SperoPhoto: Blog http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) SperoPhoto dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Wed, 23 Nov 2016 04:45:00 GMT Wed, 23 Nov 2016 04:45:00 GMT http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/img/s7/v162/u939793963-o539795321-50.jpg SperoPhoto: Blog http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog 120 96 Christmas Cookie Mini! http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/christmas-cookie-mini When families think of mini-sessions, they don’t usually think of frosting, cookies, and laughing around the kitchen table….

…but that’s exactly what we did! (after a quick portrait in the frost, a few tears, and some snuggles).

A beautifully unique family.

Participating in a beautifully normal holiday tradition.    

Together.

Whatever your story, there’s an invitation to document it, to embrace it within the magical mess, to own it and love it and celebrate that it’s YOU!

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/christmas-cookie-mini Wed, 23 Nov 2016 04:44:45 GMT
The Story is worth it http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/the-story-is-worth-it I did something to my website last night. It was a little out there.  

See, the past several months have left me wondering.
Wondering about the ‘why’ of being a photographer.
Wondering about my community.
Wondering about my other creative paths (ie. writing).
Wondering about my primary responsibilities (I’m a homeschool mom to three! And My husband is still my husband—wow!)

I’ve been reflecting on this full plate, short days, and marketing incentives and chatter and threads that leave me queasy and tired and produce…nothing.

I’ve also been reflecting on the state of my province (Alberta) and the stretched finances within so many homes. Along with that, I’ve been chewing on the lasting value I witness in this expression of art. Crazy enough, I BELIEVE in STORY! Whatever one’s season or tough spot or celebration, I believe in documenting the journey to give some form and shape to our processing. From joy to grief and the beautiful normal in between, there is room to remember our families.

All of this was churning in my head as I sat on my website last night.

I browsed some threads and forums, distracting myself.
I looked at my work, my investment, my developing voice.
I cut out some offerings. Added another.

And then I absolutely slashed my prices for sessions within my town.

 

Because I realized, if I’m going to own the whole “story in season” kind of motto and lifestyle, I need to own it for my story, too. I have this art and business but within it, I am wilfully choosing to be at home with my children, to educate my sons, to keep a sense of rhythm for a child with autism. I choose to bake bread. I choose to write. I choose to play. I choose to rest.

And…
I choose to absolutely capture the documentary photography market within my own county.

I no longer choose to pursue every trend and thread and voice. In my personal, current, season, it’s just too much (chatter, driving, health, time). Honestly, there are better-situated artists for those living in our large Albertan cities, and there are gifted photographers for portraits and newborns and weddings. Book them! But….

…I am hot stuff for documenting the beautiful normal in this area of Alberta.
And for the next six months I’m making this path far more accessible for your family and your business.

The prices have been cut in half. (see the 'family' tab)
Some sessions are gone, because I want to remain Present.
Oh, and family videography, yeah, it’s there!

Check it out. If this expression is a fit for your story, let’s chat! Your story is absolutely unique and valuable, and worth it. I want to participate in it with you and offer a quality, unique, documentary option for Three Hills and Area.

 

Life & Light,

D. L. Daniels
SperoPhoto

 

 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/the-story-is-worth-it Tue, 22 Nov 2016 01:49:31 GMT
Calandula http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/calandula  

Summer was coming to an end. 
The yard was heavy with that deep tired green and rich rich yellow.


He had a scrape. Or a scratch. Or the thought of one. Enough to empty the box of bandaids. 


And we knew it was time to make some fresh winter healing oil. 

He harvested; carefully picking, then plucking. We waited for a bit of a wilt, then bathed them in oil and tucked them into the sun. 
The whole thing lasted less than an hour but was filled with beauty. See, it's tradition. And it's for our family; our tribe. This gift comforts and heals and can be shared. It brings the sunshine into the dark. 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/calandula Tue, 27 Sep 2016 06:03:42 GMT
Into the Woods http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/into-the-woods

We got out of town this weekend. Into the woods. We packed a tent, woolen undergarments, and three wildling boys.

