Sarah Keene of Sarah Keene Photography is the highlighted guest artist on Share Six for the month of August. Her image was chosen by Erica.   I connected with Sarah to learn a little bit about her.

Tell us a bit about yourself? Are you a hobbyist or a pro?

I feel like some of the best parts of life are the ones that are completely unexpected, and thankfully, that is my story. I grew up outside of New York City, played tennis, moved south for school, fell in love, spent a semester studying in London, and even surprised myself by marrying that Texan I fell in love with. He brought me back up north, where we’ve been there ever since. I have an MBA, spent several years the corporate world before I decided to stay at home and have children. And now, as a result, I’m doing something completely different: I study art every chance I get.

I photograph because I want to give my family a good gift, a record of these days that we have spent together. I want my images to show the messy hair, the paint-stained fingers, and the JOY that we share together. I want my children to look at these pictures and know MY MOM LOVES ME. She loves my pig tails. She loves when I don a fleece tiger suit for a week in the hottest part of the summer. She loves my big fat baby belly and how, when the light is just right, the shadows make it look even bigger. It is my hope that my photography loves deeply and that it will be a good gift for generations to come.

Am a hobbyist or a pro? Well, I want to say both. This is my passion, and a I shoot mostly for myself, but I want to bring a high degree of quality and artistry to my work so that each image stands as art in it’s own right.

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I take pictures because I want my girls to know how much I love them, in part by giving them a tangible record of what they look like through my eyes.  I want them to know what sometimes when I see them, all of the loud thoughts in my own head grow still, and I gaze in on their own sweet serenity with so much love and thankfulness.

What will we find in your camera bag?

I only carry one lens in my bag at a time, so I do some serious planning before I set foot out the door. I adore my Canon 24-70 2.8L for its versatility. This summer, we had the incredible opportunity to travel to Europe. I knew I would have to carry whatever I brought everywhere I went for 2 weeks- so I had to choose wisely! The 24-70 is fabulous for navigating tight corners in castles, as well as including a longer length for chasing kids. My most recent purchase is the Canon 70-200 2.8L. The compression is incredible and it’s fun for capturing authentic moments when the kids don’t realize I’m shooting. My current favorite lens, however, is my first– the 50mm 1.2. We have a tiny house and I love the separation that huge aperture can provide, not to mention how incredibly sharp is! I also have a tilt-shift lens but we’re not terribly good friends right now. 😉

Oh, and here’s a secret- I don’t even carry a camera bag after all! After a long search, I bought an MZ Wallace handbag. I love their designs- so much style and function- and with some padded camera inserts it’s my dream bag.

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This image is a bit of a dream come true for me.  Before my girls were even born, I knew I wanted to give them the world.  This summer we were able to travel to Europe for the first time as a family.  I feel this image captures the magic of exploration, with the beautiful light, the hope for where they are headed.

Who inspires you?

Of course my girls are my consistent inspiration. I love watching them grow up! I love studying them, seeing how they view the world, what catches their eye. I love watching them learn and experiment and love one another. I particularly enjoy the details- the funny expressions, the crazy dress-ups, the way they create their art, play and live.

My children are of course known to me, and yet as little people, they are always changing. So knowing them and photographing them is always a new challenge.

I would also be remiss not to add my husband, who constantly encourages me, and has even built (from scratch!) a computer for me, perfectly designed for my intensive file storage size needs, processing capabilities and true color screen resolution!

I’ve been very thankful to have so many people come alongside me in my journey. My dear friend Laura Andrews coached me through those rocky first months with a DSLR and encouraged me to pursue knowledge. I have had many amazing teachers – Sarah Wilkerson, Megan Cieloha, and Kate Densmore were particularly inspiring. I am thankful to now call them friends. My jaw drops consistently when I see the work of Amy Shire, and her kindness, encouragement, creativity and sheer excellence make me want to be like her when I grow up. Sarah Hodges has been with me from the beginning, cheering me on and believing in me before I did myself. I’m so thankful for her wisdom, support and friendship.

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Photography is magic – we are given the power to stop time, to hold on to something forever.  This is one of those crazy moments of childhood that I want to remember! Our youngest fell in love with tigers, and for a full week in the hottest month of summer, she wore this head-to-toe fleece tiger suit.  Everywhere!

What inspired you to pick up your camera initially?

My grandfather was an avid hobbyist photographer. When I was a child, we travelled as a family, and he gave me a small point-and-shoot film camera early on to capture my memories. So my earliest photography was alongside him, capturing travel images. When he died, I inherited an incredible wealth of family history and family images that I treasure.

The real catalyst for my photography career has been my children. I purchased my first DSLR when I was expecting our first child, and I quickly realized there was more I could do if I understood photography. I was just amazed at the new life we had in front of us and I wanted to capture everything my heart was taking in!  The technology available in my camera opened a whole new world to me, and ever since, I’ve been taking classes to learn photography as art.

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“Mom!, I made you strawberry tea, blueberry pie and soup!”  I want to remember this Mother’s Day gift presentation, as I saw it, from my own eyes.  I shot this with my Canon 24-70mm.  The sheer versatility of this lens allowed me to change tactics in a moment, because these moments pass all to quickly.

Photoshop or Lightroom? and why that choice?

I edit in Lightroom 98% of the time, and Photoshop for that last 2%. For the work that I do, capturing real life, authenticity is important to me. Lightroom is an amazing polishing tool.

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This image is part of a series I compiled “In My Mother’s Shoes”.  One morning I gave my girls unrestricted access to my favorite shoes.  They could not think of anything that would delight them more!  They spent hours going about their daily life – doing crayon art, dancing, taking care of their baby dolls and reading, all in my shoes.  I love the symbolism.  One day they will grow up and wear heels of their own.  But now, they still dream of mine.   The weight of responsibility in motherhood often feels overwhelming.  Teaching them about goodness, truth and beauty.  As a mother I want to teach them about goodness, truth and beauty so that they grow up to be cheerful and wonderful women.  That motherly responsibility feels overwhelming at times, but it is moments like these that capture the essence of it all, as well as the joy.

If you had to choose one area of specialization what would that be and why?

I love lifestyle, childhood photography! I also find that the freedom that a digital camera gives you is perfect for wild experimentation. I love to think outside the box and capture our everyday moments in unexpected ways.

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I love creating images that trly reflect the feel of the moment.  This was an absolutely regular, ordinary summer night watching fireworks.  But for me, I was cherishing the moment of my three loves sitting together under the stars.  I love the beautiful bokeh the 50mm lens produces, and the colors here added to the cheerful, fun-filled moment we shared that 4th of July.  It is a bit unexpected.  Isn’t that the way of the very best things?

You can find Sarah on her facebook page and I would encourage you all to go and like her page and show her some love.  

Share Six has the theme Minimalism for the month of August.  Join us on our Facebook page or our Instagram  (#sharesix or #sharesix_minimalism) page and share your images for the theme minimalism

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