So excited to have Tara Thayer here to share some words and photographs! Her photographs and how she captures daily life with her familiy have inspired me for years. It is an honor to have her here!

hello to you!

erin - who is a constant source of inspiration for me as a photographer, and as a woman and mama - asked me to put together some photos and words about how i see and capture the little world around me.

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if you're at all familiar with my story, you'll know that (just like yours) my life is full, rich, and very.very. complicated.  if you're just meeting me now, you can go browse around here ( http://publicbookstore.blogspot.com/ ) or here ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyeblog/ ) and you'll get the gist of it.

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so, in the midst of the now, it is essential that i hold onto it all for the later.  not just my later, but for my girls, who are growing up and into themselves as i type these words.  at the end of the day, without setting out to do so, what i am doing is preserving what i hope will be the essence of their youth.  the feeling of it, as much as anything.  that is what i hope.

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i learned to do what i do by accident.  by small little mistakes and trying out one thing after another, spurred on by curiosity and the need to have my photos look the way things feel.
this led me away from the crisp accuracy of digital (as i understood it) to film.  i began begging, borrowing, and buying all sorts of cameras.  at one point, after an e-mail sent to friends, family, and neighbors, i had seventeen film cameras spread out around my desk.   
ask around! you'll be surprised at how quickly (and a bit bemusedly) people will loan or outright unload their old film cameras on you. 

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i pared down, and now shoot with just a few.  here goes:
my brother's pentax k1000 from the early days of his dental practice.  (took off the killer macro lens and shoot with a 50mm.)  this is such a good, basic place to start.  

a polaroid spectra bought for $10 (for two, actually.  only one worked.) at a tag sale.  i get film from here ( http://shop.the-impossible-project.com/shop/film .)  it's not cheap, but it is one of my passions.  it's also hit or miss, and this makes it even more expensive.  but, alas. when it works ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyeblog/sets/72157624309859817/ ), it's a beautiful thing.

a bronica etrs, on long-term loan from a friend, neighbor, and professional photographer. this and a polaroid 250 bought on etsy are the two cameras i currently have that shoot my beloved fuji peel-apart film.  this film is gorgeous. silky. close to slide film, in my opinion. (you can buy the b&w and color versions at b&h photo.)

a yashica mat 124g.  another loaner, another medium format camera that just cannot take a bad picture.  if the whole roll is not perfect, it's because i've screwed up somewhere.

but, finally, about a year ago, tim bought me a 50mm prime lens for my digital (which is a  
nikon d7000.)  i took all the accumulated knowledge (see mistakes and accidents, above) i'd learned from shooting film, and started shooting this camera fully manually.  it's a wonder.  
so, prime lens or no ,expensive or not so much, pick up that digital. take some time figure out a few key things: setting the white balance, aperture, shutter speed, focus.  play around with it.  find what speaks to you.  the look that captures how your world feels.  and then, shoot.

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don't be afraid.  if you think it's interesting, shoot it.  if you make some mistakes, you just learned something new. if you start to think your photos look like "your photos", well, you're on your way.

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most of all, enjoy yourself.  soak up all the gorgeous inspiration around the web, but don't aim to have your photos look exactly like those that appeal to you.  just aim to have your photos look the way you feel,  how you see things.  that's all.

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best wishes,
xo,
tara