Given that this is a a blog post, I should write that it was smooth sailing and each moment was pinterest-worthy. However, given that I'm a documentary photographer I've got to be honest. It was hard work! The man injured his hip. The eldest boy had to face some serious emotional walls on the steep hike up the mountain. I had to address the fact that I might need to work to get in shape. And there was a sleepless night and some rain and the lingering smell of smoke.


BUT... it was so SO worth. I loved it. LOVED it. The boys ventured into the woods with makeshift daggers! A nearby forest fire created a haze through the golden hour and murky woods of enchantment! I read a book and drank beer and saw a timber wolf! And we did it all together-- the tough hikes and the fireside moments and the forest fairytales. 

 

It would be easier to wait. To wait until there is less mess and less tantrums. Until there is more money and more sleep. But when we delay living together, adventuring together, we deny so much of life.... I want the messy adventures! The memory of that tough conversation on the mountain. Those grimy kisses and the invitation to see dragons in the forest!


 

We went into the woods... and I know we'll return there soon.... 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta family photographer candid documentary photography family storytelling travel photography http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/into-the-woods Sun, 18 Sep 2016 21:07:27 GMT
Stories in Seven- August at the pool http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/stories-in-seven--august-at-the-pool Welcome back to the lovely, monthly, Stories in Seven {seven story telling images, posted on the seventh of each month. Fun!}

I've gotta say, I kinda adore this one. It's our local splash park {where we have spent a WHOLE lot of evenings this summer}. It's freelensed {cuz hello! The sparkle and blur and allure of water and shadow and evening light?!}. And, it's a glimpse into our story, our rhythm. We head there. We play hard. We emerge clean and fresh. I tuck them into cozy pj's and give them a last romp on the adjacent playground. We head home to a story, snuggles, and a drop of lavender. It's our summer story, and we caught it with light and love.

 

 

 

 

Now be sure to take  a minute and catch up with Tiffany! Always worth it!

 

 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta Alberta photographer Red Deer family photographer documentary family family photojournalism freelens photography http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/stories-in-seven--august-at-the-pool Fri, 07 Aug 2015 07:00:00 GMT
Stories Seven-- June Freelens http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/stories-seven---june-freelens June was a dream. We took the whole month off to soak up sunshine, grandparents, beaches, mountains, dear friends, and everything lovely. I can not imagine a better start to the season! As our guests drove away and my husband went back to work, I found myself sitting with the boys and wondering, "Now what?". Relaxed and happy, I tucked away with my lens detached and decided to just watch their morning through a freelensed story. 

Half-clad and dozy, they were working through their favorite Lego text and a bucket of bricks. Reading, thinking, scheming, they decided to make the story their own. With the blur of a free lens, I watched and loved. 



 

 
Now be SURE to continue on in the circle and stop by at Juliette's fabulous summer story!
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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta photographer Red Deer photographer documentary photography family photography freelens storytelling http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/stories-seven---june-freelens Tue, 07 Jul 2015 07:00:00 GMT
Stories Seven June http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/stories-seven-june Welcome back to "Stories in Seven"-- a beautiful collaborative in which we share seven storytelling images on the seventh of each month. Over the months, I have grown to love this exercise. It keeps my eyes open as I live and work, and reminds me to see the stories in the moments. 

This month, I was fortunate to have my camera near on a rainy morning when the begging for play dough ended in "Um...Yes!" We mixed, squished, rolled, and, er, tasted. It was everything play dough should be. I hope you catch their boy'ish pleasure as you see the story yourself. Of course, once you're done, don't forget to head on over to the LOVELY Felicia. Her work is beautiful and well worth the visit!

 

 

 
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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/stories-seven-june Sun, 07 Jun 2015 07:00:00 GMT
Stories in Seven April http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/5/stories-in-seven-april Welcome back to Stories in Seven! This blog collaborative is filled with beautifully talented photographers who share a post of seven images on the seventh of each month. I'm glad you're here!

I live with my camera on my hip (or within reach...and out of reach of the three year old!). I REALLY adore catching the magically normal moments-- the messes and expressions and connections. We live within story! Somedays, I walk into a moment which seems bubbling with story potential....

Residing on the Canadian prairies, we're used to harsh weather. One year ago, our yard was still locked in snow! This year, spring arrived early and was welcomed by an exhuberant houseful of boys!

