We are beyond thrilled to have Dera Frances White as our first guest here on Childhood Unplugged!
I first came across Dera’s blog through following You Are My Wild; a weekly portrait project that brings together 14 photographers to document how they see their children.
I was immediately captivated by her stories and images. She has a way with words that leave you nodding your head in agreement as you are reading and laughing out loud by yourself because you can relate to every word that she wrote. Dera lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two daughters Fiona, 10 and Neve, 8.
Thank you Dera for taking the time to answer a few questions and sharing a handful of your lovely images. You can find more of Dera’s stories and photos on her blog at derafrances.blogspot.com
How long have you been a photographer?
I have been doing film photography since high school. My dad was a photography teacher, so we always had great cameras and access to dark rooms on hand. I was a dual major in college- experimental video and photography. But I’ve only been doing digital photography in the workplace since 2010.
What do you enjoy doing unplugged?
We draw A LOT. It seems to be our default mode around here. Bored? Draw. Angry at sister? Draws mean pictures of sister. Happy? Draws sister & self as princesses. That sort of thing. I find these epic books they’ve made lying around the house all the time. I hope they never stop making them. My husband is an artist and designer, and he’s always lost in his sketchbook. Since we met in art college… that blasted sketchbook and guitar. Personally, I don’t do nearly enough of the things I love on the daily- sewing, photography, general art making- so I try to pour my creativity in those things that are built into my day already- cooking, writing (blogging specifically), making a nice house, and creative parenting, aka experimental parenting. Haha- you can use your imagination with that one.
Things you enjoy doing with your children?
We love driving into the mountains. We’ve got our favorite little destination spots- a friend with a farm, overlooks perfect for picnics at sunset, dusty roads with friendly horses, bubbly creeks in the summer, and a circuit of great roadside produce stands in the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter, we just hibernate and eat cookies, and gripe like Southerners about 40-50 degree weather. We often bake together, and sometimes we even get crafty. I’m sad to say that my girls are growing out of the fairy thing, but we used to LOVE making fairy houses out of sticks and moss and stones. We would put them under our favorite trees in the yard, adorned with acorns or flowers, and wait to see if there was any evidence of fairy activity. Pretty magical times.
Personal projects that you do?
Last year was my first collaborative photo project, the “You Are My Wild” project. It was intimidating at first, being thrown in the mix with 13 super talented photogs from all over. But in time, the project became quite meaningful to me in many ways. I fell in love with the other kids, waiting for their faces to appear each week. I fell in love with their parents and the way they saw their children; a few who I had the privilege of meeting during the course of the year. And I fell in love with the idea of making meaningful time with my own children every week, with or without the camera. If you can set aside intentional time with them, there’s almost always a good photo-op built into those moments. (The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly).
What is your favorite style of photography?
Just kidding. I guess if I had to pick a style I would choose photojournalism, but only because it’s inherently best at storytelling. I just like visual stories. Even if things have been styled a bit. I am a narrative junkie, in any medium. I would take ugly & gritty but captivating any day over pretty & clean but sterile.
We are happy to announce that we will begin featuring others right here on our Childhood Unplugged blog! That’s right! If this is something you are interested in, please head on over to Submissions in the menu bar and check it out!