photographer

The Sibling Revelry Project

The sibling dynamic has always fascinated me...I've talked about it, read about it, written about it, photographed about it, hashtagged about it, you name it. As long as I can remember it's been a topic that resonated on a very deep level with me. (Typical Middle Child/Only Girl behavior? Hello observant, empathetic negotiator.)

When my husband and I started a family back in 2002, I hoped a sibling would soon follow. My dream, as I wrote years later, went something like this...

"I never wanted a child. I always wanted children.

Siblings, confidantes, compadres, chums. Tattlers, teachers, accomplices, antagonists. Rivals, secret-keepers, scapegoats and partners-in-crime. Mentors and tormentors.

I wanted wagon pullers, swing pushers, fort builders and sand-castle destroyers. I wanted a full table, too many backpacks, and commas on our Christmas card.

I wanted a firstborn, a middle, a baby. I wanted to marvel at both the reliable and the shattered stereotypes. I wanted shifting alliances and third wheels. Teamwork and the circling of wagons.

For better or worse, I wanted individual players in the ultimate team sport. Sharing the same space, fighting for the same oxygen. Believe it or not, I wanted splash fights, inane arguments, thrown elbows in the hallway, imaginary Do Not Cross or Else! lines..."

So here I am. Living and breathing and observing siblinghood every day. I'm fully immersed in the battles over time, energy and oxygen. It's not always pretty, but it's usually entertaining and sometimes enlightening.

To celebrate these lifelong relationships, I'm launching a new project that aims to capture the heart and humor of siblinghood. The Sibling Revelry Project is starting on Instagram and I hope you'll follow along and see where we go. (@siblingrevelryproject).

I'm planning to photograph a wide range of siblings young and not-so young, so send me ideas and please spread the news ... I swear it's not tattling!

2016-siblingrevelryproject

 

 

 

Peace and joy and other favorites

I hope this time of year brings you many words of joy. Words like...

No assembly required Dishwasher safe Batteries included One size fits all

And also,

I love you Please Thank you Hooray I love it Yes No thank you See you soon It's perfect You're welcome Come over I remember I love you, too

Thank you for reading my words here this year. I hope to bring you even more in 2016! xoxo

2015.ewm.holiday

Photo credit: Bonnie Berry Photography

A week of summer

It was only a week--a tiny blip in the 12-week universe that is summer around here. But for 7 days I kept my camera handy (Ok, handier than normal) and tried to capture our family's summer vibe in images, while still enjoying the fleeting moments as they happened. That's always the trick. Typically my kids hardly notice when I shoot photos of them, but they definitely do when the volume picks up. More than once this past week I heard, "Mooommm...put the phone down." I did, I swear...but not before I captured a few goodies. Hope you enjoy! To see the full #aweekofsummer series, visit my Instagram feed (@ewmcguire).

Happy Summering! Liz

2015.aweekofsummer.ewm

If you like this, you might like my #aweekofmornings or #aweekofevenings series.

Love is a rock

2015.heartshape.bw  

It started with a slick, dark rock retrieved from a mountain stream by a boy totally in his element: filthy, soaking wet and up to his knees in adventure.

He presented the heart-shaped rock to me in the completely casual way that 10-year-old boys often do. Check this out, Mom. You should have it. And I reacted in the overly sentimental way that 42-year-old Moms often do. I love this so much, buddy! I will find a special place for it next to all the other treasures you have given me!

Because things have a way of working out this way, his small gift started a habit that I've continued for a year. Whenever I'm out exploring, walking the dog, or really anywhere...one eye is on the lookout for heart-shaped treasures. Usually they are rocks, but sometimes leaves, cacti, shadows or puddles. A friend swears they seem to find me, not the other way around.

All three kids have joined in on the hunt. On my weekly runs with my oldest son, he insists we bring along my phone so we can photograph any hearts we find. For me, this simple tradition has become a moveable gratitude practice, a moment to pause, a hello from the universe, a hug from a lost loved one.

