit from Ms. L'Oreal. I love the smell of campfire smoke and going to the Big Mo Drive-In in the summer. I love naps and an occasional pedicure. I've watched every season of Grey's Anatomy. I'm a night owl and usually awake at 2am.
I LOVE the rain and a thunderstorm even more. They are extremely relaxing to me. I can make friends with anyone and can have a great conversations with a stranger, but I'm an introvert at heart. I would be OK with staying at home all the time. People usually like me. They say I make them laugh. I'm pretty sarcastic (smart "arse" might be a better description) and long winded (hence this novel). I run out of recording time when leaving voicemails. I might swear a little too much now that my kids are older.
I can't remember the last time I read an actual book though I have at least 8 stacked on my night stand. I have more clothing on top of my dresser than in it (refer back to being a terrible housekeeper). I am the oldest of 6 kids. My parents just sold the house we all grew up in and that was emotionally and physically draining to empty 45 years of memories. My parent's had their 50th anniversary last year. And sadly, my dad has dementia and it's hard watching it progress.
I've always loved the candid-type photos that tell stories. I've taken them for as long as I can remember but didn't know there was a name for them. My kids might be the most photographed humans alive. I have multiple terabytes of hard drives full of photos of them over the years that I need to print (another mom-guilt trigger). Since I started taking photos professionally, I continue to take photography classes and work with mentors to keep improving my skills so I can create images that make you cry (happy tears!). Photography isn't about having a nice camera, it's about the person behind the camera. I'm always working on that.
I started Augusta Birth Photography after my best friend asked me to photograph the birth of her 3rd daughter in 2011. I'd never heard of anyone doing that but I said yes and they turned out pretty good! She told me people would hire me to do this, which I could not believe, so I started researching and sure enough, this was a relatively new genre, and I loved doing this, so Augusta Birth Photography officially began a few months later. I borrowed her camera the first two years until I could save enough to purchase my own equipment. I owe the success of this business to her faith in me early on and encouraging me while I figured this all out. Running a business is way more than just taking photos!! About 2018, I expanded to add Documenting Everyday: Family Storytelling Photography to offer "real life", aka documentary photography, sessions for families outside of the delivery room too.
I believe moms work hard and all the little stuff they do are never acknowledged, and no one in our families will ever know the thousands of tiny things we do to keep the train on the tracks. Moms have amazing brains that multi-task like no other. And though I know moms *never* expect to be recognized for all they do, I love that documentary sessions let them see what amazing women they are, and you'll see how much your kids need and appreciate you even if it's left unsaid. Through my photos, I want you to see how much they adore you when they plant a big sloppy peanut butter kiss on your face or hold that hug a little longer. You are their safe place where they know they are always loved immensely.
I hope you and I will hit if off from the start. It's important that we are comfortable with each other so you can be relaxed when I spend time with you. I want you to be able to trust me with your memories. I want to be like your favorite sister-in-law.
I get it that this type of photo session isn't for everyone. I'm not sure I would have done it 20 years ago when my kids were little. I don't know if it existed back then. I worried too much about where I fell short as a mom and wife and tried to keep up an image to match the Joneses, but with age comes maturity and that stuff doesn't matter much anymore.
You will never regret capturing this time in your family's lives. I want moms to see how important the mundane of their everyday is. The boring routine is where life is lived!! The best conversations happen when your brush your child's hair before bed. And life changes so fast. What your kids love and how they act always changes. I woke up one day and had to address graduation invitations for my oldest child who was just born yesterday and the mom-guilt killed me!! WHERE DID TIME GO?!?! All things I had wanted to do and didn't. Don't blink my friends.
You might have mom-guilt too but one thing I can promise you is that if you document your everyday, you'll be able to flip though the album pages of every stage of their lives and see how amazing your reality is and that mom-guilt won't be as heavy. You'll see how happy the kids are and that you are doing a good job.
I adore looking at the photos of my kids growing up, but I see now that I'm not in 99% of them. The amount of time it took to find the 10 in this blog post was eye opening. I always take the photos so I'm never in them. I regret that my kids won't be able to show THEIR kids what I was like... my perpetual 1980s haircut, my freckles, how I loved to eat dinner together with the family every night, driving carpool in that old suburban to every activity they did, our camping trips, laughing at their jokes, vacations, baking Valentines Day cookies, game nights with them (we love Phase 10), just seeing me be their mom doing the things with them that defined our family. I always took the photos so photos with me loving on my kids do not exist. It makes me so sad and full of regret. Don't have the same regret. Get. In. The. Pictures.
I hope you look through my images on my website and can see yourself in them. Life is a mess. It's chaos and crazy and unorganized and rushed and there are as many hugs as tears. But that's what makes it great! Don't hire me if you want pretty posed images for Instagram. Nope. That's not me. I'll help you find someone who can. But if you are open to photos that are real and truthful and tell your story and be assured that no one else's photos will ever look like yours, and you want photos that mean something to you, I'm your girl.
Don't worry about what the Joneses are doing. Do this for you. Do this for your kids. You are the family historian. You will pass down your family's legacy.
If I had to use one word to describe myself, I would choose mom. That hat covers everything important to me. It's a badge we moms wear that only other moms understand. And it's my favorite word. It's beautiful and the 1000 hats you wear as mom will be apparent in your photos.
I hope you will trust me and be vulnerable and open to a photo session with me. I'll show you the beauty of your everyday.
** If you survived all of that, I'd love to hear something fun about you! What's one thing people might not know about you? Comment below.
I'm excited that you want to take better documentary photos of your family! Print the worksheet and start interviewing your family. Their answers might surprise you but their responses are the moments to photograph. I'd love for you to share an image on my FB page that you took because of the worksheet. It will be fun to see your life in photos! (www.facebook.com/documentingeveryday)
Here's to taking better photos! Jennifer Documenting Everyday: Family Storytelling Photography www.DocumentingEveryday.com