They had already stripped, changed, and filled the pool by the time I caught up with them. From there, it was all leaps and laughter in the young April sun. 

 

Don't you just want to dive in and join them!
For now, join the circle and check out Cynthia Dawson! I SO thoroughly appreciate her work! 
See you next month!

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta documentary photographer Deanna Daniels Spero family photography storytelling photography http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/5/stories-in-seven-april Thu, 07 May 2015 12:00:00 GMT
Stories in Seven- April- Spring Seder http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/stories-in-seven--april Welcome back! 
This post is part of a beautiful circle of artists who share a visual story using seven images. This month, I found it difficult to figure out which story to share (ahem...overshooter here!) just as tricky to narrow this one down to only seven images!

In my home, the arrival of Spring Equinox and the celebration of Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Passover, Easter Sunday, etc) together bring a depth of meaning, focus, and opportunity. I honestly adore this week! And sure, it's tough work and fairly involved, but the benefits...! Yes. As we scrub and cook and reflect and prepare, we are challenged in thought and spirit. It is a time of new life and promise!

As we enter the week, there are days of scrubbing and washing and cleaning out the corners. {The boys, um, loooved that part ;)}

And then there are hours shared preparing a meal of symbols and connection. As the boys (ages 6, 4, 3) grow in understanding, I am inviting them to participate more fully. There is flat bread to bake, haroset (sweet apples and honey and yumminess!) to mix, and a stinky bitter sauce to incite wrinkled noses and little-boy-giggles. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We read and sing and pray and feast and ask questions and drink several cups of wine. Can you think of a better evening?

And at the end of it all, we give thanks and soak in the deep shadow of the evening, of the meaning, of the journey. It really IS such a story!

Thanks for joining me! Now be sure to take some time to visit Tiffany Roberts! I can't wait to see what story she has for us this month!

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/stories-in-seven--april Tue, 07 Apr 2015 05:00:00 GMT
Stories in Seven: March http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/stories-in-seven-march Welcome back to the ‘Stories in Seven’ series! This is a continuing blog circle wherein a collective of storytelling photographers share seven storytelling images on the seventh of the month.

I have a habit of keeping my camera on hand within our home (much to the delight of my children and the shaking head of my husband! It IS a risk….). This month, the story happened so naturally, so…normally…that I was again thankful that my gear was in reach. This images were not  posed or planned. The story is not necessarily pretty. But together, they reveal a glimpse of why I value a photojournalistic approach to living, art, and (in this case) education.

The Lesson Begins

We are a newly homeschooling family. For us, educating at home certainly has not been the easy path, but it has entirely been the best path for this particular child. He is bright and wild and intense and intelligent. And, while he may not believe it, he has a way with numbers.

When you run out of fingers....

It is a joy to bear witness to the journey of his mind. To participate and guide and support. To be there for the firsts and to glimpse his own stirring story. 

But some days, blending the necessities of education with the deep currents of personality can prove difficult. 
Some days, the joy of the journey involves addressing mazes in the mind and invitations towards character.

"I CAN'T! I WON'T!"

There are days, this morning of story in particular, that stir expressions of emotion and choice beyond what some mamas walk through in a math lesson.
There are days, this morning of story in particular, where you remember to breathe in, breathe out, and see it as one more chapter in an exceptionally unique work.
There are days, this morning of story in particular, which invite me to step back and consider and then step forward and embrace. 

"I TOLD you I WON'T!" And on those days, we cry.
And then we pick up the pieces.
And we finish our Good Work.

Because together,
we are learning that it's not about knowing all the answers.
It's about the joy in the journey.
It's about being present in the questions. 
It's about showing up with open eyes and open hearts.

It's about pursuing an Education.

{Thank you for joining me! Now be sure to head over to Through My Lens with Jenny Wilkerson to continue this beautiful circle of stories!}
 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta lifestyle photographer Red Deer family photographer Three Hills photographer homeschool lifestyle photography storytelling photography http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/stories-in-seven-march Sat, 07 Mar 2015 06:00:00 GMT
Stories in Seven http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/2/stories-in-seven-February {I am so pleased to be part of a collective of A-MAZING photographers who, every month, shoot a 'story in seven'. Essentially, we share seven storytelling images on the 7th of each month. I hope you take some time to savour the unique artistic voices and images shared, and to follow up on the next link at the bottom of this page!}
--
We are a family living in story. Our daily rhythm involves the antics (and volume and aroma and strength and creativity...) of three young boys. They are each wildly unique. They are each a gift beyond measure. This season, the big boys have had the opportunity to go out to shared lesson on Thursday afternoons. Most days, for the big boys, it's a fabulous adventure! 