It's a small reminder to seek and you shall find. Look for love and you'll find it everywhere.

*     *     *

Follow me on Instagram to see more of my #heartshape and #heartshaperock collections. #loveisallaround, y'all.

 

2015.05.heartshapecollage-1

 

Battle cry

2014.06.20.SiblingRevelry-7 Four weeks into the summer and this is what my kids are fighting about:

 

He stole that one awesome LEGO piece that only came in that one awesome set.

She never has to shower first.

He's touching me!

Why won't he let me hug him?

He said he hates broccoli the most but only I do.

He's copying me!

She's ignoring me!

It's my turn to be It.

I always have to be It.

She harvested ALL of my Family Barn wheat and it takes 24 hours to regenerate.

He moved my pencil.

She sat in my chair.

He never walks the dog as often as I do.

He didn't let me find the farting cow on Pictureka.

He threw my favorite torpedo in the deep end.

She always guesses the trivia questions before me.

He smooshed all the silly putty into one big pile and now we can't tell whose is whose.

He keeps unplugging my Kindle from his charger.

She keeps using my Kindle charger and it's not my fault she lost hers.

He called me a brat.

She keeps calling it indigo but it's really blue.

He's humming.

She's smacking.

He's clapping.

He never gets in trouble.

She always gets her way.

They always, always think they're right.

 

#   #   #

Want more? You might enjoy this one or this one about sibling revelry.

 

 

 

 

Dismantling

The thing about building something up is that sometimes you first have to knock it down, to make space for all the growth. At least that's the mantra I keep repeating every time I drive by my house. Or more specifically, by the remains of my house. Because here's what it looked like 3 weeks ago...

2014.02.03.House-23

And here's what it looked like a week later...

2014.06.06.house

Neighbors and friends keep texting to say, "OMG, I knew you were remodeling but I didn't know you were doing THIS!" The truth is, neither did I. Sure, it's all in the architectural plans and there's even a page or two dedicated to something called "demolition" but my mind has not been on the dismantling part--it's been all about the end product. Eye on the prize! The after picture is so much prettier than the awkward, in-between phase. In construction and, of course, in life.

But change is all about the transition and our family is knee-deep in it right now. In our living conditions and elsewhere. Two kids are making obvious leaps...from elementary to middle school and from preschool to kindergarten, but it's also becoming a season of smaller, more subtle changes in all five of us. Shifts in maturity, in confidence, in perseverance, in patience.

In general I'm a nostalgic type, but I have no room for it right now. This season of transition is one of moving forward. The kids are ready for new adventures. I'm ready for more challenges. We are all ready for a little more space and some room to grow.

So instead of nostalgia, I'm mostly standing back in awe as the house gets taller and wider. I'm watching the upstairs comes alive and the downstairs transform. I'm hoping to hang on to this awe when it comes to all the changes happening right now.

After all, my family doesn't need me pining for the old when the new is so promising...

2014.06.15.house-2

*     *     *

Speaking of new stuff: I'm happy to share that my photo artwork is now featured on Great.ly. If you're a maker/tastemaker/shopper, please check it out and follow!

As always, my full collection is found at ewmcguirephoto.com. Email me with any questions or special requests. I'm always on the lookout for new projects!

 

 

 

Yes!

I think I've found my new motto... 2014.05.19.graffiti-4

If you want a piece of this roadside wisdom in your own home, check this out!  I'm selling this photo, and several others from my Word on the Street series, as sleek, modern artwork. The images are printed on highly durable, scratch-resistant sheets of aluminum that are glossy, vibrant and incredibly sharp. It's a seriously cool look. Also worth noting: the final artwork does not include my watermark on the front.

As always, thanks for your enthusiasm and support. Email me with any questions!

Show Your Work: Possessions

I’m trying something new that’s inspired by a writer/artist whose work I admire. Austin Kleon is the author of Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work, both simple and genius manifestos for the creative life. I keep his books on my desk the same way some people keep their therapists on speed dial. I find his words both inspiring and grounding. In his latest book he advocates showing some of your work in progress, as opposed to fully formed, as a way to boost creativity, move past mental blocks and ultimately get your work Out There. By bringing people along for the ride, you and your audience will both see your work in a new light.

