Thursday, January 12, 2012

Photographer Interview with Marsha Drews

When I first met Marsha I loved her pictures.

 Right away there was something great about them that struck me.

 I mean, honestly, all over the internet you can find gorgeous images. 

You can find photographer after photographer that will blow you away. Marsha blew me away not only with her pictures but with her love for Jesus. 

Her live-out-loud- LOVE for our great Savior. It was refreshing. 

I love her spirit. If you read her interview it will touch you and teach you things you didn't even know you needed to learn. One of the things I love the most about Marsha's pictures is that she is real. She does not photoshop everything to perfection. It's real and gritty and beautiful...just like life.
Marsha, your pictures don't always have to be perfect.
Tell me how you got to that place?
Photoshop can only enhance pictures that are decent to
begin with... it would be impossible for me to photoshop 
everything to perfection. *snort*
In all seriousness, if we waited for everything to be 
perfect first, we wouldn't have but a handful of pictures to
 call our own!  
When my youngest son Christian passed away in August 2008,
the moments that I missed the most were the everyday many little things... and the photographs that became my most prized were ones that had an everyday story behind them.

  You know, the ones that were snapshots of washing hands or digging in the yard, couch sitting and breakfast eating. 

The ones where you look at them and remember what that moment felt like or what made you run for the camera in the first place thinking "I want to remember this very second of life forever," even if that very second is more ordinary than extraordinary.
So no matter what stage of life you are, capture the real moments... the dirty kitchen, the crumbs on the floor, spaghetti sauce faced kids... take a picture of your favorites-- your dearest friends, the book you loved (the book you hated!), your favorite food, that killer pair of shoes that make you feel fabulous... In the digital age that we live in, there is nothing to stop you!
  What kind of camera do you have?
        What is your favorite lens?
I have a Nikon D300s and my most favorite lens of all time is my 50mm 1.4. A fancy camera does not a good photographer make, but having some nice equipment is a blessing and makes it much easier to take a pretty picture.

      Why did you start shooting?  
When I was a little girl, I spent many an hour drawing, painting and sketching.  The results brought me joy, but didn't accurately reflect what my mind's eye would see. I can still remember the wonder and excitement when I received my first digital camera and the JOY from documenting my own little corner of the world.
Expectations and results finally meet!  

I eventually got to the point where I wanted a little more than what my beloved Kodak Easyshare could deliver at the time... and I jumped in with the purchase of a Nikon D80 in early 2008.  I practiced and practiced and have many blurry and wonkily exposed shots to show for my efforts.

But you know what else I have? I have pictures of Austin. They are far from "perfect" but have been a great comfort and blessing to me.  How my heart aches for moms and dads that do not have pictures of their children!  A picture doesn't have to be perfect to be cherished!  

 I am saddened by the women (and men) who think that they are not beautiful or worth photographing unless their skin is perfect, their teeth white and straight, or their ideal weight met.  

Nobody is flawless, and it is often what we perceive as "flaws" that is our greatest asset or cutest quirk.

You are beautiful.
I am guilty of being overly critical of myself but try to 
remind myself to take that self-portrait anyway.

Besides, no matter what I look like now, I'm sure that 20 years from now I will look back and think "Wow, I was a hottie!" *snort*
Tell me your favorite quality about each of your children.
Austin: wears his heart on his sleeve, daily asks if there is anything he can do for me today, likes to make people laugh (we're still trying to educate him on what is really funny and what is just goofy silliness!)

Noah: kind and conscientious of others, seeks to please God, has a joy within that shines in his eyes and his attitude

Christian: he had fun wherever he went, full of smiles and laughter (even when he would lose his temper-- which he totally got from me)
Ian:  I wonder what he will be like!

(I just couldn't narrow it down to one, Becky-- sorry!) 

What is your favorite thing to take pictures of?  
Definitely children!  I love to gift a mom and dad with a clear and bright eyed (or even goofy faced) picture of their child.  My oldest is 12yo and decided that this is the year he would surpass me in height, eat three sandwiches in a sitting and grow facial hair... so trust you me, childhood is fleeting!

Do any of your children like posing?  
That would be a big NEGATIVE.  There are the rare occasions when they want to show off a trick or funny face, but if they pose at all it is to please mommy.  Or maybe I promised them a dollar... or a Tootsie Pop... "Incentive" is a much nicer term than bribery, don't you think?

You are a home schooler. Why are you one? What is your favorite thing about it?  
I homeschool for several different reasons (in no particular order)... 

1.) my boys can learn more from me one-on-one than they possibly could in a class with 30 other kids
2.) less "busy" work
3.) flexibility of schedule and more family time (especially when it comes to David's work schedule as a pilot)
4.) ability to pursue in depth subjects and rabbit trails of interest
5.) freedom to teach from a Biblical worldview
6.) no dry textbooks for us! we can tailor different subjects to my boys' different learning styles
My favorite thing about homeschooling is definitely the time spent together as a family!  Not only is it great for us as parents, but it does wonders for their sibling relationship.  (Just don't judge me by my grammar in these responses!)

