A Senior story in Greer, Sc

This was so much fun! I was recently able to spend an afternoon following around these two High School seniors. Both are going off to college in the fall so we decided to document a typical afternoon. If my kids turn out half as awesome as Maddie+Steitler, then we will be doing pretty good!

I love to photograph family life+relationships but I am especially drawn to spaces and how people interact with them, so my favorite part was photographing Maddie+Steitler in their bedrooms and hearing their thoughts on their spaces+things. Every decoration+trinket has a special significance and helps tell the story of who they are. It felt really good to put a documentary spin on “Senior Portraits” and help preserve memories of this season for them!

Congratulations Maddie+Steitler! xoxo

The Eagles Nest in Anderson, SC

In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,’ can truly say to every group of Christian friends, ‘Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.’ The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.
— C.S. Lewis

Early last summer these three roommates, who dubbed their home “The Eagle’s Nest”, wanted to document a typical loungy morning before one of the eagles got married and left the nest. These girls have been such a great example to me of the complex beauty of friendship, accountability, iron-sharpening-iron, and all the great stuff that comes along with being brave enough to love and be loved by others.

The Wilson's Story in St Louis, MO

Think of how still you stand when your picture is being taken, as the photographer captures your likeness on film. God has one eternal purpose for us: that we should be ‘conformed to the likeness of his Son’ (Romans 8:29). But in order for that to happen, we must stand still. We hear so much today about being active, but maybe we need to learn what it means to be quiet.
— Streams in the Desert

NEWS: Contact The Define School for information about an opportunity to work with me one-on-one for a 4-week mentorship on Storytelling Photography. 2 spots are available and open on April 12th. Content is tailored to your needs but possible topics include: Seeing Composition Creatively; Planning+Executing a Family Documentary Session; Website or Portfolio Critique; and of course plenty of Q&A. Contact info (at) thedefineschool (dot) com for more information.

The Puttman's Story in Portland, OR

To know ahead of time what you’re looking for means you’re then only photographing your own perceptions, which is very limiting, and often false.
— Dorothea Lange

The Nicholson's Story in San Jose, CA

If our children’s lives are the sea floor, we need to leave the gold all over it, everywhere, in little bits. We can’t do it in one big nugget. We can’t even do it in a bunch of medium chunks. We have to leave gold through their lives in a fine dust that’s spread all over everything. At the end of our children’s lives, we hope it is worth a fortune. But at any given moment it is the little things that contain the gold. The gold is quick forgiveness. It is quick repentance. It is cheerful smiles and tender hugs. It is teasing and laughing. It is loving. It is Daddy throwing yet another wrestle party all over the house. It is dinner. Regular. Predictable. It is having physical needs looked after. It is being disciplined. It is being challenged. It is being educated. Being made to do something you didn’t want to. It is not being the boss. It is not getting away with lying. It is knowing who to talk to. It is knowing you will feel better when you do. It is security. It is joy. It is every day. It is life. It is knowing your faith, and knowing that it is your parents’ too. It is knowing your people and being known by them.
— Rachel Jankovic

The Meyerson's Story in Phoenix, Arizona

The basic purpose of art is not to teach, but to show- to hold up to a man a concretized image of his nature and his place in the universe.
— Ayn Rand

An Episode of Actual Experience 2018

slice of life:

An episode of actual experience represented realistically and with little alteration in a dramatic, fictional, or journalistic work.

The McAfee's Story in Royce City, Texas

The things that Jesus did were of the most menial and commonplace order, and this is an indication that it takes all God’s power in me to do the most commonplace things in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done.
— Oswald Chambers

Upcoming Things…

October: Will be in the Outer Banks mid-month if you are within 2 hours and interested in a Family Storytelling Session in your home.

November:  Visual Storytelling at The Define School (Registration open Monday, October 8th).

Winter 2018:  Available for Family Storytelling Sessions as we plan to travel though Georgia, Alabama and down to the very bottom of Florida in February!

the story of ruby's ninth birthday

Yesterday I shared pictures from my boys' birthdays last year so I guess I'd better not leave out Ruby.  Sadly, she had a fever on her birthday and spent most of the day laying down.  When Ruby was little I used to joke that her brain was made of cotton candy. She has a very sweet outlook on life, that I hope she never loses!  

