Tuesday, September 30

something beautiful...

(click for larger view)

Found this today and it cracked me up. Sometimes I think a photo of my client looks so hot and they can only see what they think are flaws. We all do it and being behind the lens has taught me to see images as a whole. So, even with photos of myself...I try not to just see the bags under my eyes.

I am here...just being a bit quiet. Have a lot of juicy stuff on my plate and am whirling around in it all. I will post some pretty photos of the Swirly & Stacy show in LA soon. It was pure magic.

I also had a very healing photo session with someone special and I will post about that soon as well. So healing that I am needing to marinate in it because life as I knew it has changed for me after being with her.

Until then...tell me something beautiful about yourself.

Friday, September 26


mati rose, canon digital rebel xti

. To appreciate fully; enjoy or relish. ~ American Heritage Dictionary

What are you savoring today?

Wednesday, September 24

the whole of the journey*

swirly's hands, canon digital rebel xti

I love when we're out camping in the woods how our bodies become so connected to the ebb and flow of nature. You rise with the sun and fall sleep as it goes down. Coming back from Squam, that connection to nature followed me. So has a peace that transcends the stress a more urban life can bring. That peace I felt walking down the bark filled, pine scented paths is still very present for me. My life has shifted in a way that feels soothing. There is so much healing to be done from this four year path of trying to conceive that we've been on and I feel that healing has already begun. It all began when a dear soul led me to a book called Spirit Babies a few weeks before Squam. That book shifted my perspective in huge ways. At first I was skeptical but then certain chapters resonated so deeply and I created some time and space to try and connect with the spirit of our future child and as weird as it may sound, I truly felt it. It helped me feel connected in a way that felt so real and necessary. Confusion and doubt seemed to melt away the days following this time of prayer and communication that I had sitting on our bed that day and rather than question, I am trusting.

This had freed up my heart to dive into the events ahead of me. Squam felt like a spring board for my journey to photographing and nurturing artists and I am still coasting on that high. So, now I am in this space of just knowing I am where I am supposed to be. When sharing my journey with others, I feel a confidence within me that all that has transpired; the beautiful, the painful, the raw, the wild, the aggravating, the pure joy and revelation... has led me to where and who I am today. It has led me to all the gentle and inspiring souls that are in my life, circling us. I just don't spend a lot of energy questioning any longer. I actually even find myself thanking my baby for waiting. Now I feel because of all that has transpired, I can be a more present mother, feeling more solid in who I am as a wife, friend, daughter, sister and artist...because during the past four years, I was able to nurture those other parts of me. These aren't just words. This past month, those that know me the best have told me they've noticed a shift. I keep hearing..."you are so centered. you are so grounded. you sound GOOD. you seem peaceful." It hasn't seemed to fade away and I am just staying present in each moment and embracing that it is there with me.

My sister Pamela is coming to town to stay with me for a few days. Then this weekend I am heading North to help support two women in my life whom I love so very much; Swirly & Stacy at their show in West Los Angeles at the Peach Tree Gallery on Sunday (hope to see you there!). From there, I get to spend time with the lovely Karen Maezen Miller to photograph her beautiful self and soak up her Zen-ness. All this to say, I won't be around my blog until next Tuesday or so.

I look at this photo I took of Swirly's hands and it reminds me of the more clear perspective I have of this journey for me. Each piece is so messy and complex but when its brought all together to create the whole of the journey, it is so very beautiful, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 23

indigo girl*

kelly...the beautiful indigo girl, canon digital rebel xti

In reflecting back on all the delicious Squam moments, I often come back to this one. I was walking by the playhouse and I saw Kelly of Camp Indigo getting ready for her class. I have wanted to photograph her for years. I whispered her name and pulled her aside (so impromptu...what a sport) and we nestled up on the wooden steps in the front. The steps were lined with pots of flowers and for some reason, that made the environment feel as if we were on the steps of our home. People were walking by and up the steps to the class but I was mesmorized by her beauty and her energy. It was the first time Kelly and I were able to steal a true moment, totally relaxed and face to face after a few years of reading one another's blog.

I loved how comfy I felt with her. The pleasant surprise that transpires when meeting the real person behind the blog and realizing she/he is one in the same and not at all different than what is portrayed. Her sense of humor on her blog was very alive in this exchange. I finally convinced her to be serious for a little sex kitten shot and I think I said a swear word or something and I immediately stopped and asked..."Oh my gosh, are you a Mormon?"...totally feeling mortified that I may have offended her and we both burst out laughing and my camera moved and captured this shot. Then she proceeded to tell me she had a potty mouth and I felt much better. When looking through all of my photos, I was so very grateful that my lens captured this moment for us because as silly as it was...it was a healing balm for me during a time that I was feeling tied up in knots about some stuff.