But...
Most days, being the littlest doesn't seem so fabulous.
Most days, being the littlest  means staying behind as the big boys venture off.

Most days, being the littlest means...letting go and creating your own adventure!
It turns out...
When the littlest realizes that {for the moment} he's the biggest boy at home,
he sets his mind on big projects! 
When the littlest realize that {for the moment} he's the biggest boy at home,
Mama has her own adventure to work with!



It turns out, {clothed or not!} the littlest of boys can climb the highest tables....


And the littlest of boys can still find the BEST hiding place when Mama is on his trail....

 

And it turns out, the littlest of boys have some of the biggest problems to solve!

 But at the end of the day, when the biggest boys are heading home from their grand adventures, it's the littlest boy still watching, still waiting,  to give the biggest welcome.


Because the littlest people teach us the biggest love in our stories. 



Now head on over to Lisa and see what she's sharing this month! It's gonna be great!

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta Daniels Deanna Deer Hills Red Three documentary family lifestory lifestyle photographer photography photos storytelling http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/2/stories-in-seven-February Sat, 07 Feb 2015 06:00:00 GMT
Marianne http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/marianne Tonight, I am introducing you to a bright light; a life that sings with warmth, care, and welcome. This woman of town gives her life to the little lives. This story is always looking to the story of others.

 

Meet Marianne.

When I first met Marianne, I didn’t really meet her. I was chasing a three year old who was making every effort to exit the building and I barely managed an almost-introduction before hauling his toddler tush’ in for the first day of preschool. Years and kiddos passed and, in a moment there and a glimpse there, I finally saw her.

One day, when my current preschooler was introducing his over-stuffed four foot tall teddy bear to the classroom, I asked Marianne, the teacher and ‘master of the house’ if she would chat through the four questions. Without missing a beat on her class prep’, she cheerfully participated. I was all the better for it.

The first question {What beauty do you see in your life?}  was answered in the rhythm of her life and work and days. “The beauty that I see in children. And… the beauty children bring to all of life!” (It’s helpful to note that Marianne not only guides toddlers through the workday, but also nurtures her own large and unique family). It is valuable to me, an often-frazzled mama of three, to hear such appreciation of these teeny lives. Marianne isn’t just getting through her job. She’s giving through her job, and then heading back home to continue in the same rhythm.

She cut and glued, I shot some images, and we moved to the next question {How do you think people see you?} “Friendly?” She responded. “Well, you hope people see you as friendly. And comfortable. And approachable!” I had to laugh. Given that she’s constantly interacting with humans in their most, er, expressive years, and working with sleep-deprived parents before 9:00am, I am quite certain most in Town find her friendly, comfortable, and approachable!

I browsed through the classroom (preschool has come a long way in the past decades!), confirmed that my kid hadn’t escaped out the front door, and settled in for the next one {What is your role in your story?} “Hmm…My role is to be an encouragement and blessing to others. I have a really large family! I want to give to them so that they can carry it on in their own lives.”

 

Finally, the last question {"What is your byline? That one statement that sums up the story of you?". This one always proves tricky and I encourage all Spero readers to think of it themselves. It changes through the seasons and cannot be fully accepted or released if it’s not known. Marianne pondered and thought and tried to convince me to say it for her (I never give in to that one ;)) and finally concluded, “Finding joy and laughter in perseverance.”

 

 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta Deer Red documentary family lifestyle photographer photography session small stories town women's http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/marianne Wed, 21 Jan 2015 04:26:05 GMT
Adrionne http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/adrionne Last week, I went wandering.
Personally, I adore wandering.
When my body is in motion, my mind finds space to breathe. When my mind breathes, I find myself in zones of creativity, question, and conversation. And when those conversations happen, I have the opportunity to connect with more stories. Stories of Her.

