Childhood Unplugged Features El Hogan

El Hogan has a way of capturing authentic moments of her children’s childhood that will just leave you awestruck. I knew she would make a perfect fit as one of our featured guests here on Childhood Unplugged. She makes me want to pay closer attention to the details and take better photographs of my children. You can learn more about El Hogan at www.elhoganphotography.com/au/blog and follow her on Instagram @el_hogan.

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Hey El! We are so honored here at Childhood Unplugged to have you as our featured guest for the month of March. Let’s start off by telling us a little bit about yourself!

Thank you for having me! I’m a lifestyle portraiture photographer based in Queensland, Australia. I have 3 rad kids, a lovely husband, 3 snuggly cats and a fat dog called Max. I shoot mainly families, as well as underwater fine art. I love the ocean, my vegetable garden and cooking. Oh, and wine. I love wine.

I absolutely love the way you capture the everyday moments of your children. Do you mostly take a photojournalist approach to documenting them? What would you say your favorite style is?

Thank you! I absolutely take a photojournalist approach to making images of my kids. I never pose or direct, but love finding moments that would otherwise go unnoticed. I love searching for interesting light and shadows, and it still stops my heart when I look over and see one of my kids in a pocket of light in my home or yard that I hadn’t really noticed before. I love walking in on them interacting with each other, and being able to see a memory for them when they’re grown. My life is so bright and noisy and colourful, but for some reason my favourite images are mostly in black and white. I love the feel and mood I can create with them.

What are some of your children’s favorite activities to do unplugged?

We’re lucky enough to live on a few acres of land and my kids are pretty free range. They have a great tree house they play in, and lots of bush area with a small creek they spend a lot of time exploring (although I’m constantly afraid of snakes!!!). We have a wonderful neighborhood filled with lots of kids their age, so our house is constantly full. They like to put on plays, ride their bikes and scooters, and the girls especially like to have tea parties. We also spend a lot of time at the beach, and the kids have recently started surfing, which makes me really happy. They are very active, outdoors kids, so pretty much anything goes. Last year we traveled around Australia in our caravan, and it was incredible. The kids were homeschooled and our days were spent exploring, hiking, fishing, swimming and enjoying time together. Later in the year we will be doing some more of the same.

Moms need unplugging too! What are some things you enjoy doing? What inspires you? Fills your cup per say?

To be honest, a lot of what the kids like doing, so do I! I really love the ocean, and I swim everyday. Most afternoons you’ll find me pottering around in my veggie garden, which I find really relaxing. I play the guitar, so if I need some time to myself, I’ll often sit and play or listen to music. I love to read and the last few years I’ve loved learning about nutrition and whole foods and cooking. As a mum to 3 busy kids, I don’t get a lot of time to myself, but I try to spend it learning new things and being inspired by things around me, discovering new artists and musicians, reading to my kids. I’m pretty laid back, and it doesn’t take much to relax me ;-). I also like that there’s so many options for streaming or downloading full tv series, and if I get into one, I’ll binge watch it after the kids are asleep.

If you and your family had absolutely nothing on your calendar for tomorrow, what would a day of spontaneous family time look like?

Definitely an early morning at the beach, followed by lunch at our favourite cafe, and maybe home to watch a movie together while it’s so hot outside. In the afternoon we’d hang out in our backyard and maybe cook dinner on the BBQ. I just love summer!! My husband works away a lot, so when we’re all together, we like to spend time at home when we can.

Kids remember more than we think they do. Making memories with them is priceless. If you were to ask your kids to share with you a memory that they absolutely cherish, what do you think they would share?

Great question! I actually asked them, so here’s what they said:

Harry, 8 yrs: My favorite memory is when we did the Spider Man walk in Karrajini National Park in Western Australia. It was hilarious when dad fell in the water with his shoes and clothes on. And I love anytime you cook lasagna. And that time when we were in America and we played ping-pong at that park in New York.

Lily, 7 yrs: It was so cool that time we went to the movies to see Tinkerbell, just you and me, and we were the only people in the whole theatre, and we moved seats like a thousand times, just because we could! And when I was the only one brave enough to go on that massive roller coaster with dad in Disneyland, even though I banged my tooth on the bar when it did the upside down loop. And anytime I stand up on my surf board I feel like I’m flying.

Darcy, 5 yrs:  I loved when we went to see Katy Perry, because I love her and because the music was so loud I could feel it vibrating where my heart lives.  I loved when we went to see Wicked and I got goosebumps all over my body when the green witch flew in the air and sang.  I love when we see rainbows, and whenever I’m allowed to use a microphone, and when I twirl a million times and fall over I’m so dizzy, and when I ride my motorbike, and when I get to go up and get awards in front of the whole school, and when we go to the pub for dinner and I’m allowed to have a pink lemonade. And last night Harry did a fart that was so loud, I heard him from my room.

(disclaimer: I think Darcy got a bit confused half way through and just started listing her favourite things 🙂 )

Everyone has a favorite image. Could you share it with us and tell us why it’s your favorite?

I have so many favorites! I have this one blown up huge in my studio, and I look at it everyday and never get sick of it. It was taken while us and our best friends were camping a few years ago, and it just resonates summer holidays and freedom to me.

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How do you balance time unplugging and time spent with electronics, devices, T.V., etc. Do you have rules?

I have rules for the kids, they have no screen time at all during the week, unless we all sit down and watch tv after dinner, or if they want to look up information on something they’re interested in, or to use Reading Eggs (an Australian reading program for kids). On the weekends they have 30 minutes per day on their iPad, and can watch T.V. in the mornings before breakfast. I’m pretty good with the balance, so I don’t really have any rules for myself. We don’t watch a lot of T.V., but like I said before, sometimes I’ll binge watch a series I’m into, which is a bit of a guilty pleasure.

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