inspiration | molly flanagan

i can't remember how i met molly (via the internet), but i do remember that from the moment i came across her blog, i not only fell in love with molly's work, but also her spirit.  not long ago, molly decided to put her photography business on hold, a decision i so deeply respected and applauded (and was sure to let her know). molly's ability to capture the beauty of life and the everyday, along with the way she sees and captures light, is absolutely breathtaking.

i asked molly a few questions and here's what she had to say.  enjoy!

How would you describe your photography style?  I always find it difficult to answer this question.  I just see stuff and take pictures of it.  I kind of feel like I am styleless-- and I don't mean that in a "classic" or "timeless" way.  I wear the same jeans pretty much every day (as long as they are not covered goldfish cracker goo). My hair is usually in a messy knot on top of my head.  And I rarely wear makeup.  I just like to feel like myself-- and I get a little freaked out if I am ever out of my wardrobe comfort zone!  I guess if I had to describe my personal style, it would be "comfortable, unassuming, and functional".  Maybe my photography could be described the same way?  I don't like to manipulate.  I want things to be real.  I don't like fake.

You have such an amazing eye for light and composition.  How did you learn to see both?  Well, for composition, it isn't really something I think much about.  But I do get bored easily and once I have shot something a certain way, I want to look for new ways to see it.  I think being comfortable moving your body around and seeing things from different perspectives is really important to finding interesting compositions.  As far as light goes, this is something I feel like I grow in every year.  It amazes me how each year I see the intricacies of the light in my home differently.  I think that is such a wonderful example of how you can never plumb the depths of creativity.  This journey is never ending-- what a beautifully exciting thing!

Balance in photography is tough and so often a struggle.  You recently decided to put your photography business on hold.  What fueled that decision?  For the last few years photography has been such a HUGE part of what I do with my time and my brain. Even when my business wasn't super busy, my mind was still reeling with ideas for packaging, pricing and products.  Figuring out taxes and budgets and html.  A chunk of my kids naptime, many of my evenings, and much of my thought life was going towards this little business.  And I feel like the things that are truly important... caring for my family, loving my husband, being physically and mentally available to them, as well as using the gifts God has given me to express myself creatively and care for others, were becoming harder and harder to put first. However, I know this talent is a gift from God, and in my heart I so want to use it to bring Him glory. Truly, that is all I want. Whether behind the camera or behind the sink, I want to be available to His call.  Finding that "balance" really IS difficult.  One thing I do know is the good things that come out of my pursuits in photography pale in comparison to the good things that come out of loving God and my family.  So, I felt like it was important for me to actively "let go" of my business.  Oddly, during this process my love for the ART of photography has increasing dramatically.  I have a passion to really have something to SAY with the pictures I take.  I have no idea what is going to happen next, and I can't say that I will never take another paying client, but I feel like I have been... "repotted"... my goals refined.  It has been good.

What artists inspire or influence you and why / how?  Jessica Todd Harper's use of light paired with seemingly boring aspects of family life inspired me to see the beauty in the mundane aspects of my own life.  She also inspired me to pursue my own work in a more fine art style.  Julie Blackmon's Domestic Vacation series gave me a great appreciation for the role details can play in photography and how important they can be to adding depth to a story.  And the composition and storytelling of her Mind Games series-- they are just amazing.  And I love Todd Selby.  His holistic approach to photo shoots influenced my approach to photographing people in a huge way! And finally, Jeremy and Ashley Parsons.  They totally shoot what they see.  When I look at their blog posts, I feel like they are able to hit all of my 5 senses through their photographs.

What has been the best part of your photography journey thus far and why?  I can't believe how much fun I have had!  I've had the chance to meet lots of interesting people and travel to new places.  And photography has been such a great way to process through all of the ups and downs of life with small children.  Really, it has ALL been the best (well, not the paying taxes part and red tape.  That part sort of stinks).

How do you envision the future of your photography?  I just want to shoot things that move me.  I doubt I will ever be a news journalist in a war torn country, but I would really like to focus deeply on some storytelling projects.

What would be your dream photo shoot?  The cast of Growing Pains circa 1987.    

What is one thing that most do not know about you, but might find interesting?  I have one blue eye and one green eye.

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?  Take lots and lots of pictures.  Shoot what inspires you.  Don't spend too much time living inside your computer.