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My Inspiration and Confession

June 07, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

"Grandma Moses" Have you ever heard of "Grandma Moses"?  She wasn't just a make-believe person; she was real.  She started out as Anna Mary Robertson in 1860, later married Thomas Moses, and was referred to as, "Mother Moses."  Never one to be still, she kept busy with her five children (she gave birth to ten but lost five), and later when the arthritis in her hands became too painful for hard physical work, she began to paint at the "ripe old age" of 58 and continued painting and winning awards and accolades all over the world.  She won an Honorary Doctorate from the Moore Institute of Art in Philadelphia and did a painting that was specially commissioned by President Eisenhower's Cabinet, the publication which came to be known as "The Four Seasons."  In 1960, Governor Nelson Rockefeller proclaimed  "Grandma Moses Day" on her 100th birthday.   This woman who passed at the "riper old age" of 101, left a legacy of never giving up, never quitting no matter how old she was. She continued doing what she loved and followed her spirit of creativity to the end. 

So why is she my inspiration?  I have four children, eight grandchildren and another on the way, and one great grandchild.  And compared to the young women photographers who are out there pursuing their dreams and balancing taking care of their families, I am the 'senior' of my photography associates and friends in years on this earth.  They are oh so young and pretty and many of them have been photographing everything from weddings to newborns and growing families longer than I have been in business.  And. they. are. great!  Many times I tell myself that I should just quit because I will never catch up to their level of experience and expertise, and I just don't fit in, don't have the same exuberance and excitement over the latest trends in clothes or camera or laptop bags, and so on. (Raising four children as the wife of a sailor left me just enough time to take care of the basics.)  I often feel like I am just an observer in the game as I read their social media posts and successes and anticipation of their next photo session they are nervous and excited about.  Oh and don't forget all those themed and seasonal mini-sessions and props.  So much to keep up with. I often lose my own spirit and passion not to mention confidence in my own work.  And lets face it, we are some of the worst critics of our own work and see every hair out of place or leaf that we should have cloned out, or we berate ourselves for breaking that sacred rule of thirds even though it really does look pretty darn good. Or we look at one website after another and realize, geee whiz they are sooooo good; I have no business even trying.  

So now I think about Anna Mary Robertson Moses.  She painted because she loved it, and the more she loved it, the better she got, and the better she got, the more she was lovingly respected as simply that little old lady in the black hat with the netting-- Grandma Moses, who painted her little heart out until it finally stopped at 101 years old.  I doubt that she had any social media back then to compare herself to other than the social tea parties.  She just did it because she loved it and that's all that mattered.  The rest followed.  She had nine grandchildren and more than thirty great grandchildren.  Well, my ninth grandchild is due in four weeks and I only have one great grandchild but I guess that's a good start.  I'm not called Grandma but I am called "Nandee" so that's good enough for me.


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