Tammy Smith of the Rusted Lens is a documentary photographer and story teller. She specializes in real moments through documentary family photography and film in the Holly Springs and triangle area of NC.
Before I got behind the camera I spent a great deal of time in front of the camera.
This year I turned 40 and I am embracing and every decade just gets better than the first. I know who I am and who I want to be.
To say I am a lover of shoes would be the understatement of the century. I always said I would now I had made it when I owned a pair of those glorious and beautiful "red soled" shoes.
I never actually thought it would happen and I don't know that it really means "I've made it" but for my 40th birthday this year my adoring husband made that dream come true.
I met Jon when we were at a bar in downtown Raleigh, NC. We were both living out of town at the time and simply in town for work events. He took me and love me and healed me in a way only he could. Since that day he has made all of my dreams come true.
We are best friends!
I got married and pregnant at a later stage than most of my friends. I was married at 34 and had my first child at 36. I had waited so long for this part of my life to get to me I was proud and unashamed of that belly. It is funny that today - 2 years after my youngest I am much more scared to wear a bikini at our neighborhood pool that i was here.
For 2.5 years we were a little family of 3 learning to be parents. At all points in our lives I have believed that capturing memories was one of our biggest priorities.
On New Years Eve 2015 I cut my hair.... hair I had grown for 10 years and 2 pregnancies. It was huge decision for me, it was part of me, part of my "image."
When I decided to chop it I wanted to make sure a child that needed it could have it.
My boys are my life - all 3 of them. They have made me understand love and completeness in a way I never thought possible.
I try to photograph my family everyday. I want to remember all the moments I can. One of my favorite things to catch is my husband, Jon interacting with my boys.
I always thought I was a big city girl and I would be living in a major city one day living the urban hipster life.... well what you want at 40 and what you want at 20 are quite different. Those little ones have a way of changing your priorities. I settled 10 miles from the place I was born and raised.
In July of this past year we built a new home - it is our forever home. I have settled 10 miles from where I was born and raised..... something I never thought would happen.
I do crazy unexpected things to make wonderful memories with my boys. I love seeing that "wow" smile on their face when I completely take them by surprise. This night daddy was traveling and so I took all of our couch cushions and threw them out on the porch for an impromptu campout.
We loved it so much we just decided to put a pallet sectional outside so snuggling and tv on the porch were always steps away. Yes those are dog beds - my creative and inexpensive solution to cushions.... they are surprisingly comfortable.
We live near the beach and spend a lot of time there. Water has always been something that relaxes me. I just get near sand and water and feel myself exhale. My dream is to one day live on the water somehow.
I survive on Starbucks. My drink is so complicated that Jon had to keep it written in his wallet when we first started dating. I am never more excited that when the first PSL of fall comes out.
I thought it only fitting that I pay homage at the original Starbucks during a recent trip to Seattle.
Oh and wine - it is a very important part of my evenings at home relaxing. These glasses are some of my prized possessions. As an avid Scandal fan (ABC show for those of you that don't know) - these are Olivia's wine glasses - yes I was on a wait list for 6 months for them.
White or red I am not picky
I picked up the camera when I had my first child and I haven't put it down yet. They are what drives my passion. I want to capture all of those moments, those small details that I will forget one day. That is what I want to do for you too!
I have completely fallen in love with photography. It makes me do crazy things like stop beside the rode and take a picture when I see beautiful light.
Or I make my husband pull over which he finds really annoying - but he loves me so he allows me to have my crazy obsessions and ideas.
It is my goal that they remember that mommy was crazier than they were.
I always tell them that whatever we do in life we are in it together and I will always be there to hold their hands for whenever they need a little extra courage.
There is never a time when crazy faces will not immediately make you feel better. Not every image needs a smile.
I love to have fun and no one is ever going to accuse me of being shy. I live life out loud. This is my Halloween costume this year - Alex from Orange is the New Black.
Weekend breakfast is a big deal around our house. I love cooking it with the whole family while we dance to music. I always try to get creative with my cooking - keeps people on their toes and keeps those two boys interested in otherwise boring food.
Every holiday is usually accompanied with appropriate pancakes.
Mummy hotdogs are a regular item at our house.
I have never loved anything more than being a "boymom" - I was born for it and I can't imagine it any other way. They challenge me and push me to be more creative and imaginative at all times. They regularly make me simply bust out laughing. Pants on your head????
My children's closet is full of funny t-shirts. I have boys so that means no awesome matching outfits and sparkle or fur so I have my fun with jeans and catchy shirts that make me giggle.
My latest obsession is making them shirts myself. On a side note, yes I am a photographer and yes that is how my child smiles in every picture and no I do not care because I want to remember that cheese.
Did I mention I LOVE 80s rock?
Living in NC our teams are the Tarheels, my alma mada, and of course the Panthers. We aren't going to talk about the Super Bowl.
So yes I taught my boys to Dab... if you don't understand just google Cam Newton's dab.
See, it is a real thing(this is not my photo or my creation)
While I am not perfect - I try to always bring joys to those around me. A smile on a friend's face is more precious than gold.... my clients are my friends.
Don't be afraid to dive in. If offered a chance to play in the mud on Mother's Day - do it - you will never regret hearing your children squeal in wonder and delight. Don't stand on the sidelines.
I love surrounding myself with good friends and chaos. It fills my heart.
I have been accused of taking things to the extreme. Every year when our elves, H and Pickle (don't ask) visit I tend to really get into their shenanigans.
In case you are wondering, wrapping a toilet is hard and takes a long time.
In my spare time (insert laughter) I like to create - it is a wonderful outlet for me. Garage time is the best - our home is full of refurbished furniture - chalk paint is an addiction. I love turning things like this - a free dresser someone gave us
There is something about saving an old forgotten piece of the past and making it live in your house. So much better than brand new things. It is like a joining of the old and new.
My house is full of creations that husband loving helps me create - even as he sighs and rolls his eyes at me. I admit I may have trouble sitting still. At any given time I have 5 projects sitting in my mind ready for take off. We made these signs and that table is made from a door reclaimed from my uncle's old abandon house and is over 100 years old. Yep, we have a door for a table.
And then there are the not so amazingly crafty creations you may find in my empty dining room - like the stove box I drug from a recently constructed home to make into a lighted fort.
My philosophy is every picture is not meant to be beautifully posed with smiling faces.
Photographs are supposed to convey facts, make the viewer feel an emotion and leave that person changed for viewing it.
I believe this will all my heart and that is what I strive to capture during every session.
I love to capture raw emotion. I want you as the client to fall in love with your prints, I want them to take you back to that moment so you can re-live it every time you see it.
This is an example of an imperfect photo that I will cherish always. Jon took it one night during a period when my oldest kept wanting to marry me so I put my wedding dress on and slow danced with my him. He still talks about that night and I will always want to look back on it.
During our sessions, I will get close for that is the only way to be in your world photographing it.