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Artist of the Week: Kelsey Moll (Image: Kelsey Moll)

Artist of the Week: Kelsey Moll

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
Kelsey Moll: I started taking pictures and learning to use my first digital camera when I was working in media relations for a global health nonprofit. It wasn't until I had a baby and quit my job that I realized I wanted to really pursue photography. While my baby grew, I dreamt up photo shoot ideas and thought about how to build my business while pushing her on the swings and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I loved having something to think about that stretched my mind in a way that the mundaneness of my everyday life didn't. My business has grown over the past six years alongside my oldest daughter, taking short breaks as our family grew to include a second, and then a third little girl. Aside from photography, I work with pancake batter to create some pretty amazing breakfast art on Saturday mornings. I am currently specializing in butterflies and rainbows.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I always start by asking my clients to share their vision and goals for their shoot. I want to ensure I'm not making assumptions about what they want, but instead, let them describe to me what they're looking for so we can work to achieve it together. Based on their goals, I'll suggest a location that will help portray the feelings or emotions they're trying to evoke in the pictures. The sessions begin with me giving detailed posing instructions and then as everyone warms up and gets comfortable with the idea of being in front of the camera, I do less posing and more asking them to interact in ways that are familiar to them. These directions create opportunities for authentic interactions, movements, and emotions that get highlighted in the pictures.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
The heart behind my work is for my clients to walk away from the session encouraged and when they look at their pictures, see themselves as I have seen them. Have you ever noticed a mother looking at her children? Or an expectant momma anticipating the arrival of her sweet little one? They are absolutely radiant.

It is hard to be a mom. It is hard to pour out every ounce of yourself for other people all day long, go to bed depleted, and wake up the next day to do it all over again. I can only speak for myself, but it does not feel glamorous or even very rewarding most days.

That is why I want to capture mothers in their element and show them what they look like when they are with their family. I have the opportunity to come in with fresh eyes and show them the beauty in their mundane.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
I love to do family lifestyle sessions, which are documentary style shoots where I am basically a fly on the wall. I focus on capturing meaningful events or rituals that tell the story of my clients' family lives. Like Friday night picnic and sandcastles at the beach, Saturday morning pancake breakfast followed by a bike ride to the farmer's market, or Sundays spent reading books and playing with the dog in the backyard.

Family pictures of everyone dressed in coordinating outfits in a beautiful park look lovely on a holiday card; but the real details of family life, the things that families do every weekend together, are the elements that tell their real story. These are the moments I love to capture for my clients.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I have been lucky enough to document three births, and even years later, these pictures bring tears to my eyes every time I look at them. There is something so beautiful about documenting the beginning of someone's life and the evolution of a family. The way an expectant father looks at and encourages his wife through labor, and the way they both look at their new baby is just magic.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Becoming a mother and having a family of my own has taught me how to look at things differently and create really meaningful family memories through photos. Instead of striving for the perfect picture where everyone is looking and smiling at the camera, I focus on authentic interactions and moments together. A mother nibbling on her babies toes or tucking a curl behind her daughter's ear. A girls' dainty legs dangling through dad's strong arms as he holds her on his hip, or even a mom wiping baby's nose with her own shirt. These are the movements that make up their lives together and are an accurate reflection of the season they're in. I appreciate the beauty in them because I fully understand the reality of living in these moments myself.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
You can see more work on my website, blog and Instagram @kelseymollphoto.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I'm starting to book up my fall with a lot of clients from last year, and I am really looking forward to seeing them all again. I love having the opportunity to work with families year after year. I'm excited to see how their children have grown, catch up on the last year, and document the current season of their family lives together.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Right now I'm loving espresso sodas, which are iced Americanos made with bubble water, a splash of vanilla syrup, and cream. They are so good!