Balancing Motherhood & Art As a Professional Photographer
An interview with do-it-all creator, Taylor Pendelton, on how to find peace and balance during her every day as a mom, artist, & playlist extraordinaire.
A rebel with a camera without pressure to conform to creative norms or follow the latest trends. Her YouTube channel boasts an original and no-frills approach, and her studio portraits are brightly colored and full of spunk. That’s what I love most about her work — every project is a unique surprise, much like when your favorite movie director drops an unanticipated trailer.
She’s fun, she’s original, and she’s a total badass.
I've had the pleasure of knowing Tay for a few years, having collaborated on several creative projects together before she joined the dynamic team at Sunny Sixteen production studio. Taylor is not only an accomplished artist, but she's also a devoted mother to her precious son and demonstrates unwavering loyalty to her family amidst the chaotic nature of our industry. And let's not forget the impressive commitment to her weekly 'Chips' playlist, which she never misses a beat updating. If you don't already follow, you need to. Thank me later.
But how does she balance her life as an artist and mother with the responsibilities of being a working woman in the household? I sat down with Taylor to find out. Grab a cup of coffee; you'll dig this one.
First off — we love you! Tell us who you are in a short bio. What do you do besides work, favorite hobbies, favorite past-times, current obsession, what makes your heart sing, etc.? Be selfish here; we wanna know all about you!
The hobbies I can’t seem to shake are making playlists and thrifting. Lately, because my little one is 2 and obsessed with all things cars/airplanes, we love to go on walks to search for tractors, big trucks, and aircraft.
Creativity comes in all forms. Whether it be photographing, gardening, filmmaking, or painting — what’s your go-to form to create?
Photography is my go-to.
How has your creativity grown, expanded, or changed since expanding your family?
Oh yeah! Big time. Because I don’t have as much time to dedicate to it, I ensure every second counts when I’m on set/out shooting. I also feel like my work got more colorful and vibrant after having a kid.
Time to give thanks. What life-changing advice have you learned from your mom or parental figure?
My mom and dad lead by example—they don’t have to say much, yet I learn from them the most in life. The biggest thing I’ve learned from them parenting-wise is how to support others unconditionally…they’ve always trusted me (through all the phases and chapters) and let me be me even when I didn’t know what that meant. They let me learn life lessons by experiencing things myself, and when I asked for advice/help/guidance, it was readily available. It is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given.
What is your favorite creative project as a mom? Are there any fun rituals you and your littles do together?
I love to photograph my boy—there’s something special about applying my love of photography to documenting my child growing up! Our rituals now include morning cuddles as the sunrise fills the bedroom in golden light, watching the trash truck pick up everyone’s bins on Mondays, and playing hide-and-seek!
It takes a damn village. What do you do to reset? Any rituals you’ve picked up that have been particularly helpful?
A reset, for me, can look different by the day. Oftentimes, it’s alone time. I recharge in solitude, for sure. I love to go out and swap out some of my clothes, take a walk with my headphones on, or just go for a drive. It’s usually something really simple and quiet.
What would you tell someone currently in the trenches of motherhood/parenthood but still wants to engage more with their creativity?
I remember the first year of motherhood and feeling like I was just a mom, which was hard to grapple with. I felt like I couldn’t tap into the other parts of me all of a sudden, so I made a change one day. I carved out an hour daily and went into the garage to paint and draw. I’m not a painter or an illustrator, but it was something I could do at home while the baby was asleep. And it reinvigorated that part of me that seemed to have gone dark. After just a few days of this, I felt lighter and more “me” since my time and energy weren’t so singularly focused on being a mom. I’d recommend something like this to every single new mom out there. Also, do whatever you must to get in a nice warm shower (that’s not rushed) every day, and don’t settle for less!
Tell us about any cool projects or goals you'd like to reach by the end of the year.
I’m currently in month six of shooting only black-and-white film for an entire year, which will (hopefully) eventually turn into a photo book in 2024!
Finally, give us a few of your Moment shop favorites!
My 3 main got-tos' lately: Cinestill XX, the Long Weekend Beacon Tote, and my Long Weekend Film Pouch.