The Gift of Time | Family Photography with Jonae Cheger

All Photographers have a moment of inspiration in the beginning. As Creatives we have something that inspired or caught our eye. I didn’t see this black box of a camera and fall in love. I did see the glass, reflections, prisms, the possibility of this machine capturing a moment that I was living in as ethereal or magical. There are so many wonderful moments, expressions, encounters and milestones occurring around us at a speed that our mind cannot possibly memorize it all. Our memories are the big impact moments. What about all these fabulous in-between moments. Something might happen in our daily lives that reminds us of a moment long ago or even last week that we didn’t know our brain captures, but that does not always happen.

I loved my disposable kodak cameras growing up. I have stacks of printed images. However, my true inspiration really started when I had connections with people in my young adult years. It was all centered around me wanting to build family relationships. My images were of my husband and I dating and then married. Images of us with our Niece and Nephews. As my siblings had children and my deep desire to have my own grew. I have images of my parents loving on their children. Images of my Dad being silly with me as well as my Mom laughing and hugging me. We have images of our little trips and moves in and out of State. A story was unfolding. I wanted to capture everything to print and look back on it. To cherish it.

Then with our second pregnancy our 1st born, Keziah arrived. She was and is still the bright smiling and cheerful gift of joy needed in a very dark and hard year. My Dad had suffered with brain cancer for a year and passed away slowly throughout the year in front of us. Brain cancer steals away a person’s ability to connect with people they love, communicate, simple functions, skills are all slowly diminished. The strongest and most gentle man/father I knew faded away. He had prayed along with my Mom that we would have a child. Six long years he prayed for us. They prayed for Keziah by name, because I knew I wanted to name her that from the time I was 18 and my best friend had a flower girl with that name. So they prayed. Then the very last day of his life, we decided to have a test and found out we were pregnant. I was able to tell him over the phone and he passed that evening. I will never forget the emotion and awe in his voice. His thank you to an answered prayer all wrapped up in one simple, ‘WOW’. That is all he could say and it was enough.

You see those moments, some photographed and some that were too hard to photograph are what we want to see in the images we capture of our life. That is my inspiration. The connection and raw emotion. Even if we do not like how we look. Do you want to remember it? If yes, then who cares what clothing, setting or the way you felt about your body. Who cares if your hair was not touched up or you might have been in a hard place at that moment. Capture it! Then Print It!

If you are still following and reading everything I have written, then here is my point. I have spent over 11 years running Jonae Cheger Photography. I have worked so many hours, given up time with my babies, missed family events, had a second miscarriage, We fostered children and then adopted over the past 6 years, endured good and bad reviews. I have put blood, sweat, and tears into my business. I have moved into two big studio locations and then had my studio before, in-between and now in the homes we have been in. I was determined and knew I could make a studio happen anywhere I was. I know that home studio I currently have will not be my last. I have gained and lost clients over the years due to new competition or undercutting prices. A business is not easy to run, but setting that aside I still love what I do. I continue to educate myself and grow. I photograph as much of it as I can along the way.

During this time I could choose to quit and be depressed by the forced mandated closing or I can choose to find the good. I am viewing this time where I am forced to remain closed as a Gift of Time. I am spending it with my favorite people. I am photographing my children and going back and editing/organizing all the images I have taken over the past 11 years. So I can print them and put in albums to fuss over with my children. I want them to know our story (their story) and love it.

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