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Today-A Personal Journey Back To Where I Came From.

They Say you can’t go home again. (Que the Miranda Lambert song here)

In a way that’s so true…..because sometimes going back to where you came from, is not at ALL like it was when you were there.

You have this memory in your mind….you see it so well when you go back there in your head….but when you actually go back things are way different.

Maybe because times are different and things get old and change or just become run down, but either way it’s different.

That’s what happened to me today..a journey back but for a good reason…but then I decided to go even further back

and it made me so grateful for a couple of things.

1. Where I came from~because humble beginnings are good for you and should keep you humble.

2.  Where I am now ~knowing I have come a long way.  With the help of good parents and wonderful life long friends.

This is not to say that EACH of these places don’t hold very fond memories for me because they did, but they also hold some very hard

life changing memories and times…so go with me for just a little bit and get to know me a little better with this journey.

Stay with me if you can…there really is a point to all of this.

Today Started Here.

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  This is my home church…always will be. I went back today to get a photo of the church with the name still in tact,

because I have a sweet bride getting married there in July and her grandfather was the original pastor of this church when it started back in 1963.

And her mom and I are old friends and darn near family…she was in my wedding and lived next door to me in the second home below.

The name of this church will change to something different soon and I wanted to make sure for her and her mom that we had at least one photo for her album

of the original name. But there is more…

I got married here too.  So did my sweet bride to be’s mom.

I invited Christ into my life within the walls of this little church (which again looked way different back then)

My kids were raised here for the first few years of their lives…growing up in summer bible school….5th Sunday night socials and lock in’s.

I could probably pull out some old photos but I won’t.  For the simple reason that the hair styles alone would scare you 🙂

I can still hear my dad, mom, sister and brothers all singing on Sunday nights.

My sister got married here. Her kids started church here. My niece Brooke went to church here and was baptized here.

This is where my dad and both of my brothers were remembered before being laid to rest.

This is where my mom remarried my wonderful step dad.

This place holds so many memories for me it’s hard to even wrap my mind around the fact that it will be a different name soon.

So once I drove off….from getting this photo for my bride…

I went even further back but just right down the street from the church is where I came from.

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I lived in a little quaint (at the time) well kept trailer park community called County View.

The yards were neat, the trailers all new and well maintained

and everyone had a new sapling pen oak trees planted in their front yards.

Sad to say it does not look like that now,

but non the less it’s where I came from even if it was a different time.

My parent moved here before I was born with 3 kids from SC.  My dad was hired to help build the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and life was good.

I was born while they lived in this trailer park so I grew up here. I am a native Virginian.

We had county fairs in the summer, with games and watermelons and cake walks and fire works in July.

We had Christmas parades

complete with marching bands from the high school and Santa arrived on a fire truck and was dropped off at the community building to greet

all the children with small gifts of candy canes and tangerines.  We had a cardboard fireplace to hang our stocking on.

One of the angels out of my stocking still hangs on my tree to this day.

Come to find out one year.. my dad was playing Santa and I let everyone know it..whoops.  🙂

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So I drove around the park some.

This little trailer below…I can’t remember her name but this is where a sweet woman lived who sewed me all kinds of clothes and my first Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls

which I still have to this date.  I remember going there and she would let me help her bake cookies.

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This is the street I grew up on Holland Drive…the street I learned to ride a bike and follow my sister around and aggravate her and her friends.

This is the street in which the mosquito truck would come down and blow white smoke behind them and we all played in it like we were in heaven.

Good Lord…it’s a wonder

we  or our kids don’t all have 3 eyes and an extra toe or two…with the chemicals we were inhaling.  But we were kids having fun!

Look at those pretty oaks now!

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Below is where our trailer WAS….151 Holland, there used to be a pretty yellow and white trailer with an extension much like the one on the side of the trailer below that now stands in it’s place.

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Our little yellow trailer is long gone, but I remember playing under the extension….it was my fort.  Standing over the ducts in the floor in the winter to get warm.

I remember

watching my mom cut and perm the hair of her friends and neighbors in the kitchen long before she owned her own shop.

And when my mom and dads sisters and brothers would come to the beach from SC with kids we all slept on the floor but it was fun!

My dad also helped build the Franklin Paper Plant and I remember him smelling AWFUL when he came home but it put food on our table.

I had my 9th birthday in that trailer yard before we moved to Kempsville to our new home.  But man those were some good years.

