Salt Lake City Based Photographer Timbra Wiist owns/operates Landslide Photography & Photographs the Journey of Motherhood (see bottom of page or sidebar for more info. . .depending on what this blog is choosing to do for the day).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Utah Opens its Doors to Breastfeeding Mothers

So, I did a huge photography project, this is the second post about that. And I wrote about it a little along the way. Day 2 my list included a lot more restaurants. I don't know why or how it happened that way, but it did. The first day was grocery stores and businesses, the second day was restaurants.

I didn't realize just how many things could go wrong before 11am. Why? Because I have a general rule about not leaving my house UNTIL 11am, and now I know why I have that rule.

The day started out poorly before I even got to this day. A friend had set up the first appointment with me because it was at her brother's auto shop. When I called another business to confirm their slot, the lady (who had already been sort of rude and unnecessarily annoyed by those who had called her to set things up initially) was sort of rude to me and then said "That is NOT the time we agreed on" so I looked through my notes and quoted back "It says here between 9 and 3 ( I had them at like 1). . . "Well, I'm looking at the schedule now and you'll have to come before 12."

Coming before 12 meant I had to rearrange the beautiful schedule I'd put together and I told her so "I spent 3 hours on this schedule so pardon me if I take a minute to mentally rearrange it" (hello. . we are giving YOU free advertising, please stop being a jerk!) So I tweaked it, which meant calling my friend and asking her if we can move our meet up time by about 15 minutes. She was fine with that. . .and then completely forgot to show. In the meantime (while I'm waiting for her to show up or call me back) another friend calls to find out about her appointment time and ask about the location I've chosen. I chose a lunch spot. They told us we needed to come before 11 or after 3 (the lunch rush). . . but I forgot to call them until after hours the night prior to going, I had someone scheduled at 10:30 (before 11) but ugh. . .they don't have an answering machine and no one answers phones UNTIL 11!! So I told her that someone had cancelled for me for the evening and shifted her to that spot. Oh. .yeah, I woke up to an email from someone saying they couldn't make it, sick child!

So, sick child, business that makes me rearrange entire schedule, friend who doesn't show to the appointment she set up, business that doesn't take calls UNTIL business hours but told me to come before they open. . . it's 9:30. Finally get a call from my friend who has totally spaced and is on her way over, worked out fine, since the other friend took the evening slot that had been bailed out of and now I have no one for that first slot. Oh well. Finish up at the auto shop, make my way to the place that said I had to rearrange my entire schedule for them. Get to the coordinates (aka address for those not in UT) and it's a hotel, not a birthing suite. Call. . . find out that the birthing suite address is in OREM (that's like an hour away) and again, rude, the lady says "I told the lady on the phone that." Well. . . I looked up the address and didn't look at the city, just the coordinates, and maybe she told me, but I wasn't listening, and this would explain why they got two different calls but no one knew they were the very same business. Ironically, the woman I've scheduled to meet me at this location lives the closest of ALL my models, to the location. I call her. . .

She says she's at the birthing suite and I tell her there's no way I could make it to Orem and back in the amount of time before my next appointment. . . no. . .she's at the birthing suite location in Salt Lake (they have two sites, two separate names, two totally different addresses, but the address I gave her was for the Salt Lake site. . .THANK GOODNESS) it's 10am! We decide to just meet at the next location because. . . as luck would have it. . . the next location is next door to the other location that wanted me to come before 11, but doesn't answer phones UNTIL 11 and I have no model for that location.

So, we meet at my 10:30 location, Les Madeleines, with the woman who has an appointment with me there, I wait for my "birthing suite" mom to show, then hop over to the Italian place to see if it's okay for me to grab a few shots RIGHT AT 11. . . yes. Everything has fallen back into place. . . hoorah! Then my "birth suite" mom tells me, "When I came out of the birth suite office I saw a little french bakery on the corner and thought to myself, maybe she could meet me here instead". . . so it works out PERFECTLY that I'd requested she meet me at a french bakery because of all my mess ups :)

All is right with the world. I shoot throughout the day, I get to a few locations early, Airi takes 2 naps of about 45 minutes each (the first day she took none), and the only other glitch is that I had three restaurants in the same shopping center with five moms involved and I stayed a little long there, so I was very late for my last appointment, which really didn't matter because her husband was busy until very late and she actually had just decided to eat dinner at the location we'd chosen. Well, the other glitch was that my phone died. She offered to buy me dinner, but I declined because I knew Mike had somewhere to be at 7pm, and I was running very close to the line, apparently, however, about this same exact time, Mike called to tell me I should just relax and stay out as long as I needed because he had decided to stay in that evening instead of go to small group. . . but I didn't get the message, so I didn't get the free and wonderful dinner at the Vegan restaurant Sage's. . . boo! But I did get to come home and spend more time with my hubby and little girl than I thought I'd have that evening.

