It is sort of strange to be writing to no one in particular, I'm new to this blogging thing, if you haven't figured that out already. Actually, this is my first post, and it is a result of need to make sense of some things that have been hamster wheeling through my brain for the last few months. Before I get into all of that, I feel like an introduction would be helpful. Since you cannot introduce yourself, (even if you do exist,) I guess I'll start with me.
My name is Elizabeth Pedinotti Haynes. I am a photographer living in Saratoga Springs, in beautiful upstate NY. I am originally from this area, but have lived in a few different places, including San Francisco CA, where I completed my MFA and where for the purpose of this blog post, the story begins.
Upon completing my MFA, I moved back to Saratoga Springs, for what I thought would be a temporary basis, to work for a summer at my parents' restaurant, after taking time off to be a graduate student. (Basically, I was broke:))
I had won a scholarship for an artists' residency in Montana for the month of September and was planning on going back out west from there.
I made the trip back east in a tiny Volkswagen with my friend Margaret, my sister Rebecca and my dog, a Great Dane mix named Harold.
We made lots of great stops along the way, slept in sketchy hotels and ate horrible road food, but it was a memory making experience to say the least.
It was my third time driving across the U.S., but somehow every time has felt completely different and exciting, (that is until you hit Chicago traffic and everything gets flat and really boring.)
As we finally made our way through NY state, past the western part of the state, through the Catskill region, and into what I would consider upstate NY, (I know there are a variety of opinions on that matter,) I will never forget the feeling of utter joy and completeness that so unexpectedly washed over me. I knew I had a deep love for this landscape, but it was as if I felt at home for the first time in my life. I had finally returned home to stay. (Full disclosure, I also met met husband while bartending at my parents' restaurant, which was probably part of it too:))
So, my point in telling you all of that, (if you are actually still reading,) is that moving back east kicked off a series of unexpected life changes, I got married, had two babies back to back, built a house, and started working in a commercial photography capacity; photographing everything from portraits, to interiors, lifestyle, portraits, food.
Photography became for me not a form of art making for art's sake, necessarily, but a way to contribute financially to my growing family by doing something that I was skilled at and enjoyed.
Before I moved back east, I spent hours wandering through the woods, or setting up sets, shooting 4x5 film and medium format film, writing and reading about and breathing photography, accustomed to stillness and quiet and lots of time to think.
Suddenly, life had become all about these two beautiful babies and a list of clients and limited child care and no sleep. I was making artful things but not art, and it was ok for the time being. I kept thinking I would eventually regain the time and space I thought I needed to begin making my own work again.
What I am starting to realize though, is that once that big wheel starts moving, it keeps moving, momentum is a force to be reckoned with and my life is different enough now that I can't rely on the old, quiet and slow way of doing things, (at least for the time being.) If I want to return to an active art making practice, I need to find a new way, a way that fits in and around my busy, messy, chock-full life.
So that brings me to the purpose of this blog, (finally, I know.)
I am going to use this as an opportunity to share what I am working on. In graduate school, I somehow got the idea that being a commercial photographer and an artist were mutually exclusive (ahem..bullshit.) Which has made me feel the need to compartmentalize my work, even though I am thinking and expanding my ability to see with every photographic endeavor. Rather than separate my work, I am hoping to bring more focus to what it is I am learning from working in both capacities. I plan to use this forum to share, write, and draw connections that will hopefully feed my personal and professional work at the same time.
So, if you are not super annoyed by me already, and you would like to follow this blog, I am going to commit to posting at least once a week for the next year. I welcome any and all feedback, and if you are local and want to squeeze in a collaboration with me, I would love that too. You can also find me on instagram @elizabethpedinottihaynes and my new account for portraits and other people related things @ephaynes_photo