And the first bridals portrait I ever shot was for the boy next door’  bride to be….years later. AND little did I know it but my future husband lived on one of the other streets in the park…

SMALL world and humble beginnings. They all have their place in our lives.

As I drove home I swung by our house in Kempsville.

Man…I thought we were like really RICH..when we moved into this house on Rittman Road.

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Me and my sister had our own rooms we though we were queens..and my brothers had the coolest

room ever…it was BLACK…and had black light posters on the wall.  Yea we were rich! 🙂  We had a HUGE yard and got our first dog!

This house has changed a little…but still has the EAGLE over the garage door that my dad put there when he was alive.

 This home had good memories for me…but there was soon a lot of bad ones on the horizon for my family.

This is where I declare that God’s timing is always on time.   He knew what was about to happen. He knew that we would not survive in the trailer park.

Shortly after my brother Bruce was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease and had to be placed on a kidney transplant list at 13 and

dialysis 3 times a week.  My mom and dad were  gone for long periods of time living in Balitmore

learning how to run a machine so we could have one in our home for Bruce to be dialyzed at home.

After several failed kidney transplants and he continued on dialysis for years.

A few short years later my brother Kevin was diagnosed with Leukemia at 19 and a few years after that my dad lung cancer at 44.

 All of the treatments for the Kendrick boys took place at the research hospital in Baltimore Maryland,

so there were days, weeks and months I didn’t see my parents or brothers.  My sister, my aunts and my grandmothers all had a hand in

raising me.  I was a handful!  I am sure…..I was wild…quite frankly on my own or so I thought…you know 13, sassy and a girl…

My parents loved us all and sacrificed so much even in these hard emotional times to keep us together. Even with everyone sick.

I honestly have no clue how my mom kept it together. I am not sure I am made of that kind of strength. Mom…you are amazing.

I did say there were great memories here… and there were….

We had numerous pig pickings, fish fries and church gatherings, and wonderful Christmases.

John and I had our wedding reception here at this house. In the backyard and it was perfect.

My son Jacob had his first birthday party here.

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I remember the one defining day in my life while living in this house… my dad took me to a garage sale in the neighborhood

and bought me my first camera.  It was a turning point for me, I had something to focus on (no pun intended).

It had all these fancy lenses, long, short, wide angle.  I had no clue what to do with it or that it would have such a huge impact on my life today.

I was wild… but creative…so I played with that camera….after my dad passed I went to school for graphic arts and photography then got married

and majored in a husband and two kids

but years later I am still holding a camera in my hand. I think my daddy would be proud.

Wow talk about then and now.

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The bride on the left was my VERY first bridal portrait.  I took it for her announcement in the paper (yep that’s where they went before FB or Blogs 🙂 )…her name is Kandi.

It was all done on film and in a dark room.

She is the wife of the boy that lived next door to us in the trailer park that I mentioned earlier.  They are still together to this day.

The bride on the right is Sam.

Her bridal portrait was one of the finalist in a world wide contest of 110,000+ images submitted from artist around the world.

In going through my old files to find Kandy’s photo for this post I found some of my earlier work from my film and dark room days.

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Isn’t it funny how you start on one journey just to grab a photo for a bride because of a name change of her granddaddy’s church

and

All of this comes flowing out.

I don’t now if I wrote this for me…or for my kids….or for anyone who wants to know me better and what makes me tick…

but it had to be written.  It’s been on my mind for a long time. I just had not had the nerve to go there for some reason.

I could fill in this blog with so many other stories from the church, the trailer park and Rittman Road… some good some bad. but I won’t. This blog has turned out far to long already. Sorry, but thanks for hang in in there.

 The point is

You CAN go back home…and sometimes you need to…it’s good to….to remind you of your journey and what brought you to where you are today and

all of the friends and family you still have today because of a time long ago.

Thanks for coming along.

XOXOXO

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  • David Bradford - April 7, 2015 - 10:50 PM

    Hey girl I loved this. I’m man enough to admit I got tears in my eyes reliving my past along with you. I’m blessed to have great memories of all the laughs I had with your family and it makes it hurt less to think of the sad times . Thanks for including Kandi in your blog,she is still the love of my life and Kevin drove her to the church in a limousine and Bruce was my Groomsmen. Just shows how much church and family shapes lives. Thanks for the trip down memory lane,a few tears a lot of laughs and ending with a smile on my face. Love you, DaveReplyCancel

  • David A Bradford - April 7, 2016 - 12:03 PM

    I reposted your blog again today can’t believe another year has passed. Love to all.ReplyCancel

 

I prayed and I prayed….and when I decided almost 3 hears ago to walk away from my 9 to 5 job it was scary and felt like I was free falling into the unknown…but what I did know is that I had a passion for Wedding and Portrait Photography that bloomed back in high-school…but I never felt like I was free to pursue my passion with my heart because I needed to be an equal bread winner in our home…meaning I needed to have a stable job with steady income.   It never dawned on me until a few years back that I could do both and fulfill a heart felt passion and earn a living with photography.