Throughout the next week and a half I somehow found models for all of my locations, even if I did have to ask Renee to be my model at two separate locations because NO ONE wanted to go to laserquest and very few of my models live in that area. I also realized the night before the project was due, that I somehow completely missed one business. I think because they were available over too broad of a time slot and both of my main shooting days I vowed to schedule them last since they'd fit almost anywhere, and then ended up NEVER giving them a slot :(

On Thursday I was able to head up to the University Hospital to photograph. The U of U hospital is our own "Baby Friendly" hospital in Utah, which means they have been given this designation by following a strict set of guidelines put out by WHO/UNICEF with regards to 10 steps to breastfeeding success. They assume all mothers who birth in their hospital will be breastfeeding their babies, they offer support and try to initiate breastfeeding within the first 30 minutes after birth, all babies are assumed to be rooming in, in fact there is no longer a "healthy baby" nursery available, they do not get discounts on formula (aka kick backs), pacifiers and bottles are actually locked up now and must be specifically requested by a mother. It's actually quite cool. So I photographed the hospital as part of this project, which included newborn nursing twins. . .sage and Maya . . . . beautiful!!! Then I ran over to my midwife's office to photograph her office. I had another shoot friday and the following week I had two or three more separate shoots.

Then I had about 1800 photos for the project, of which I turned over more than 1200, all of which were at least slightly color edited, for "pop." And everything, including a small forest worth of release forms and two sets of 5 CDs, made it's way to Patrice at the Department of Health by 4:30pm on Monday afternoon, September 27th.

It is amazing to me that I apparently had a real life during all of this, as I tried to sit down and write out all the stuff I did that was NOT for this photography project, during these two weeks and though I could contain it all in one post, only to find that I did almost as much as I usually do with my family. I feel that I must have been on auto pilot because my focus was so much on this project I was not even aware of how normally I carried on with life.

I am so fortunate to have been part of this project. I still have a little work left to do, that of creating some posters for the local level of the project, but we have drawn that out to be due in December sometime (though before I know it, it will be December and I will have done nothing and be kicking myself). I feel honored to have been asked to photograph this project and to have been able to take my littlest daughter along with me for the ride, and sometimes even my older daughter. I met some amazing people along the way, had so many fabulous models to work with and feel very excited and positive about the community's support of nursing moms. I've even had opportunity, after the project, to meet some of the business owners who were not there on days when I was photographing and feel even more positive about this effort.

Another local LLL leader has intentions to send in an article about this project as well as the success of the Breastfeeding Cafe back in August, to a La Leche League publication, New Beginnings. She hopes to highlight me as the photographer on this project, since I would not get recognition otherwise. I am hopeful about asking her to consider writing the article and to approach the local newspaper as well as Mothering Magazine (where my photograph was recently published in an advertisement for World Breastfeeding Week on the pamphlet front). It is very exciting to be part of something so awesome, as well as get some special recognition for this project. I'll keep you. . . blog posted.

I will soon be posting each of the businesses and the willing models for each business, on this blog. . . stay tuned.

Utah Breastfeeding Coalition Photojournalism Project

I'm just reposting this in order of when it was written. . .
"The Surgeon General will be releasing a Call to Action on Breastfeeding this fall. To coordinate with this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is developing a photo library of breastfeeding support in action. Based on the success of our Breastfeeding Cafe and Baby Friendly Community initiative this summer, the Utah Breastfeeding Coalition (UBC)was one of 8 state coalitions to receive funding from the US Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) to provide photos of community breastfeeding support. The UBC has contracted with a professional photographer to obtain the images. In keeping with our agreement with USBC, the UBC is required to obtain written consent for each facility participating in the photo project. This project has short turnaround time, and must be completed during September 2010. "

And I'M that photographer!!!

I was approached a few weeks ago by the Utah Breastfeeding Coalition. They had applied for a grant to hire a photographer for a project. The Surgeon General is issuing a call to action, the CDC is involved, and the US Breastfeeding Committee wanted to give 8 coalitions across the US, a grant to hire a photographer to photojournalistically capture the story of breastfeeding support in action. I wasn't the only photographer approached, but I think I was the only one willing to put together the things necessary, the main of which was to have liability insurance. It really wasn't a big deal at all. . . I'm not sure why someone else didn't jump at the opportunity.

The pay is good, the hours are by choice (but have to be within a certain range), the project is fantastic, the women I'm working with are TOP notch!!! So, I called my insurance agent and we got squared away (she's been after me for a couple of years to get a policy for my business anyway, since my camera isn't really covered under my regular renter's policy if I'm using it for business purposes). As luck would have it, my parents asked Mike to run an errand to the very same city where our insurance office is, on the very same day I needed to sign paperwork, so neither of us had to work very hard to get the other to come along.

