This month's feature mum is the very beautiful and talented Justin Curran.
I met Justine last year at our girl's ballet class where we would often talk about her photography work while entertaining her dreamy baby boy in the cramped and very boring waiting room. On a side-note, I also highly recommend you introduce yourself to the other parents while waiting for sports and other classes you attend because you end up making some pretty great friendships out of them. Especially if your kids are doing the same activity once or twice a week for the next ten years or more! In one year, I have met an awesome group of mum's in that waiting room at ballet and Eva has a whole new group of friends too!
I was really excited to interview Justine because when I started following her on Instagram and seeing the type of family photos she captured, I was amazed by the realness of each picture. She mentions this in her interview you will read below but it was exactly the thought I had looking through her gallery. Her photos are like when you look through your childhood albums at photos that your parents captured of you jumping in the pool or flying on a swing, picking up a bug off the floor or dancing around the lounge room. There are one or two cheesy grins down the len's shots but all the others are just real life memories. Seeing her do this made me start to take pictures (on my phone) of my kids playing and dreaming, not just close ups and bribed smiles.
Read, enjoy and then please click on her link to her website and be absolutely captivated by her talent. If you are looking to have family photos taken then I absolutely recommend you contact her for a consult xx
You are one very talented photographer. Tell us about Justine Curran Photography, what started your passion for photography and some of the amazing opportunities you have had e.g. features in magazines etc
Like a lot of parents, I feel like time is FLYING by. I never wanted to forget the quirks and mannerisms of my child's changing milestones. So I started photographing them all the time. Not in a cute cheesy smile in the camera way. I was actually observing and capturing them in that moment, as themselves. I had a little dslr that I bought years ago when me and my husband went travelling. I started becoming interested in how other photographers were creating such beautiful imagery. I practised and bought a few ebooks and workshops, and now six years later I have crafted my own approach in family photography. Our family are close and family connection speaks close to my heart. I genuinely want to support families when it comes to building and celebrating just that. That's where my passion is and I now help families by providing photography that lets them slow down and savour the things that matter most.
The opportunities that have arisen from this have been amazing. I have been internationally published in Magazines such as Design Aglow and Mozi Magazine. I also have been asked to have my work featured in online communities such as Click In Moms, which I am still pinching myself over. This year a new online education system has been launched by Beyond The Wanderlust called The Narrative Society which I am thrilled to be involved as a contributing educator.
What do you do with all the free time you don't have?
Ha. I have a 6 yr old and a 1.5 yr old. Free time is a past time. These days - I make time. I make time to organise coffee dates with my husband and the kids on a weekend. I try to catch up with friends over lunch once a month. I love curling up on the couch with a cuppa watching our favourite tv series at the end of the day. I try to make time to look after my health such as work outs and running. Its all a juggling act. My most favourite hobbies I do like though are reading, watching a good movie, horse riding, hiking, swimming and yoga.
How did you see yourself as a mum before you became one?
I laugh at my total unrealistic expectation of motherhood. My vision was that I would return to work full time, as a graphic designer. Work 9 - 5 with my children in child care. That me and my husband would have our crap together and pass high fives down the hall way while wrangling house duties and kids. My children would be well behaved all the time because we have instilled good values and therefore they would never want to argue back. I would be totally organised and on top of things, life would be easy.
Can you give us three rules you made pre-mum that you have now broken? Have you stuck to any?
Co sleeping. We totally broke that one and also yelling. As life has become more complex, I find my patience runs thin rather quickly now. It's still something I frown upon but I have learned to understand I am human and I am allowed to have my moments.
What do you love most about being a mum?
I love feeling so loved by these little humans. How they just unconditionally adore you all the time. I love seeing them develop their little personality, their own quirks and mannerisms.
What are some of your challenges as a mum?
One of my most biggest challenges was actually being unprepared for how much I would freaking love my kids. My heart constricts seeing my daughter go off on a school excursion. Hoping that she will be safe. Or that no matter how much I need a break, while I am gone, I just miss them terribly. Nobody could have prepared me for that.
I like my quiet time, and now I have a chatterbox 6 yr old, I find it hard to relax with constant noise. I feel like I get overstimulated and just want to retreat and not have noise invading my thoughts.
Who are your mum people and how have they influenced you as a mum?
I have met many different mums over the years and have great friendships through playgroup and school. These women in my life have been incredible and have taught me many things. If anything they are all unique in their own way and have their own parenting beliefs. What it has taught me is that parenting works on a contingency basis and there is no right or wrong answer. It's about what is working for you and your child. What may be working for you now may not work in a years time, or be the same for the next child. As a parent you should never be set in your ways or hold an expectation of what it should be like, but rather be accepting and use the resources that you have. Every family is different and you should never judge another mother for her choices, because what not might work for you, might work for her.
Can you share some tips on how to be organised for your week and day whilst juggling work and home life?
Oh I struggle so much right now with a toddler at home. I find spending some time once a week to write out a schedule and a to-do-list definitely helps me stay on track and not become unfocused and procrastinate. My mum has also started taking my toddler to Kindergym once a week which gives me a day to get things done. I have signed up to Hello Fresh, which means I no longer have to meal plan and think of new things to cook that is healthy and interesting. I just pull out the ingredients and start cooking!
I also either set aside a large block of time to tackle a large task or I chip away at tasks that can be broken up. The list will always be there but I allocate time to each thing per day to try and balance it out.
Tell us a mum moment of yours (funniest, grossest, sweetest etc)
Oh I have soo many I could list. The most heart string pulling would have to be when I told my sweet 6 yr old daughter (Abby) about the boy in her class with special needs at school, that she actually did swimming lessons with him when they were babies. Abby lit up with surprise and couldn’t wait to tell him the next day. I also informed Abby that she should remind him that they are friends because one of the other boys (her friend) was not being very kind to him and it was getting sad and he didn't want to come to school.
The next day I dropped Abby off at school, she walked straight up him (and he was crying the poor darling) and asked to hold his hand and to come stand in line with her. He nodded and they walked off together.
Another moment was at Abby’s best friend’s birthday party. They were having a moment because apparently she was having too much fun with another girl at the party and her best friend was getting upset and jealous of this new found friendship. While playing hide and seek, Abby and her best friend were hiding in a corner and my daughter whispered ‘I will always be your best friend you know’
How can we book you in for a photography session and what happens during the session e.g. can we pick where and the style of photographs like real life or posed?
If seeing personality and warm fuzzy memories in photographs is absolutely paramount, then I am the photographer for you. (think about looking through old childhood photos) I am a family photographer with a focus on being REAL. I follow a family around chatting and getting to know them like a photojournalist and focus on capturing that family doing real life.
Family and connection speaks close to my heart and I LOVE capturing just that. That's where a consult with me comes in. I help families plan ideas on where and what to do with their kids that help capture their family interacting in a way that capture them in their own unique way.
©The Realistic Mum
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If you love children’s books then I have written a lovely little book on clouds changing into different shapes that you can find on Amazon and iTunes. Look for the title Look At The Clouds, What Can You See?