I Got in Front of the Camera Every Monday and Learned So Much About Myself

Fiddle Leaf Photography

Photography is my therapy and my love language. It is how I show people that I truly care about them.

It started with my own family and for many years (and still to do this day), I worked hard on creating a visual diary for my kids so that they'd have printed tangible memories of their childhood. I then moved on to creating photographic stories for my clients. I love being able to provide them the gift of having their lives reflected back to them. After doing this for many years though, I started to realize that there was a piece missing from a lot of my work — it was me. My artistic voice was there, but my face showing? So rare. My kids had thousands of photographs of their adventures, but you'd be hard pressed to find a photo of me there with them . . . even though I was the one who'd planned it, packed the whole thing, got them there, and made sure they were having fun.

As my girls have grown, I have started to experience an identity crisis of sorts. For years my main "job" was to make sure they were safe and happy, and my identity was wrapped up in motherhood. But as they grow and I grow my own business, I am starting to feel so much more multifaceted and that I am more than the million and one roles that I fill each day. My life — in all of its facets — also deserves to be documented.

I also feel like I've hit this weird place in my life where I am now the age I start to remember my Mom at. I sometimes catch reflections of myself in the mirror and only see her. I remember what she was like at 35, and it has made me want to document it for my own kids. When my kids are 35, I want them to be able to look back and see what I looked like at that same age.

From all of these feelings emerged The Monday Me project.

When I started the project in January of 2018, the premise was simple: Take one self-portrait each Monday for a whole year. What resulted, though, was the most personally meaningful project that I have ever done. The Monday Me allowed me to explore all of my emotions and roles and forced me to figure out an artistic way to portray them. Many Mondays I'd not feel like taking a portrait, but then I'd force myself to set the camera up and really think about how I was feeling that day and the mood I wanted in the photo, and it'd result in an incredible therapeutic release. I started sharing all the photos on my Instagram. I now look forward to each Monday and the few minutes I'll have to conceptualize the portrait and process my feelings.

When I view the images as a collection I realize that there isn't one role in my life that defines me. I love being a mother, a wife, and an entrepreneur all while being strong, soft, feminine, nurturing, silly, overwhelmed, in control, and fierce. There isn't just one attribute that fits, and that's OK.

When 2018 came to a close, I couldn't imagine ending the project and not having that drive to create a portrait of myself each week, so I carried it on into 2019. As much as I get excited about seeing all of these self portraits in one place, my biggest hope is that my girls are able to look back on them when they are grown and see the many sides of their mother and that they're able to see me as more than Mom.