In the Beginning...

Kimberly Joye Hinson (Mullins) overheard some conversations as a child that led her to realize she really did not know very much about her mother's side of the family. When her Daddy put her down for a nap, she asked about it. While he told her truthfully at the time that her "Pops" was her grandfather, she later learned he was not her biological grandfather. Thus began her trek down the path which has led us to the Daisy Lane Images of today.

Family Ties

The following is the interview conducted on January 11-13, 2024 by Debby Wells of Kimberly Joye Mullins.

Q: Good morning, Joye - now everyone mostly in your life calls you Kim - help me explain to our readers why you're known by two different names?

Kim/Joye: Good morning! Growing up in Elizabeth City, NC, everyone called me Joye as my Mama, Daddy and the Good Lord intended, but when I got married, one of my new relatives was named Joy, and since she'd been in their family longer, I agreed to go by Kim. So, all of my childhood and high school friends call me Joye (that's why you do, Deb) and everyone else, including my kids, husband, son-in-law, neighbors and church friends call me Kim.

Q: All right - we're not confused! Thank you - for the purposes of this interview, I'm going to call you Joye because that's all I know how to do.

Joye: That's perfectly fine with me, darlin'!

Q: Tell us about this family mystery you solved when you were 18!

Joye: I'd heard whisperings of my maternal grandfather not being my "real" grandfather, and when I asked my Dad, of course he said what any good Daddy would say to an 5-6 year old: "Of course Pops is your REAL grandfather!" since he was definitely the only one I'd known and he loved me and WAS real to me. I found out when I was 18, though, that biologically, he was not my grandfather. Maybe because I was an only child or maybe because history has always fascinated me, I knew I needed to know the truth about my Mom's family. The next few years I fiddled around and at age 25, I got really serious about researching my family history, on both sides. Thus began my 30-year love relationship with discovering my family ties. I developed such a passion for it, I became certified in genealogy. I found many old photos and discovered so many resemblances of my ancestors with the family members I spent time with. I treasured these old photos which connected me to the past so much that I began to value taking more and more pictures of myself and family members of our day-and-age so they would be preserved for posterity's sake. Maybe my descendent would get the same pleasure from seeing our generation years from now!

Q: Wow! So you could see resemblances of ancestors with the family members of your generation?

Joye: Yes, in fact there is one photo of my great-grandfather which reminds me so much of my father...and his wife is of Native American descent, which we have also verified through our genealogy research.

Q: So tell us more about this connection with the past and how it's now shaped yours and others' futures?

Joye: Well, I decided to use my certification to help others' learn more about their families. It's been so rewarding! I helped find a half sibling of one of my dearest middle and high school friends. He was looking for his mother and we found she had passed. But he'd never known he had siblings and now they are in contact with one another. Then I helped a client who in adulthood was told her father was not her biological father. I was able to locate her biological father and they eventually reunited. And the most recent thing it's brought me is finding out one of my closest friends from high school is actually my distant cousin!

Joye's Great-Great-Grandfather and his wife

(Her daddy's great-grandfather and look-alike at that age)

Her Daddy today

This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land

Q: That's amazing (and amusing)! It must have felt so good to help people reunite and learn their truths. It seems that history is very important for you - how did that eventually transition into photographing landscapes, your next photographic adventure?

Joye: The old photographs of my ancestors drew me in and gave me a sense of belonging. I wanted to feel that sense of belonging more by visiting the places my ancestors had lived, which took me on a wonderful trip to a Scottish castle. I was literally standing in my own history. I was awestruck by the beautiful scenery that surrounded me. Even though most of my ancestors traced back to Europe, my Aunt Ethel's (my grandfather's sister) North Carolina farm house and its surrounding farms became the connection to my past relatives' lives. Even though my people came from "over the pond", I always felt a draw to the homesteading era - you know, 50 acres and a mule from the Homesteading Act? But Aunt Ethel's farm was the place where I could stand in the place where the history was being MADE - Daddy had run the tractor on her farms. The family I knew had the same characteristics as our European ancestors: farmers living in rural areas, surrounded by beautiful land and farms, barns and old churches. God-fearing, church-going, good, decent and caring people. The buildings and the landscapes of these relatives began to speak to me that I was home when I was near them. Needless to say, at this point, my passion for photography extended to landscapes, barns, churches and farmlands.

