Before I got my beloved 5D for my 40th birthday I very rarely took a picture inside our home. I had a (mostly) sunny Island outside my door, and I was irritated by the noise needed to cut through the gloom indoors. When we moved it was to our wonderful apartment in the centre of Istanbul, with so much life from the doorstep out into a big, rich city, with so much to photograph. And then our little son developed a fear of the wind, and every trip out involved our coaxing and his bravery, and often shaking and tears. Our days of meandering explorations of the city were largely a thing of the past. Although child and wind have now formed an (uneasy) alliance, he hates to spend any unnecessary minutes outside. Sometimes all the hours inside have made me stir crazy, due partly, I am sure, to my longing to photograph new things every day. Even when we are out the crowded streets and lack of pavements mean I need my eyes and hands for the children. Finally photographing inside our home became a necessity.
Our apartment is, I am sure, the most magnificent place I will ever live. It's a little run down, but it is grand and old, and the high ceilings have kept my spirits up even through gloomy winter days. But in a city where every scrap of space is used we are surrounded by walls on three sides. I love the eerie glow of the lift shaft seen through the toilet window, and the vague shapes of pigeons seen through a frosted window that opens onto a view of a wall I can nearly touch. I even love the sound of leaves being blown down the inches wide gap between the back of our building and the next, but as a photographer craving light these weak signs of the outside are of little use. I have too often felt jealous of those with gardens, with safe places to roam. Thank goodness we have an expanse of century old wooden floor for the kids to act out their tales and turbulence.
I still struggle with taking pictures in our home. I have until about 10 on sunny mornings before the light becomes low and flat for the rest of the day. So I need to have the courage to turn my camera on the domestic drama of the start to the day. To let the gift of light be a character in the chatter, the cajoling and the preparations to face the outside. I can see now that the lack of the light, and my need to use it, has made a different photographer out of me. I have begun a journey of mastering what I have rather than dreaming of what I do not.
Julia Forsman - A Rock and a Soft Place Photography