“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”―Haruki Murakami
I completed the second year of my photo-a-day project on December 31st, 2017. When I started documenting my days on Jan 1, 2016, I never thought I’d make it through a year, let alone two. And, for sure, this year I almost gave up many times.
It was a really tough year. The toughest. On many days, I felt like a little rowboat caught out on the ocean in the perfect storm. I have never felt so adrift, so at-sea, in so many areas of my life at once. It brought me to my knees. It was energy-sucking, confidence draining, emotional nudity. It was humbling. I questioned everything, including myself, and I’m still not sure that I’m standing on solid ground yet. Have you ever got off of a boat after a long, rough voyage? For a while after you step on land, you find yourself still internally swaying, not sure if it’s the ground beneath you moving, or if your equilibrium hasn’t yet caught up to the fact that you’re finally off the boat. That’s how it feels right now. Shaky. Uncertain. But also a bit of a relief.
Looking back on these images was hard and helpful. Hard because it’s like I began the year in one life and left it in another. Helpful because I realized that, along the way, there were many moments I wouldn’t want to write-off.
And that’s why I’m going to continue in 2018. Who knows what the next 12 months will bring my way? Who knows what life I will be standing in on December 31st of this year? And who knows how grateful I will be for the reminder of the little moments along the way.
Maybe I can’t be with you every single day but I can document the flavor of your life in a documentary session. Trust me, every memory has its value, even the moments that don’t feel like they need memorializing at the time. Get in touch to learn more.
Being a parent is hard work. You don’t always know if you’re doing it right (whatever that means) and some days it definitely feels like you’re failing. There’s no handbook, no day off, and no two kids need you to do it the same way. Parents of multiple kids, especially, I take my hats off to you because the physical and emotional juggling. I have one and some days I feel at my wits’ end.
And then there is the laughter. The shared jokes. The hugs that are more of a desperate squeeze. The nighttime whispers of “I love you”. There’s the joy of seeing each one of your children grow into their own person, the privilege of being a part of that journey.
I’ve watched my friend, Sarah, and her husband, Ryan, go through that journey with their three, beautiful children, for almost nine years now and am honored to capture just a little of all of that goodness in our session at Johnson Springview Park in Rocklin, recently. We walked the trails, we jumped over rocks, and climbed the play structures.
Here are some of my favorites from our afternoon…
I’m all booked-up for 2017 but I am booking newborn sessions
and intimate weddings for 2018.
GET IN TOUCH
to check dates, packages, and schedules.
The last time I saw Nora she was this big. Now she is a year old, fearless, curious, and taking on Fairytale Town in Sacramento like a BOSS. Zooming down slides with kids 4x her age and taking one of my dearest friends, her grandma, along for the ride, it was so fun to follow Nora and her peeps around the park.
I love getting grandparents in the picture; we don’t do it often enough. When was the last time you captured the special relationship your kids have with their grandma and grandpa? Get in touch and let’s talk about a session with them together.
Suzanne and Greg have grown children of their own but they looked at one another like teenagers on their wedding day. They had a small and intimate, midday affair at the Lake Natoma Inn in Folsom, surrounded by close family and friends.
They had wanted to go to the beach but instead, they made the beach come to them, taking their shoes off at the altar and wriggling their toes in the small circle of sand where they said their vows. There were so many cute, beach-themed details throughout their day, from the seashells in Suzanne’s gorgeous bouquet from The Blossom Shop in Folsom, to the starfish guest favors, each one unique and put together by Suzanne.
Suzanne and Greg booked one of my intimate affair wedding packages and opted for just 3 hours of coverage. We didn’t miss any moments, however…
CONGRATULATIONS SUZANNE AND GREG!
I wish you a long life of love and happiness together.
Big thanks to my friend, assistant, and second-shooter for the day, Vickie Horvath.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they’d book a session after they lost 10lbs, I could start giving my photography away for free. (Wish I could do that, by the way. That’s my dream: to be independently wealthy and just to photograph people for free because I want to. But anyway… I digress.)
The point being, we ladies are almost never happy with ourselves.
We’re never thin enough. Our boobs are never big or small enough. We don’t like our baby pooch. The love handles didn’t used to be there (you know, when we were 20.) There’s that pair of jeans Jennifer Lopez rocked and that we would love to wear in our session so we’ll wait until we fit into them.
Hey, I’m NOT judging. Been there, beat myself up about that.
I’m sorry to have to break the news to you but life don’t care about your tummy jiggle. Your kids are growing up every day. They’re changing. The baby fat on their face is thinning out, their baby teeth are being replaced by these crooked things that don’t seem to fit well in their mouth, that cuddly toy they took everywhere last year has been replaced by the iPad, they used to snuggle with you and now they squirm in your arms, embarrassed. Need I go on? K. You get the point.
