Triptych 1: Real Life by Amber Holritz

Series: The Merits of Mobile

Don’t miss the first post in this series by Will Jacks, a photographer based in the Mississippi Delta.

Real Life is Beautiful: the Instagram Edition!

The best camera is the one that’s with you.

Since Chase Jarvis kicked off this discussion years ago, more photographers have adopted mobile photography as a playful personal expression and a serious artistic endeavor. In fact, “Mobile Photography” is simultaneously contributing to the democratization of image making and the artistic positioning of professionals. Last week, Instagram hit 27 million users, making it one of the world’s fastest growing social networks. To top it off, Hipstamatic and Instagram unveiled a photo-sharing partnership. Clearly, mobile photography is more than a hobby; it’s serious business.

To explore the merits of mobile photography, The Photo Life is publishing a series of posts from photographers who embrace the adage, “the best camera is the one that’s with you!” This, the second post in the series, is by Amber Holritz, a photographer based Chattanooga, Tenn.

Sometimes life throws you a curveball. My curveball came in the shape of a diagnosis: Patellafemoral arthritis. Translation? Really messed up knees. Solution? Trial and error. After a few unsuccessful non-surgical attempts, it was time to get serious. We determined which knee was causing the most difficulty, and we scheduled surgery. I was warned that the recovery was going to be painful, and that I was going to be on crutches for at least six weeks. Completely non-weight bearing. A bit of a challenge for a photographer. I cleared my scheduled, crammed in a ton of shoots prior to Feb 28th, and then I prepared to shut down as a photographer for awhile.

Fast forward two and a half weeks, and here I am, typing this article on my iPhone. Apparently, it’s easier to keep one’s leg elevated while working on an iPhone rather than on a laptop! Although my Nikon hasn’t come out of the closet since before my surgery – which is actually a relief, because I was borderlining on burnout – my favorite camera has gotten a serious workout!

It has been a difficult (and painful!) situation. My life has been transformed from one of independence and photographic opportunities to one of dependence and creative confinement. I have family and friends to take care of me and keep me company, but it is still difficult to have your world reduced to about 500 square feet.

Not. Very. Beautiful. But it’s my life, my real life. And I didn’t want to stop documenting it.

I’ve been an Instagrammer for just over a year. Instagram is what got me hooked on documenting my day-to-day existence. I’ve always looked for everyday beauty in my clients’ lives, but I’ve never bothered to consistently look for it in my own life. Instagram changed that.

It is so much more than an online community. It is my journal. It is my scrapbook. It is my motivation to document my world, and it is my inspiration to stay creative. Instagram has definitely become my happy place. I participate in challenges, I create projects (some serious and some silly) for myself, and I meet inspiring people. But most importantly, I photograph.

Starting on the first day of 2012, I’ve participated in a fun and silly #photoaday challenge. As of Feb 29th (my surgery), I had only missed one day. I didn’t plan to continue the challenge during recovery, because what could be beautiful about a swollen knee, my bedroom, and lots of reading?

Then I remembered that Instagram is my place to document my reality. I’ve enjoyed chronicling my life, and I’ve enjoyed being able to view the past year as a visual snapshot. Why stop now?

Triptych 2: Real Life by Amber Holritz

So I viewed every day for the last 2.5 weeks as a challenge: find something new in my repetitive existence and capture it beautifully. I have always been able to find beauty in the ordinary, but these weeks taught me that there is so much more to see if I open my eyes a bit wider. A vase of half a dozen daisies becomes a full day project (#flowerpowerproject). A pair of costume glasses become a portrait prop forced upon everyone who visits me (#geekyproject). The #photoaday challenge that had been so simple prior to my surgery became a much more complicated task. I definitely felt rewarded when a fellow Instagrammer gave me this feedback about my challenge images:

“Your #marchphotoaday is more interesting because you’re confined; it forces a whole other level of creativity!” –@amieotto

Triptych 3: Real Life by Amber Holritz

Instead of feeling dejected that I have nothing beautiful to photograph or to share, Instagram helped me feel challenged to see, to find, to create. Instead of feeling the pressure and strain of photographing for clients, I feel the elation that comes from photographing for me. These last few weeks that I’ve spent confined to my #bednest have solidified my belief that there is always something beautiful to be captured. Sometimes you have to work a little harder for it, but it is always there.

Written by Amber Holritz the lifestyle baby photographer

Amber is a wife, mom, and photographer based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. You can see more posts by Amber in the coming weeks here on the Pictage blog as well as at www.amberholritz.com.

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