It's a Small, Small (Expanding) World...

Q: So the world around you grew because of all you'd seen and learned yet was smaller and smaller because you felt so much more connected. How important is this story of your life and past to you? How does it form your future?

Joye: It's been so important to me because I've grown in my appreciation for the world around me - and for those looking back for answers. I also have been so blessed by seeing so many amazing sights through my landscape photography. I'm fortunate that in a lot of cases I've had my camera in-hand, but even just walking out my front door the other night, I caught the sunset with my phone - it was stunning! All that came into my head was "This is the golden paintbrush of God, and no one could ever recreate this!"

Q: So how did you end up taking photos of people when you were so drawn to God's creation and the landscapes of your past and present?

Joye: Really it was a total fluke!! Mitch, my husband, and I were in Myrtle Beach vacationing, and I was taking photos of the beach, waves and dogs running around from place to place. Guess I was missing our three dachshunds! I was using my Canon 4000D with a kit lens - and was approached by a lady asking if I was a photographer. She said her sisters were coming the next day and she would love to capture those memories since they weren't living near each other anymore. Now, this was my original "starter" camera, nothing fancy or special, but apparently I looked "official" - I only gave it a second's thought and told her why "Yes, I'm a photographer!" We set up the shoot for the next day and it went very first paid photography shoot!

I'd share those with you but at that point I wasn't thinking about needing a signed release to post pictures, since mountains and dogs and barns don't need to sign!

Q: Sounds like it was not a chance meeting but you were in the right place at the right time - like a God thing!

Joye: It was! A "happy accident" like our favorite artist, Bob Ross, always said.

Q: Oh, yes, Bob always seemed to know a lot about people from painting landscapes, no wonder you feel connected to him too! So tell us how things progressed from there?

Joye: This opened up a lot of new possibilities for me - I have always liked having my own business and seriously started thinking I could sell my landscapes and also grow a portraiture business. This is where DLI came into existence - Daisy Lane Images - because my mother's favorite flower was a daisy and one of our family names is Lane. This first experience with the sisters in Myrtle Beach gave me the confidence to grow, but realistically I knew I needed practice with friends and family! So I asked my daughter, Abbie, and my neighbor's daughter, Bree, to pose for me.

Q: But those aren't the only galleries you have from that timeframe? You have a couple family shoots and a boudoir shoot too! How did you get those bookings?

Joye: Guess I was excited and was talking about it with folks I had appointments with! My chiropractor was pregnant and said she wanted to have some family photos taken before her baby was born. And my waxer, Becca, wondered if I could set up a boudoir session for her - she was helping me prep for my first ever boudoir session with another photographer, so it came up in conversation. Both of these shoots went extremely well, and I was learning about editing photos with people in them not just animals and scenery. It was fun to get together with people and help them capture their memories, too.

Q: So boudoir? Did you ever imagine you'd delve into that area of photography?

Joye: Can't say that I ever did! But after my own personal session, I loved how it helped me express myself and feel so good about myself and was happy to help Becca experience that too. She loved the images I captured so much, she scheduled a family session with me too - I was making tracks now into my own portraiture photography business!

The Secret is Out!

Q: So you have some other galleries: a wedding in Maryland, some photos of Abbie's bestie, Jayla, and her son and husband...those were requests of close family and friends who began to see and appreciate your work, right?

Joye: Yes! My work began to become recognized, partly because my family was sharing pictures and also due to sharing on social media. It's hard to keep anything from folks on social media! My confidence grew and I was much more comfortable having everyone know I was pursuing this path. This came to a head when I photographed my cousin's wedding in Maryland. Sharing my growing development with portraiture photography to visually record my cousin's wedding was a true blessing to me. And I got noticed online by more and more folks as a serious, professional photographer.