What is the hardest thing about it?
Have I mentioned that we spend a lot of time together? ;-)  Although we have outside activities (sports, music, friends, field trips, etc.), we spend the majority of our time at home-- which means more dishes to wash, more mess to clean up, more meals to cook, and more papers/books/supplies to organize.  Homeschooling is a big responsibility and it can be easy to get overwhelmed or discouraged when *I* don't have my act together. I am thankful that it keeps me humble and makes me often reflect on the example I'm setting for my boys. 

Do you wish for 20 children like the Duggar family?
While I don't wish for a specific number of children-- especially 20!-- I would be overjoyed if God gave us more children!  Truly.  We have had over three years with having two pretty low-maintenance kids that can stay home while I run to the store, make their own lunches, and clean their bathroom.  

Over three years of it being relatively easy to go places and do things.  And you know what? I would take the craziness of babies and toddlers, the joy of "firsts", and just being around these unique kids that call me mommy (or mom... whatever!) over anything else this world has to offer.  They are hard work and joy and wouldn't I be ecstatic if I could be a mommy to more than these four?!  The mere thought of it makes my heart leap!  But if God said that baby Ian will be our last, I am still thankful. 

What helps you become a better photographer?
When I click the shutter button and my picture does not come out like I had hoped, that is what helps me become a better photographer.  There is always room for improvement!   

You use textures often. How did you learn to use them? What do you think it adds to a picture?
I honestly can't remember how or where I first learned to use textures. It could have been from Pioneer WomanScott Kelby or Darcy from My3Boybarians.

Nowadays, I cheat and use this easy-peasy FREE texture applicator from MCP Actions.  The right texture can transform a rather blah photo into a statement.  As with any photo editing, too much texture can be a distraction but the right amount... oh my, I love it!  Have you seen the textures from Florabella Collection?  They also make it easy to turn a photo into a dreamy story.  
*le sigh*

You are having a baby boy, did you wish for a girl at all, or are you completely used to being surrounded by boys? 
After being in boy mode three times over, the mere thought of a girl freaks us out.  I know daughters are wonderful (after all, I am one! hehe), but David and I have FEARS.
His is that he knows what guys are like and she won't be allowed to date until she's 35.  
My fears?  That she will be like me.  It is convicting enough to see your not-so-great-qualities in your boy children... but to have that staring back at you in a girl face?  Wow, that would hit a little too close to home for me!  And what if she's a fru-fru princess? I don't know if I can handle that kind of drama!  Aaaggghhh!  I'm not a girl hater... I'm just chicken.  (And David would like to pipe in that there is only room for one queen in this house.  Hey, at least he didn't call me a princess.)
Tell us about living abroad. What was your favorite thing about it? What was your least favorite thing?

We moved to Guam earlier this year for my husband's job. Y'all can see how itty-bitty #6 Guam is on this map.  My favorite thing about living here is being able to spend time with and learn about the many different cultures represented on this island (Chamorro, Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, and the other Micronesian Islands).  In our little church alone, there are 5 different languages represented. It's an eye opening and thoroughly interesting experience not only for myself, but my boys as well. 
Least favorite thing?  Besides being a whole day of flying away from my parents and siblings, grocery shopping has got to be the most frustrating thing for me right now.  High prices, poor selection and lack of truly fresh produce drives me nuts!  So much is imported (all the way from California) that it's not in the best shape by the time it reaches Guam.  But we have learned to adjust our budget and our expectations... and can I just say that I love the local Chamorro barbecue?

You lost a child. Something most women fear more than anything. How did you survive the loss of Christian?

I am surviving the loss of Christian only through the grace and strength of my mighty God!  My HOPE lies in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and His gift of salvation that He offers to each of us... if only we would accept it.  Looking forward to eternity is the only way to put this present world in its proper perspective.  God does not promise us an easy life or one that is free of pain or sorrow.  But what He does promise is that He will care for us (I Peter 5:7) and will help us (Isaiah 41:10)!
You give back now in so many ways. Tell us about the retreat you did last spring.  
In my own grief journey, two moms were instrumental in encouraging me and giving me HOPE by sharing their own stories of child loss-- thank you Daisy and Susan!  I could talk with them about my crazy emotions and questions without having to fully explain myself... because they were further along this road of grief, they already knew where I was coming from. I knew that I was not alone! Yes, they still had struggles and tears, but they also had joy and were doing more than just surviving... they were a living testimony of God's faithfulness in the darkest of times. To a mom that is struggling from moment to moment, it was a lifeline!  
This past spring, we were honored to host the first annual Haven of Hope Retreat for grieving mothers. We were humbled and blessed to be able to minister to 30 grieving mothers in various stages of their grief. I hate that we were bonded by tragedy, but I am thankful that God would bring us together to comfort and encourage one another (2 Cor 1:3-4).  Our next Retreat for grieving moms will be June 29-July 1, 2012 in Round Top, TX and we would love it if your readers would help spread the word!  Registration will be open in January.

When did you start blogging? What is your favorite thing about it?  
I began blogging in 2005. What a new world it opened up for me!  It allowed a connection with other moms when I was in the crazy-little-kids stage, it was an easy medium for journaling and sharing pictures and funny kid sayings with family and friends miles away, and in more recent years provided an outlet for my grief.   

Do you watch tv? If so, what is your favorite show. If not, why not?  
When we first moved to Guam earlier this year, we spent two months living in a hotel room.  The channels were limited but so were options for other activities.  Hotel living plus this kick-my-butt pregnancy has made TV a part of my evening routine. Since I'm not a big drama person, you can catch me watching shows like House Hunters, Restaurant Impossible, and Man vs. Food.  For the record, Man vs. Food late at night is not always the best choice of TV programming... It never fails to make me crave a giant cheeseburger and fries and hot wings!

How do you feel about napping?  
Oh my dear sweet afternoon nap... how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.  With my big boys being 10 and 12 years old and able to make their own lunch and finish their schoolwork without me, I am living it up while I can!

What are you most looking forward to about the new baby?  

A new baby cannot take away the sorrow we have in our hearts for the loss of our littlest man Christian.  But when Ian is born, he will bring much JOY to our family and our hearts!  I am looking forward to that new baby smell, even the diaper changes... I am looking forward to the wonderment of what he will look, sound and be like... to have a new little soul running around our house... to look in the rearview mirror and see a smiling (or even crying!) face looking back at me... to have arms that are tired and aching from all the holding... It is impossible for me to narrow down to just one thing! :)  
If someone was buying a new DSLR for the first time, what advice would you give them?
Buy from a reputable company like B&H Photo or Adorama.  When I bought my Nikon D80, I found this great deal on eBay!  I received the camera and accessories as promised, but when I needed to use the warranty a year later, this company was suddenly unavailable for phone calls or fixes. If it's too good to be true, then it probably is!

Isn't she great? I don't want to end this post. I have learned from Marsha. Go and meet her. 
Prepare to be amazed!

Marsha is in the hospital in Guam having her baby right.this.very.second.
If you are a pray-er, please pray.
Definitely scoot over to her blog and leave her a good wish.
I am so excited for her and her family.


Tamar SB said...

What amazing pictures and what an amazing women! She's in my thoughts and prayers tonight!

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

What a beautiful interview! I ♥ Marsha! Her photos are amazing. I was so surprised when she said she was having the baby today!! Praying!

TheHouseWifeRookie said...

Thanks for doing this interview! What a sweet spirit she has and I can't wait to start following her as she awaits the arrival of her sweet baby! Great post! and it's true "A woman who fears the Lord shall be praised!"

darcy said...

Marsha is full of goodness and talent. And I cannot believe baby Ian is on his way right now.

I'm so glad you highlighted her wonderful images, Becky. Marsha truly is a wonderful artist and momma....

now x4!


Caseybumpinalong said...

One of my favorite interviews and group of pictures ever! Great job Marsha and Becky!

Sandra said...

What an awesome interview of a lovely lady! I'm on my way to her site now!

M said...

I think this is my favorite interview yet :)

Susan said...

And I will add that Marsha is the REAL DEAL! I can attest to that as she has sat in my kitchen over coffee. I love her! Awesome interview. I knew it would be. I love your interviews!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Ohhh, I love that new baby smell too. A big congratulations on Marsha's new baby boy. I wish this beautiful family all the joy their hearts can hold.

Loved this interview!

Thank you. xo jj

Melissa Stover said...

marsha is the best! i love how she shares her faith and i love that she lets me be her friend.

Rebecca @ heartland farmhouse said...

If your eyes are good, then your whole body will be full of light....(or something like that)
Matthew 6:22

This girl sees beautiul pictures from a beautiful heart.
Love these interviews. Thanks for sharing Rebeckah. I need all the help I can get since my hubby surprised me with a 'real' camera for christmas.

Caroline said...

Ohhhhh...there are some seriously gorgeous photos here! Love the one of the eye...just awesome. Thank you for sharing!!!

Christine said...

I loved this interview and I love my sister. She is the real deal. :)

Susan said...

Oh wow...

What an incredible interview with Marsha!

I've always LOVED her work and her heart as well.

So beautiful in so many ways.

I sure love the way she loves Jesus. It shows through her gorgeous pictures.

