My inspiration

David's year

As David hits another birthday, I love looking back at photographs of him from the past year.  Treasuring each day with him watching him grow up right before my eyes, and I'm so thankful for his patience with me and my camera!

Photographing families

One of my favorite experiences as a photographer is photographing parents with their children. I am realizing over time, that it is as important to me to document the love and tenderness on a father's face as he holds his new baby or plays Star Wars with his kindergartner as it is to photograph the child. I see so much love and hope in the faces of parents. It is my hope that these children will one day treasure the photographs of their young parents loving them.  I remember hearing Maya Angelou describe one of her greatest realizations as a parent: that what her child needed most from her was for her eyes to light up when he walked in the room. One of my greatest joys as a photographer is photographing that light in parents' eyes.

Ahoy Matey!

I treasure the time I have with families I have photographed multiple times.  They automatically understand how I work, what I'm after, and are able to create an environment for their children to feel comfortable and natural with me . I have such happy memories of my own children engaged in serious imaginative play.  It was fascinating and exciting to watch them create a world and enact it.  And I sensed at the time, that those experiences were developing creativity, resourcefulness and teamwork within them.  It is such a pleasure to show up at a client's home and jump into that imaginary world with kids.  David helped me with this shoot, jumping right into the wild pirate battle.

"Being okay with dying is a weird place to be"

Please go visit this trailer for Lee Lipsenthal's upcoming book,  Enjoy Every Sandwich.

I was part of a group exhibition last week at Foard Studios  and answering some questions about my photographs involving hospice and the dying process.  I was also trying to describe a collaboration I am embarking on with Christina Foard (amazing painter and idea guru!) that involves exploring the dying process through photography,  painting, video and poetry.  

Sarah, one of the women in the group, began to tell me of Lee's work as a physician and preventative medicine speaker. She went on to say that he had recently died from cancer, but had continued to teach and write about living life fully right until his death.   The next day, she sent me this link to his book trailer to me and Christina.    I SO wish I could have met him!  He says some things in this short trailer that knocked my socks off:

"Being okay with dying is a weird place to be."

"I am living with cancer.  Not battling it or fighting it."  

Once he was diagnosed with cancer the second time, he says he spent his time, "getting chemo and sitting in my yard and meditating with the trees, which is beautiful."

"What keeps me non-agitated about death is appreciation for the life I already have.

"So many people wait to connect until they are dying, so I started teaching how to do that without facing (imminent) death"

"Find the joy in the simplicity of life."

"The fact that I'm dying gives me more credibility."

This is what I have seen in my work with people facing life threatening illness.  Sometimes they reach a luminous, peaceful place where everything makes perfect sense.  And life is perfect just as it is.  I am magnetically drawn to people who have reached that place, and want to understand it for myself. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lee's book.




Amy and Mathew {wedding commission}

Amy is even more camera shy than I am, and prefers not to be in front of a camera.  I was so excited to get back the film from her wedding and see her joyful happy beautiful face, completely comfortable and at ease.  She is a landscaper and Mardee Morris' creations perfectly reflected Amy's love beautiful botanicals.  I love seeing the joy Matt takes in her!   Lots of love in this family...

Following your bliss...

A few weeks ago, we made the trip to Madison to visit Jesse as he is getting settled into grad school.  There is something magical to me about witnessing him following his dreams--it makes me so happy to see how much he loves his life.  It was such a treat to see his new world and meet his new friends.  I'll be curious to see how he likes Wisconsin in a couple of months when the cold settles in.

The Adventure of Being Alive

I photograph weddings.  A lot of them.  I witness so many emotions and so many ways to express those emotions.  Each week, I find myself deeply moved by the gift  of being alive as I watch families expressing themselves uniquely.   Last night, at sunset, on a beach on Amelia Island, I was privileged to photograph the wedding of Joy and Matty, two of the loveliest people I have ever met.  They processed out of their ceremony with their friends playing and singing "All You Need is Love"  and Matty accompanying them with his trumpet.

I listened with tears streaming down my face as their friend read this poem, which perfectly expresses my wish for every human being on the planet.

The Invitation
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Canadian Teacher and Author

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day. 
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I  want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else fades away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.