My story | Seattle Photographer - Alec Mills Photography

My story

Seattle Newborn + Family + Fine Art Photographer

September 1st, 2019

"I think I have been taking pictures my whole life, even before I had a camera"

Writing about myself has always been difficult. I sit here at my desk and stare blankly at the screen. Wishing my fingers would just write this blog post already...willing it to happen.

But, I guess that is something I have always struggled with... writing. Putting words to paper, never quite feeling like I was communicating what I wanted. As a child, I loved to color and create elaborate craft houses for my pretend pets (yes, pretend pets). My parents kept a box for me and my sister... packed with old paintings, drawings brought home from school, art projects and endless Mother's and Father's day crafts from our earliest years. My dad specifically doesn't like to throw anything meaningful away. Not a hoarder, just an organized saver. I inherited a bit of that mentality. To collect the things that record our life. And photographs are the biggest part of that for me. 

I remember the day my parents gave me my first camera. I was 11 and we were packing to leave for a family vacation in England. They handed me a box, and said I would need to learn how to use it. I remember that the film camera needed special film, because it had a panorama option. 

That 11 year old had no idea, but a camera would be in her hand for the next 2 decades. I don't pretend to have been good at a young age, but I showed interest and took photographs where ever our family went. Mostly on vacations, as film and developing that film was expensive. I still have every printed/developed image from my childhood hoarded away in boxes. Just like my parents and grand parents stored their pictures.

My parents loved to travel, and they took us to far away places starting at a young age. Using my parent's camera first, then my own. Carefully composing and capturing our travels.

It wouldn't be until 2005 that I took a photograph that SPOKE to me. The moment when I realized that I LOVED taking, creating, making photographs.

I call this image "Catalyst".

Catalyst was taken in Seville, Spain. December 2005, when I was 20. We were in the crypt under The Seville Cathedral, I remember the light was dim, but you could see each recess in the wall as it went further and further back towards the back wall. The water was still, giving a near perfect reflection. The symmetry, the light, the shadow, the reflection... I was inspired. When I got home and was able to print this image, I knew I wanted to do more of...that.

I kept taking pictures while my family traveled, when I moved to Seattle for college, and after meeting and marrying my best friend and husband.

In college I studied Art History, but with a camera I am self taught. I tried and forgot about film for 10 + years while life continued, hurried by school, work and travel. After college, I showed some of my art in local Cafes and restaurants, participated in local Seattle neighborhood Art Walks and sold a few pieces.

In 2012, I had my first daughter. This literally changed everything. As they tell you it will.

But for my art, I was drawn to that little human, and wanted to document all of her as I watched her change daily. Her little toes and bald baby a funny, sarcastic brilliant 7 year old. Where had the time gone?

After years of photographing my environment, I was starting to see the beauty and versatility of portraiture. Human form. Adding a subject that was dynamic and could improve a landscape by using the space and light to create something unique. I played. I created. Every. Single. Day. Slowly, the things that inspired me changed and evolved. I was drawn to connection between subjects, movement, the play between light and shadow. When I was home, I kept my camera out and available all the time. And when I went out, I carried it with me in my purse. Always at the ready, you could say. Obsessive is another way.

My muse was my family.

I found myself reflecting on my relationship with photographs. How I would dive into a box of family snapshots and get lost in there for hours. Sorting through pictures of myself and my sister. Wondering what family birthday or vacation we were on. RELISHING in the pictures that included me with my parents, or pictures of my parents together. Those were the images that stirred my heart and my mind. I asked questions and was told endless stories. I credit a lot of my family history being passed down through photographs. I carry that mentality when I photograph my clients. I am recording their family's history.

I want to create an experience for my clients that they will remember as a great day with their family. We focus on activities that you already love doing together. You may have deep cleaned your house, or shoved all your clutter into the closet. But it is YOU. Together and making memories to hold onto and tell stories about years down the road.

Lately, my family pictures have become a place of comfort in times of emotional strife. I pull out  a family album or a box of prints and spend hours sitting on the floor with snapshots scattered all around me. Some days I am searching for a specific picture, other days I just let the flood of memories wash over me. Each picture flipped a new window into my past...each moment relived and stories retold.

My next goal... printing these images for my family to cherish as we grow old. Boxes full of 4x6 prints, albums of our family vacations and yearly adventures at home.

This is my life's work, and I dedicate myself to the preservation of these memories for myself and for my clients.

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