Beyond The Wanderlust » Inspirational Photography Blog for Storytellers Worldwide

The Narrative Society: Educator Interview with Liz DeGroff

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Most artists have a point in their life where they knew this was meant for them. Do you have that moment?

Yes and no.  I’ve always felt an innate urge to create, but it wasn’t until my children were born and I fell into a gap in my life where I stopped creating for the first time that I realized it was there.  Every now and then, when I’m shooting or editing and an image I make really takes my breath away, I get a whisper that this is something bigger than me.  But, I also don’t believe we’re all meant to do any one thing with our lives.  When I was teaching young children, I felt it in my soul that that was where I belonged.  I felt it again when my children were born, and I feel it now with my camera.  I couldn’t pin down one specific moment where the clouds parted and the angels sang though.  It’s more been like a steady rise of the tide, bringing this part of my life towards me and fulfilling me in ways I never imagined.

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Documenting our children’s lives is so important. What is your secret to not getting bored with your daily life?

When I’m feeling really bored and restless with things, I stop looking at my house and wishing I could change everything about it and start watching the light.  At this time of the year especially, it’s literally different every day.  Although truthfully, life with kids is never boring.  If for some reason it starts to feel that way, then I rearrange my furniture 🙂

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

If there was only one moment you could photograph for the rest of your days, what would it be?

Either the moment my husband comes home from work, or whoever is piled and tangled up in our bed when we first wake up in the morning.

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Personally I find more inspiration from things outside of photography. Where do you find inspiration most?

Everything!  Life!  The way the wind creates movement in the world, the way the light filters through the trees, the silence of a cold morning, my dreams, the way people interact with one another.  All of it leads me to wanting to pick up my camera.

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

We all go through periods of mental blocks. How do you push past times of not finding inspiration?

I just keep shooting.  Even when I don’t want to, I make myself spend at least 3 minutes a day with my camera in hand.  Sometimes the images are terrible, and I toss them all, but it forces me to look at the world instead of be frustrated with it, even for just a moment.

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Who in your life inspires your art the most?

God.  His creation is the ultimate one, I’m just spending my time trying to do it justice.

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

What inspires you more - light or movement?

Am I allowed to say both?  Cause both.  Although I’m better at capturing light.  Often, my attempts to capture movement the way it looks and feels to me just ends up leaving me frustrated.

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Documentary and lifestyle photography are different to some. How would you define them?

Lifestyle is when I tell my kiddos where to sit or stand or play or be to do whatever it is they’re doing so that I can use that light to make you glow or catch that perfect shadow on the wall or get that completely absorbing composition while you still look like all you’re doing is living life as normal.  It’s where I take my safety shot and then run over and chuck that sippy cup into the other room and shove that neon spongebob blanket under the couch and then run back and take another shot after I spin my kid around while he’s reading so his face isn’t in shadow.

Documentary is when I walk into the room and my oldest is climbing on and off his bed wearing nothing but Mario underwear and Lightning McQueen socks so I start clicking away from as many different angles as I can to find the good light while shooting around the clutter in his room while also trying not to catch his attention and ruin the moment.

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Would you rather continue with your life or restart it?

Continue.  My story is just getting started 🙂

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Would you rather reverse one decision you make every day or be able to stop time for 10 seconds every day?

Stop time.  Those cuddles never last long enough.  Neither do those few moments I manage to steal alone in the bathroom.

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Would you rather never be able to speak again or always have to say everything that is on your mind?

Never be able to speak again.  

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Would you rather have no internet or no cell phone?

This one is hard because I’m really excellent at getting lost so my cell phone is my lifeline when I’m out.  But, I’m also really bad at making new friends and the internet has helped me to foster some amazing friendships.  Don’t make me choose!

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Would you rather lose the ability to use GPS for the rest of your life or lose the ability to use a debit or credit card?

Debit/credit card.  See question 4.

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Would you rather have eyes that can film everything or ears that can record everything?

I think I’d have to say eyes than can film everything… but it just barely wins.  I know I’m going to miss my kids’ squeaky little voices when they’re grown men.

four dots photography

Would you rather have unlimited storage space on your iPhone or unlimited storage space in real-life?

iPhone.  I need less stuff.

documentary photography, lifestyle pictures

Would you rather walk the Great Wall of China or Amazon River?

Great Wall, but I don’t really know why.

Would you rather win an Academy Award or an Olympic Gold Medal?

Academy Award.  It would be fun to be glamorous for a little while.

Would you rather be fabulously famous and poor or unknown and rich?

Unknown and rich <3


Liz DeGroff of Four Dots Photography
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  • Great interview and beautiful images! I love that this wasn’t the same old Q&A too! Very interesting peek into her world. <3

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