It seems crazy to be in this place right now - things becoming final all around me. I've always been the kind of person who gets things done. I've been a 'working' photographer since I was 23... which means I've been a photographer now for over 16 years. Holy sh*t... I really should be better at what I do. lolol
Starting out was hard.... I lived in London - working as a nanny during the day and then going out and shooting shows at night. I did music photography - which seemed logical as Noel Gallagher from Oasis lived on the families street where I worked and we drove past Abbey Road everyday.... I wasn't really ever into BritPop. Other than The Beatles, I wasn't really into Birttish music at all. I was kind of a Nirvana/Pearl Jam/Smashing Pumpkins fan.
I was however, a massive Linda McCartney fan. I LOVED her work - the casual, yet close connection she would make with her subjects... reminding you that Mick Jagger was *still* just a man, even though adored by millions - he's just a guy on a boat when Linda captures him. Brilliant.
Starting out was hard and COSTLY. Back when I was film I would bulk load my film, shoot it and develop it in my kitchen. I had a darkroom built under my loft bed - and I would develop the images there. I always half wonder if I'll wind up with lung issue's later in life because there wasn't any ventilation under that bed... lol - just me, three trays of chemicals and an enlarger.
I grafted HARD. I worked every angle, made phone calls, made friends with all the right venue bookers and PR people and I tried to get ahead of the next greatest band..... infact, *I* was the *ONLY* person to attend the launch of the first Snow Patrol album. Just me, their manager Neil and the guy that owned the label - Mark Jones. They played thtree songs and came off the small stage and Gary said to Mark, "See.... I told you at least Elle would show up....".
I prayed and worked and prayed some more .... hoping to achieve 'success' - hoping that my subjects would like my work.... hoping for a career.
When I moved back to America I was going to get a 'real job' - one that didn't require touring and bands and shows at night.... I was tired of the late nights and early edit calls.... oh, and working with bands isn't very lucrative, if I'm being frank.
I still worked and did friends kids and stuff - then later, I started working for a local wedding photographer in 2004 as a second shoot and photojournalist. I thought working weddings was A LOT like working with people in bands... you only get one chance to get it right, there are no do-overs - and it HAS to be perfect.
After that I started doing more and more work with families and kids - all outdoors or on location at people's homes. By 2005 I had started doing photographer full time (again) and Zober Images was in full swing. I was so grateful.
My clients are AM.AZING. If you knew them, you would agree. Some of them are crazy... but everyone who works with me knows that I have a strict "no soup" policy. If you are crazy, rude, can't wait your turn, drive me bananas or - just in general you are a pain in my ass - I will "no soup" you and I won't work with you anymore.
I have a several families who have been with me for nearly ten years now, one of which - we'll call them The Family of T's..... I actually *missed* their first session. I had written down the wrong date and time... so there they were - with their three year old and the Mom pregant with their second child - all dressed up and no one there to take their pictures. The second time - *I* showed up on the wrong day and time.... and thankfully the third time - it was a go. lol I have shot their family every six months since 2006.
How amazing is that? They invite me to their children'ts birthday parties - they have brought Christmas presents for my children. When we lost our second baby, I was pretty far along - almost 11 weeks when they found out it was an ectopic pregnancy. I opted to do the methotrexate which is a drug they use in chemotherapy - which is pretty nasty stuff - but, it also avoids surgery. With the boy at home, I didn't want to do surgery and risk something else happening to me.
When I got to the room where they give you the methotrexate it was.... shocking. I was there to end my pregnancy - and I was surrounded by people getting chemo. One lady had these pictures of her own small children at home - and she was loooking at them while the poison dripped into her system, her head bald, but her face smiling as she looked at her pictures. I realised in that moment *just* how lucky I was to only be having that medicine for an ectopic pregnancy and not for the reason that lady was there.
JUST before they hooked me up - nurse asks me if I'm nursing: I was. Shocked - she stopped short. This kind of medicine means that you can't nurse exactly 6 FULL days from the end of the dosage. WHAT? I hadn't weened The Boy!!!! I hadn't prepared him, or myself.... and I found myself dialing the Mom of the Family of T's who works as a lactaction consultant - a crying, hysterical mess - and in that moment.... that dark moment as a woman and a Mom - there she was to help me.
There are people who don't have *friends* they can call on for help like that.... how lucky am I that I have *clients* like that? Clients who have become wonderful, wonderful friends......
The year that I had The Girl, I had a client who was recently out of work and we did a trade where he would finish my garage into a studio so I could start shooting babies and kids at 'home' so that I wouldn't have to be away from the kids so much to travel to locations, set up, shoot, etc.
It was great and slowly.... Zober Babies was born. It was a small, humble studio - but I loved having it. It was a real accomplishment - something I had built on my own, a dream started in my 20s.... and now it was mine. I filled it with tons of props - custom hats and tutu sets.... the idea being to keep it *affordable* for Moms. Too many Moms I know where having to forego getting professional pictures of their kids because they just simply could not afford them. I always thought that was sad... I never started out as a photographer because I thought it would make me rich.... hahaha. I just liked taking pictures of people and... there's something kind of magical about a picture. It's a moment in time that you never get again.... the tiny tiny new baby fingers, the missing front tooth smile of your kindy kid- and, the grace and beauty of your senior photo. It's all important... too important to let people miss out on because of money.
So I set my Zober Babies prices reasonably: $150 for a newborn session including a custom baby announcement, $100 for other single kid sessions, $75 for monthly sessions..... and - twins were two for one! lol I figured Moms with mulitiples have to pay twice for everything else... seems silly to pay twice for me.
Anyhow. Now it's over. I have to pack up the studio and move it all out. I don't have another studio space.... as many photographers will tell you *those* prices aren't nearly enough to sustain a 'real' studio with overhead. So, if I looked into a new place, I'd had to raise my rates and frankly..... these days photographers are EVERYWHERE. It's not the craft it used to be ...... I'm too old and too tired to try and fight my way back into the Bridal show (plus... I *hate* weddings!!!!).
I'll still run Zober Images as an on location business and do Zober Babies sessions on location as well.... but it's not the same.
It's hard to think about how El Capitan's slip of the weiner cost me so much..... right? Like, it's NOT ENOUGH that it cost me my husband... but it *has* to cost me my studio, too? f*ck.
So, back to the Scott Disick question: "So... you can't afford to stay in your house?"
It seems like it would be logical for me to fight to keep the house so that I could keep the studio as well.... right? I thought about it... tried to work out a budget, but it seemed like the biggest cost would be: The Boy.
The Boy has been really struggling with things.... he needs me. He needs my time for school and reading and snuggling and playing. He needs me - my time, my attention.
If I struggled to keep thouse on my own I would *have* to work full time to do it which means less time with the kids, no homeschooling and..... The Boy would have to return to the elementary school where his "best friend"'s favorite game was "penis tag". ugh......
So. Bottom line. I chose The Boy over my dream... over the studio.
I need to spend my time with the kids and working on myself, trying to figure out how I'm going to support us - what kind of job or career I can carve out for myself to take care of us longterm. Instead of lose everything in the short term just to hold onto a house and a studio.
So, I had my last session there this weekend. After they left I sat and cried... and cried .... and cried.
But I know I made the right choice.... I can always build up a studio, but once you break The Boy - it'll take a whole lot MORE to build him up again - and I'm not taking any chances with him. He's the biggest dream I've ever had and I get to live it everday... being his Mom. Seeing his joy for Halloween and watching him play with his sister.... it's just - amazing.
This journey comes to an end