Ajira is an awesome lady! She guest blogged for me a few months back about being a Photo-mama… and I asked her to join me again with this interview. She captures the world with her camera like she sees it, very vividly and with lots of excitement and wonder. We have gotten to know each other a little bit via Twitter, but the best way to get to know Ajira is to check out her website and view her images. Ajira is a super talented, intuitive person – I hope to get to know her more as I continue to enjoy her photography!
Name: ajira darch
Age: 31 (since a week ago! Yay!)
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
How long have you been a photographer, and how did you get started?
Really, since forever. But officially since just before I discovered I was pregnant with my son who is now almost 20 months old. So, almost three years. Three years??!!
What’s your favorite type of session to photograph, and why?
Definitely moments of connection. Whether it’s a mother with her baby, siblings or two lovers getting married. I just love seeing that spark between people who feel strongly for each other.
What are three words that describe your photography?
Passionate. Earthy. Authentic.
Are you a Canon or Nikon girl, and which lens is typically glued to your camera?
With cameras (and people!) I don’t discriminate. I mostly shoot with Canon but I also have an Olympus film camera that I love and I dream of having a Nikon, Pentax, Leica, Hasselblad, Minolta, Brownie… The lens that lives on my camera is the 50mm. I love it.
How do you find balance being a mom and managing your own photography business?
Balance? What balance? Hahaha!
One thing that really works for me is to stay present and focus on what I’m doing at that time so I can give one hundred percent and not short change my family, my art or my clients. It doesn’t always work and certainly sometimes needs to overlap but that’s what I’m usually going for. But when I can’t separate it, I don’t fight it.
For example, when my son was younger I was a lot less willing to leave him with anyone other than my husband as we don’t have family or friends nearby so I would sometimes take him with me to my shoots and wear him in a carrier. It worked out really well actually because he often drew the focus of my clients so that they weren’t self-conscious. Babies are great for bringing out people’s authentic selves. Now that he’s older, he doesn’t want to be strapped to me at all but prefers to run around so other arrangements work out better.
What’s your best advice for photographing your own kids?
Be okay with whatever you get. My son has been photographed all his life. He’s certainly more conscious of it now than he used to be and sometimes he really isn’t into it. My goal is to capture an essence of our experience that day so I don’t need him to look into the camera and will often just go for a detail or a story. Like his muddy hands when he’s outside gardening with his father. Or the back of him as he walks around in my shoes! I’d much rather have that moment than him facing the camera with a forced smile.
How do you stay inspired?
I shoot everyday. I look around me everyday. I look at the sky, the clouds, listen to the trees and the birds. I delight in my son’s discovery and exploration of the world, and try to look through his eyes. I immerse myself wholeheartedly in his delight. He inspires me. I read a lot. I talk to people a lot. Sometimes strangers on the street, sometimes folks I meet online through facebook, blogs, forums etc.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate. I don’t feel guilty about it so I guess it doesn’t really count. Hmm. Maybe ice cream? Cinnamon Buns. It has ruined all other flavours for me!
What’s the best thing about your job?
Witnessing connections. Showing people the beauty I see in them. Getting to share how I see the world.
Show me your most recent favorite image: