Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Their Own Words. An interview with Rebecca Murphy.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca from SimplyRebecca & Rebecca Murphy Photography this week for my first ever blog interview. It was so much fun to get to know her in this way! Not only is she an amazing portrait photographer but also a thoughtful and inspiring blogger. I hope you all take a moment to visit her site and send a little blog love her way.

Looking through your galleries I can really see the special moments that you capture for your clients. If you had to describe your photographic voice, what would you say it is?

I get so much energy from my clients, from the moment I walk through their door. I really think finding a way to fit in among them, as opposed to leading them or posing them,  is my route to capturing them honestly. Above all else my wish for my work is to bring them back to a real moment, almost an ordinary moment they could have on any day, so that they feel connected to that moment as opposed to connected to the experience of being photographed. I hope that makes sense. I like to become as invisible as possible.

You seem to really love photographing animals, dogs in particular, have pets always been a part of your life?

I do love photographing dogs! To me they are just like kids, and I say that in the best way possible! They are spontaneous and usually single minded and I just sort of hold on for the ride. I have been around animals since before I was born! We almost always had a dog or cat and I have relatives who have had horses, sheep, goats and chickens as well. I think animals bring out the best in us, or in me at least. I am blessed right now to have too fur babies, a mutt named Abigail and a Mastiff named Logan. Logan is highly photogenic, whereas Abby is more like me and tends to stay away from the front of a camera. Photographing Logan in the last year and a half has been such an inspiration, and its what lead me to add dogs to my portrait client line up. They are now some of my most favorite sessions!

You also have a gorgeous Etsy shop selling fine art prints and jewelry! Any other hobbies that we don’t know about?

I’m a girl with many interests, that’s for sure!! Ha! I find so much of the world to be fascinating I just can’t seem to help myself by sticking to only one or two things. Besides photography and jewelry I really love reading, traveling, being outdoors, and doing a little bit of yoga from time to time. I also kayak and horseback ride whenever I can. My main vice is definitely photography though. I could spent HOURS learning about and playing with new lenses and stuff. I have a long wish list of equipment I’d love to own someday. Taking photos puts me back into the moment I’m living so quietly and so intimately, its kind of like meditation in motion.

Can you tell everyone in your own words about the new e-course you are launching this month?

Encapsulate was originally dreamed up as a type of photo session for my family portrait clients, but logistics kept it from every coming to life. The idea never gave up though, and now it lives as an e-course for everyone to create a time capsule of images for their own family. I was remarkably lucky to have a mom that took a ton of photos when I was a kid, during normal everyday activities. What she gave me is a real window into my own childhood. I don’t have the best memory, so those photos are like a time machine, giving me back all those years I’ve kind of lost. I see so many parents with these great little dslr cameras or even point and shoots and they hardly ever use them. Or they only use them to take smiley, posed photos on special occasions. There is so much more to childhood than birthday parties! This course is about simply, easily, and quickly mastering the art of the snap shot, so every kid can have a full picture of what their early years really looked like. We start small and work our way up and by the end you have a full time capsule of childhood memories waiting for your baby someday.

What do you hope participants of the Encapsulate: Time Capsule E-Course will walk away with?

I kind of hope they walk away with at least two things: the first is a really rad set of photos that will give their children the chance to know what their life was like back before they can remember. Since we have different focuses each week and we build up from one week to the next its very easy to make the transition from not shooting at all to shooting effortlessly every day, and those photos will be more real than any posed moment they’ve ever shot before. And the second thing, aside from the physical awesomeness of the time capsule itself, is a real sense of pride in how much effort they put into giving their children the best childhood they can. The parents that are being drawn to this course work hard to give their kids great childhood experiences, and now they will even be giving them a way to enjoy those experiences again years down the road. I talk a lot about how significant the details of those early years are, and once we pull them all together, every parent should be able to see and feel just how full their baby’s life really is, thanks to them.
What about someone like me who is past the baby stage? Is this course still something I can benefit from?

I really think if your child is anywhere from 0 to 18 you can use the information in the course to capture the most significant aspects of their life. I tend to use the word "childhood" a lot, but youth works too. High school years might not be as filled with toys and stuffed animals, but instead there are sporting events and cars and other hobbies to document. Especially as we are in a way "trying on" adulthood around that time, the aspects of ourselves, our awkwardness and hesitation are so important to capture. I think I have far fewer images from that time than I do of my younger years, but I wish I had more (I always wish I had more). By then I was into photography myself, so I think my mom let me take over the job of documenting. I should have done a better job!

What is one famous (or infamous) family you would love to spend the day photographing and why?

Oh man, hard question!! I actually have to say that I can't pick one, it'd have to be two: my mom and my dad's families when they were little. Neither of them have a lot of photos from that time, at least not a ton that I've seen, and since I try to just be a fly on the wall as much as possible anyway, it would be an opportunity to see how they and all their siblings were together. How my grandparents interacted with them, what their home was like, how alike I was to them as a child and how different we were in those stages. I think a little window into their childhood would be wonderful and fascinating and revealing in ways I can't even imagine.

You seem to have a really great relationship with your family. What is one of your best memories you have growing up as a child?

Another tough one! I do have a pretty close relationship with my family, though its harder now as adults when we each have so much going on in our separate lives. Probably one of the best memories I have from growing up comes from the summers we used to spend on the coast of CT. My grandparents would rent a beach house and we would go live there for a month, my dad coming down on the weekends. It was all beach all the time. I loved it, except for the jellyfish and horseflies! I can remember my older brothers taking me with them down the to corner shop where they sold tons of candy. We were allowed to get a couple of things and I loved those long flat jolly rancher candies. I would lick them until my tongue was cherry red and even a little sore! It was such a grown up thing to do, to talk on the side of the road down to the store, it was an adventure. My older brothers took good care of me, kept me safe. That's a fun time to recall.

Who are the top three photographers that inspire you to keep shooting?

Hmm. I have to be honest, even though everyone says her, Annie Leibovitz was totally one of the photographers who started my passion. Her early work for Rolling Stone was so revealing and intriguing. I wanted to be just like her, still do kind of. Chris Buck is a fantastic photographer who I was totally obsessed with for a time. His shots are highly inventive and thought provoking. If I were at all into planning out shoots and composing the photo itself, I'd do it just like him. Nowadays I don't keep up with too many child photographers, just my friends. But the one who I can't seem to get off my google reader still is Tara Whitney. I am so in love with her nonchalance and the way she sees beauty. She's very popular and she totally deserves to be.

I've talked a little here about picking a word to focus on for the year ahead. I know the internet has also been abuzz with the topic lately. Did you pick a word for 2011?

This tradition did seem to light up the blog/twitterverse this year didn't it? I am all for it. I picked a word last year too and it totally helped shape everything that happened, both consciously and subconsciously. This year my word is "faith". 2011 is going to be a year of continued growth driven in large part by my own deepening faith in myself, my ideas, my connections with people, and my passions to guide me. I have always lacked a ton of faith and that trend has to stop. No one can give assurances to me other than myself. I have to have faith in my questions, as well as my answers, so I can walk this life fully awake and appreciating everything I have been blessed with.

Thanks so much Rebecca for allowing me the opportunity to get to know you better! Everyone please don't forget to visit her site and find out more about the Encapsulate E-Course!


  1. [...] sweet awaits you over at the beautiful and inspring home of Celina Wyss, StepsandSnips. I was lucky enough to be interviewed by her this week and she’s sharing our conversation [...]

  2. What a lovely interview! Thank you both!

  3. [...] life, photography, and the things we care about. What an amazing time! She was kind enough to share her half of our conversation over on her blog last week, and today I am so excited to share mine! Celina runs [...]


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.