On this particular day, I stepped into one of Town’s local thrift shops. The shop, a service of an incredible support system within the community, is always a pleasure to visit. The people within are beautifully unique and the deals can’t be beat, especially in the swirl of holiday budgets.

I was pleasantly surprised to glimpse another mama. Another woman. Another person journeying.

Meet Adrionne.

You’ve seen her. Her husband has helped you in the walk-in. You’ve smiled at her dark eyed children. You’ve not often stopped to chat. But whatever and whyever, she’s another gorgeous Her, walking in the midst of Story.

I asked. She accepted. And so the first question (What is the beauty you see in your life?) she replied, “My family. My kids. I absolutely think they are perfect…”.

The second question was interesting. It’s always interesting asking when you are the other (How do you think others see you?). She responded with, “It depends. Most see me as ‘the doctors wife’. That’s what I am. Other, those who are close to me, realize that I’m just married to a goofball! Most don’t even know who I am. I’m an average mom. No makeup. Dressed down. Pony tail.” 

The third question (What is your role in your story?) was answered with, “To raise and teach my children. To teach them something good! That’s one of my fears…. I want to guide them. That’s my role.”

Finally, the always-difficult fourth question. This one is my favorite, but it always proves a challenge. I took time to browse the store (you should too!) and then returned to her answer. At length, she replied, “Adrionne: the undercover {unassuming?} doctor’s wife.” I deep down loved that. And I look forward to discovering more of this story in the seasons to come

   

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta Deer HerStory Red Red Deer family photographer Three Hills family photographer documentary families family family story photography life story photography lifestyle photographer photography storyteller storytelling photography upandcoming http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/adrionne Wed, 26 Nov 2014 01:39:00 GMT
Lisa http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/lisa Tonight’s HerStory is brief, direct, and packaged in a body not quite five feet tall but brimming with creative energy, unique personality, and dark eyed scrutiny.

Meet Lisa.

Seeing Lisa is akin to seeing dynamite in a pixie package. Her snapping dark eyes, swift response, and uninhibited laughter are far larger than her dancing footprint. You can feel her thinking and wanting and questioning as she moves ahead to the next task, the next detail, the continuing day to day.

I asked her these questions several weeks ago during a stop at Peter’s. She was both hesitant and willing, and I’m thankful for her frank answers and her journeying heart.

The first question (What beauty do you see in your life?) was answered with, “Freedom and opportunities…if we’re open. That. That is so beautiful.” I did not expect that answer, and received it to myself as beauty.    

The next question (How do {you think!} others see you?) was answered laughingly, then pausing, than fumbling. “I don’t know…. I’m just…I’m just sort of there…." I’m certain that her answer would be shared with countless women of Town. The what and why and purpose. Many of us feel that we’re just…sort of there.

The third question (What is your role within your story?) was answered simply and without elaboration. “I’m the turtle in the race.” Hm...!

Finally, the last question (What is your byline? {If someone picked up the Book of You, what would the catch phrase, the logline, be?}) was answered unexpectedly as, “This sounds really weird but it would be, ‘Lisa, A faithful tree.”
I am not in Lisa’s story. I am unsure of all the beauty and intricacies within her pages, but I loved her response.

Tonight, as you work and serve and struggle and savour, consider your story. Ask the questions. Get to know your own pages. 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta Hills Three documentary family lifestyle modern photographer photography storytelling http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/lisa Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:41:23 GMT
Jocelyn http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/jocelyn

Throughout this series, I am connecting with women I have never met, as well as deepening connections with those whom I have already discovered in this unique community. How do I choose those I interview and shoot? How do I know who to post? To be honest, there’s no set system. Essentially, I am learning to bring my camera wherever I go. Depending on how many little bodies need my attention in the moment, I might leave the lens cap on or, if time and tempers allow, introduce the idea and go from there.

 

This particular gorgeous soul is someone known through various roles in Town. She’s mom and wife and minister. She’s that one who somehow always manages to get a meal to that family with the newborn, while still tackling her paperwork, schooling her kiddos, and looking naturally fabulous with her briar of hair and her all-encompassing smile. She is more gracious to others than to herself, and consistently brings a positive spin to all shadows of situations and people.