The idea of posting my incomplete thoughts doesn’t necessarily come naturally to me, but I’m giving it a whirl. I’m giving lots of things a whirl lately, because it seems to be that kind of year for me (Did I mention I humbled myself enough to aquajog?? I digress.)

So I’m embracing this idea and will periodically highlight miscellany that's on my mind or projects on my horizon. Incomplete but still interesting. We will see where they take us!

Lately I’ve been thinking about stuff. As in, possessions.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, we recently moved into a small rental so we can remodel our house. The move required  extensive purging and methodical packing. The goal was to pare things down as much as possible, store most of our belongings, and live for 6 months or so with only the basics. Now, I realize that “basics” is a relative term and we all have our threshold for needs and wants and everything in between.

For us, that meant ALL the Legos stayed, because nobody could decide how to divvy them up. Almost all the books were stored, knowing that between the library and the bookstore, stories would keep coming into our lives. Bulky things like the large Kitchenaid mixer were happily stored, and have already given me an excuse to avoid baking things from scratch. We packed half our dishes, every single vase or decorative item, and most everything that was hanging on a wall.

I have long subscribed to the philosophy of only keeping “what you use or what you love” so our home was already pretty lean. Now it’s anorexic. Part of me finds it liberating to live with only the basics, but it’s strange not to be surrounded by at least a few material things I love. Of course, we've got our people and our pet so life is good...our home just feels different right now.

Last week I ran across this video by filmmaker Gemma Green-Hope, who created a short film after her family sorted through her grandmother’s belongings. It’s a lovely tribute. My favorite quote is, “I wanted to show her to myself.”

That video got me thinking about the things my mother left behind when she passed away three years ago after a long illness. She had battled multiple sclerosis for nearly 30 years and had spent the last 10 years of her life supported by a ventilator. The "basics" in her life are relative too. My mom's life was extremely simplified the last few years, but required unfathomable amounts of medicine and complex supplies to keep her comfortable.

A couple months after her death, I helped my father clean out her closet, which in some ways seemed frozen in time from when she was first diagnosed. I wrote about it at the time, but until yesterday I had not re-read that piece in years. Of course it brought back a flood of emotions...just in time for Mother’s Day. It’s amazing how your own words can come back and catch you off guard. I lived and breathed that experience, but still it seems like another me altogether.

During the clean-out, I also photographed some of the little things I uncovered in my mother’s drawers. There were no big surprises...only small moments of nostalgia or grieving. There were a few questions that would never be answered: Why did she save this but not that? Why was this recipe tucked in with her jewelry? There were also some heartbreaking juxtapositions. I had been in her closet hundreds of time and grown numb to all the medical supplies that filled her shelves. But seeing them through the camera lens changed everything. Suddenly I saw not just the life-sustaining tubes, but the neighboring sweaters that she hadn’t worn in 10 years because she hadn’t left her bed, much less her house, in all that time.

By now I’ve sorted through her treasures and kept a few things that mean something to me. When our house is finished, I will unpack them once again and find a new home for them. The photos...I don’t know what I’ll do with them. But I’m sharing a few of them here. Showing you what’s on my mind. Seeing where it takes me.

Thanks for seeing with me.

IMG_6278

IMG_6288

IMG_6282

IMG_6273

IMG_2825

 

 

*     *     *

Thanks to everyone who entered last week's giveaway. The winner of the Moms Are Nuts book is NaDell. Enjoy!

Peace warrior

2013.03.06.graffiti-185

The secret to staying sane as a parent? Finding the om in omg.

*     *     *

Life has been especially crazy around my house lately and most days I'm struggling mightily to find the om. In my free moments I'm sneaking away and working on a new photography project...capturing the witty and whimsical graffiti around Austin and turning it into sleek, modern works of art. Check it out at ewmcguirephoto.com!