Newsflash: you’re growing older too. You may or may not lose that 10lbs but you will gain crow’s feet around your eyes. Dig into your shoebox or back into your Facebook archives 5 years and find a picture of yourself. Go on… go do it and come back here after. How you feeling about that photo, hmmm? If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking “wow, I look so much older!” or “that arm fat really didn’t used to be there!”
And so, that’s how you’ll feel in 5, 10, 20 years time looking at the photo of yourself that you’re taking today. But if you don’t take it? You.are.missing. You have all those pictures of your kids on the soccer field, your husband with your daughter on his shoulders, your husband teaching your son how to fish… and not a single decent one of you. Not to be morbid but what if you died tomorrow? What visual memories would your children have of you as you are with them and for them and to them right now to hold onto for the rest of their lives?
What if you live and 20 years from now you realize these were the best years of your life and, visually, you’re not “in” them?
Here’s something a very good and wise friend of mine, Elena, wrote a while back and shared on Facebook.
Listen. Listen. Being photographed is not about whether you look good. It’s not about looking good. It’s not even about you–it’s an act of generosity towards those who love you. It’s about being here. In the moment. With the people who matter doing the things that are important to you. Living the moment with your heart your soul everything you have. Being here is what matters. You were here. And the photograph will be that memory for you when you need it or maybe even when you least expect it. This photograph is this precious moment held fast in your heart and mind for as long as you wish it. You will see yourself then and you won’t care about whether you looked good or not. All you will see is beauty and perfection. Don’t miss this chance to be present to be known to be here to be generous because you think you don’t look good in photographs. You are here. Stand up and be counted. You are worthy.
Does that mean you shouldn’t lose the weight? Heck no! If it makes you feel more comfortable, if it makes you healthier, if it gives you more energy, if it makes you happier, go eat that salad and take that Orangetheory class. But don’t stop showing up in the meantime.
Here’s an offer you cannot refuse
Take the photos and, if you lose the 10lbs before next fall family photo session, I’ll re-take your session for free and you can swap-em-out on your walls.
Just to be clear, none of the moms I included in this post need to lose 10lbs. I just wanted to share a broad snapshot of different moms who have had beautiful moments with their kids, so you can be reminded of what you’re missing.
Last month, I went to London. On my own. No husband, no kid, no friend, no relative, and no schedule. I had only one mission: to avoid the typical tourist traps and experience London as I know it and remember it, in all its gritty, pulsating, multi-cultural glory. And, to follow my curiosity wherever that led me.
Where better to do that than in London’s iconic markets? Where tacky and trendy meet antique and boutique, where people-watching is an unavoidable pleasure, and each neighborhood offers-up its own quintessential experience.
I walked 50 miles in 4 days, carried blister plasters in my bag, and realized (painfully) just how little I walk in the U.S.
DAY ONE: Camden High Street and Camden Lock Market
Camden is an assault on all the senses. It’s a street that moves to the beat of the dance music blaring from the gaudily-adorned shop facades that reminded me of a slightly-twisted, Through the Looking Glass version of Main Street, Disneyland.
And then, just as quickly, it’s a serene canal framed by weeping willows, crossed by quaint bridges, and with views of transitioning barges, then a skyline of cranes and office buildings when you turn another.
It’s a street-food trip around the world with Korean, Brazillian, Columbian, German, Italian, French, Middle-Eastern, American (“Southern Fried Mother Clucker”), Indian, and a whole host of creative mixtures (think Korean Burritos) jostling for your stomach’s attention, beside the British staples of Fish & Chips and Pie and Mash.
This was my delicious lunch, served from a little stall beside the lock where you can watch them chop the fresh ingredients: a 3-curry combo with lamb and aubergine, spinach and chickpea curry, plus Dal, garnished with fresh mint, a dollop of yogurt, and a sweet chutney. All for just seven pounds.
It’s an indoor-outdoor market that never seems to end, winding in and out of buildings and alleyways and under brick eves that create a network of connected, mini neighborhoods each with their own personality; offerings alternating between vintage clothes, Union-Jack magnets, and modern art. There’s Alice Cooper blaring from a vintage record stall and, two-stalls down, Bob Marley jammin’ in a store merchandised from wall-to-wall with the reds, greens, yellows, and blacks of his home country.
In short: it’s not for people who don’t like lots of people or constant stimulation. In case you were wondering, I am not one of those people. I was buzzing with energy by the time I walked back to the tube station.
INFO FOR PHOTOGRAPHY BUFFS | Shot on a FujiFilm XT-1 with a 23mm 1.4 lens
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Photos from my 2016 London Trip.
Hire me to photograph your next vacation. (Serious!)