Fast forward to today, I still need to have a steady income and help support my family, the only difference is I just found my nerve to step toward making this happen with a camera and some freaking AWESOME clients…but helping people understand  that this was a career move and that I did not leave my full time job for a hobby has been a real challenge  at times even in my own family.

So let me just say this and get it out of the way….and I say this with love….

This is my career not a hobby….I love what I do with all my heart….but love does not pay the bills…I wish it did cuz I would be the wealthiest person alive!  🙂 just sayin’

So it’s time to get real about what really goes into a typical session for my time and talent:

 1 hour pre-consult for the session discussing your desires for the session, location, style, feel.

30 to 45 min drive to the location depending if its country, beach, or city.

up to 2 hours of shooting depending on the session

30 to 45 min drive back home

1 hour uploading and backing up images to multiple locations for data safety and providing a sneak peek on social media

1 hour uploading to editing software

2 hours or less culling images and prepping for editing (depending on how many images taken)

3 to 5 hours of editing time, again depending on the amount of images and creative juices that flow as I edit them.

1 hour prepping edited images getting uploaded into a gallery for review

1 hour or less prepping chosen photos and sending them off for print.

1 hour or more receiving prints, putting images on a CD or jump drive and delivering to the client.

If the client wants a book or album…there are more hours involved in design and ordering….

Approx 15 – 20  hours of work time goes into one session-and that is just my time invested in ONE session…not to mention the cost of doing business, gas, equipment, products, taxes (gag!) etc.

My time and talent invested in weddings is FAR FAR FAR (did I say FAR enough???)  more ..because of the hundreds and hundreds of images  taken at weddings.

So let’s talk about weddings…

I am SUPER passionate about wedding photography and everything that goes into it….wedding photography is one of the few tangible items that you will walk away from your wedding day with that you will have for generations….it should be among one of the top budget items for your wedding, a true priority.

I will use my own wedding day photos as an example

I have never been happy with my own wedding images because I got a friend to shoot my wedding with little experience and very low budget…therefore I only have one or two images that I like from my wedding day..most were poorly lit, out of focus..had no real moments in them and just generally not good.   I cringe when I am asked to show someone my own wedding photos…and I wish someone would have said this to me….  You GET what you PAY For!!! Don’t Skimp..!

I mean really look at the shadows…out of focus…and the BANGS!!! Totally not the photographers fault! LOL…but wow!  And this is ONE of the two that I even like. Sad.

I say all of this because I want my friends, family and clients to know that I take this career SERIOUSLY and Passionately….it’s not only just my career but it’s also my passion.  I love what I do…I love seeing and feeling moments as they happen and  being able to capture them…I pour hours and hours into your photos…. your moments captured…. because I know how important they are….I wish a thousand times over that I had hired someone who had that same passion as I do… and not just someone with a camera.

But I can’t afford you….

I completely understand that professional photography is at times often a luxury item especially in these economic times…but I believe it’s the one luxury item that you NEED to have in your life for you, your wedding day, for your family… for now and for generations to come.  But I also know people cringe at the cost of a professional photographer for weddings or portraits…. but trust me….it’s a known fact that people WILL invest their time, energy and money in things they value and are passionate about…they will find a way to make it happen…the bottom line is…if you value good photography you will invest in it….you will find a way to obtain and it make it happen…Think about what you have spent money on…Coach bag?  Awesome Color and Cut for your hair (that lasts what..6 weeks)?  That pair of hot boots?  That vacation…That tattoo?  That Car…that __________you fill in the blank….If you want it bad enough and value it…you will find a way to make it happen…be it save  for IT or splurge for IT….IT will happen whatever IT is you really want.  I know personally I do this….we all do.

 

So please hear this photographers heart….and trust my promise….

 www.MelodyGillikinPhotography.com

757-620-7952

Bottom line if it’s me you want as your photographer..GREAT…let get the ball rolling because I would LOVE to be your photographer…if it’s someone else do what’s necessary to make it happen…

in the end you will be grateful you did…..don’t settle!!!

Much love!

 

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