Hannah Nielsen » Documentary Family Photographer Seattle Portland and Worldwide

What a beautiful mess this is

I need to tell you a little bit about myself. If you don’t know me, you don’t know I’m insanely organized in an equally insanely sloppy way. I have piles of stuff all over the place, but know just where to look to find what I need. I keep sticky notes in my car, in my purse, next to my bed, in the kitchen, on my end table, and on the desktop on my computer (oh my goodness I love that app!). I make lists like I can’t keep a single thought in my head without writing it down. I color code my closet, but will leave a pile of laundry on the floor for days before putting it away. I need my drawers to be organized, but don’t really notice if I don’t open them for weeks because the organized stuff is the stuff I don’t use. It makes me absolutely crazy when my husband leaves a cabinet door or drawer open.

OCD tendencies? Yes, maybe. But I think it makes me who I am. And It also plays a big part in how I shoot. I like a little mess in my images: throw your head back laughter, tears, group hugs rather than posed portraits. Just like I like my home to be organized, but lived in, I like my images the same way. Lived in. The rules of composition still apply. As does the necessity for beautiful light. They are the lists and sticky notes of my photography.  I don’t care if your eyes squint up when you’re laughing, in fact, if they do, even better!  What may to others just be an outtake, is often for me, the most emotional and real image.  That little bit of “mess” changes my job from “taking a portrait” to “capturing a memory”.  And when a killer location, rich dewy light, and a genuine moment all meet…that’s home to me.


  • March 21, 2012 - 8:34 pm

    Laura - Ahhh Hannah 🙂 love thisReplyCancel

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