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smartmom isabel furie

What I’ve Learned: Isabel Furie, Photographer

Isabel Furie is a Boston-based lifestyle photographer and mother of 2 boys.  You can check out her website, blog, or follow her on instagram

“We have two boys. Jack is 8 and Leo is about to be 5.  Jack is my scholar: an old soul who devours books and loves our record player. Leo, on the other hand, is completely wild.  He will most definitely be either a rock star or a stunt man.  They both share my love of fashion, art, and thrifting.

Smartmom Isabel Furie What I've Learned

My first-time mom experience is a little different than some.  In January 2005 we (my high school beau and I) found out we were pregnant with Jack. I was 19 and Chris was 20. We were married in May of 2005 and the rest is history.  I had to learn a lot on my own.  Being a young mother is an incredibly alienating experience, but I really do feel like my life began when I gave birth to Jack. It was as though I was buried in the dust and he just swept away all the sand and glass. In the 8 years I have been his mother, more and more of that sand and glass is brushed away and he helps me to see who I can be, both for him and for myself. My husband and I have really been growing up along side our kids (and I mean that in the most appropriate way possible!) so it’s been a hard road, but the reward is a 9 year marriage, two beautiful thriving children, and the years we have ahead of us to keep dreaming and growing.

Smartmom Isabel Furie What I've Learned

I have never felt very comfortable in my own skin.  The visual, physical, and emotional experience of watching my body change, feeling this thing growing inside of me shaping me. I suddenly cared about his birth and breastfeeding.  I suddenly became protective of my choices before he even came.  Those were all very new thing to me. I felt certain of something and I stood behind it.  He has made me brave…that is a vast understatement.  He has made me more sure of myself, who I am and what my goals and hopes are.

I think the greatest thing that becoming a mother has taught me is that you need friends for hugs and to cry with and  commiserate with.  But at the end of the day, you need to be able to decide what works for you and your family.  There are so many conflicting voices out there telling us how to be the best mom or the best parents. My husband is so wonderful and a very present partner and father. I’ve been really lucky in that way.  But if i’m being honest, I usually get in touch with a friend to ask if it’s an appropriate time to start drinking or how not to swear at my kid to his face.

Smartmom Isabel Furie What I've Learned

I LOVE watching my kids get excited about things: new people, food, music, a hike, a good grade, or a painting. It brings me great comfort and joy that they find such pride and pleasure in a wide range of places and experiences.  It makes me hopeful that I am raising confident boys who will feel free in this world to be whoever they are. it’s all hard and bittersweet but there are moments when you can see so clearly that despite the number of days you’ve told yourself you did nothing, that you failed, that you yelled too much or said f*** too many times, they are ok. In fact, they are better than ok. They are thriving and wonderful and quirky in their own ways. They aren’t scared of home or making mistakes or the outside world.  I love that too.

Smartmom Isabel Furie What I've Learned

I guess I officially started my photography business in 2010.  I can’t say i’m one of those people who had a camera in my hand from the beginning.  Cameras were just always there. My dad was a photographer and both of my parents worked for newspapers. We always had The New Yorker or Time or National Geographic. We always brought the camera along for outings and traveling. When I was growing up as an only child, a lot of these things became a part of an obsession. I loved to study images of people in all different facets of life. Both my parents were movie and music buffs. My dad’s favorite wall art was a good movie poster. I grew up with the poster from Silence of the Lambs on the wall and it’s my absolute favorite movie of all time. I’m quirky and shy and weird and dark and I’ve always been into how you can play with images and people in these ways.

But I did the typical thing of taking a million photos of my kid/kids and wanting to make more of the images i was taking. I took a leap, spent a tax return, got some gear and started teaching myself.  Up until that point, the only SLR I had shot on was film. Learning digital was tough, and now that I know it better I feel myself being called back to film. I like to dabble in both.

Making images of people, capturing something about them that isn’t apparent on the surface- it gives me a rush.  Using light to try and show who a person truly is or what they are feeling in any given moment is what I do compulsively.  I would do it whether I had a business or not.Smartmom Isabel Furie What I've Learned

I like to blog but I haven’t written in far too long. I’m working on changing that. But this (image below) is an all time favorite post of mine, especially looking back at it now.  Leo is in school full time and this has been my first year alone while they are at school.  These little trips are what I love about being a mom; that I can do these spontaneous things that are enriching and easy and end up meaning so much more to these boys than i could ever imagine.”

smartmom isabel furie what i've learned

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