Family photojournalism is not a genre of photography that we often hear a lot about. When former psychologist Rowena Meadows started snapping her family in their natural environment, it ignited a creative spark. With an interest in human behaviour and a yearning to tell stories with her camera, Row created Day In Your Life Project. She captures the chaos and joy that happens in day-to-day life. This style of photography, where Rowena immerses herself in a family's world, allows parents (especially mothers) to appreciate the small moments. Even the most mundane family activities are shot for you to look back on and appreciate. The meltdowns, the domestic tasks and the stolen kisses are all recorded. In this interview with Rowena, you'll learn more about this intriguing woman and how she uses her talent to tell your family story.
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1.Why did you create Day In Your Life Project?
My business is a collision of many sides of me. Being a former psychologist, my desire to understand and observe humans has never waned. I am also a storyteller and I am a noticer. Small details have always caught my eye and fascinated me. I love seeing the beauty in the ordinary aspects of our life. When I learned to use my camera 4 years ago, I started to explore different genres and came across the relatively new field of family photojournalism. It allowed me to bring my passion for photography together with my strong interest in studying human behaviour. I began to shoot my own family. The more ordinary the moment, the better. I changed as a parent. I began to step outside my frustrations as a mother and see my life as an observer, as outsider. This helped me in some of my darker moments. I became more mindful. I wanted to bring this experience to other parents.
2. How did it all begin?
After studying Documentary Family Photography and shooting my own family every day, I decided to start shooting friends families. To make an honest documentary, I knew I would need a whole day to tell a rich story. I did 3 shoots for free. Those experiences were life changing. I knew I'd never be able to work as a regular family photographer making posed images again. The storytelling aspect was too appealing.
3. How does it make mother’s lives better or brighter?
As mothers, we all get stuck in the drudgery of the daily routine from time to time. Where surviving the day is the goal, rather than appreciating the season of our lives for what it is. When you have a documentary photographer spend a day with you and reflect that back to you with storytelling images, it is a mind shift. When you see those images, its like a mirror reflecting the wonder and extraordinary beauty in your ordinary. The chaos, joy, frustration, meltdowns, hard work, togetherness and quite moments are all there and they are beautiful because they are yours. As mums, we are rarely in photos. Nobody bothers to record the work you do, how you parent, what you look like when you are feeding a baby with one hand, helping another with homework and cooking dinner at the same time. Those moments, that work deserves to be documented. It is so important to me. And it's extremely validating for mothers to be able to have those images.
4. How does it make you feel when a person books in with you?
I am immediately excited that somebody has recognised the value in my work. I can't wait so make their documentary.
5. What is your most popular package?
I mostly only offer 8 hour day in your life shoots. I spend the day with a family, doing whatever they do. I go to the park, cafe, supermarket, swimming lessons, anywhere that is part of their normal day really. There is no need for them to change what they do for me. The best 60 or so images get made into a beautiful fine-art album. I love working with families once a year to document their changing lives and to build a collection of books which reflect their journey.
6. What’s the most common frequently-asked-question about Day In Your Life Project?
People always ask me if they will be interesting enough. The answer is always yes! Everything is interesting to me. It's my job to make the best images to help reflect that back to my clients. I rely on strong moments, quiet ones, interesting light, connection, emotion, creative compositions, and humour to make this happen. Some of my favourite images have been made from the most ordinary of moments.
7. Describe one thing women would be surprised about from behind-the-scenes.
My favourite place to edit images is my bed with a glass of wine and a heap of chocolate.
8. What aspect about Day In Your Life Project do you love the most?
There is nothing like the connections I make with my families. After being so deeply entrenched in their life for a day, knowing all the goings on, the quirks of the kids, and unique aspects of their relationships, I feel incredibly privileged. And everyone of those experiences changes me in some way. I take a bit of something away from every family. We have such unique ways of surviving parenthood and I learn to much from other parents. Many of my clients have become good friends.
9. When you’re not in business mode, what do you love to do?
Addicted to op shopping and playing piano.
10. Any exciting plans for 2017?
I'm taking my documentary photography skills to the headshot game. I have another photography business called 'Professional Me', which aims to go beyond regular headshots. I basically shoot someone in their regular work environment and the images get used on social media, website or marketing material to help communicate their personal brand. So far I have shot a milliner, pattern maker, plumber, marketing specialist and gym owner.
ABOUT DAY IN YOUR LIFE PROJECT
Documentary Family Photography shoots.
Biz owner: Rowena Meadows
Favourite café: Limoncello in Sandringham
Coffee order: Tea is my religion
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