Thanks so very much for sharing her with us!!

Blessings to you my sweet friend♥

Tracy P. said...

What perfect timing! Thanks for sharing, Becky. I just checked out her blog, and there is lots more beauty over there. How exciting to be welcoming a new little one. Praying for Marsha and Ian!

Dita said...

What a gorgeous eye she has...and beautiful insight into what makes her life so true and full in her words and images. I imagine she is never without hands reach of her camera and because of that we all have a chance to get a glimse of how lovely things are in her part of the Guam and in her heart!

I'm looking forward to seeing all the images she'll soon be taking of her sweet little baby! Congratulations!!!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Great interview and her pictures are amazing! So happy for her and her family congrats on your daughter!

Daisy said...

It is said that in this life we may encounter only a handful of true friends. I am blesses that Marsha is in my "handful". You have done a remarkable job of capturing the beauty of this woman!

Courtney Foster said...

this was beautiful, great interview, great answers, just beautiful all over!

Sarah King said...

Marsha, your pictures are so beautiful!!! That rainbow shot from the sky is to die for! Thank you so much for sharing your story and journey with us. Good luck today with the new little one!!! <3

Anonymous said...

Marsha is awesome! So happy that she had a safe delivery! I felt the same way about a girl, but I'm over it now....hope she gets one next baby:)!

The Empress said...

Oh my gosh.

The kind of woman I wouldn't even dare try and think I could be one tenth like.

She is wonderfully, amazingly, dreamily perfect.

Her children are blessed, her husband is blessed.

She is incredible.

Maddy said...

Beautiful interview! Marsha sounds like the kind of person I would love to chat with over a cup of coffee. Her faith shines through in her photos. Praying that all goes well with baby Ian!

Becca said...

She is just beautiful and her heart shines through her work :-) I am praying for her sweet baby right now!!

Teri M said...

Such a special lady - thanks for sharing. :)

Chasing Dreams Photography said...

What a wonderful interview!!! Her work is stunning but even more so...her beautiful spirit!!!!

Skeller said...

Becky, your interviews are special. I always look forward to reading them, being awed by beautiful photography ... you have such a way of asking just the right questions to show us the photographer's heart and passions.

Marsha - your pictures are as beautiful as your heart. I'm praying a quick recovery for you and robust health for your newest little one!

photowannabe said...

My heart is so full after reading this interview.
Marsha is a beautiful woman both inside and out. Her testimony is full of hope and candor.
Thanks Becky for sharing it with us. Love her style of photography too.

THE mom said...

Marsha - You take beautiful pics! all boys huh? Me too! I think having a girl would complicate our boy dynamic lol.

Drew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drew said...

Last night, I read through Marsha's blog and bawled like a baby. Marsha seems to have such a positive spirit and handled every mother's worst nightmare with such grace. I wondered many times if my faith would be as strong as hers. I hope so. Thanks for sharing Marsha's story and photography journey. She sounds like a wonderful mother, wife, and friend.

April said...

What an awesome interview and, oh, so INSPIRING! What I'd give to be able to take pictures like Marsha...and you! Maybe, one day!

Roxie Photography said...

Loved this! What a beautiful person. And what's even better - we live on this same beautiful island together. Such a small world! :)

Lindsay(PACountryCrafts) said...

Beautiful pictures and a beautiful person! Praying for a safe delivery!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Oh wow, Becky. These interviews are so amazing. I feel like Marsha and I could be dear friends, and we've never even met!

Thanks for another wonderful introduction and for the opportunity to pray for her family as they welcome a new little boy.

H.K. said...

A great interview! It's amazing how more insightful an interview is when it's accompanied by the pictures. I love Marsha's philosophy about pictures not having to be perfect because life isn't like that. I found it inspiring...really needed to read this. I love Marsha's pictures and her outlook in life!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Such a warm and wonderful lady...nice interview Becky.
I wish her the best of luck with this new baby!!!

Farmgirl Paints said...

She made me want to homeschool. Like seriously I want to yank my kids and do it! Loved her Becky. How do you find these amazing women? Praying for her and her sweet family. A girl will rock her a very good way.

Cake Poppin' Mama said...

From the first time I spoke with you Becky, I felt like I had known you for years. It was so easy to see what makes you a beautiful person. Reading this interview with Marsha has given me the same feeling about her. It's so incredible to see the good in people shine's rare, but it's so energizing!

Thank you for sharing!

Eleanor said...

Love your photographer interviews!! Keep 'em coming!

Carly said...

WOW!!! I love the amazing images, and as you said the love for Jesus shines through. Praying!

marc said...

What a wonderfully positive outlook! Very inspiring.

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

Oh wow, what beautiful photos! And what she said, about celebrating the ordinary, hit home. I know I'm late to join in here, so I hope all went well with the new addition to the family!