Thank you, indigo girl...you are magic.

Although, later during Squam I met a Mormom that sweared...but I am not telling you who it was. ; )

Sunday, September 21

i heart my job*

kelly rae roberts, canon digital rebel xti

jen gray, canon digital rebel xti

kirsten michelle, canon digital rebel xti

mati rose, canon digital rebel xti

Lisa Occhipinti, canon digital rebel xti

Penelope Dullaghan, canon digital rebel xti

thea coughlin, canon digital rebel xti

I've been marinating in the glow of my clients that I have been processing this week. One thing about photographing artists is that each of them have a unique, wild and gorgeous story to how they got to where they are and I am loving the chance to learn from and be inspired by the steps they have taken.

Above are a few photos from sessions I had during my time at Squam. Each session carried with it an intimate exchange that left me feeling totally crushed out and goose bumped. I look back at all the jobs I've had in my life (Gap & Banana Republic girl, barista, helpdesk geek, executive assistant) and I just have to pinch myself to believe that this dreamy stuff is my job. It feels like a drug. I want more!

I'm still in the midst of processing a plethora of photos and will share more as it unfolds.

What I loved most about each of these sessions is I witnessed a melting of stress during our time together. Each of them had responsibilities at Squam that were a bit beyond their comfort zone and by the time I was able to steal them away, they needed some nurturing. It felt so good to lay them down in the grass and tell them to breathe and remember that in this moment, they don't have to be anywhere or say anything or think or do or act...but just be still and get filled up by nature and play.

It's not just about capturing their image through my lens. It's about healing and letting go and receiving when my clients tend to give so much. I am honored to offer that solace for them.

Yes, I heart my job.

Thursday, September 18

always shining*

my jen, my light at squam, canon digital rebel xti

I've started to write this post a hundred times but continue to pull back because I struggle with how it is even possible to put into words what I experienced at Squam. As I have waited to write this, others have written it before me and I felt like they were telling my story and I just couldn't describe it any clearer than that.

My place at Squam was unique in that I didn't take any classes and they were such a huge part of every day (9am - Noon and 1pm - dinner time). What I was able to do was roam around and observe during the times I didn't have a photo session with an artist (those sessions were scattered throughout the day). I spent a lot of time tagging a long with Thea, who was the event photographer and as she was taking photos of the teachers and students, I sat on the ground to watch (my favorite spot being near a fireplace) and observe these beautiful souls unfolding.

I was like the quiet one in the background watching students try a different stroke, pick up bubble wrap, cover it with paint and press it on a canvas. I was able to see spirits soar when something clicked and laughter when it got messy and they started over. It was a very emotional experience for me in that I wasn't caught up in what I was going through but more what they were experiencing and it was such an honor. I fell in love with people all day long. My heart was constantly filled with an overspilling of warmth and many many times, when I would get a chance to connect with someone one on one, it almost always resulted in tears and full body hugs.

I am not sure where to begin with the sharing and I am sure I will share bits throughout the next few weeks. I just know that while I was there, I was the happiest I have been in years. There was a lightness of being within me. I'm not sure if it was just being in the woods, which has been a healer for me all of my life or being surrounded by so many open, sensitive, generous, loving, MUSHY individuals at once. I think it was a mixture of both. I think another part was that right before the trip, I had let go of some very heavy, sad feelings about my fertility journey and was filled with this very unexpected peace and trust that it was all going to be okay. I spent time with a handful of pregnant women at Squam and where any other time that would have felt so very painful and isolating, I found myself wanting to celebrate them and photograph their bellies. I remember walking away from each of those moments with tears in my eyes and an urge to go jump in the cool water of the lake as a symbol of feeling cleansed of the muck.

I just want to thank each of you (and I write this with huge tears welling) for seeing me. Especially those of you that read my blog and approached me for the first time to tell me how my story has touched you. I mean, I was really nervous about that. Worried that each of you would only see me as this woman that was trying to conceive and just couldn't get pregnant. But instead, you told me all the other things you saw in me and that was so very empowering and needed and appreciated and full of more purpose for my life. Because my story is about so much more than my challenge in getting pregnant and YOU helped me to remember this. So, I walked with a lighter step and my heart opened a bit more and my fears fell off to the ground one by one and I truly was able to put my energy into my outrageously special sessions with some artists.

And can I tell you how much that meant to me? For someone who is going in the direction of photographing artists how wild is it to be surrounded by them 24/7 for four days straight? So inspiring to the core and it was so confirmed in my heart that this is the gig that's going to fill me up for a lifetime. For those of you that I wanted to photograph but didn't get the chance to, THANK YOU for being part of inspiring me, just by watching and observing your beautiful spirits.

