Five years ago, I was struggling. I was JoAnna Morgan: newly engaged, fresh off the purchase of our first home, and newly unemployed. It was my senior year of college, and I had taken a heavier than usual course load in the hopes of making graduation come sooner (it didn’t work). The hours that I spent in class and on campus varied so much that it made it hard to find a job that would work with my crazy schedule. I had the cheapest DSLR on the market, and for the past year or so, had been taking photos of friends and family. It was a hobby, just a little something I enjoyed doing. Five years ago, I don’t even remember what planted the seed, but somehow it was planted: Why don’t you start a photography business?
I thought it would be so easy, and at first it was because I was blissfully ignorant of things like taxes and insurance and all of costs that come with running a legal photography business. I went through many, many, many different styles of post processing trying to find my style. I cringe looking back at some of it, but then I remember it was a stepping stone and I’m grateful for the learning experience. I went through many, many, many different stages of wanting different specialities. For a while, I did weddings. I stopped taking weddings when my son was born, instead deciding that I would focus on newborns and kids. Which I did for a while. We converted a room in our home into a studio, and for a while that was good too. But it never felt enough. It never felt “me.”
I have a beautiful little boy. Total mommy goggles? Maybe, but I’ve had enough random strangers throw fits over how gorgeous he is that I feel like I can say that with some measure of confidence (Moms, you know what’s up). He makes me laugh, and he makes me crazy, and he makes me forget about everything else in the universe. I am so grateful that this career allows me to stay home with him and observe every changing behavior, new milestone, new word. Some days, it’s like he and I exist in our own little bubble. He inspires me, He makes me brave. And while I absolutely love every moment with him, the brevity of them is not lost on me. This is a season. Today is the only today we’ll have together, and tomorrow is the only tomorrow we’ll have together. I felt myself needing to, almost in a desperate way, remember every moment. I don’t spend every day taking photos of him (although that is my goal eventually), but at least a couple of times a week, I pull out my camera and I shoot. Sometimes the house is dirty and the floor needs to be mopped. Sometimes the toys are everywhere. Sometimes he doesn’t have clothes on. But I shoot anyway. And I find more creative release in those photos than any I have ever taken. They feel like more of a reflection of me than ever before.
I still didn’t even realize the depth of that until a good friend basically slapped me in the face with it. “You’re a lifestyle photographer,” she said with 100% confidence. I was? I thought of the photos of my son, but then I thought of the photos of my clients. I grow bored with traditional poses pretty quickly to be completely honest, but those moments when you guys forget I’m there and just let your own personalities and relationships and love shine – goodness, those moments are magic. And they are, without a doubt, my very favorite from every single session. And I realized my sweet friend was right. I am a lifestyle photographer.
I know some of you clicked on this with the curiosity of whether or not I am closing down shop. And the answer is: no! I feel more on fire for photography than ever before. I love the road that brought me here. I love every step that brought me closer to this moment, and every client I met along the way. But I’m not that girl I was five years ago, struggling and a little desperate and 100% unsure of herself and her ability and who she was as a photographer. That’s not me anymore. My feet finally feel planted. I’ve grown as a person, my family has grown, my business has grown. All the little shifts and tugs along the way were so, so useful. But I feel the time has come to distance myself from some of those changes. I’m so grateful for them, and I respect every single one of them, but I want people to think of my work as it is today and not one of the paths I traveled in the past five years. I want my name to be synonymous with amazing documentary imagery, photographs that are honest and real and true.
SO, without further rambling, and effective immediately, JoAnna Morgan Photography will now be Jo Truncali Photography. I’ve been married five years now, so in the sake of honesty and truth, I felt it was time to bring my new(ish) married name to my professional identity. Everyone who I love most in the world calls me Jo (except for E – he calls me some toddler-diluted form of Mama that turns my heart to slush). I keep using the buzzwords “honest, real and true”, but that’s because that’s what is currently fueling this passion. I still love shooting newborns. I love shooting kids and children, and I love shooting families, but there is just so much more to the story than traditional photography offers. This journey that we’re on – as moms, as dads, as children and grandchildren, cousins and aunts and uncles, or however you choose to structure your family – it’s a messy one. And that’s okay. Real life is what happens between the Pinterest-perfect moments.
Thank you for sticking with my through this incredibly long-winded post! Please bear with me as I continue to get settled in with the new name. You may see things changing on Facebook and Instagram over the next few weeks, but I’m honestly trying to make it as much of a seamless transition as I can. I can’t wait to announce some of the things I’ve been cooking up!