Pretty Dishes


A Return
August 27, 2012, 10:44 am
Filed under: Photography, Update

Oh dear. Nine months and nary a word. It’s safe to say I underestimated the amount of spare time I would have during the holidays and afterward. It’s even safer to say that I hadn’t a clue how little time one actually has once a newborn enters the picture. Now my daughter is five months old (how did that happen?!), and while I have had a few occasions to make some exceptional dishes (new and old), I was so rushed to either gobble them down or attend to my girl once I finally got them on the table that I didn’t snap photos of a single one. Finally, two weeks ago, I made a sweet corn gelato that I had a chance, on a rare and glorious lazy Saturday morning, to style and shoot. It felt great. I will write up and post the details very soon.

So what exactly have I been up to lately? Well, December is always a crazy whirlwind, so nothing new there, but from January through March there was the added stress at work of finding a replacement to train, moving offices, changing distributors, and otherwise juggling eight million tasks on top of my regular projects, all with one less person in my department. Remarkably, I managed to do a pretty excellent job of it—if I do say so myself—but I hadn’t a second to spare. I worked many evenings and weekends, and whenever I wasn’t, I was attending childbirth classes, reading up on newborn care, and trying to anticipate and prepare for the biggest life change imaginable. I had grand ideas about accomplishing so much in the two weeks post-leave pre-baby, and wouldn’t you know it, the little peanut decided to make an early appearance. There went nine potential days of productivity as well as a dive headfirst into motherhood.

I won’t wax poetic about all the details, but as any of you with children know, so many of the clichés are annoyingly true. Your life will never be the same. You’ve never known love as you will for a child. Be flexible. Enjoy each moment. A new challenge waits around every corner. And one that seems especially true for me: The days are long but the years are short. I will never be the same person again, and yet I’ve tried to resolve internally what of me is still the same and what all my new identity entails. Nothing makes you consider this quite like becoming a mother (sorry dads, it’s just not the same).

Therefore, a good portion of the past five months have consisted of me stepping back to stop expecting so much of myself, toning down the drive to multitask, and unabashedly gazing at my baby as she grows and learns and morphs into a little person right before my eyes. Some days are harder than others—when I can’t seem to do anything right or I feel like my life and goals are on hold—but overwhelmingly, I’ve cherished this time and the attention I’ve been able to give her.

There are plenty of fun milestones ahead, one being her first food, which I spend more time planning excitedly for than I probably should. You can be sure that she will be encouraged to experiment in the kitchen, and I fully intend to instill in her a love of quality ingredients and homemade meals shared at the dinner table. She will eat what we eat (in modified form), and thus the content of this site shouldn’t change a whole lot, though surely I will devote some posts to the occasional mom-/kid-friendly snack, lunch, dinner, what have you.

It probably goes without saying that I’ve become pretty adept at infant photography in the past year. Between my daughter and her cousin, my portfolio is bursting. Outside the baby realm, I’ve been shooting with some frequency as well, just not food images, unfortunately. That’s not to say it wasn’t great fun and good practice with the camera. My original love was photographing people, and I’ve been happy to have cause to revisit it.

I did a senior portrait set.

I shot publicity stills for my sister’s phenomenal original play, Roberta and the Moon.

I did an incredible engagement shoot at Canlis (whose staff was so accommodating).

And I documented an overnight camp for the YMCA.

All in all, both my cooking and general photography opportunities have been steady enough, but I’d like to approach what hours I do have with a bit more structure in the months ahead, especially since I will be taking on freelance assignments rather than returning to my full-time office job. This site offers a creative outlet that I hope I can build upon steadily to showcase my passion and provide worthy content that inspires all of you at home.

So let me state a few goals here. I plan to start slow so the guilt snowball doesn’t catch up to me too quickly, and that means aiming for just two posts per month, probably through the end of the year. If I manage more, super. I certainly have a backlog of photos and recipes to pull from. On that note, though, the more I look at those old images, it’s hard not to be overly critical and discard them for being less aesthetically pleasing. But since I do want to share the recipes, please be forgiving as I must be of myself. Practice is necessary, as much as I’d love to skip past it to perfection. I’m a little rusty going back into food photography after months away, but like the proverbial bicycle, I’ll hit my stride in no time I’m sure.

Thanks for hanging around and occasionally checking in here while I adjusted to life as I now know it. I’m excited to find what’s on the road ahead.

P.S. Since I haven’t reported stats in awhile, I’m pleased to say that Pretty Dishes has surpassed the 5,000-view mark for its 102 posts. As before, the most searched for and viewed post is Pad Woon Sen. Fascinating!

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