 

Meet Jocelyn.

 

 

 

 

 

I skipped by Jocelyn’s kitchen awhile back. Personally, I live between being hermitage and hospitality, so random moments of contact work well  for me. I happened to have my camera. She happened to be folding laundry, serving snacks, cleaning her kitchen, prepping lunch, conquering the world …etc! I couldn’t resist.

She answered the first question in her rambling smiling manner {What beauty do you see in your life?}. “These little guys!” she replied as she gestured to the one in the swing  and the other on the table and the others running down the stairs. “Oh, and NOT in my house! It’s the people, definitely the people, and how we’re all interconnected.”

 

 

Jocelyn’s answer to the second question {How do you THINK other people see you?}  surprised me, at first. “They think I’m stronger than I am. Or…more together than I am. Or…something. But I’m not.”

The third question {What is your role in your story?} made me laugh! “I’m the older sister! Wait, or is it the mother hen? Really” she paused with a tilt to her head, “I have an overactive sense of responsibility.”

   

Finally, the fourth question she…left unanswered! As I went to press ‘publish’ on the post today, I realized she hadn’t settled on that one sentence summary, her byline, the statement of the story of her. When I tracked her down she finally responded with, “Jocelyn, Blessed to be a blessing but...that’s kind of cheesy!I don’t know….how do I sum it up? I know what I do matters but I don’t have delusions of grandeur that I’m changing the world just by feeding my family. But, I know that feeding my family matters.  The thing is, I’ve been given a lot so I have a responsibility to give from that, a responsibility to pass it on.”

 

Another woman, a glimpse into the story. Normal and layered and nothing much but everything. 

 

 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta family lifestyle photographer Alberta lifestyle photographer HerStory Red Deer family photographer Three Hills family photographer documentary family photographer storytelling photography http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/jocelyn Wed, 12 Nov 2014 00:57:01 GMT
Michelle2 http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/michelle2 Today’s story, scribbled and shot before the snow was on the ground, embraces so much of what I love about this series. This woman is gorgeous: tired and centered and generous and scattered and beautifully normal in a profound kind of way. She responded to the questions in the midst of playground antics and toddler requests, while the evening light played highlights on her hair and gave a parallel picture to her soul.

Meet Michelle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve probably seen her. If not, you’ll meet her someday. At least you should. Michelle has shadows under her eyes and Light in her smile.

She’s Mama to six, wife to one, and friend to many. She answered the first question {What beauty do you see in your life?} as I expected but with more. “My family! They are my purpose. They are the reason I live. My purpose is to love and to serve and to be available to God in reaching other people.

The second question {How do you think others see you?} was answered strongly, “As Super Mom! And I entirely disagree! Well…or absolutely exhausted. People see me as one of two extremes. But I’m not super mom! I’m no better and I always say so! I have six so it’s different but…I’m just a mom trying to love my kids.”

The third question {What is your role in your story} was answered as a description. “I’m at service to my family. But no, it’s not  that I’m a servant, I’m not a slave, I was not forced into this, I chose it. My role is to live as an act of service to my family. It is all I can do right now. It’s everything.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sons wrestled with her daughters and the autumn light gifted us with an unexpectedly mild evening. The kids stopped by for grapes and popcorn, paused to eavesdrop, and ran back into games of ‘Spy’. As we gathered my gear I asked the fourth question {What is your byline? What’s that one sentence summary on the Story of You?}. It took awhile, but Michelle finally answered with, “Michelle: Giving it all…with open hands. It’s a daily struggle, it’s a daily challenge, but it’s what I want.”

With that, we departed into our separated stories and continuing journeys. Home and lists and desires, paths and chapters. Where will your story find you as autumn calls to winter?  

 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta lifestyle photographer Red Deer family photographer Three Hills photographer family documentary photography storytelling photography http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/michelle2 Tue, 04 Nov 2014 23:55:23 GMT
Sherri http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/sherri One of the perks of this series is that it moves me outside of my own story and into the community. At this point, I have a few interviews tucked away for the coming weeks, while still stepping out regularly to connect with more women and cultivate the energy and rhythm of the project. It's always a treat!