The Story of Cogan's Eleventh Birthday

Cogan's last birthday was a year ago this month as well. The boys had a joint party, so Cogan's actual birthday was pretty laid back.  He's the most responsible one in our family, we'd be lost without him... literally... he's so good with maps!

the story of oliver's sixth birthday

I was looking for something else on my external hard drive from last year and I came across these pictures from Oliver's 6th birthday.  He will be 7 in a couple of weeks.  I love his summertime swimming goggle tan lines and the baby teeth he has since lost.  

Summer 2018 Travel Locations | Family Storytelling Photographer

I miss my mom.  She lives in Washington State and I live in South Carolina, so we are planning a road trip out west to visit her this summer! 

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If everything comes together we are currently planning to be in:

  • Knoxville, Tenessee 
  • Columbus, Ohio 
  • Kansas City, Missouri 
  • Kalispell, Montana 
  • Sheridan, Wyoming 
  • Seattle/Mt Vernon, Washington 
  • Portland, Oregon 
  • San Jose, California

We will be passing through/near lots of places and are always up for a detour. So if you would like more information about whether a session could work for your family, please let me know! A 2-3 hour Storytelling Session in/around your home is $1525.    

You don't have to have a perfect family, an immaculately kept home, or the body of an 18 year old (in fact, I don't think I would want to photograph you if you did have all of those things!). Muffin tops, beige walls, and grumpy kids are not only tolerated but WELCOMED. I will not make your life look perfect. I will not use my camera to create an alternate reality where everything is rainbows and kittens. But I will tell the truth. I will recognize mundane moments that tell a deeper story of family life. I will respect your quirks and failings and gifts. And I will give you photos that honestly represent this season of your life.  

If you are interested in learning more about investing in having your family's story visually documented, I would love to hear from you! 

xoxo
Molly Flanagan

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The Waters Story in Anderson, SC

I don’t consider myself a real peeper- they go in for bedrooms, but it’s families in sitting rooms or kitchens that thrill me. I can imagine their entire lives from a glimpse of bookshelves, or desks, or lit candles, or bright sofa cushions.”
— "The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer

Anderson Care Pregnancy Clinic | Anderson South Carolina

This winter I took some pictures of a carseat safety class at the Anderson Care Pregnancy Clinic here in Anderson, South Carolina. Every month they offer free classes on a wide range of topics like budgeting, parenting, and even fun crafting classes.   They also have a little boutique where women participating in their counseling program are able to earn credits to "purchase" beautiful baby items.  If you live locally and ever have left over baby things (clothes, cribs, diapers, baby food, etc.) please consider donating your items to Anderson Care Pregnancy Clinic. This is a great organization and I am so proud to be working with them!    

Although I was only there to take pictures during the carseat safety class, I found myself raising my hand to ask questions when they discussed when kids are old enough to ride without a booster seat. I learned that the lap belt should rest against the child's pelvic bones... not across their belly. This seems like a no-brainer now that I think about it, but if the seatbelt is going across the soft part of a child's belly, even a small fender bender could cause damage to their organs.  Anyway, just a free parenting tip to go along with these pictures.  You're welcome!  

Click here to see another local event 

Other things -- I am booking Family Sessions or in-person mentorships on Long Island, NY in July.  And also in July, stay tuned for a special class I will be offering at DEFINE.  

xoxo

The Rogers Story in Austin, TX

Even though the teenage years are right around the corner for my own family, that season still seems mysterious and scary and I have no idea what to expect.  I cannot imagine my kids having armpit hair and taking Driver's Ed and doing math problems beyond my comprehension (although, lets be real, that last ship has already sailed).  

So when I photographed Leilani Rogers (whom I met when we were both speakers at a Birth Photography Conference called Off-Call) in Austin, Texas I was excited/nervous to photograph her family.  Would they think I was a crazy old lady?  What would we even DO?  

Little kids play with blocks and make messes.  

Teenagers text and roll their eyes at their parents -- At least that is what they do on television.  

