Along the way: Courtney Holmes

When I was a little girl, we used to spend a week every summer at the beach in Destin, FL. My dad would sit in a beach chair with his video camera in hand (back in the VCR days!!), filming us chasing the waves and collecting seashells. I can remember how I felt watching those videos years later. The way my heart filled with nostalgia, how my senses reacted so strongly to those clips to the point that I could almost feel the sun on my skin and taste the salt on my lips again. I was overwhelmed with emotions every time I watched those videos.

As much as it pained me at the time to be the subject of photos and video as I grew into a teenager, I'm so thankful to my dad for persisting and documenting those years for me. He and my mom have been two of my biggest supporters during my journey as a photographer and his encouragement to "try out that video setting on your camera!" was probably the main motivator in my decision to start shooting video. At the time I didn't plan on creating films, only fusion slideshows, but the more I did it the more I leaned towards choosing video over photos when it came time to put it all together. At first I used Windows Movie Maker, but I found it limiting so I began investigating other options. In my research for editing software I heard about Premiere Pro, so I downloaded it to my computer, but when I opened it up I was completely overwhelmed and had no idea where to start. I didn't even know what to google to help figure it all out! But when I find something I want to do, I work endlessly until I figure it out. 

Knowing that I'd likely spend a few hours figuring out Premiere Pro, I decided to pick a memory that I wanted to keep forever and shoot video with the goal of creating a film out of it. That memory was a bath in the kitchen sink for my daughter. I set the camera to video, practiced focus pulls and panning shots, basically imitating shots I'd seen in movies. I tried to have a beginning, middle and end. And just so that the entire process wasn't a waste I decided to shoot stills too - just in case.

I pulled the footage into my computer, and started going through it all. It wasn't perfect but I didn't care, because there was my daughter. Forever etched in my memory, always available for me to be able to press play and watch it over and over again. I found the perfect song to express how I was feeling about this moment with her, and I opened up the beast (my loving nickname for Premiere Pro) and started piecing it all together. It took me forever. But as I was doing it, I fell deeply in love with what I was creating. And I knew that this was something other people NEED to have. It stirred so many more emotions within me than photos ever have, and I knew from that moment that this was a turning point for me. I made a promise to myself to work as hard as I possibly could to make this available for other families. 

Sometimes I wonder if my parents ever pull out the footage he shot when we were little, just to be there one more time. To relive the moments when all that mattered to his little girl was how beautiful the seashells were in her hands. I know I will. On the evening of my daughter's wedding, my husband and I will probably go home after a long day of celebrations and send offs. Then we'll curl up in bed together, I'll pull up this video of our little girl, and our hearts will fill with nostalgia for the days when all that mattered to her in that moment were how beautiful the bubbles were in her hand.

A little about the artist: Courtney of Courtney Holmes Photography lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two children. She is a Newborn, Child, and Family Photographer and Filmographer that specialises in capturing the chaotic reality of life with little ones. She has a new online workshop called "Filming life" for photographers wanting to learn more about filmography with their DLSR. Full details are here: http://filminglifeworkshop.com.au/

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