That was Friday the 3rd, then began five days of contract working, we signed that on the 8th. There are a list of deadlines along the way and the deadline for the contract was the 8th. Now I'm working on gathering willing models, the story is "Utah Opens its Doors to Breastfeeding Mothers" and goes along with the recent Breastfeeding Cafe theme of "Our Baby Friendly Community." If you remember that this year we approached a lot of local businesses and requested they display the international breastfeeding symbol in exchange for their logo being posted at the cafe?! These are the businesses we are mainly approaching to request they allow us to photograph their storefront with the breastfeeding symbol displayed and nursing moms in the photographs as well. Some will say yes, some will say no, some are small businesses, cafes, etc, others are grocery stores, government offices, clinics. It's a wide variety.

By the time this is posted, the project will be at least photographed, and likely be to the US Breastfeeding Committee because that's about all I'll be working on for the 12 days after I photograph it all, but I wanted to write out where I'm at in this moment in the project. I have 20 or more models, and around the same number of businesses, I've got to coordinate everyone's available time with the business owners' available times or best time for shooting. We have to be sure that releases are signed for the property, so we have to line up times to be at the location when the person responsible for signing will also be there. Models all have to sign releases too. Today Renee and I went to one of these businesses, and she was unwilling, so there will be some "no's" I suppose, but right now I think I have PLENTY of locations to consider.

My brain is forming ideas on how I'd like to shoot, angles, how to get in a storefront, a tiny symbol and nursing moms. Reminding myself to get just the storefronts with the symbols. I know it will come together. Today it feels very. . . flying all over the place. . .but by Sunday I will have a plan of action in place where I've matched up my models to locations and given out the assignments. I plan to do most of the shooting on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, a few stragglers on other days just based on locations.

So, Monday I'll be getting directions to each of my locations and touching base with moms and business owners and mapping everything out. Let me say. . .I'll be glad when two days of crazy running around, thinking hard about how to shoot things, figuring out lighting, hoping I don't screw things up because I can't redo it, no naps for airi, and general chaos are over with. . .then i have 12 days to edit and have the images to the UBC. . . .

UPDATE: It's Tuesday September 15th, I've just completed my first full day of shooting, tomorrow is another, a little longer day of shooting, I have a few appointments on Thursday, Friday, one on Saturday and a final spot next Thursday. Today was not quite as insane and tiring as I thought it could be. Airi is coming along for all of the shooting, and she did really really well today, with very little sleep, but being worn at some sites and in the stroller at others. I wanted to post this because I'm MIA and I'm so far behind on my blog and I just wanted friends and family to know what I've been up to!

Today I photographed a La Leche League meeting
Little Gym
Tutoring Toy
Baby Babinski (swanky baby store)
AMD Architecture
Earth Goods Natural Store
WIC Clinic
And a Daycare at the Dept of Health

More fun tomorrow. . .but for now, an "early night" and a good night's rest.

And I'll fill in the month in between very very soon.

Jasmine & Thomas (& Astrid)

Alisha brought along Jasmine, who had 10 week old Thomas and big sister 2.5 year old Astrid with her. The weather was turning on us for the second time this week, but we got some FABULOUS photos, maybe some of my favorite of the entire project. Sweet, soft little baby!!! Plus they were just so easy to photograph and unlike many distracted older babies, it didn't take anything to get this little guy to nurse the entire session. I was so happy with the result and we literally packed everything up and RAN to the cars as thunder began and rain started coming down.This was a special necklace that Jasmine requested I get in the photo and I just love this shot

Alisha & Evelyn

Along with Katrina and Myself, Alisha was the third photographer who has her work (nursing portraits) displayed at the Breastfeeding Cafe this year. I'd heard her name for the past year or so, but we only met about five weeks prior to the start of the Cafe this year. We came together with a few others to look at the Cafe space and work on some design ideas a couple of weeks later, and then I met her again when she attended my class at the Cafe. She was on the fence when it came to participating in the WBW fundraiser, but in the end, was there! And I'm so happy. . .look at this sweet pair, and especially this adorable 5 month old Evelyn! Can you even stand her? Preciousness not to be missed. It's always fun to photograph a fellow photographer and tell them to stop bossing you around :) But as a photographer we know how we want photos to be composed and to look, so sometimes it's hard to just give over control and eagerly anticipate seeing the results! I hope she was pleased with them.Alisha is a studio photographer mostly, and shoots for a lot of women's issues. She is amazing! She also allowed me (two weeks after this shoot) use of her studio for a little while to do some 1 year photos of Airi on her birthday. What a super lady she is!