This week, my camera found its way into a local business of Town. It’s the favored shop for some, the secret stop for just as many. With sparkling glass bottles and seasonal décor, there is always something new to discover.

That particular afternoon, I asked Sherri (the manager and main face of the store) if she would be willing to participate. She enthusiastically  agreed!

Sherri met every question with sparkle. She was so open and hospitable, it felt like our conversation was taking place around her kitchen table, not her till. The first, question {What beauty do you see in your life?} was answered with, “My niece, Bella. She’s so happy, every morning. She sparks my day, every day. She is the beauty! Taking her to school is the highlight of my day.”

The second question {How do you think others see you?} made me laugh! “Mean! Mean…? Maybe mean! I always aim to be pleasant and uplifting, but I think others might actually be scare of me. The thing is, I’m very black and white. I hate grey areas!” I responded that, standing in her space and digging into her time, I had yet to perceive her as mean. Actually, I was thoroughly enjoying my visit! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third question {What is your role in your story} came with the benefit of background story outlining her years dedicated on the oilfield leading to her invitation to take over her boss’s shop fifteen years ago. What a journey! As far as her role, now? “Caregiver. And…survivor. I take care of a lot of people. Friends…family. I am also available to help the underdog.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the last question {What is your byline? What is that catch phrase in the book-of-you?}. It took some time as she wrestled with the array of experiences, words, and thoughts within and towards her life. When I refused to state it for her she exclaimed, “Sherri—when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

I thoroughly enjoyed my brief visit over at the shop of bottles and stories. What a gift to connect with the person behind the barred door and to see the story in her store. 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta documentary photographer Three Hills family photographer storytelling photography women in story http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/sherri Tue, 28 Oct 2014 23:51:20 GMT
Jolene http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/jolene Tuesdays bring a little thrill. Tuesdays, like most days this season, are packed full with kids and lessons and paperwork and noisenoisenoise, and remembering what I forgot, and driving and thinking and mothering and almost-cleaning, and…more. But then I look and it’s Tuesday! And yes, it brings a smile.

I don’t have the luxury of wandering about every day with my camera. Not yet. So I’ve learned that when I DO, I need to make the most of it and collect a few stories at once. Today’s featured woman stems from a conversation a few weeks ago. I am pleased to introduce Jolene to the series!

I stumbled into Jolene one afternoon at the pharmacy. With stroller overflowing with fruit of life and purchase, she was the picture of checklists, parenthood, and sleep-deprivation. Fortunately for me and the others at the checkout, her overflowing bags and babes didn’t slow her smile, her laughter, or her willingness to be present with others in a moment.

The first question (What beauty do you see in your life?) was, like many beautiful mothering lives here in Town, met with a grinning explanation, “The KIDS!” And honestly, from this photog’s point of view, they were beautiful indeed!

The second question, (How do {you think!} others see you?) Was all laughter and honesty. “Um…most people think I’m super chatty. And way too open!” Given her willingness to chat with me so freely at the checkout, her answer seemed to be a working fit. At the same time, there was no sense of her openness being “way too” open. This womAn shared, freely, without burdening others or lending anything inappropriate. Instead, she permitted herself to live a sharing life.

The third question (What is your role within your story?) was met with a slight pause and skewed eyebrow as she considered. “It depends on the day! One day I’m the martyr. The next, I’m the Queen of the Universe!” It’s possible a quite ‘amen’ breathed through the line at the counter.

Finally, the fourth question, (What is your byline? If someone picked up the Book of You, what would stand out as that summary sentence?). “I think it would be… ‘Jolene: Wanting to love every moment of life’. Life is unpredictable. We really don’t know what’s coming, but it’s so worth it.”

Another woman. Another story in Town.
Where is your unpredictable Story going to lead you today…?

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta Alberta documentary photographer Alberta photographer documentary family photos Alberta family story photography life story photography lifestyle photography http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/jolene Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:38:12 GMT
Ami http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/ami The other day, as I was wandering Main and approaching strangers with my camera, I decided to stop by at my favorite pharmacy. This shop, with the crisp new building, wall of windows, and blend of chemical and natural solutions, is my secret “hm…I could do a studio session in this light!” kind of place. What’s more, the owner and director (director? The main man, the wise one…) is rather fabulous. Always ready to offer a foundational solution towards long-term wellness, he is a wealth of knowledge and experience.

