It is the middle of February 2019, and I am on set for Davie & Chiyo’s bridalwear photoshoot. In a brutalist Vancouver Airbnb storefront that is defined by its ample potted monsteras, we are attempting to plow through a six-hour shoot before the city shutters in light of the blizzard outside. Inga Avedyan, the woman behind the camera, is not worried. But she is used to juggling deadlines—and having launched her blog, Solid Motherhood, this past September, Avedyan is now a bona fide expert at balancing creativity, deadlines, work, and play. The key behind her successes? Taking space to prioritize what she loves: creative photography and motherhood.
“There is a fine line between balance and survival,” Avedyan says more recently. “What I have learned over the last two years is to keep work at a distance, as you would with your mother-in-law, honestly. You should respect it, and love it in your own way, but always hold off to some safe space in between so it won’t get ugly.”
I should have pegged this strategy as Avedyan’s modus operandi on that day in February when, after lunch, Avedyan scooped up her daughter (Avedyan’s husband had brought Amelie by for a visit) and began shooting with her camera in one hand and her baby in the other. Embracing both of her truest loves—her daughter and photography—has led Avedyan to launch Solid Motherhood, an online community dedicated to unpacking the most difficult and beautiful aspects of parenthood in an effort to support all moms. Read: it’s not your typical mommy blog.
“I'm hoping for it to be a community with open conversations, a supportive environment, and inspiring content,” Avedyan says. She knows firsthand how difficult it can be for mothers of all stripes to find a community that matches her personal approach to motherhood. With the present state of digital media (read Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror, if you haven’t), there is more space than ever for cruelty and judgement. No one wants to be seen as clueless—least of all mothers. Avedyan’s mission is to create a salve for these nerves and fears by sharing openly and listening actively. “For me it is important not only to speak, but to listen and also learn from likeminded mothers,” she says, noting that diversity and accessibility are two of her key concerns as she develops the platform.When Avedyan relocated from Russia to Vancouver eight years ago, a career as a photographer didn’t seem possible. “Coming from an authoritarian country made me think that following my passion wouldn’t allow me to make a living,” she says. Now, after years working as a fashion, editorial, and wedding photographer, Avedyan is using her talents to create all of the imagery for Solid Motherhood, too. She strives toward a new normal for mothers: one that prioritizes mom health, happiness, and creativity, gesturing towards a relationship in which both parents and children can flourish. As for the photos from that day, when Avedyan shot one-handed? They turned out beautifully.