Happy Spring friends! Let’s start this month off with a huge congratulations to April’s CMpro of the Month, the fabulous Stacey Haslem! And now for an enlightening interview with Stacey.
april cmpro of the month | stacey haslem
by Jodi Arego
Hi, Stacey! First of all, congratulations on being Clickin Moms’ Pro of the Month! Can you start off by telling us a little more about yourself?
I live in Modesto, California, but I grew up in Wyoming. I remember as a child that California seemed like a faraway distant land where only movie stars lived. I was wrong, lol. I married my high school sweetheart, but years later and several boyfriends later. Fate brought both of us to California. We have three fun-loving, rambunctious boys and a spoiled by her brothers (and Daddy) little girl. There was a time that I wanted anywhere from six to eight children, but I had a reality check after our third. I realized that we were outnumbered, and that was so much harder. Even with the reality check, I love motherhood.
I’m also a Latter Day Saint, Mormon. I volunteer a lot of my time to church. Currently I’m on a board of four women who plan out a week long church camp for girls ages 11-17. I absolutely love working with this age group. They continually inspire me to be a better person!
I feel incredibly blessed to work from home for Clickin Moms. I’m on a team of teachers for the CMU workshop Mastering Manual Exposure. It is extremely rewarding to be part of a photographer’s journey so early on. The students’ excitement and enthusiasm is continually uplifting. I’m also CM’s Member & Customer Care Coordinator. I really can’t say enough great things about Clickin Moms. The reach it has had on my life is really incredible.
Your photography is centered around documenting your children, namely that spunky little girl of yours. Did your journey into photography begin when you became a mother?
Sort of. I remember getting my first digital camera shortly after I had Austin. It was a point and shoot camera. However, I would say that my journey truly began when I joined Clickin Moms in 2009. At that time I had a Canon 40D. I was really interested in learning to shoot in manual mode and learning a lot more. I was pregnant with Leah at the time and had back problems due to the pregnancy. I was required to spend a lot of time laying down, and that’s when I found out how much information was available on the Clickin Moms forum. Leah was born early on in my journey which is probably why she is such a large part of my work.
Those who haven’t known you for a long time might not realize that you made a huge transition in your work several years ago. Can you share a snippet of this transformation with us? What were some key a-ha moments for you?
Like I mentioned earlier, I was in the beginning of my journey when Leah was born. Of course, I started to research all about taking newborn images at that time. I also was asked to do images for a couple of friends. Just like that, I thought I wanted to specialize in newborns. In the fall of 2010, about a year after I joined Clickin Moms, I decided to start a business specializing in newborns.
After all of my paperwork was lined up, a website created, and a portfolio built, I decided business wasn’t the direction I wanted to go. As a mother of four, I feel like I have a long list of ‘must dos’. My ‘get to do’ list is quite a bit shorter. I am completely okay with that, but starting a business was moving photography from my ‘get to do’ list to my ‘must do’ list.
At this point, I was starting to feel lost. Workshops at Clickin Moms, especially Elements of Design and Composition and Creativity, helped me find myself again. One thing I hadn’t done was slow down and realize that there was a whole world right in front of me. When I did that, I started to embrace it. It was at this point I decided to find and capture that beauty in my own home.
How would you describe your work to a stranger who just met you?
This is so difficult even though I find myself doing it often. If I have to put my work into a category, I would call it portraiture with some lifestyle. I like to think that I capture the beauty within my home.
Whether moody and quiet or fun and spritely, your images really showcase a rich aspect of your subject’s personality. Can you give us a hint of how you interact with your subject that allows you to capture them so honestly?
One of the ways I have had continual success with a willing subject is keeping the experience true to life and casual. When I have a camera in tow, our relationship follows closely to what it is without the camera. Whatever I am asking Leah to do behind the camera, she has most likely already done at another time without a camera anywhere near. For example, she loves to hide behind the curtains in our room, so one day I asked her to hide behind them again, telling her that I wanted to see her piggies. She willingly complied and poked her little toes out. It’s one of my favorite images to date.
I’m pinning you against the wall here: If you could just have one lens to shoot with for the rest of your life, which one would you pick and why?
Yes, you are! I think it would have to be the Nikkor 35mm 1.4. I use it most often. I love its story-telling capabilities. I love the ability I have to capture my little girl in the big world. I suppose I could crop when needing to get those close up intimate portraits.
Your work is always fresh and new. How do you stay creative and where do you find your inspiration?
As cliche as it sounds, my inspiration comes from my kids. Most of my work is about them. So as they explore the world and do new things, my work follows suit. I do often fall in ruts. The ruts often come when I am overwhelmed. I have many things that help get me out of those times – reading a good book and keeping a journal are a couple of those things.
Your work was featured in a display last year. Congratulations! Tell us a little about that and what it was like to see your work displayed in print.
Oh, it was such a fun and rewarding experience. I would get a text here and there from locals saying they saw my images. It was also fun to hear the feedback from the gallery that hangs the images and the restaurant owners. Since I don’t have the client experience as a hobbyist, this was a fun way to be recognized.
You’ll be presenting at ClickAway — What are you looking forward to the most and what do you hope people will take away from your presentation?
I’m doing a couple different presentations. One of those presentations is a discussion panel in a large group settingon fine art images. It will be exciting talking about a genre I love with Brooke Shaden and Cole Thompson. I also really love to examine images so the critique panel I am participating in and critique groups I am leading will be a great experience. I’m most excited to meet and mingle with so many Clickin Moms during the entire weekend. There are also a couple of large group programs I’m eager to listen to: the keynote address by Elizabeth Gilbert and the discussion panel Creativity: Seeing Opportunities and Taking Chances.
Your breakout session comes out this month! Tell us what we can expect to find in it.
My breakout is very introspective. It has a lot of my own personal history and a strong focus of shooting inside the home. I include my inspiration and my approach to photography – including visualization, light and atmosphere. I also go over things such as settings and gear. I tour my home to share where and why I shoot in certain areas. You also get a bigger picture of how I work with my kids, or I should say how I work with Leah. 😉
Thank you Stacey for the fantastic interview! Make sure you head over to Stacey’s website and facebook to view more of her gorgeous work. If you have a question for Stacey, you can ask in the comments below or in her ask the pros thread on the forum.