A raw look at daily life

31 Mar, 2012 01:00 AM
Samara Wheeldon has started a blog that is a very open, honest account of her life, but she is adamant that she is no different in reality.
Samara Wheeldon has started a blog that is a very open, honest account of her life, but she is adamant that she is no different in reality.

AT first it's as if you've stumbled across someone's personal diary, an insight into their daily life, illustrated with photographs.

Then, you're hooked.

You need your daily fix/update and begin to feel as though you know these people and can relate to many of the things they're going through.

That's blogging at its best and Samara Wheeldon has nailed it, without even knowing it.

Samara began her blog, The Wheeldon Family, at the end of December in 2009, as a means to keep family and friends updated on her life.

That life revolves around being a mum to three and a half year old Noah and a wife to Richard, on their wheat and sheep farm at Tammin.

Samara's blog is a very open, honest account of her life, but she is adamant that she is no different in reality.

"I use the blog mainly as a family update," Samara said.

"I like to be honest about things but getting too deep, too often, about my emotions isn't really my style.

"I am an open book in face-to-face discussions and I really am not very private about anything at all."

To Samara, a good blog is an honest one and although she said she does consider how people will react to certain entries, it's the honesty that will keep them interested in reading.

"Everyone has downfalls, trials and tribulations," she said.

"Nobody's life is perfect so it would be wrong of me to try and pretend that my life is.

"I feel it is human nature to want to read about people's struggles."

On The Wheeldon Family blog, those struggles include the difficulties of farming, the challenges of being a mum and the frustrations of trying to have another baby.

The most difficult post for Samara was in June last year, "Wasn't expecting that" - a very raw account of a personal tragedy when she sadly suffered a miscarriage.

"I definitely wouldn't have written that post if I hadn't been ready to talk face-to-face about the miscarriage," she said.

"People who really needed to know found out earlier of course.

"It was part of our story, it needed to be shared and of course we have moved on.

"Although it was the hardest out of all my posts to share, it wasn't that hard to share it."

The bulk of the blog entries are made up of the beautiful journey of Noah's childhood, documented in both words and photography.

Samara said one of her favourite posts to date was in November last year, simply titled "Disappointment".

It is an account of Noah killing a bobtail lizard and how Samara felt disappointed in him for the first time.

"Today, for the first time, I felt disappointed in Noah," she wrote.

"I have been angry at him before but have never felt disappointed in him.

"I guess all parents at some stage feel disappointed in their children, whether it be due to bad behaviour or a one-off bad event.

"I was thinking that this wouldn't happen for me until Noah was a teenager.

"It is pretty awful thinking about how Noah could or would even want to do this.

"Maybe it was curiosity or his first glimpse at death perhaps. Who knows?

"I don't think he gets the whole death thing.

"He wasn't remorseful for taking the bobtail's life - death is an obscure concept for small children.

"He was, however, sad that he got in trouble."

Samara said she often wondered what Noah would think of the blog when old enough to understand, but knows one day he will appreciate it.

"He is too young to understand now that not everyone's mum is as full-on as his when it comes to documenting things," she said.

"He has grown up thinking it is normal to have your photo taken every day.

"Noah is quite reserved so I do worry a little that he will be embarrassed as he reaches adolescence.

"I know as an adult he will appreciate it. It is my gift to him."

One of the aspects Samara enjoys about blogging is that she is never exactly sure just who is reading.

She does get feedback, through comments on the blog, personally or via Facebook, but has found her family, especially Noah's doting grandparents, comment regularly and count on the updates to get their 'Noah fix' for the day or week.

"It really is great when people who I don't know read my blog and leave a comment," Samara said.

"I just don't know who exactly reads my blog and how widespread my following is, but I like that."

Perhaps one of the reasons for the success of Samara's blog is the balance of words with pictures.

As well as keeping family and friends updated, the blog has also provided an outlet for Samara's keen interest in photography.

Her aim is to become professional and start her own business, when the time is right.

"When I am good enough technically and have great equipment," she said.

"It is a very expensive little hobby, which I ventured into only last September.

"I have a long way to go before I can guarantee my work to clients and it is not something I would enter into lightly.

"It needs to be done very well from the start because there is little room for error, especially with weddings."

When that happens, Samara said she would start a new blog for her business rather than use the existing one, in order to be taken seriously.

"Honestly, most mothers can take great photos of their own kids," she said.

"My work would need to demonstrate that I could take even better pictures of your kids."

While she is still developing her own photography style, Samara said she liked the stripped-back, raw kind of look in photos, which showed true personality.

Similar words could be used to describe her blog.

"I like more documentary-style photography of newborns with their parents," she said.

"I think capturing emotion is the most important thing."

For now, Samara is happy to keep posting entries in her personal blog and continues to follow a range of other blogs, predominantly from local photographers.

"A good blog has photographs that speak to the reader," she said. "And it will go into detail about bad things without going too far."



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