crackers | clemson sc family photographer

In the fall Nicole wrote on her blog about a tiny moment while I was telling her family’s story.  I wanted to share her writing here because she was able to express the kinds of thoughts that are running through my mind as I am attempting to document the Heart of a Home.  A photograph seems shallow.  A snapshot of something we can see.  A collection of pixels or a piece of flat paper.  But there can be more truth, reality, and miracles crammed into that flat space than our small minds can comprehend.  Thank you, Nicole, for putting into words some of the intangible qualities of life’s “ordinary afters”:

“Momma- Molly took a picture of the broken crackers on the pantry floor! Why would she do that? Shouldn’t we clean them up?”

…because the common is uncommonly beautiful.  Because there is grace in the ordinary details of daily life.  Because it is the moments between the moments you are waiting for where life is fully lived.  Because our family’s true story lies in the detail of what is always around us that the busy work of life keeps us from noticing.

Because when you don’t know what you can expect in life, the ability to do the simple task of eating has a profound effect on how you view the world around you.  Because in the blink of an eye your world goes from neat, orderly and in control to being chaotic, out of control, messy and so incredibly full of love and wonder.  Because when life threatens to take the ordinary out of your day you pause and weep with gratitude over all of life’s bounty from the precious life that you have been asked to protect to the food on your plate to the shelter over your head.

Because sometimes your eyes and mind are so full of what you expect to see around you that it is impossible to pause and see what actually exists in your day.  Because family, love and home are art and beauty in its most natural state.

Because a single image, a grain of salt on your tongue, a smell from the frying pan in the kitchen can ground you in your day and lose you in your life all in the same moment.  Because while that cracker broken on our pantry floor means we need to take the time to care for our home it also shows how very much we already do care for the ones we love, the home we live our lives in and the routines we have in our day.

Because years from now when you all are all grown-up with a life separate from this one, you might find yourself racing through the grocery store to pick up milk and bread and soup and crackers with one crying baby in the cart-seat, one dawdling at your heels and one at home with a fever and you’ll lean down to grab the box of saltines off of the bottom shelf and be suddenly overwhelmed by the image on the box and find yourself thrown back into your childhood when you would spend Saturday afternoon snack time with kefir and crackers and freshly peeled clementines before racing out to the swing that hangs on the old oak tree; and you’ll wipe a tear from your eye before the baby swats the box out of your hand propelling you back into matters at hand.

Because Molly is an artist whose gift allows us to take what is utterly mundane in the life we live and reflect the love, the light, the beauty in the ordinary, the seemingly unimportant fractions of a second in the family’s life where their lives are actually lived. 

Because Momma didn’t see it laying there on the floor while I raced around to hide the broken down cardboard boxes, poopy wrapped up diapers and empty recyclable kefir bottles when Molly pulled into the driveway that afternoon….

…is what I will say when she is older and we can sit together over two steaming mugs of coffee.

Yes love- we should clean them up.

See Nicole’s Storytelling Session here.

Celebrate the Heart of your Home through your own Storytelling Session this summer.  I am available locally and also available to travel to your home. mollyflanaganphotography (at) gmail (dot) com


by Molly Flanagan

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office depot | charleston, sc | commercial photographer

I was recently contacted by Office Depot to photograph Porter Gaud Computer Science teacher Doug Bergman in Charleston, SC.  Office Depot has partnered with to help teachers across America by providing funds for classrooms in need. connects donors with amazing teachers to help them change the world. Doug Bergman is one of those amazing teachers. His passion for his students is contagious! The day I visited his classroom, the students were creating their own android apps. Other times of the year they create xbox games, developing creative backstories for their plots and characters based on theme like world hunger, anorexia, and teen depression.  They are even challenged to take apart the guts of a laptop and put it back together… blindfolded!  Doug’s classes are project based, with no “front” of the classroom.  He serves as a facilitator and doesn’t lecture like a traditional teacher. All of the chairs and tables are on wheels and the kids are able to move about the classroom freely with lots of extra plugs and power strips to find comfortable spots to work.  Who knew being tied to a computer could feel so free!?