Leilani's baby is 10, the same age as my oldest child.  So I felt like I was kind of peering into a crystal ball foreseeing what my future holds.  After a few hours with the Rogers Family I can now say that maybe life with teenagers won't be so scary.  It turns out that while they DO like their phones, they also have their own passions about music and art (and which is better Harry Potter or Star Wars). They still love legos, and hugs, and cookies with sprinkles.  They sleep in bunkbeds and run around in the backyard.  They ask mom for help when they need it but can clean and cook and read big books.  Sometimes they seem like little kids in big bodies.  And other times they seem like full fledged adults.

I'm still nervous about my kids becoming teenagers. And many days I wring my hands in worry, wondering if I am screwing them up.  But I am reminded of a quote by Elyse Fitzpatrick:

It would be against God’s character to give us a promise that our children will be saved if we raise them in a certain way. That would mean that he was telling us to trust in something other than Christ and his grace and mercy.

There are times when I miss having a squishy baby that blows kisses and waves backwards.  But it feels like every day my kids are alive they become more and more of themselves.  More of the people God created them to be. And I am excited to see who my little people become.  I cannot control the outcome, but I don't have to worry.  I don't have to do it all right.  I can rest in God's promise that He is bigger and smarter and stronger than me.  That his plan for their lives is perfect.  

And now I seem to have gone down a rabbit hole that has nothing to do with photography. But really it has everything to do with it! 

Families are complex and beautiful and it is hard to capture all of that in a traditional portrait taken at the park in matching white shirts.  I love that I have permission to go into families homes and photograph their mundane moments.  I love that I am able to see beautiful things in other people and apply them to my own life and heart. I love that I can fear the future for my own family, and then be comforted by photographing another. I love that I don't have to be the best photographer and control everything.  I don't have to worry. I don't have to do it all right.  I can trust that the story I am photographing is more beautiful than my technical skill and just be present to appreciate whatever happens.   

TRAVEL:

I will be traveling to Long Island, NY in July.  Email me at hello (at) mollyflanagan (dot) com if you are in the area and are interested in a Storytelling Session for your family or a one-on-one mentorship.  Other Possible Stops:  Virginia Beach, OBX, Annapolis/Eastern Shore, Maryland, Richmond, Lancaster, PA, New Jersey, Shenandoah, VA. 

TEACHING:

My class Real Life Still Life is being offered at The Define School in May. Registration is open until April 24th.  As photographers we can get so focused on the PEOPLE in our lives that we leave out many details which contribute to the stories we are telling.  This class focuses on photographing everything but the people.  It is a refreshing class where we go through the history of Still Life in art and learn how to apply it to our photography today.  I love this class SO much and am super excited to be teaching it again!  

On the road | Personal

I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Palmdale, California catching up on some work and emailing my Visual Storytelling class while my husband does some much needed laundry back at our campsite.  We've been on the road in our 20' camper for 20 days and every day I simultaneously want this trip to end and keep going on and on forever and ever!  My daughter said today that she and her big brother play together much better when we are traveling.  She thinks it is because they have no one else to play with.  I think she is right.    

Here are small a handful of iPhone pictures from our adventures so far.  Taken in Big Bend, Death Valley, and Marfa Texas.

We will hopefully be home in South Carolina in about a week.  I can't believe it's almost over...

Ruby and the Yellow Balloon | Anderson SC Family Photographer

I realized these pictures have been sitting in the backend of my website since August, waiting to be posted.  My poor blog is sorely neglected and posting is continually put to the bottom of my to-do list!  

These pictures were taken at the end of the summer, shortly before Ruby turned 8.  Every night before bed I tell her she is my, "Beautiful ray of sunshine and sky full of stars."  It is cheesy but it is true.  Ruby is nearly always happy, positive and kind.  When she was little I would tell people that her mind was made of cotton candy because she saw everything in the best light.  I am so thankful to be her mom.

The McDowell's Story in Greenville, SC

This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.
— Elisabeth Elliot

This February and March I am booking in-home Storytelling Photography Sessions in:

Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville, TN | Austin and Houston, TX | Los Angeles Area 

email hello (at) mollyflanagan (dot) com to learn more!