At one time in my life I lived in New York City for a brief stint. It was a dizzying three months of long walks to work because I was too scared of the subway, lunches in Bryant Park, cupcakes, and art museums and galleries. And in one of those museums—the Brooklyn Museum—was Annie Leibovitz’s show, A Photographer’s Life. I braved the subway to go. As an artist, and more specifically as a photographer, it was an intense experience. The show was so filled to the brim with life—raw, real life. Life that’s full of wrinkles, smiles and tears, family and friends, light moments and heavy ones, too. It was all so overwhelmingly, beautifully human and relatable. I left with my head spinning at the power of photography to communicate life and emotions—emotions that run through all of our veins. While I’d like to say that it was a turning point in my photography career, my story isn’t quite that neat and tidy, but it certainly has been a day on which I’ve looked back countless times. And, as I was putting together Christine and Ian’s post I was brought back to that day and the young version of me in the museum who wanted so earnestly to be able to capture life in an honest and raw and beautiful way. And it makes me smile that in a tiny way I get to do that now. I get invited into people’s lives to photograph real moments, not fluffy staged ones, but honest-to-goodness real moments.
Christine and Ian are so sweet and oh-so-lovely-in-love. It was a joy to be a part of their gorgeous day that celebrated people and the relationships that bind them and this thing called love that we’re all a part of.
One of the blessings of this little studio of ours is that in between the full Saturdays, while Ohio is still in hibernation mode, I can pack up some gear and head south for a small respite at my sister’s house in the sunny mountains of South Carolina. Yes, the mountains are beautiful, the breezes are warm, my brother-in-law’s meals are always delicious, my sister—I love her so, but the main draw? My growing nephew. A little person who knows my name and has just a tiny bit of my blood running through his veins; who asks me to sit by him at the dinner table; and who always asks me to play. He has lots of play favorites, but bubbles seemed to be the majority leader this visit, and with an extra-special ‘bubble snapper’ that makes gigantic bubbles I don’t know who wouldn’t want to play for hours on end—adults and kids alike!
One last photo. It doesn’t fit neatly with the rest, but it’ll probably be a favorite of mine for a long time to come, so it gets a space! It was the last round of hide and go seek for the night. While my sister counted, Ryan ran into the bathroom and climbed into the tub and I followed shortly after. Ryan was laughing breathlessly to himself with the excitement of hiding out and the anticipation of being found. I looked down at him and he had the most exuberant, proud look on his face, and as I stood there looking down I saw a compositional moment materialize—the photographic moments I live for, where light and lines and color collide with real life and I knew in an instant I had to grab my camera.
Spring is coming! Daylight savings is coming! More daylight in the waking hours? This photographer says yes please to that! And what better way to celebrate the coming of longer sunshine-filled days than with an engagement session saturated with golden sun rays! Caroline and Jason soaked up the late fall sunshine one afternoon last year. There were fields of golden grass, giant trees full of foliage, and a river bank studded with driftwood. It filled my nature-loving core to the full.
It happened last month that my horizon of the state of Ohio was widened considerably when I learned there exists real, functional tree houses, open for anyone to come and enjoy, just a short dive northeast of Columbus. Adventure easy for the taking! So, a couple weeks ago, Andy and I headed north for our own little winter adventure. And what an adventure it was! Our drive there was filled with approximately one trip back to our house to retrieve forgotten goods; two U-turns; one duck and goose crossing; one successful push of the car out of the snow; followed by one run up a snowy drive, which was then immediately followed by four unsuccessful attempts to push said car up the steepest part of said snowy drive! Continuing on. . .one pull of the E-brake; three treks from our car to the tree house 200+ yards up the rest of that snowy drive; and finally, one very slippery wooden suspension bridge! Right about the smack-middle of all of this. . .probably the point when I was running after the car after I’d pushed it out of the snow and Andy was driving full steam ahead trying to keep the momentum going to make it over the top of that snowy drive, I wondered to myself if this tree house adventure was really worth all this effort. At that point, I was skeptical at best. I couldn’t help it—it was cold, dark, and I didn’t have a coat on. But, alas! We did make it! And in the morning, when the crisp sun bounced off the crystal clear snow all around us filling the tree house with amazing light and I looked out the windows to see tree branches upon tree branches waving slowly in the winter wind, I knew it was all worth it—sooooo very worth it! We had a cozy morning sipping coffee, eating egg, ham, and croissant sandwiches, watching the snowflakes fall like powder sugar, taking in the beauty that was all around us—above and below, and savoring our hard-earned adventure!
And just for fun, here’s a quick video!
Chances are, if you’ve met with Andy and I, or even just had a brief discussion with me about photography, you’ve heard mention of a dear friend who asked me to take family photos to which I begrudgingly obliged because, at the time, I thought portrait photography was severely below my artistic capabilities. (I’ve since been humbled—in many, many ways.) But—if you remember the full-story—those photos are what lead me to today; to sitting here, typing words on a photography blog that is full of pictures of people. They lead me on a discovery for which I’ll forever be grateful, because in stepping outside of my artistic comfort zone my eyes opened wide to the realization that people and the relationships that connect us to one another are one of the most beautiful things in this world that can be photographed. And so, as I pondered what to do for Valentine’s Day several weeks ago, I thought, let’s celebrate life and relationships with the relationship that spurred this home-grown studio onward! Krista, the mother of the two adorable children below, has been my friend since I was shooting on film—she stood by my side at my wedding, she held my hand afterwards when I realized married life was really hard, she’s given me many a good talkin’-to when I needed someone to set my gaze straight, she’s been my cheerleader in this studio adventure—for all of that and so much more I’m thankful for her. Friends are such a blessing and today I’m thankful for all of my dear friends who fill my life with love to the brim!