Interview: Beryl Young
Originally published : April 3, 2017
Shoot Along: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you located? Do you have children? What ages?
Beryl: I'm Beryl. An ambivert who craves connection with people almost as much as she craves her solo time to recharge. I live in a small town in Virginia (about an hour outside of Washington, D.C.) where driving 10 miles away from home in any direction can either lead me to farmland or city life depending on my mood. I live with my husband and we have one strong-willed, spirited, creative 6 year old who lights up our days and makes each one an adventure. We also have another daughter, Bella, whom we lost when I was 20 weeks pregnant in 2009 and who was the inspiration for this photography journey. Oh! And we have two aloof cats and a crazy dog too -- can't forget our fur babies!
Shoot Along: What single piece of photography equipment (aside from your camera) could you not live without?
Beryl: Does my phone count? Ha! I guess that's another camera, eh? I actually couldn't live with out my photo books. Again not really equipment, but for me photography is so much more than the making of the image. It's the preservation of memories and deeper meaningful connections from those photos that are most important to me.
Shoot Along: Name another photographer whose work you find inspiring.
Beryl: Me Ra Koh has always been such an inspiring leader in the industry to me. Not only does she produce fabulous work, but she's a master teacher and prime example of someone going after her big crazy dreams beyond the realm of the camera.
Shoot Along: What is the best photography advice you've ever received?
Beryl: Shoot with intention and take time to pause. We can get so wrapped up in capturing the perfect moment, that we forget to simply breathe and observe what's unfolding before our very eyes. We can't capture and preserve every moment, and when we can release the need to capture it all we open space to anticipate when the photo-worthy moments are about to happen.
Shoot Along: How do you make documenting your family through photography a priority?
Beryl: Oh this is a constant struggle! Over the last year or two though I've really begun to let go of the perfection mindset and my expectations over how my family photos SHOULD look.
These days I take so many more snapshots with my mobile phone, and when I do pick up my DSLR camera I try to remind myself that these serve the purpose of memory preservation. Not every photo of my family has to be an award winning masterpiece.
Shoot Along: Tell us about the image you've shared? What makes it special to you? What did you do to make it happen?
Beryl: This image is one of those simple captures that makes me smile every time I look at it. It so perfectly conveys my daughters personality -- from her mischief, to her silliness, to her pure positivity and joy.
It was purposefully shot in a room in our house that gets good light (our guest bedroom). My husband and daughter were having a pillow fight in the guest bed.
The resulting image was created because of my sheer willingness to pause and wait for the right moment when she fell into a pile of pillows and was beaming.
Making an image is so often so much more than the technical. It's about slowing down long enough to shoot with clear intention too.
Shoot Along: Share a mistake that you made when you were first learning about photography. How did this mistake help you grow?
Beryl: I was TERRIBLE at using light effectively. I had so many photos that I now use as 'bad examples' in my work that I gave to clients in their photo galleries. It was embarrassing! However, feeling defeated by light pushed me to get curious about where I was failing and fix it the next time around. It encouraged me to practice and hone my craft even more.
I also think it helped me realize that maybe portrait work wasn't where my main wheelhouse was, and it led me to explore teaching photography instead which I absolutely adore!
Bio: Beryl Young is the founder of Recapture Self a community for moms who are ready to reclaim their identity beyond parent - using creativity as a guide. After the tragic loss of her first daughter at 20 weeks pregnant Beryl picked up a camera as a source of healing, hope, and self-discovery. She's since transitioned her career from showing elementary school kids and teachers how to use technology creatively in the classroom to inspiring moms to lean in to their creativity to live a more intentional, present, and connected life.
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