HELLO + WELCOME
TO THE BLOG
That you are here - that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
A few months ago I received an e-mail asking if I would be interested in going to Haiti with a new non-profit humanitarian organization needing photographs for their new website and other materials. I was honored and of course, said yes without much hesitation. This November, I am excited to be working in Haiti for 12 days creating photographs that are intended to make a positive impact, especially for women and children. I also look forward to looking up into these smiling faces helping fit on new shoes!
(Photograph from ConnecTeams)
I used to listen to stories and look at the photographs my Uncle would bring back from his photography trips to Haiti. After looking at my National Geographic magazines, I would head into the woods with my camera pretending I was just on a new expedition! I have studied God's word and understand His heart is simple: to love the poor, orphan and widow. I feel so fortunate for this opportunity to give back to Him, and to others, in this way.
They say Photographers have had a love affair for Haiti for years. There are many stories and images that we see here in America from countries, like Haiti. And as a Photographer, I naturally go to Haiti these preconceived ideas, and whether they are skewed or not, I will get to see that for myself. But my prayer and hope is that I can be open to seeing these beautiful people and their amazing country with new eyes. And bring back truth, beauty and untold stories that honor Haiti and its people.
I will be away from all internet access and cell coverage until November 22, 2015.
BUT LET IT PRODUCE JOY."
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Meeting families like this reminds me again and again why I love my job as a lifestyle photographer. Story-telling has always been my passion, and when I get to document the most precious life relationships, like family, I feel so very, very lucky.
Even more, after our session, I got the most heart-warming message in my inbox: "...everyone is feeling pretty happy about this... even if the photos somehow got lost, it was a great occasion to hug and enjoy each other's company!" THIS. THIS perspective is exactly what I hope for all the families I get to photograph. During the session I want them to feel and be genuinely thankful for each other! Because when they are, joy happens! And joy naturally results in amazing pictures because it comes from within. Our afternoon ended with a mini-cake smash for A's 1st birthday! I can't think of a better way to end a session than all-you-can-eat cake, anyway!
Thank you for letting me in on your joy. I loved meeting you, and spending time getting to know you. May our paths cross again in the near future!
If you're a Minnesotan, you are savoring every one of these warm fall days before the snow flies! Every day I tell my kids, "Go outside! Today is the LAST, NICE day!" At this point, they are practically rolling their eyes, "Mom, you keep saying that but there's always another nice day!?" Thank goodness because I'm loving the opportunities to photograph outdoors, and meet amazing families, like these:
18 months old with an amazing head of golden brown curls, glowing personality, and the cutest smile ever, she was almost too much for the camera to handle. For Tony and Amanda, the effort to capture their family meant making sure their daughter had photos to look back on that reminded her how much her parents love her, and how fun life is! On a typical Saturday the three of them love to snuggle in bed, read books, play with their puppy Lucy, and dance in the kitchen while making breakfast. Lately, they have been enjoying the outdoors like going to pumpkin patches, orchards, the beach and discovering new parks. In fact, we found a picturesque little park near their new home in Eden Prairie perfect their family photos! Even though there were some tumbles and tears (and no desire to sit still, which as a parent myself I know is all very natural, and perfectly fine with me) it's when parents let go, laugh and continue enjoying their child that family pictures naturally rock. Way to go, N Family! Thank you for the honor of getting to know your family, and the opportunity to capture your love for each other.
Lovers of nature and adventure, it was important to Ben and Eemai they find the perfect setting for an outdoor wedding. When they discovered Barns of Old Glory just outside of their home city of Rochester, they knew this was where they wanted to start their journey as husband and wife.
The morning began with the girls getting ready in the bridal suite. Nearby, the guys took about 10 minutes to get ready as Ben could hardly wait to see Eemai. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve even seen a groom so anxious to hold his soon-to-be bride!
While Eemai was finishing up her hair and writing her note for Ben to read before the first look, Ben presented each of his groomsmen with their gifts; a bottle of top-shelf whiskey. This wasn’t just any whiskey; Ben had carefully read each label, and attached a meaningful story behind each unique bottle.
After the ceremony overlooking a private bluff with the Whitewater River below, guests were invited back to the main reception area for drinks, appetizers, dinner, and a casual evening at the farm, complete with a bondfire and s’mores.
Ben and Eemai (and Olivia), your family is beautiful. And your day was just as perfect as you are together. Your love made my heart explode into a million pieces, and I couldn't be happier you found soulmates in each other. Thank you for allowing me to document your first day as husband and wife. Your honeymoon to the Grand Tetons was much deserved. Here’s to your journey together. May the adventure be better than you ever imagined. xo!
Mom (bride) and daughter's (flower girl) shoes
Venue: Barns of Old Glory, St. Charles, MN
I think of family as that space where, like Dr. Suess said, you can
"be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
Family is where we can feel free to be ourselves, and loved, no matter what. As a Photographer, capturing those unconditional relationships is a gift I don't take for granted. And as a mom myself, I'm honored to photograph families interacting and loving each other. I know how important these photos are, and also desire to be in the same frame with my own kids so they can remember how much I loved them. Thank you, J Family, for the privilege and the opportunity to capture that love you have each other.
P.S. And if you follow the blog these pictures may look familiar as they had a back to back session with their relatives, the other J Family on the blog :)
That fleeting moment when you're just glad you didn't put your camera away.....