It’s not every day that you get to have chips and salsa with an icon.

On Saturday, the kids (yes, all three of them) and I drove up to Denver to have lunch with Me Ra Koh. The woman needs no introduction, but for those of you out of the loop, Me Ra is an artist, mother, and motivational speaker who has spent the last nine years blazing a trail for women in photography. She is a regular guest (and go-to photography expert) on the Nate Berkus Show and has been featured on Oprah, Lifetime, and VH1. She has partnered with Sony, founded the SOAR! Scholarship Program for women, and maintains a website about “Photography for Real People.” That’s just the beginning, and it’s a lot to live up to.

I had spoken with Me Ra briefly on the phone as we tried to nail down a meeting spot, and her infectious personality just bubbled through, but I still wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I walked into Chipotle. She met me with a hug and immediately got down to preschooler height to interact with the boys. They adored her from the get-go … and so did I.  Imagine effervescence, inspiration, drive, and poise, and there you have Me Ra.

We were there to talk about women and photography – the objectives that Clickin Moms shares with Me Ra for fostering passion and learning among women photographers, the way that we might be able to work collaboratively to help advance our common goals … BUT I have to admit – it felt more like a comfortable conversation with an old friend. In between bites of guacamole and the interjections of a chatty five year old, we discussed the importance of encouraging women to explore the way photography fits into their lives.  We talked about the special relevance of photography for women – as a documentary tool, as a therapeutic outlet, as a social instrument, and (for some) as a professional opportunity — what means to (as Me Ra put it) “Shoot Like a Woman,” and the invaluable advantages of empathy, intuition, emotion, and attention to detail that female artists possess.

By the end of lunch, I had never felt so certain about the possibilities before us. Women are uniquely poised to become even more prominent contributors to the photography world, and no one is more aware of the transience of life’s moments than mothers, who see how quickly children grow and change, who breathe in all the little details of daily life, who recognize the nuances of emotion and expression that go unnoticed by many. Isn’t that what photography is all about? Capturing a moment in time?  Seeing beauty where others pass it by?

The ability to view and appreciate the world differently is at the heart of artistic vision. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of helping to harness that vision and bringing it in line with technology. This is what we are striving to do: to help women believe that they can do it by making knowledge and tools more accessible; to provide the motivation to advance; and – above all – to encourage them to embrace their passion as artists and documentarians.  I am so excited to see what Me Ra has in store for all of us and am thrilled that Clickin Moms is working to be a part of it.

Thanks so much for the inspiring conversations and fun afternoon (and for tolerating my crazy children!), Me Ra — I look forward to doing it again soon!!

How does being a woman and/or mom make you a better photographer? Let us know in the comments!! One lucky commenter will receive a copy of BOTH the CMbook Volume 1 (inspire) and Me Ra’s brand new book Your Baby in Pictures: The New Parents’ Guide to Photographing Your Baby’s First Year (just released today)! Get your comments in by midnight (ET) on Thursday, March 18!

WINNER!

We had so many heartwarming responses that inspired us, made us giggle and even brought us to tears.  Our favorite response had to go to Stephanie Deckard:

I have always had a passion for photography, but becoming a mom really helped me hone my passion into something worth shooting. My children are my greatest inspiration, and capturing each day in their lives helps me grow as a photographer of other children. I know when to click because I know how fast they move! I know to capture tears, because one day they’ll look back and laugh at all of the silly things they cried over. I know that a “good” photo is not defined by a pose or a smile. Most of the time, I can only get pictures of my son playing because he’s too busy learning to look up at me. I know that the baby years go by way too quickly and someday, there will be things that I don’t remember that I wish I could. And when that day comes, I will have solid, tangible memories that will make me laugh, cry, ask myself “why did I ever buy that?”, and for a brief moment, those memories in my hand will take me back. Yes, being a mom makes me a better photographer, but I think that being a photographer really makes me a better mom <3.

Congratulations, Stephanie!  Please contact me at Kathryn (at) clickinmoms (dot) com with your contact information so that I can get your books out to you.