 

This particular afternoon, I wasn’t seeking pharmaceutical advice. Instead, I was chatting up the women at the counter, behind the till, and by the windows. And then I glimpsed that she was here, down the aisle, another treasure of Town—Ami.

I first met Ami years ago when I overheard her offering informed yet naturally focused direction to a customer. I was struck by her quiet strength and her vast knowledge, and I tucked it away for future reference. Over the years, I would seek out her opinion. What about this supplement? This spray? This brand or the other? Never pressuring, always informative, Ami was quietly and consistently available.

This afternoon was no different. Working and serving behind the counter, she was aware of the various lives walking in and out of the shop. When I sought her out, she was quiet, shy(?), but intrigued. She listed to my questions with thoughtful attention and then, in keeping with her work hours and service, asked if she might respond later, on her own time.

And she did.

 

To the first question, Ami replied, “When I think of beauty, I can't help but be grateful for the practical creativity God has blessed me with.” How fitting! From the little I know of Ami I have gleaned both her practicality and her creativity. The fact that she receives these as beautiful allows her to share them freely with those she meets.

For the second question (How do {you think} others see you), her response stated, “That's a hard question.  I can only imagine or guess...     I think others might see me as 'responsible/dependable'.”
(What do you think ‘others’? Are we communicating beauty back? What are we thinking of the women we meet? Why do we think it matters, if it is anything other than a gift?)

 

The third question (What is your role within your story) included,
“A Mentor... I influence behind the scenes.” There is a rhythm and quiet presence to that answer and purpose; a quiet presence, a steady work.

Finally, the last question, (What is your byline, the title in the ‘book of you’). In keeping with her ‘others focused’ rhythm, she replied, “Ami, In The Creator's Service”.

 

 

It was a privilege to share those few minutes with this woman of Town and to receive her answers to the questions. I was reminded just how rich this community is with its varied expressions of professionals and personalities. Each interaction, every moment, we are invited to engage with another story, another life in motion. 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta Alberta documentary photographer Alberta photographer documentary family photos Alberta family story photography life story photography lifestyle photography http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/ami Tue, 14 Oct 2014 21:33:39 GMT
Catherine http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/catherine One Tuesday, while bravely stepping out on Main Street with my gear on my neck, I caught a glimpse of bright eyes and a quick smile. She was adorable yet steely and she made me think of river ice in the spring time; somewhere between fragments and melting. She held my gaze, reminded me that we had met before, and agreed to The Questions.

 

Too slight to be noticed by most, her coat covered the smallest of promises.

Unconsciously, her hand protected, her gaze gestured. The child, with child. A woman, of the women of Town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first question, (What beauty do you see in your life?) was met timidly, and then reiterated firmly. “The baby, this baby. And...my boyfriend. Can I say my boyfriend? Is that weird? Those are the things which are beautiful in my life.”

The second question (How do {you think!} others see you?) was strong and edgy and soft all at once. “In this town? The outcast. The troublemaker. I don’t fit in. They see me how they saw me; that rebellious teenager. That’s how they still see me.” Standing near her, with her, I saw no need to cast her Story out. Just a girl-woman in the midst of a new chapter. 

The third question, (What is your role within your story?) was answered with a smirk. “The misunderstood hero” she replied. With my role being observer and documenter, I wrote it, shot it, and reflected more later.

Finally, the third question, What is your byline? {If someone picked up the Book of You, what would the catch phrase, the logline, be?} This was a difficult question and it took Catherine several minutes to wrestle with it. I think, if we’re honest, it takes all of us a significant time/life to wrestle with it…. I wandered off for awhile and returned to her answer, “Catherine, the untold story of a changing life.”

As always, it was an honor to share a few minutes with another woman of Town. Each story is unique. The paths we choose, whether to our blessing or doom, are worth considering. We are all moving within story, and I look forward to capturing more through my lens and heart. 

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dldaniels134@gmail.com (SperoPhoto) Alberta Catherine Central HerStory documentary honest journalism life photo photographer photography story telling http://sperophoto.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/catherine Tue, 07 Oct 2014 22:45:12 GMT