I love my life in Berlin, as a photographer, as a friend to such amazing people and as a mom of mini-me. Though, in my heart, I am a traveler. 2011 was my year as a traveling photographer, having the amazing opportunities to visit Norway, Nepal, Paris ( 1 2 3 4 5 ), Vienna ( 1 2 3 ), Barcelona ( 1 2 ) and the Costa Brava, Morocco, Oman and Nepal again. One day after I found out I was pregnant in February 2012, I took a flight to Macedonia via Istanbul, a few weeks later I spent some time in Israel and Palestine ( 1 2 3 4 5 ), and just briefly before mini-me’s birth I went on my last trip to Spain ( 1 2 ). With the new-born baby in tow I went to Oxford in January this year, spent two weeks in Delhi and North India in February and March and went to Oxford once again this Spring. This summer, we took three easy-going trips, to Bodensee, Müritz and Catalunya.
If I had the choice, I would tie mini-me on my back, let my boyfriend carry all the luggage and travel the world all year-long, photographing for jobs and personal projects, exploring and adventuring. I must admit that it’s not as easy as I thought. Traveling with a baby is not as easy. It’s stressful, it’s demanding, it’s nerve-breaking. For me, first of all, it usually means traveling solo with a baby, because N. has a proper office job here in Berlin and can’t take off work for each one of my crazy trips. And being solo with a baby is definitely a challenge on its own. It means carrying at least the double amount of luggage as usual (at least), it means stopping where you usually wouldn’t, it means planning ahead instead of being spontaneous, it means not being able to take that striking photo, because the camera is in the bag while your baby is sleeping on your arm, or it might mean risking your stroller (and your baby) to roll away while you try to snap that very moment. How many times has the camera bumped into mini-me’s head while he was sitting in the carrier, and how many times did he start complaining when it was just the perfect light and setting for the perfect photo? Definitely it means spending a lot more money on doing a lot less. Period.
I’m in a serious conflict these days, trying to figure out how my career will proceed with a baby. And plus, didn’t I want a second baby, like… soon? How is solo traveling and photographing going to work with one baby on each arm…? Can you tell me? Lucky enough this wasn’t a job I was forced into, or something that was based on a career decision, it was more like a calling and it’s a must. And I will have to figure it out. I’m not sure if I’m the kind of person who could leave my babies home while I travel (at least not regularly), nor do I see myself traveling with a nanny all the time (the more people, the harder it gets to take good photos, plus – do you think I could afford a nanny plus her or his travel expenses? Eek.). Is this the reason there aren’t that many female documentary photographers who have kids? Or am I wrong? Does it get easier when they get older, or is this an illusion? So far it’s definitely gotten harder. He is not the tiny, sleepy, super relaxed baby no more. He jiggles and wiggles, he knows what he wants, and he demands it, not giving in or waiting for me to just take a few more shots before I pay him attention.
Is there anyone out there with a solution for me? How should I do this on the long run? This is my business and I love it to death. I cannot give it up.
(I originally started this post to announce that mini-me, a dear friend of mine (he’s the unpaid nanny) and I are flying to Oman in October for a great, great job to photograph and that mini-me and I are going to Istanbul for a few days afterwards aswell. Maybe this is the way to go: I have no idea how I am going to do this, but I will. Peace.)
Deep sea fishing in Ålesund. Norway, 2011.
Twin lightning in Katmandu. Nepal 2011.
Boy fishing by Arniko Highway. Nepal 2011.
Girls in the Eastern Terrai. Nepal 2011.
Outside Kathmandu Valley. Nepal 2011.
Enlightment. Paris 2011.
Librairie. Paris 2011.
Archway in Rabat’s Oudayas. Morocco 2011.
Camels Crossing. Morocco 2011.
Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Muscat. Oman 2011.
Traffic outside of Kathmandu. Nepal 2011.
The road to Mount Everest. Nepal 2011.
Pigeons. Istanbul 2012.
Transfer to Skopje. Istanbul 2012.
Urban backyards. Skopje 2012.
The Dead Sea near Jericho. Palestine 2012.
Crossways of Jerusalem. Israel 2012.
Streets scenes. Delhi 2013.
In the Catalan mountains. Coforb 2013.
All photos: Carolin Weinkopf