Written and Photographed by Molly M. Peterson
I’ve had a camera in my hand since I was a small child, and fortunately, my parents and grandparents paid to develop decades of film and prints until digital helped lighten the load a bit.
My early subjects were my dogs, horses, flowers and my family…Not much has changed, I suppose, in terms of where my heart lies. As the years have gone by, I’ve delved deeper into my curiosity about the human being and the deep connection you get when you have a conversation with someone that goes far deeper than “sure is hot today…” (Because those conversations, quite honestly, bore me.)
I want to talk about life and what makes someone smile, someone sad, afraid, joyful, fearful or excited (those last two are often very close in feeling). This has quite easily translated into my photography.
Yes, I absolutely want my clients to love their images, but I also want them to enjoy and remember our time together. I want their experience to feel like they can be themselves with me, where they can lay down their day-to-day armor and just breathe…and exist in the moment. That’s how the best images come to be: through truth, honesty, vulnerability.
It’s that way with kids or animals. Adults are always trickier, though, with more on their minds like finances, emotional struggles, concerns about their nose or hips or crow’s feet or whatever it may be.
I love laugh lines and crow’s feet at the corners of your eyes and any other kind of wrinkle that shows up because you’re alive—you are living! I love watching a conversation take place at a wedding from across a room and catch that moment when someone laughs with pure joy without the conscious filter of being photographed; or that moment when I’m invited into a labor-and-delivery room and see a new father with tears and complete wonder in his eyes at the magic that just took place as his child was born. Oftentimes the outtakes are where the sweetness of life resides. My approach is unobtrusive and calm, allowing a perfectly imperfect moment to evolve and unfold.
I have two categories, if you will, to my work: on one side are the families/children/weddings/births, and the other (which came from my other title as farmer—currently on hold) are my food/farm/editorial images. I once had a prominent photographer tell me to specialize and “focus on one topic,” but, to be quite honest, the blending of all of my interests allows me to learn and grow and apply to the next experience—it stretches me and gives me life experience I wouldn’t have had otherwise. My work has been published in nine books and cookbooks, has graced the stage of the Farm Aid concerts for the past three years and has been highlighted in magazines across the country. In addition, my work hangs on the walls of families who seek to remember those tiny, precious first moments with their infants and celebrate the day they decided to promise their lives to one another. Not bad for someone who can’t “focus on one topic.”
I’m spiritually drained by the immediate-gratification life of social media for a “like/love” and certainly struggle with the use of it because it is a way to promote my work to the outside world, after all. However, I prefer to offer full-service options to my clients—albums and prints, something one can actually touch and hold sacred. Like my Farm Life series which are available as fine-art prints with the option to frame.
Ultimately, I want my work to be printed and hanging on a wall (or in an album), for my images to make someone smile as they pass by it in their hallway and recall a memory; for them to clutch when their heart aches with sadness; or for them to speak to when they need reassurance and courage.
For more information, visit mollympeterson.com. █