A great big warm welcome to last week’s Guest Judge, Gretchen Willis of Gretchen Willis Photography!
Hey Gretchen, please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a mom to 5 kiddos, highschooler down to preschooler; I’m a wife to a pastor; I’m a friend, sister, volunteer, and artistic nut. I am a part-time photographer and an almost-full-time teacher. I shoot families, teens and tweens, and small events although I always love to try shooting something new.
How do you incorporate emotion into your photography work?
It’s important for me to watch how my clients interact with each other and with me. I can see when an expression or gesture is about to show itself, and I anticipate when to press the shutter. It’s taken me a long time to learn – and I’m still learning – to know when the “right” time is to react.
What has photography taught you about your own emotions?
Photography has taught me that photos are more than just a recording of what someone looks like. Photos, especially those that show emotions in them, are so very strong. They conjure memories when we find them after a long absence. I used to shy away from getting my picture taken because I didn’t like what I looked like. But now I know that pictures are capturing WHO I AM, not what I look like. My family will have these images many years from now, and hopefully my emotions will show through in the pictures and they will be reminded of who I am.
Has photography ever provided a healing outlet for you during a difficult time?
For 12 years, I spent all my time taking care of others – my husband, my children, my friends, my church, etc. I forgot who I was. Photography itself was the thing that brought me to a place of discovering myself again. Learning to understand every button & dial, every letter & light on my camera – it awoke my brain in a way that I hadn’t felt in many years. I discovered that I had an interest that was all my own. I learned that I was a better person when I could serve other people but also serve my own needs too.
Please share five favorite images with emotional meaning for you.
This sums up my life – hanging laundry with a kid hanging on my hip.
Watching my daughter grow up and slowly pull away has been so very bittersweet.
Catching an honest moment between my two sons. The younger one looks to his brother as a hero; the older one tolerates – but loves – his younger brother.
I love my 2 youngest daughters’ innocent play here. Looking at this, I can hear the crickets, smell the fresh cut grass, feel the warmth on my face.
Thank you so much for sharing yourself and your work with us this week, Gretchen! <3 To see more of Gretchen’s work, please follow her on Facebook or visit her website, http://gretchenwillisphotography.com. I also highly recommend her brand new ebook, “Love Letters to Your Children”, in which she shares some amazing insights into how she captures her family’s milestones and everyday moments with heart and intention. <3