My Photo

August 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

My Online Photography Workshop

This is how I learned to edit my photos

Join Clickin Moms

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 11/2005

« A Little Bit of Shooting Left in Me | Main | The Reason for the Rut (Part II) »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


The fact that you put all that into words... amazing and so raw, and real. And on such a genuine level. I have a 14 year old... I can relate in so many ways but could not have said it so eloquently. Thank you for sharing!

Karen, I can't even tell you how much I appreciate how much of your heart and soul you put into your pictures, and into these posts. I get it. Oh, how I get it. For me, it's the stepdaughters. Like your Courtney Lee, I love 'em like they're mine, but oh, how it's challenging sometimes. I photographed the pets all week. But you know what? I got the camera out, and that's a success.


I can sooo relate to what you are feeling and saying. I recently went through a long rut myself for the very same reasons. I came to realize that I was going through a mourning phase of losing their childhood. Photographing them now as teenagers is definitely different and quite honestly not always fun at all. They avoid the camera like the plague most of the time. Like you say, it's hard to want to photograph someone who is being moody or rude to you. I salute you for talking to them and letting them know how you were feeling though. I tend to expect them to know without me saying anything. I think I need to sit down and have a talk with mine as well. Thanks for the great post! It is great to see you behind the camera again! :-)


I've missed your blogging and your photos. glad to see you here again. ;) And boy, has Cole grown up.

Nicole Stark

I've really missed you blogging and photos and so glad you figured out your slump. I feel the same way with my oldest and he usually pulls funny faces when I point the camera in his direction. I still have yet to finish listening to the rest of the class . . . fell off the photography bandwagon big time when we moved unexpectedly in May.

Question about one of the above photos of Cole. The one were you are right over him. How did you shoot that? It looks like you crawled on top if the piano.


Amazing pictures of Cole! Love that he responded to your request and then "got into it".
God Bless you all!

Lacey Meyers

Oh, Karen. <3 I read this with tears! I was thinking about you and how much I miss you and your blog and the thought honestly crept in that maybe you were going through this run for the exact reasons you've just talked about. I ache for you, but love how you've thought through all of this. Thank you, as always for being so bravely honest. <3


Thanks for saying my truth out loud, particularly #2. I still haven't come to terms with it - and they've been out of the house 5 years... but it helped. It helped heal a little part of me - thank you.


Thank you so much for articulating all that I've been feeling the last couple of years. My kids (18-at college, soon to be 16 and 10) have no desire to be in front of the lens. I texted my cousin not long ago saying "you know what would be great? A baby. A baby would be great" she was wise enough to not reply. There's so much "inspiration" for photos of babies, toddlers and little kids. But so few ideas of ways to capture my teens/preteen without pissing them off. I want to maintain the great relationship we have, so I respect their no when I ask if I can take a photo, even though a little piece inside me cries out over my loss of their little-ness. When they do say yes? It's magic


Wow. Thanks for this.


I do understand...and your feelings are real and valid & right on the surface. It is a letting go process, and that is so darn hard. Change is hard...and remember....when you went through this growing up process with Ross, it was one child and you had little ones to deal it is magnified x 3. Your photos of Cole are so very special, and reflect a serious and poignant young man. Sending big warm mom hugs to you!


Thank you for sharing this. It is just what I needed to hear tonight.


Gorgeous photos! So glad to hear that someone else struggles with both photography ruts, as well as their kids behavior and attitudes...struggles in my house too. What about doing something totally different with photography for a bit? Macro? Or try for a fine art type series- a portrait series? since people pictures make your heart sing. Could you photograph some of the mothers you've worked with at the pregnancy center and their kids? Or travel photography somewhere? Just some thoughts. Thank you for your honest and real blog posts.

Sandra Klary

Love your honesty and insight on these things...I (as a childless 30-something right now) now can see that these changes can be pretty hard... But you're gonna make it and you're going to evolve, too! Sending hugs your way! ;)

By the way, love the pictures of Coley on the piano! :)


Oh, how I love you! And I love how open and honest you are with your family. I'm so glad Cole let you shoot because WOW those are some fantastic shots. Your heart being wrapped into your photography is exactly what draws us.


You've summed up a lot of what I have felt recently. My kids are really good, kind and loving kids BUT the stages they are in right now (16 and 12) leave me feeling sad and puzzled on many occasions. I want them to grow up and be productive and respectful adults but leaving behind Thomas the Tank Engine and Legos and snuggling on the couch is REALLY hard. It totally has burst my creative bubble - however, I feel a little glimmer on the edges now and then, especially as this weather is giving way to fall. I want to putter a little, create a little and I feel really committed to documenting and really embracing where we are NOW. I must stop grieving for a time that's already gone and love today for today.

Cari! Thank you for writing this Karen. I have been going through a lot of the same things here recently. My 14 year old is acting the very same way and it has been very hurtful to me. It left me wondering where I had failed and why did I even become a parent. I guess the old addage that "misery loves company" fits here as it is comforting that someone else is going through the same things as I am.
We do have our good and bad days, so I'll think of you when I am having a good one and hope you are too!


