Plans Best Laid

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60. My parents were traveling to China, Singapore and Vietnam a few years ago. Well traveled and flexible, they are also uber-organized. My mom researches fully, and has back up plans for her back up plans. But this trip was different. It was long, it involved planes, trains and automobiles (and rickshaws and boats too), three countries that they had no experience in, languages either. As they were leaving, my mom looked at me and said “I have all of these plans, and nothing should go wrong. But what if it does?” I responded, “Well, then you’ll just make another plan.” That simple statement freed her to believe that even if it doesn’t work out the way you had intentioned, it will work out. One way or another. And often the unanticipated outcome is the most interesting one. I often think of this approach as a greater lesson for life. When we get mired in wanting it to work out the way we thought it would, we become attached to the outcome. Trapped by a perspective of what “should” be. We suffer disappointment by focusing on what didn’t happen, rather than appreciation and openness for the path we did not plan on traveling. I’m not there yet, but am trying every day to live in this space of acceptance. The connection with this idea and this photo? Little newborn JW cried for every last second of this shoot. Which was in 95 degree weather and compressed into 45 minutes before the park closed. But you know what? You can’t hear crying in a still photograph. We just made a different plan.

The Walk

1259. This life is a journey. Of love and of heartbreak. Of success and failure. Of music that calms us, amps us, brings us back to a memory or forward to a goal. And of smells that make us stop in our tracks, breathe in a bit deeper. Pause for a moment. And remember. In my 20’s, I would buy olive oil soap from Kiss My Face, and bring it on journeys that I anticipated would become sentinel moments in my life. Semester at Sea. Working on a farm with my first boyfriend. I tried to wire my brain preemptively, to know that when I smelled that soap in the future, It would sweep me back to the memories of India, Vietnam, Seattle, or South Pulaski, middle-of-nowhere, New York. Much the same, still photos of moments, the ones we perhaps don’t even know were captured, can transport us right back to a memory so rarely accessed, but as vivid as if it were happening in this very moment.

Shifting and Changing

98-Edit58. I met with a close colleague of mine yesterday morning for coffee. We haven’t seen each other in years, but share a similar path. We happened upon the question of posing clients. Not often do either of us do so, but sometimes it’s necessary.  As the young children of my clients grow older, they become aware of how they are perceived, how they look. And as a result, I have a new opportunity to shift with them. To guide a pose into relaxation. Calmness and presence. And a self assurance that we all want to hold onto – forever.

The Flow

AntelopeCanyonSmall57. There’s a lot of talk circling about these days about getting “into the flow”. The flow. The groove of creativity where it just feels easy, almost mindless. When hours can pass and you emerge wondering what time it is, and how long it’s been since you’ve eaten. Harmony and ease, humming along, creation flowing without the hangers on of judgement, edit, competition. Those hours and days, though fleeting are what pushes an artist like me.

Everyday Moments

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56. The simple everyday moments are often the most beautiful.

Walking in the Woods with My Dad

755. When I was about a year older than this little girl, I have a strong memory. I was walking in the Sequoia National Forest alongside my Dad. Memories informed by photos, I was probably wearing my little red backpack. I profoundly felt that what we were doing was special, soul filling. I never wanted it to end. The smell of earth, the soft feel underfoot, my family all together on a path. We were in that park for that summer, and in the Rockies for several after, because Kodak had sent my Dad to teach photo walks to visitors of the National Parks. Our family came along – in a dark red station wagon – crossing the country to arrive to rustic housing on beautiful lands. I remember, at 3, desperately wanting to provide that experience for my kids when I grew up. So I asked my Dad, as he walked, what his job was. He said “I’m a photographer for Kodak.” I filed that little nugget away, tightly in my brain, trying not to forget. Cause, see, I had to marry a man with that exact job one day. Well, couldn’t find that guy, so guess I had to do it myself.

In Context. In the Middle of the Road.

004254. I haven’t forgotten about this blog. The opposite, in fact. When I look at images, stories come alongside, and lots of stories have been circling this week. I’m just back in D.C. for the start of my forth year of this back and forth life, living and working between Seattle and D.C. Back in the neighborhood and places I know so well, seeing friends, clients, waitstaff, cashiers, homeless, familiar strangers and more whom I’ve known for a decade and a half. It strikes me that I feel centered as I walk down the street. All of this familiarity puts me in context…with a sensation that I’m a person within a larger system, instead of an individual chartering an unknown path, alone.

This image of Elena, I can feel her smallness in the vastness of the world. The union of the horizon line with her body. How that union meets with her center. The smallness of her within the vastness of the space. Her vulnerability as she stands alone. That she has a place and power, but no matter the pressure that she ever feels, that the world does not rely on her alone. That she is a person within a larger system, in context.