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Beautiful Everyday

You Made me a Mother

This Mother’s Day, I’d like to share a poem that I came across on Facebook, written by this lady, Melanie Tan. It’s a really lovely piece adapted from another similar poem. I love how she has captured the feeling of motherhood through these lines. Wishing all amazing mothers out there, a Happy Mother’s Day.

20150429_FAMILY_NICO_MURIEL_YASMIN_27Two blue lines,
Tears, excitement and fears
Will I be a good mother?
Can I survive child birth?
I wasn’t ready

Then, the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard
Hearing your heartbeat for the first time
That fast paced rhythm
I told myself, I can do this

I felt you
Your first kick
I smiled
Your first in-vitro hiccups
I laughed

Suddenly, you were here
Daddy’s nose, mummy’s lips
and those eyes
staring at me when we first met
and I fell in love

I held you, fed you
You cried and I cried
Our 3am staredowns
Sleepless nights

That smell of your head
Little wandering hands
A sniff, a kiss
While you gently suckle on my breast
You doze off
With droplets of love on your lips
I wipe them off and put you down gently
Thinking how much I will miss this
When you grow older

But there are also times I wanted to give up
Then you smile at me
Your cheeky wide grin
And you grab my hands with those little fingers
I pick myself up and console myself
This only gets better

We are growing together
Seeing the world as new
I’ll open my heart and shower you with love
You’ll giggle and I’ll do it all over again
And we’ll walk hand in hand
Until you let go
and explore the world with your two little feet
and I’ll be right behind you
Cheering you on
Or to catch you when you fall
Wherever you need me most
I’ll be there, always

I made you…

But you made me a mother.

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Photography and the Art of Documenting Life

I am a photographer because I love to document life. I feel privileged every time a client invites us to be a part of their life – whether it is photographing a union between two people who are totally and utterly in love with each other or documenting a baby’s first week of his life. It means so much to me because it shows that as a person, they are willing to be vulnerable in front of my lens, trusting me to capture them as who they are and in so doing, connecting with their souls.

I am enriched as a person because I see the fabric that makes us human… this emotion called love that binds us together and transcends culture and religion. Photographing people has always been my passion. I am drawn into this art because people captivate me. As the years go by and I hone my skills as a photographer, I realise the key word that stands out to me most is “authenticity”.

This word drives me to create images that are real. It pushes me to ask myself…

Is this emotion real?
Can I know a person through my images?
What does this image tell me about life?

I was originally drawn to photography because of the world of photojournalism. The images I saw were inspiring, real and gave me insight into someone’s life. It had truth in it.

Which brings me to the images I create for my own family.

As time goes by, I realise that the little things I cherish most are not necessarily the big events in life (yes, they have a special place in my heart), but it is in the daily, ordinary things of life that we take for granted most of the time. Now that I am a mother of two, I feel the cliche phrase “Time flies” really does hold its ground. “The days may seem long, but the years are short”, I was told by a friend.

Almost 10 years ago, I said my vows to this amazing man, Alex. The wedding felt like a fudge pot of random memories fueled by images captured by my photographer then. My pregnancy… well, how quickly those 9 months went by. Suddenly I had a newborn, then an infant and now a toddler who spews out “why, mom??!” every so often.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Now I have two.

I photograph my family as they are because I want to remember as much as I can (considering I am a forgetful person!). The beauty of documentary photography is that we get to relive daily life as if it were just yesterday. The joy of showering my newborn. The pain and glories of breastfeeding. Random bubble blowing sessions in our front yard. I want to remember these little things in life.

How much we love each other as a family. How we look like daily, eye bags and all.

Authentic.

20131201_KRYSTA_1728Krysta approves of dad’s choice for dinner

GT1_1584Feeding both babies at one go…

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The Birth of Baby Jonas

One day, I received a message on Facebook from Jasmine, whom I had known for quite a number of years. She told me that she’d like to document the birth of her second child during the delivery process. I was quite excited as I had never photographed a birthing process before, but secretly I was a little worried that I might faint in the delivery room. After all, I have never witnessed anyone giving birth before, even though I had already experienced two C-secs personally.

Jasmine’s baby was due to arrive on December 24th, and since you can’t really plan for these things, I was already on my toes one week before her due date. Everything was in place… camera batteries perpetually charged, a back up plan with Diane in place in case I couldn’t make it to the hospital in time (or if I were busy shooting another event at the same time), extra phone numbers to call if I didn’t hear my phone ringing at 3am… it seemed like a good plan.

So I was naturally excited when I received a whatsapp message on Friday morning from Jasmine saying that she had been experiencing contractions since 3am, and that today might be ‘the day’! I quickly packed my gear, sorted out my plans for the day, and waited. After a few hours, I was given an update at 2pm: She had checked into the hospital but the contractions seemed to be further apart instead of getting stronger. So she was just under observation for now.

At 3pm, I was still running errands in PJ when I got another message from Jasmine: 4cm dilated. Contractions still far apart. I think it’s time to come to the hospital. Take your time.

I replied ok, but 10 minutes later, I received a hysterical call from her saying that she was already pushing! (on hindsight, can’t believe she can still call me even during her delivery!). I was shocked, because just 10 minutes earlier nothing much was happening! I couldn’t believe how quick everything was progressing. With Alex at the wheel, he rushed me to Pantai Hospital but just as I approached the entrance, I received another whatsapp message from John, Jasmine’s husband… that the baby has been delivered!

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I was really disappointed that I couldn’t photograph the birth nor did we manage to get shots of John cutting the umbilical cord. But everything just happened at such lightning speed which none of us could have predicted. Even the staff at the hospital said it was really quick.. just 2-3 pushes and he was out.

Baby Jonas, you just wanted a little drama entering the world, didn’t you? I am glad that everything went well though and that your mom is well (Seriously, don’t you think Jasmine looks AMAZING for someone who just delivered a baby?). I am honoured to be your very first guest at the hospital and I look forward to seeing you again soon within the next few weeks!

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Beauty in the Ordinary: Alex, Grace & Krysta

My father was an avid photographer – the only one in the extended family when I was a child. Clad with a manual SLR, he captured some moments in the family that I think are very precious. Being the sentimental person that I am, I love the photos so much because dad simply captured our ordinary day – they are pictures of me falling asleep when I was doing my homework, my little brother giving my mom a kiss when he was 3 years old and little sister who made a face at the camera because dad was trying to take a shot of her eating.

So when Alex suggested to do a photo session with them at home doing ordinary stuff, I jumped right into it. I thought it would be different from the ones that we have done before and also, new ideas often excite me. Hehe.

I went in with the idea of shooting like how a Nat Geo photographer would shoot – photojournalistic. Some nice wide angles to give an idea of the environment, unstaged, raw and at the same time, contemporary. I thought about the shots that would simply tell a story of their everyday lives – the kind that would make the family feel nostalgic when they look at the shot 10, 20 years down the road.

The shoot turned out to be a very fun and satisfying one! Alex, Grace and Krysta were so natural in front of the camera as I pranced around them with a black piece of something (camera) on my face. I also kinda forgot that I was shooting my boss. I guess it’s a good thing because if I had that thought hovering around my head, I would have a lot of pressure!

I really do hope you like the photos, boss. Hehe.

Diane

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