I am so glad to hear that I'm not the only one going through this! I really just thought it was me!!!! I don't ever bring my big Camera out anymore. all is with my phone. And for this exact reason! they all gripe. no one wants to smile. and honestly, I'm just bitter all the time. Because I'm going through exactly what you are! I have a 17 (mine) and 15 (his) and 12 (his). They are all in different phases of their lives...and all have issues that come from divorced parents as well. We have all of them under one roof, and that means I'm 24/7 mom with never any breaks and lets just say that they can all be very rude and mean and uncaring. And it hurts. Just going to be honest. It hurts! My life is on hold, stopped and I'm doing the right thing for them, but their is just no appreciation. So....... although I'm sad you're going through it too, I'm glad that I'm not the only one, because honestly, it makes me questions myself as a parent and what am I doing wrong. but I always remember what someone said to me, if your teenager doesn't like you, you're doing something right. ha ha!

Thanks for being a GREAT inspiration to many!!!! I love your honesty!


I know exactly what you are going through. But add the other stuff you know we are trying to deal with and that's my life. We have a lot of "I do so much for you, and I'd like to be able to take a few photos once in awhile." Guilt? Yes, full on! And then of course I don't want to take pictures after that. We are at the stage where it's not right to invade someone's privacy by taking pictures, even if those pictures aren't posted on a blog and are instead used in a scrapbook. "You have to ask permission all the time." Needless to say, this year there will be less photos of our kids in the scrapbooks. But, Karen, hang on! Take more of the dog, the yard, Josh, and one of them will say "Hey, what about me?" We have more happy days lately, college has started and while I have no photos to document that event, I will somehow get some in the next week. I promise you that! I'm becoming the World's Best Compromiser! "If we go out to look for shorts, then you'll have to put them on and pose for a few shots!" I've even had "Aren't you going to take a picture of this?" Oh, and I can take lots of pictures of kids holding cupcakes they made, artwork they did, but just not their heads. That kid has the biggest, straightest toothed smile in the history of orthodontics and yet I am not allowed to take pictures of it!
I'm accepting the faces, and ridiculous poses because I'm so desperate for a shot! Please read Cathy Zielske's blog post by her daughter, Aidan.


Oh how I can relate. I remember the first time one of my girls told me no when I asked if I could take some photo just to practice and she said no because she didn't look good. I thought she looked beautiful and natural but she didn't think so and so began a very long period of not shooting much. I missed shooting so much that I started taking photo's that seemed pretty meaningless to me. I now wait until they ask me to take photo's of them which isn't as often as I would like and it still hurts a little. Fortunately for me I have a grandbaby to practice on now and that has made me fall in love with photography all over again and we have a new puppy so I am doing lots of practicing on him too. Sending hugs


I can totally relate to how you are feeling! Although I have only been into photography a short time, I too am saddened because my favorite subjects to photograph (my grandchildren are not only getting older but I don't get to see them as often as I used to anymore. I thought my own kids grew up really fast but grandchildren grow up even faster it seems.

Julie Pilch

Karen, I quite honestly read this and thought you were talking to me. I'm in exactly the same position and felt exactly the same way. I was looking through old photos and realised that the last two years the photos have become less and less frequent precisely for the reasons you have stated. My youngest is the same age as Annie and still loves playing with her AG dolls which I try and capture but sometimes when the other two have upset me or argued with each other saying nasty things they don't mean I really don't want to take photos any more.

A great big thank you yet again for putting your life out here on the internet, you really do make a difference in people's lives. Your honesty helps me feel like I'm not alone and its just another phase of life that we will get through and come out shining the other side :)

Big hugs xxxx

Andrea :)

Oh, Karen, you share your heart so openly! Your stories of your parenting journey (and life, in general) are so real and honest. Just more reasons that I admire and love you! Thank you so much for being you. I am truly blessed to know you and call you my friend. Big hugs :)

Kathryn Benfiet

Karen...I have so missed your blog posts and awesome photography. I so completely understand and sympathize with you. We went thru a long, ugly time with our daughter with more photos of her glaring, looking away or that look of disdain...and yes, it's so hurtful. My husband and I took your class in the summer of 2010 and at that time our daughter had just graduated from high school and had no idea what she was going to do or be. She enlisted in the Marines in the spring of 2011. Taking photos of her swearing in were limited. Fast forward 3.5 years and in that time she has deployed to Afghanistan, has learned what it's like to work 16 hour days for very little money and has discovered that being an adult is not nealy as awesome as she imagined. She has an apartment, roommates and a dog. She has a new appreciation of us as parents and is more accepting of us taking photos. Russell and I still love photography and still go out on photo dates. The difference now is we love to shoot scenery, particularly flowers and landscapes (think Lisa Russo photography except that we're light years behind her). But we're having fun. A couple of my friends have grandkids and have asked us to photograph them so for us, we've turned our cameras in a new direction...until I have grand babies or our daughter comes home and let's me take a few photos of her. Hang in there...having unwilling unkind photo subjects is hard on the heart but know you're not alone and there's a whole world of God's beauty and people to photograph until your kids become human takes a while but it does happen.

Fee K.