Laurel & Madeleine

I really don't remember when I first met Laurel and MJ. I want to say Maddi was about 5 months old. And honestly, I had no idea the first time Laurel showed up at a LLL meeting that we'd eventually become good friends and know one another so well. Now Laurel is a LLL leader herself. She comes regularly to the meetings where I am a leader, though she leads with a different local group. She is an amazing friend who takes care of people, bringing me manacotti after my youngest was born! We've enjoyed cookies parties and birthday parties together and I've been given the privelege of photographing her family as well. I don't really want to talk about how BIG Madeleine suddenly seems at 2.5 year old, though of course, she is a petite little sprite, but maturing, and so apparent in these first photos

Julie & Zoey

Julie was another mom who came to my class at the Breastfeeding Cafe. She really liked the look of my newborn photos and at this point Zoey was only taking a bottle, though Julie was trying to get her back to nursing. With the help of some La Leche League leaders and some great support, I found out from Julie about 3 weeks later, that at TWELVE weeks Zoey was FINALLY nursing! (She'd been pumping the whole time). What a GREAT story! But for these photos, we just did some cute ones of sweet Zoey with her ducky fluff hair, chubby cheeks and squishy little face. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

Heidi & Jules (& Gretta)

I just had opportunity to photograph these sweet ladies (and the dad too) in May, but Heidi was after something with a little bit of a different look then what I'd captured. Since life was VERY busy during this time (for both of us) we decided to just do the "redo" during the WBW fundraiser. (She even decided to contribute to the fundraiser). It's difficult not to want to take lots of photos of this cute little crew of girls. Heidi's oldest has a birthday around the same time as my youngest and her younger's birthday is around the same time as my oldest. . . June and August babes! Heidi is another local leader and tons of spunky fun!

Charity & Karl

Charity and I met one another at the very same workshop where I was announced officially as a leader with La Leche League. She'd recently come from California, so I was immediately interested in talking with her about her experience there as a La Leche League leader. We met again at a communications workshop early in our pregnancies when our bellies were just starting to pop (about 3 months), and a few times in between then and our babies coming (only 2 weeks apart). I was priveleged to photograph her growing belly and family, and then again to photograph the entire family back in March, including nursing photos here. Then, just two days before Karl's 1st Birthday, Charity was part of the fundraiser. Look at this very happy little (too close to) 1 year old. Overly tired and unwilling to yeild, it was a challenge to get many nursing photos this day and DEFINITELY not while mom was sitting!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Katherine & Elliot Take II

During this amazing maternity portrait session with Katherine, Nate and soon to be big brother Elliot, the little guy was having a hard time. . .in moments like those it is SO lovely to still be nursing a (nearly 3) year old grumpy tot. . . did you know that nursing while pregnant is ALREADY considered "tandem" because this term refers to caring for the needs of more than one child at the same time! Let's just say. . .Katherine is GORGEOUS!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Julia & Kai Take II

Remember this little guy just 10 days old back at the start of my endeavor to capture breastfeeding images? Well this is him now (taken about a month after this WBW project, at another event at Renee's house) I met Julia at a La Leche League meeting and I'll say it again, she was "out to here" pregnant with this little guy. Now, almost two years later, we're still friends (or at least we accidentally run into one another at stores all over the Valley, because apparently both of our families require food, and we run in the same circle). Look at Kai, not quite a baby, not quite a boy. . . almost 2 now!!!

Ginger & True

Ginger and I have known one another since the very first La Leche League meeting either of us ever attended. Her big boy, Cache, was 5 weeks old, and my BIG girl, Alani was 8 months at the time. We've had their family over for dinner, done playdates together, and Ginger was also first to introduce us to Music Together in December of 2007. That REALLY stuck! We've been going ever since, and she and her two babies go for sessions here and there. We were even in a session together during the time of this shoot. Due only 9 days apart and having our baby girls 4 WEEKS apart, we are now traveling through motherhood a second time around, at a relative close pace. True has the sweetest little face and I was so excited to get to snap a few of these two together.

Michelle & Athena

I met Michelle while leading a class on "Photographing Children and Newborns" at the Breastfeeding Cafe on Wednesday morning. I encouraged moms to take LOTS of photos of their babies, and of course, any time a photography has opportunity to mention their business or work, they do, so the moms there knew that I was the artist behind four of the 10 large photos being displayed at the Cafe, and that I was holding a fundraiser over the next three days. Michelle emailed me that night to let me know she'd be coming to our Thursday gathering. Athena is a sweety with deep brown eyes, and Michelle has done some photography work for the YWCA so she's somewhat familiar with photography. What fun to get to capture this mama/daughter pair! I should have written all of this when it was fresh but I want to say that Athena is a little older than Airi in these photos, maybe 14 months?