Moving Beyond Self-Imposed Limitations

April 21, 2014 7:00 am - Published by The Photographer Within - 21 Comments
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Jessica Zeamer is sharing her path of photographic exploration, from taking the photos she thought she should be taking to taking the photos that make her heart sing.

Moving Beyond Self-Imposed Limitations
by Jessica Zeamer

My story begins as so many who have come before me, as a young mother desperate to preserve the passing of time. My daughter was turning three years old when I took the plunge and purchased my first DSLR.  At that time, I was obsessed with anything described as “lifestyle”.  But it didn’t take long for me to realize that elevating the everyday moments into works of art just isn’t for me. My way of planning and shooting doesn’t mesh well with lifestyle images, and I was spending a great deal of time and energy striving to become someone I’m not.

I am a very introverted and introspective person. I have always noticed little details in the world, and have paused to admire them.  With time, I granted myself permission to capture those very things with my camera.  With that, however, came great internal conflict.  I purchased my DSLR, took numerous classes, and spent hours and hours studying photography in order to capture my daughter’s everyday moments. I now felt as if I was abandoning that dream and somehow failing my family by not using my skills to document our lives.  For some time, I talked myself out of taking the pictures of the beautiful things I found around me, thinking they had no place in my family photo album…what would I DO with them? And what is the point of taking a picture that is going to live and die on your memory card of computer’s hard drive?

But somewhere along the way, something changed. I spent a great deal of time thinking about how each of us sees the world through a different perspective. We each have different favorite foods, different definitions of the perfect day, and different definitions of beauty. I believe you can learn so much about a person by taking a moment to look at what they value- at what they consider to be beautiful.  I began to really notice things that caught my eye, things that I would like to photograph. Sometimes those things incorporated my daughter, but more often they did not.

My time with my camera has become “me-time”, the time in which I explore the world around me for those things I consider to be beautiful, and give them worth by capturing them with my camera. While I still have some of that old mom-guilt about that time spent away from my family, I understand now that having a creative outlet makes me a better person and, in turn, a better mother. There is nothing like an hour spent with my camera and an artichoke to restore my focus in life.

Our life experiences and our hearts create the lens through which we view the world…and what a gift to show future generations what life looks like through my lens.

So while I began this journey thinking I would create my legacy by photographing my daughter’s life, I have learned that what I am leaving behind is a glimpse into my soul.

Jessica Zeamer, Guest Blogger at The Photographer WithinJessica Zeamer

Jessica Zeamer is a natural light photographer from Central Pennsylvania who is inspired by love and beauty. A happy hobbyist, Jessica shoots with a Canon 6D and prime lenses. She is a lover of all things quiet and calm, and thinks there is no better way to spend a day than with a good book and a glass of wine.

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  • Mel Donald says:

    Beautifully written and beautifully captured in images. Your last sentence made my heart squeeze!

  • Joanna says:

    I love this perspective. I feel this way too. What do you do with your work? Its stunning.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Joanna! I have started creating annual books that highlight my non-family photography, entitled “Through my Lens”. They have a permanent place on my coffee table. Ironically, my 5-year old loves looking through these books more than any other, providing my with the affirmation I needed that this is so very important.

  • Callie says:

    I could have written this same post and had been going through the same inner conflict until just recently. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  • Brenda Zeamer says:

    I’ve seen other photos of yours but these were just as awesome. A very well written article on you. Be proud you have come a long way.

  • lynne says:

    Jessica – I love your images and you put my thoughts into words – it’s like you’re in my head. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  • Andrea says:

    You pictures are beautiful! You inspire me to begin learning about photography as well!

  • Beautiful work, Jessica! Great reminder to us all too! I’ve definitely talked myself out of shooting something that wasn’t one of my kids before. That is so ridiculous! Thanks for sharing your journey with us!!

  • Janecke says:


    Your words and your images are beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and your soul. Your message is amazing. Thank you for staying true to you, and for sharing it with us here.

  • Tricia says:

    Jessica, this is such a beautiful post with gorgeous images. What an amazing voice you exude here, both in your words and in your images!

  • Paola says:

    Your images are stunning and your words moved me to tears. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Ashley says:

    I will echo what everyone else has already said, Jess… you have shared such a beautiful part of yourself with us here, and it is so amazing to have so much of what you wrote resonate with me. I adore capturing my kids in a lifestyle way, but I need to remember that it’s okay to explore other photography avenues, too. Your images and your words are all inspiring and equally beautiful.

  • Stacey says:

    This post resonated so much with me. I love how you describe taking photographs as ‘me’ time. It’s definitely how I feel but I know the struggle of wanting to produce what I think I need to. Seeing how you moved past that line of thinking and realized how to capture the beauty you see, and then developed the confidence to document the vision that speaks most to you is truly inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your journey!

  • amy says:

    Jessica, your story reflects the crossroad I find myself at as well. I loved documenting my family, and enjoyed portraiture so launched my business. And while I love elements of it, I miss actually documenting the everyday, and sometimes that means images with no people in them. I’m also wishing to explore some other forms of photography and its intersection with other media. Thanks for sharing how you embraced your passion. And I too feel like shooting and editing is total “me time.”

    (ps – I’m also in Central PA!! always looking to connect with other passionate photographers)

  • Megan says:

    Jessica, this is beautiful and I love seeing how your art has evolved. May we all wish to find an outlet that rejuvenates us. Thank you for sharing.

  • Holly Anissa says:

    Me too, me too! Oh my gosh, Jessica… we are twin souls. The things that make my heart sing are quiet, solitary, and meditative images. I am intensely introspective and introverted, so I can appreciate how hard this was to share. Way to go!!! Thank for inspiring so many to follow their hearts. <3

  • What beautiful words. I feel exactly the same. Photography gives me a creative outlet which feeds my very soul.

  • Jessica says:

    I absolutely adore this article; such beautiful sentiments, and so beautifully written!

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