Story-telling Becomes a "Thing"

Q: Was there anything in particular you learned from shooting people vs. landscapes? Did you find you enjoyed one type of portraiture more than another?

Joye: I definitely learned that I wanted the images I shot to tell the story of this person! My own boudoir session inspired this as well as seeing how comfortable and honest I could encourage people to be during their photo shoots. As time went by, I saw that I could inspire some organic, real emotions from them and also tell a story about them and their event or family. This tied in so well with my love for my own personal history and how important knowing my story was to me.

I do love taking family portraits and individuals most. Groups of women are fun too!

Q: So let's tell the folks what you asked me to do in 2022?

Joye: Well, I wanted more galleries for my website, but really, you kinda' started it!

Q: Oh right!! You'd told me about your own personal boudoir shoot and how much you enjoyed it, and I remember saying I'd like to try that too - and you said, "Honey, let me shoot you! I'll do it for free so I can get more experience and use some of your photos on my website!" Now, why would I say no to that?

Joye: No one would! So I traveled to you in North Carolina and we turned your dining room upside down to give us an unobstructed wood floor - we ended up shooting there and on your sofa, in your bedroom and on the upstairs landing by the desk! You really surprised me with all the outfits you'd picked out, all the jewelry and accessories... I was like, "Woman, this is going to take all day!" But it ended up not taking that long, probably because we have so much practice changing costumes from all our dance recitals growing up! Hahaha

Q: Yeah, I can go a little teensy bit overboard in choosing accessories & outfits & hats & purses & robes OH MY!! But I absolutely LOVED my images. When you shared your edits with me, you put them in an order that "told the story" - showing only eyes or feet or my wrist with the pearl bracelet my hubby gave me. Then you helped me put them in story order, documentary-style, into an album for him which made a perfect anniversary gift. And, needless to say, he loves!

Enter Debby Stage Left

Joye: Oh!! Did you just use a couple of shots I didn't edit up there!?!?

Q: Guilty as charged, sorry, just wanted our peeps to see the variety of shots you took with your storytelling in mind.

Joye: I'll forgive you. This time. Just don't do it again.

Sooooo...Your boudoir shoot went so well, I asked you to come to Tennessee to let me shoot you at Cade's Cove to help boost my gallery......

Q: Which I did soooo willingly because I have always liked being up on stage and in the center of things...

Joye: Yes, you do.

Q: So I drove up to your house with a car LOADED with outfits and bags of accessories and props. I even brought my heart-shaped picnic basket and several bottles of wine LOL

Joye: I have to admit, I was pretty shocked but we ended up using almost all of it, didn't we? Even your crazy ponytail wigs and your cowboy boots!

Q: It was one of the most fun days of my life - the scenery was drop-dead gorgeous and getting to play different "roles" and wear some outfits I loved and be photographed in them was awesome! Tell everybody how the day went...

Joye: We got to Cades Cove in the morning and went right to one of my favorite churches. Then you changed in the car as we approached a beautiful field with a fantastic view of the mountains. We found a dirt road with a fence, a deserted grassy knoll, and a watermill with a perfect fence for sitting. We ended up getting some of our best shots at the river...let's save the rest of this story for our next blog!!

We'll See You Next Time

Q: I like it!! Because we have kinda' shifted off of you, and this post is about YOU!!

To summarize, we talked about your start in the photography world through old historical photos, home photos of you and family, landscapes of your ancestral homes, progressing into landscapes in general, admiring God's workmanship, and "accidentally" stretching you beyond belief into the new world of portraiture!

Joye: I have to say, it's been so nice to have those I love support me along the way. My Daddy, Mitch, Abbie, my friends Bonnie and Valerie, my family, folks in my community and you, my friend.

Q: Faithful to the end, which will segue us into our next blog for February: Faith and Friendship, Our Story. I'll even show up as a fairy, y'all!!

We'll pick back up there folks! Let us know what you think of our first attempt at blogging!