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How Photography Changed my Life {by Leah Mills}

Congratulations to Leah for winning a lifetime membership to Clickin Moms with this story about how photography changed her life. I received so many stories and it was difficult to choose. And although Leah’s story isn’t one of great loss or life altering circumstances, I saw myself in her words as many of you will. A mum who very nearly lost herself in motherhood but found herself in a camera.

And a little plug…there’s just 48 hours left to get 20% off Clickin Moms with the code ‘friend’. Try a month and see what great things happen!

All my life, I yearned to be creative. I greatly admired those who could paint with abandon to create wonderful art (my Dad), the people who could lift a pencil and paper and etch concisely what was in their dreams to share with all (my sister) and the endless authors whose books I devoured one after the other throughout my teenage years.

Fastforward fifteen years, and life had taken me from the familiarity and sunshine of my native Australia, 12,000 miles away to Ireland, where I now live with my husband and three fabulous children. Last year, when my daughter was only 5 months old, I discovered I was pregnant with my 3rd child. While quite unexpected, we embraced this news with joy. However when I informed work of my second pregnancy in less than 2 years, my position suddenly became redundant. I was devastated, as while my role as a mother is more important to me than any other I have ever known, I can’t let it completely define me.

I found myself becoming resentful towards the 24 hour a day relentlessness of motherhood, and when I was about 5 months pregnant my 4 year old son said to me “Mummy, why are you always so sad?”. I knew then I had to get out of this funk. I couldn’t have my children remember their childhood with anything other than pure happiness. Inspired by a blog written by Kelle Hampton, I used money I had saved and bought my first DSLR, and started to take pictures of my children. And at night, after I had tucked them into bed, I would look at the photos I had taken that day, and it helped me to focus on the good, on the joy, on their innocence, and at how truly lucky I am to be able to share these years with them. My husband noticed almost instantly that my mood had lifted, and it reflected in the way I interacted with my kids and the way I approached each and every day.

After a while, I discovered how much I adored photography. I absorbed any information I could get my hands on, got myself a “nifty fifty” and soon began shooting only manual. Friends began to ask me to take photos of their children. I bought photoshop elements and taught myself how to use it. Soon, I realised I had found my creative pursuit.

Photography has taken me on a journey of self discovery. It has helped me to appreciate the good, the wonderful, the precious. My ability to capture and freeze memories in a creative and beautiful way has been a balm for my soul. I am fulfilled.

The photo I have shared is not recent. It was taken back when I first started shooting in manual. My photography has improved leaps and bounds since then, and technically, its not great. The focus is soft and the kitchen cabinets are growing out of her head. But oh, it makes my heart sing. And this is what photography has done for me.

-by Leah Mills

  • http://www.mydailylifephotography.com Jen

    This is my story, too! Thank you for sharing it Leah and Elizabeth.

  • http://repeatbyheart.blogspot.com Kristi Stevens

    Completely beautiful and relatable. Congrats Leah!

  • Leah

    OH WOW!!! Can’t believe I won!! Thank you so much for the opportunity to win such an amazing prize Elizabeth. Your blog is a great source of information and inspiration, keep up the brilliant work. This prize is so timely for me too, as my membership to clickin moms is due to expire any day, so a lifetime membership is one of the best prizes any photog could wish for. Thanks again Elizabeth. xxx

  • http://www.silverjphoto.blogspot.com Judith I

    OMG Leah, I could have written that story above word for word except about how I got my first major DSLR, mine was a gift from my hubby after the birth of my second child/anniversary present.
    You are in inspiration to me on those days I just think I should give up.
    thank you so much for sharing.

    Plus CONGRATS on winning!!!

  • Bill

    A lovely story. Thanks for sharing it and good luck for the future. Congratulations Leah. BTW it’s bloody hot here in OZ!