So glad we were able to help you and the photos are just awesome! I'm learning so much from your darn lucky to have taken it and now I know that I didn't take it all those other times because THIS time is the time I was meant to take it..when so much is changing I feel like I am on a runaway train and I can't catch my breath. When our daily lives are struggling because of the 20 different directions my teens are going. So thank you.


Wow, I enjoy your writing just as much as I do your photographs Karen. And somehow, I can feel your feelings when I look at your photos. Thank you for sharing. Your words offer encouragement to me in so many ways. Even when you don't blog. I know you will adapt. I know your beautiful sensitive soul will shine through no matter what. So roll with it and shine on sweetie. xxxooo


Sorry you're going through this painful journey right now.

I don't think it was childish of you to call out Courtney Lee's unwillingness to comply with your request. You may have said it in a kinder way, but a great lesson is for them to learn how easy it is to say you'll be helpful, and it's another thing to actually DO IT. Actions speak louder than words. My husband is from MO, so "Show Me" is our family mantra.

Your pictures of Cole, and the sneak of Annie are great as always. I think the idea above, of taking pictures of others would do so much for your soul, and the recipients of your magic would be forever grateful.


re: Courtney Lee, I understand your frustration. I would encourage you to remember, though, how scary body image can be for a girl/woman that age. Her reluctance may have very little to do with you. I think the early teenage years can be very hard for girls as their body morphs from child to adult. For some, allowing those awkward stages to be captured on film can be threatening. I swear I did not get comfortable with my own body until I had kids in my early 30s...and then the wrinkles set in. I had a nice year or two, there, though.

Love your blog, Karen. Parenting/step-parenting is hard...probably even harder than focusing with a faulty camera. :)

Holly Johnston

Karen, how I love your honesty, and how you communicate that honesty...that is a gift as much as your photography. I empathize and I wish I could give you a hug friend. I'm so glad that you blogged about this 'cause so many of us have felt this way, but can't communicate it so well. Change is hard sometimes, and wonderful other times. I try to remember that it is all in God's plan. Hang in there and just keep shooting from your heart sweet lady, xo!

Debbie D

My solution is to go out in the yard and into my garden to shoot. My flowers are always ready to pose for me and they never talk back!! On a good day I can find a few Hummingbirds to show up for some photos. Until I have some grandkids to take pictures of this will work for me. :)

Nanette in WA

Before I even read what you wrote, I was looking at the pics of your kids. My first thought: WOW! They have suddenly grown up overnight. Warning: High school stage will be even tougher. When my son was small, back in the day of film, I would be rich had I taken out stock in Fuji film. TONS of photos. He's now a Senior.....and I can tell it's going to be an emotional roller coaster (for me) as he embarks on his last year of high school and starts preparing for college. It's tough. I don't have a million pics of him in high school. Those days are gone. He's off doing things with his friends and I beg him -- if you go, you have to take pictures of what you guys are doing -- and text them to me. LOL Kids growing up. It's tough. Hang in there...

Anna from RI

Thank you, Karen. Ditto to all you ladies for the comments posted previously. My boys are 16 and almost 13… I'm SO there.

Tracey H

I can totally relate. This always seems to happen when I have done all the housework etc & finally get some time to scrap & I'll have a "disagreement" with one of the kids & I just can't scrap when I'm feeling down & disappointed & let down with their behavior. The teenage years are very demanding. It's great that you share the lows & the highs on your blog, it helps so much to know that they are "normal" even though they are a pain in the backside :)


Oh Karen! You shared this so well. I've been blogging since 2007. Now my guys are 27, 24 and 21 and gone. Like not even in the same town gone. When I started to blog it was to help our oldest know what was going on at home while he was away at college.
Now I get stuck because my subjects have left .
It feels boring to write about myself... but the guys want the blog now so they know what is going on at home!
We want our kids to be more independent and to become great adults but it's still hard. And it happens so fast.
Maybe start photographing baking, a game board, a bike, and they may want to jump into the shot. Tweens and teens always like to think it's their idea...


Wow. You have such a gift with words. You are a powerful photographer and a powerful speaker. You inspire us in so many ways, not just photography! Love you!!!!!


It's just me and my mum so I get shooting with your heart, maybe if you become more of a historian that documents life with her camera it would help with the shooting. Obviously I'm not a parent, but it's pretty clear from my own there is no greater bond than mother and child, so I would hate for you to miss out on all the phases that are going to turn these hard to hang with teens into adults you are so proud to know. Good luck. I'm prying for you.


OMG Karen, it is exactly how I feel. My youngest is 14 and I thought I could still get away with taking pictures of her but she's now giving me the same crap your kids are giving you! :(
I didn't realize this was the reason for my rut but you hit the nail on the head! It upsets me so, but now I'm thinking in order to keep improving on my photography I will have to start taking scenic pics, etc. :(
Thanks for this have helped me as well.
But please don't stop!!!


Thank you for writing this!! I've been in a photography rut for awhile now and couldn't really figure out why until now. My kids are similar in age to Annie and Cole so I can totally relate. I take more pics now with my iPhone because it doesn't seem to bother them as much (plus I can sneak more pictures that way). I really appreciate you sharing this!!

The comments to this entry are closed.