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Meet Joan Ford

Mother of Two, Marlton, NJ

What made you decide you wanted to become a photographer?

At a young age, I got into old movies from the '30s. I loved the black and white, and the look of film noir. My mom was an old movie buff too, and we had several big coffee table books on movies. They were filled with glamorous studio portraits of people like Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and Bette Davis. I thought: If I wasn't going to be in the picture, I'd want to take the picture. And I didn't have any desire to act!

How did you take your interest in photography and turn it into a career?

I lived near the stadiums in Philadelphia and found myself working for some of the sports teams. I loved being on the field and shooting games. My job ended and I decided to go to the Art Institute of Philadelphia with the idea of becomng a sports photographer. Once I was there, I found sports a little limiting and moved on to advertising, corporate and annual report work.

What subjects most interest you and why?

People, and children especially. They're so honest and revealing in their expressions. I love to capture little moments that give some insight into a person, and if I can do that in a quirky way, all the better! With young children of my own, my lens is often pointed in their direction, so I'm used to observing them, anticipating their next move, and it frees me up to be a kid again too. I spend alot of time rolling around on the floor!

Which of your projects best represents your personality and your work?

My style is pretty organic and natural, so working with Disney on the "Real Mom" Photography project has been great. I've been able to capture everyday moments in a fresh and fun way. I strive to make my images to look spontaneous and unplanned, but of course real life is alittle messier than what I usually show. I'm pretty detail oriented and I want the shot to look effortless.

Balancing any kind of career with parenthood can be a challenge: how do you manage your work and the rest of your life, with children and family obligations?

Oh it's hard a lot of the time! My husband works too and with the kids' school schedule this year, I'm finding it really does "Take a Village". I'm lucky to have a supportive village around me. And my husband certainly helps! It's hard to turn off the "photographer" in me whenever we do something fun (translation photogenic). I'm always shooting for my portfolio or for a client. But I'm working on the balance and I have to consciously put my camera down or not bring it with me sometimes.

How has becoming a parent influenced your photography?

I've been around babies and kids so much these days. They've definitely influenced my work. They're so genuine - I think it's made my work more genuine. And I love shooting what sounds so ordinary. But to capture the quirkiness of everyday. I love that. Just today my daughter was yelling to me "Mommy, Sammy's drinking the ketchup!" Really, now I'd have never thought to shoot something like that if I didn't see it happen right in front of me. Maybe that'll become an ad for Heinz Ketchup!

Where are you from, how many children do you have?

I'm from Philadelphia, although I've been living in New Jersey for the past eight years with my husband, and our two great kids Genevieve who is almost six and loving kindergarden and our son, Sam, who just turned four and loves anything on wheels!

What's the best way to contact you for photo work?

My advertising and commercial website, www.joanford.com.

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