This was a really fun assignment for me to tackle. Here are some of my favorites from our day. You can watch videos and see still images of 10 other teachers from across America showcased on Office Depots website here.

by Molly Flanagan

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1000 pictures + a giveaway

Today I posted my 1000th iPhone picture on Instagram.  I thumbed through my stream recently and thought about all of the good and bad ways that my phone camera has influenced my photography. I definitely take less pictures of my family with my big girl camera.  Which isn’t a good thing.  But I have also taken lots of pictures that I probably wouldn’t have if it required dragging out my camera and all the editing and file storing that goes along with it.  Over the last 117 weeks, my phone has helped me tell my family’s story through pictures and I am thankful for that.

So, I thought 1000 was a nice, clean round number that would lend itself to a giveaway!

I talk to lots of photographers through my Visual Storytelling class at the Define School as well as in one-on-one mentoring that are discouraged by where they are with their photography.  They want their business to grow faster.  They want their pictures to be better.  They see what everyone else is doing, feel BAD, and don’t know how to get out of that hole. I have found that this icky feeling can plague anyone at any time, regardless of how “good” they are at photography or how successful a business they run. The grass is always greener and there is always more to learn.

There are several ways that I combat this feeling in my own life. One biggie is my faith… I cannot expect to find my happiness in other people or in life’s pleasures… true lasting joy comes from the fact that Jesus has met my biggest need, the forgiveness of my sins, through his death on the cross. This helps me hold onto my business and my “art” a bit looser and not take things so seriously. Other ways I combat those bad feelings are by limiting my time on social media and not expecting my peers to bear the responsibility of being my inspiration. I want to be supportive of my photography peers, but if I want to look at photography for inspiration, I don’t go to my newsfeed. Instead I turn to “The Masters”. People like Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, or Dorothea Lange to name a few.

One photographer that has really inspired me is documentary photographer Sam Abell. He has an amazing way of seeing the world and his images are very complex and thoughtful. I don’t ever expect to be able to create pictures like he does, but he inspires me to be more thoughtful of the way I see the world! I like this book because he talks about the process he went through while making the pictures and it is really helpful to hear his explanations!

So, I am going to give away a copy of his coffee table book “The Life of a Photograph”. All you have to do is leave a comment here or on the above photo on my instagram feed (molly_flanagan). You are welcome to comment on both.

The giveaway will end in 24 hours (Tuesday, April 8 at 9:00am EST) and a winner will be randomly selected.

Yay! Have a great day! xoxo

by Molly Flanagan

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kath+josh | big fork, montana

Meet my cousin Kath
And my cousin-in-law Josh
On their wedding day

P.S.  That is totally a haiku

“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.” -Timothy Keller

by Molly Flanagan

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this world is not my home | cincinnati, ohio

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This world is not my home I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore
Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Written by JR Brumley and sung by Rich Mullins

Corey, Jessica, Charley and Lola Cudzilo:

Jessica Cudzilo as her family is preparing to leave behind their current home in Ohio to begin a new life chapter in Tennessee:

If I could have my wish it would be that this house could be recreated as is as a model home for us to revisit years from now. Everything… every rug, every knick-knack, every toy, every paint color, every nuance… truly everything about this house holds meaning. When we moved in to this house 7 years ago we imagined it with children inside and for years it felt overwhelmingly quiet and big. Now it feels full and alive and it means a great deal to us…Have you ever been hired just to photograph a house with the people playing the supporting role? That’s what it feels like to me. And, not because the house is more important than the people living in it, but the house… well, this is the house where I wrestled with and learned to believe God and this is the first house that I bought with my beloved and this is the first house my children ever lived in. I can’t express it enough… this house holds an immense amount of meaning and I will always remember it fondly.


by Molly Flanagan

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