This was a life altering time for me and for so many others. We all had our moments, our tears, our insecurities, our freak-outs and nerves and we all came together to remind one another that we're not alone and that those scary feelings are all part of where our art comes from...whatever that medium of expression may be.

Just like when we stumbled upon gorgeous and brilliant Jenica in the dark of the woods because she didn't have a flashlight and we placed our arms in hers and with our flashlight, led her back to her cabin. That is what we all did for one another. We led one another to our homes, our hearts, our passions, our dreams...with our own lights. A light that each of us has and each of us shared with one another. So unique, so bright and always shining if we allow it to.

Monday, September 15

post squam feelings*

thea on the dock near our cabin, canon 40D

I'm home,
and happier than I have been in so long.
Feeling loved.
Put back together.
Drenched in woods and lake.
Blissfully exhausted.
Belly hurts from laughter.
Mouth hurts from smiling.
Eyes heavy from joyful tears.

I am so tired from only a few hours of sleep per night and therefor cannot form complete sentences. Just know that I spent today, my birthday, in the arms of the man I love and missed so deeply, sharing all the stories that have shifted my life in such a beautiful way.

It was surreal and in a few days, I hope to find a way to express the magic and warmth that I was surrounded with during my time at Squam. I thought this photo I took of Thea sums up the essence of it all quite well.

Sunday, September 7

Today I am launching my new photography website with a bright smile on my face and my heart thumping wildly. I am so excited to explore this new direction of photographing artists, musicians and those that are longing to connect with their artist within. My site has images of various artists fading in and out with a link to their website underneath. My desire is to help promote them on their own creative journeys, as they have supported me on mine by allowing me to capture their essence.

The unfolding of this new website and direction feels so harmonious with me heading to New Hampshire tomorrow to spend the week at Squam Art Workshops. My intentions in going is to photograph artists, although the time to do this in between classes is minimal, I'll do my best to get in as much as I can while respecting the ebb and flow and connection I feel with each person during the sessions. I am not one to photograph under the pressure of feeling rushed, so am not putting too much expectation on the number of people I photograph. This is a time to let go and let it flow. I am looking forward to opening myself up to mother nature with long walks, meditation, bonfires, sweet melodies, breathing deeply, connecting with old friends and meeting some damn cool soulful peeps.

On Saturday evening, I will be selling prints and postcard sets at the Squam Art Fair in the lovely 18th century New England town of Sandwich, NH. I so hope to see those of you that live nearby! Click on this image for details...

I hope each of you have a week full of passion, peace and adventure. I'll be back on my birthday. ; )

Friday, September 5

for wanderers, dreamers and lovers...

fellow searchers... tara whitney and em, canon digital rebel xti

I received this quote in my email from a dear reader of mine and have read it over and over because it really resonates with me.

I wanted to share it with you with hopes that you will find yourself understood this weekend, knowing that there are many searchers walking the path... side by side, right along with you.

"I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know - unless it be to share our laughter.

We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.
For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves."

~James Kavanaugh

Wednesday, September 3

still and rooted*

me feeling grounded, canon digital rebel xti

Recently, I became aware, through the gentle help of a life coach, how much our body speaks to us and is a source of clues into how we are feeling about something. Meaning...when she asked me to share how I felt about certain issues going on in my life, she also asked me what my body was doing in that moment while I was sharing. I found, that when I spoke about things I feel peaceful about, my body was relaxed and my arms/palms in an open position. When I spoke about things that are surrounded in fear and anxiety, my body felt tight and closed off, arms folded against my stomach or chest. When I spoke about things I feel certain about, even if I was sitting, I would move my legs to where my feet were planted on the ground...feeling grounded and warrior-like. This was all subconscious until she put my awareness there, after the fact.

This awareness created a connectedness I haven't felt within my body in a while. It helped me to trust again in my inner voice when faced with decisions that are laced with confusion. I felt like in those moments, that voice was speaking to me through my body language.

Within all those moments, it was the awareness of me feeling grounded in parts of my life that I am wanting to revel in. When so many things feel whirly and tossed around for me right now, it feels so good to know there are places that are still and rooted.

Monday, September 1

garden babies*

new flowers on our veranda, canon digital rebel xti

Boho Boy and I spent the day yesterday at our nursery down the street. This place has such a joyful energy. The flowers and plants in good health and stretching towards the sun with gratefulness for their care. Each person working there is so eager to help, hoping to find the most nurturing home for their garden babies.

We came home and planted our new flora family on our veranda. Now I have an urge to return to the nursery and explore some more color patterns to fill more pots.

There is something about digging deep into soil with my bare hands and connecting to mother earth's life cycle that helps me to feel fertile in so many ways.