Category Archives: kids

BLACK & WHITE FOREVER HAS MY HEART

Shhhhh….

I haven’t really made an official announcement yet, but my Studio has moved! It’s literally about 3 blocks away from my previous location, but believe me…it’s no small feat! Between going through all of my props and backdrops and equipment to still physically MOVING it to the new space, it’s been exhausting. Mentally, physically and yeah, even emotionally!

Storytime

I’m actually kind of freaked out as I am putting these words out into the ether. As most people who know me already know, I am a divorced mom to 2 amazing boys. They are magic. They are MY magic, transformed into two real life human beings. You see, they are very special. They were both born on June 29th.

And they were only 2 and 4 when I got divorced and found myself figuring out what life was going to look like for us. I knew I did not want to go back to my previous career in pharmaceutical meeting planning. I was an artist, an Art Major, who felt that her soul was dying a slow death every day that I denied it it’s true calling. But when I decided to TRUST in a kind of miraculous outcome, it happened. Thanks to one of my best friend’s, Jessica, and a NOW best friend, Jody. It all kind of unfolded into this crazy pattern of events that I will save for another time, but landed me a job in the Photo Department for Bed Bath and Beyond.

I moved to Fanwood in 2016. And everyday, after dropping my sons off at their Elementary school, I would pass a storefront that was vacant, but had something about it. Seymour’s Antiques. I would drive by and say someday that will be my photo studio. As crazy as it sounded to me, I still said it. Over and over. And one day, there was a sign up that it was available for rent. Of course I immediately called the number. I forget what they were asking, but whatever the number, it was well out of reach for me. And so I let that idea die.

DEATH OF A DREAM AND THEN A JOB

In 2019 I lost my job at Bed Bath, along with many others. I was scared and worried and didn’t know what I was going to do. I feverishly reached out to old colleagues trying to figure out where I would go now, what I would do. I had a mortgage and bills and children. Nothing…

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR…

But you see, I had been asking for something. I had been silently praying for more time with my kids, a more flexible schedule, something in the creative field that would give me financial freedom. I ASKED FOR THIS. And then I received it. And as many times I ended my prayers with “I am ready to receive”, I wasn’t quite ready to receive THIS!

And then COVID. I was unemployed and now I had a 4th grader and a 2nd grader with special needs at home with me trying to do virtual work while I was trying to find a job. I had been working for a real estate photography company for a brief stint, but that was no longer happening. Who would hire me now??

But…I was LUCKY! I was ALREADY signed up for and receiving unemployment benefits. And they kept getting extended. And while I still felt the stress of being unemployed, the unknown and now COVID, I had exactly what I had asked for. I had a VERY flexible schedule and I had more time with my kids. Not exactly how I envisioned it, but well, isn’t that how the universe works? LOL

THE SIGN, TAKE 2

And then in 2021 it happened. The “for rent” sign was up again. Right down the street from my sons’s school. A school that I found myself being called to more and more as time passed on. My son has had an IEP since first grade. He’s been on medication since Kindergarten. And he also has had a label of “bad kid” following him around since age 5. He was called a bully and investigated multiple times since then. And the kids and their parents continued that narrative. A narrative that negatively impacted a little boy and his family who were already struggling with invisible disabilities that neither the parents or the school seem to understand, nor did they want to.

A GIANT LEAP

Moving to this space would keep me close to home and to his school. And I knew it was not only my chance, but possibly the answer to many of my prayers. Including the one that I made back in 2016 when I claimed that location as my Studio even though I could in no way afford it at the time. And so I jumped. I took a leap of faith. And in May of 2021 I moved into my first commercial space.

I can’t believe that it has been 3 years. And it was not without it’s share of challenges. Friendships suffered, more school issues, financial fears and setbacks. BUT, I am still here! My son was finally granted an out of district placement. In a school where the kids AND the parents understand him. Where he is given grace and compassion. He is stable. And I finally, after 12 years, feel like I am getting my life back. And I am READY TO RECEIVE!

My new space is beautiful. It is new and not falling apart. I owe a big thank you to my friend Sammy, who, without realizing it, contacted me to see if I was interested in a new space 3 months before my lease was up. Again, I am fully supported by the Universe, God, Angels. And I am ALMOST completely moved in. THIS time I am actually going to make an effort to have a Grand Opening. I finally feel like it is my time.

And so I had my little guy, who isn’t so little, come to the new space to work on some lighting since I’m still getting used to the lower ceilings. And our doggy, Roscoe, accompanied us.

Life is weird and crazy and beautiful and unknown and mysterious and magical and hard and all of the things. And I really appreciate this journey that I am on. It is shaping the person that I am and that I am becoming every single day. And I am forever grateful.

Now I have to decide what I want to manifest next 😉

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU

KIDS!

KIDS, KIDS, KIDS!!!

PORTRAITS OF CHILDHOOD

I gotta say, I LOVE KIDS! Sometimes I think I love them more than adults LOL! Is that bad? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of the melt downs or the booger covered faces. But there is so much I DO love about them! The toothy (and toothless) grins, the dimpley cheeks, the freckles, the lack of filter! HAHA! The REMINDER that the world still has so much magic in it seems to always be there when I am around kids. It has a way of grounding me and letting me be playful and feel like a kid myself again. It’s an amazing thing actually and they should figure out a way to bottle that up! I don’t know who “they” is, but you get my point.

I love capturing all the stages of kids. Obviously as a Newborn Photographer I love newborn shoots, but there are so many stages that I love. 6 months when they are starting to sit up, 9 months, a YEAR! Because, damn, how did we make it through that! HA!

Then you have when they lose their first tooth, when they start to find their sass, when they graduate elementary school! Then we can get into 8th grade and high school! There are really so many significant stages in our children’s lives and ultimately they are our’s too.

Personality Portraits

PERSONALITY PORTRAITS

For me, nothing beats a classic black and white photo. It is timeless and free of distractions. It leaves the focus on your child, their personality, and those adorable little expressions that they make that truly show who they are. From 1 – 108, a black and white portrait will stand the test of time and will capture them through all of those phases that in the end we all know go way to fast. Yes, even those really DIFFICULT ones <3.

My personality portraits are offered as pop-up events at local businesses. To find a pop-up event near you, click here!

HANG THOSE BABIES UP!….NO, REALLY! HANG THEM UP!

Something as simple as hanging family portraits around your home can increase your child’s confidence! It gives children a sense of belonging, acceptance, and love that will ultimately help their confidence soar. I know from my own personal experience, that in the hum drum of everyday life, with stress and work and ALL the things, seeing a big photo of my kids hanging on the wall gives me a moment of calm. It reminds me of how lucky I am and how grateful I should be. And It reminds your children that you love them, that they are important to you and that this is their home.

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joan marie

Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

908.312.1788 | info@joanmariephotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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