From the moment it began it was pure vulnerability.
We love him sooo much we could explode. What if we’re doing it all wrong? What if we could be doing it better? I just want to see my family happy.
Sometimes wanting “happy” unknowingly shifts to wanting “perfect.” A picture with everyone looking in the same direction and smiling, only one discernible chin for me, clothes that don’t clash and no food particles on his face. Is that really so much to ask?
Everyone else seems to have it “together.” We’ve tried… and that picture, even when beautifully lit and composed, never really looks like us. I’ve come to prefer the pictures that do. I’ve come to an honest place where I put who we are above what I assume others want to see. Crazy thing is: I’ll bet you a buck they are the same! Honestly, I think everyone is sick to death of having to act so perfect all the time. We’re dying to be our real selves.
Its going by fast. I like that photography stops the joy for a moment and lets me hold it.
We all think to take out a camera while we’re on vacation…
… and during holidays, rich in family tradition.
We’re also pretty good about documenting the big milestones.
Sometimes I’m there for really big moments for my clients. I’ve photographed weddings, baptisms and birthdays. The three births I have photographed changed me profoundly, each in their own way.
Most of the time I’m called in for a date on the calendar with no special markings. If you think about it, its these days made of so-called ordinary moments lumped together that make up our lives. Sometimes we stop and record it with a phone and post it to IG. But mostly these days come and go.
They are full of magic: the ordinary days you spend together. Sometimes a habit or ritual is so usual that you won’t really notice it until its gone, tossed to the side and outgrown, replaced by something new.
Don’t be sad though because childhood is still happening. Something unique and special is happening right now! Your love is the magic and your life is happening all around you, all the time, you don’t have to wait for some special event to have photos taken. Its going on in every season, not just in the fall when we all start freaking out about our holiday card pictures!
…and it happens everywhere. In the most familiar places.
When we get together we’ll take some posed portraits because, let’s face it, you’re freakin’ adorable.
But if you give me your time and trust, and an opportunity comes about for me to capture something awkwardly endearing,
or a moment that feels heartbreakingly authentic,
… I think you know what I’ll do with that opportunity.
Its very brave, being seen.
If you have a little courage, I have a camera. Your ordinary is more extraordinary than you realize. Until, of course, someone shows it to you and it takes your breath away.
Melissa Worthington, known as “Mel” most of the time, is a mom and freelance photographer based in the Washington, DC area. She earned her MFA in Design from Virginia Commonwealth University and her BA from Georgetown University, has exhibited her artwork nationally and is a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellow. Her passions include spending time time outside with her son and husband, throwing a frisbee to their dog Arbus, knitting, advocating for clean beauty and better healthcare, eating dessert first on occasion and wearing bright lipstick as often as possible.
Photographs in the About Mel section were taken by myself; fellow photographer and my partner in all things, Sam Worthington, my doula Therese Hak-Kuhn (our son’s birth) and our friend Mosca Flint (our family pic). And an unknown family member who picked up our camera at Christmas and took the sippy cup photo bomb pic. Thank you, its the bomb.
And a very special thanks to my family, of which this section is uniquely composed, for allowing me to share our life and love in pictures.