On December 30, I was redirected from Elizabeth's blog to an article she posted on A Photo Editor, where I had the pleasure of reading an opinion piece that was well reasoned and insightful, albeit a little controversial (considering the subject matter). What followed was a heated discussion that at times took direct aim at Elizabeth's own work. With grace, she took a few days to respond to some of her critics and then when she was ready, responded. I must admit, I stood on the sidelines and watched it unfold, cringing at times by some of the combative posts. But, I also took personally the comments directed at her work, since Elizabeth's subject matter is so similar to my own.
The night before Elizabeth Fleming mentioned me on her blog, I sat in front of my computer trying to decide which image I should post from that day. The comments made on A Photo Editor, were fresh in my memory, especially those referring to the sensitive subject of exploiting one's children. I had narrowed my images down to two and after going back and forth in my head, I ended up posting the less controversial image that night.
In the morning I woke up and as soon as I could, posted the stronger image. This image holds within it, the ability for me to communicate a small piece of my larger journey; that journey holds the subject matter that informs my work. Being a parent gives insight into the innocence of one's own past while shedding light onto the struggles of our own parents journey, taken not so long ago. It also allows us to see the physiological and psychological discoveries our children make. These moments are much more innocent than the mature adult mind projects onto them. My thoughts had been with Elizabeth and how she was handling the barrage of negative attention, because I knew it would have me feeling a little low. So yesterday morning I posted the image of my son standing on my bed, as a show of support for Elizabeth and her own, powerful work.
It is difficult enough as a parent to navigate through this world, trying to find time to create art, network, post on our blogs, try to find the time to send our work to shows, working a full or part-time job and trying to be an amazing parent, without someone bringing you down and taking you away from what is really important. I'm not complaining either, I wouldn't trade places with anybody (well maybe with Beyoncé for one night so I could shake it up on stage next to Jay Z) but this is my reality.
So thank you to Elizabeth Fleming for thinking of me (looks like we were both thinking of each other yesterday morning) and to Aline Smithson for ALL of the work she does daily to support the larger photo community.