#052 – Real Life with Kelly Haymes

With a zillion messages coming at us from all directions—how we deserve better; how we deserve more—it’s easy to feel pressure to be better and go after more.

We need a reminder that our lives, just as they are, are beautiful and imperfection is normal (and actually pretty perfect), so that we can say, “Forget the Jones’” and accept (and love!) our lives.

I crossed paths with photographer Kelly Haymes a few years back and her commitment to reflecting real life in her work—honoring the fact that real life isn’t one size fits all—has been a source of that needed reminder.

Even though we live different lives, when I look at her work, I feel a sense of “it’s all alright” for my own life.

Listen all the way through as Kelly shares with us:

  • how making art out of real life is an antidote of the perfection pressure and a positive message for our kids (even if you’re not a parent, this applies to you)
  • and I especially loved her advice near the end about NOT being an award-winning photographer and staying in your lane

Enjoy the story.

Kelly’s Iconic Photo:

The Witching Hour - Documentary Family Photographer

Hearing Kelly talk about photographing + showing REAL LIFE in all its varieties as a way to free people from feeling like they “have to” or “should do” or BE any kind of way was illuminating, for one, but also more proof that documenting isn’t ONE thing we all have to conform to in a certain way.

Again, I value recording the stories in my life that have aged and stuck on my heart. Kelly values recording and expressing real life as a means of conversation and permission slips.

We all connect to this medium differently and that’s a beautiful thing.

Reflection Questions for You:

  • How does real life apply to you and how you view your life?
  • Could you use a dose of turning your real life into art and owning it?
  • What could you do to become more confident in leaning into how YOU see (to drown out the noise + influence)? If you’re in business, would you consider IPS like Kelly?

More Goodness:


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Real Life in Documentary Photography a podcast episode

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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