Posted on December 20, 2018
18. There is a silliness that makes everything better. A simplicity too. Mom and I made Christmas cookies a few years ago, and when I turned around to look at her platter of creations, she said: “Ginger broke her leg. It’s 6 weeks till the cast comes off.”
Happy holidays everyone. I hope you have a little light and silliness in your day today.
Posted on December 19, 2018
17. This is a locket that my beautiful new friend showed me at her newborn session. She had “forgotten to get married and forgotten to get pregnant” and found herself at 40, focused on her amazing, highly successful and creative career, but wanting more. The more of a balanced life. She met her now-husband, and they tried to conceive for years. Throughout it all she wore this locket, a photo of her beloved grandfather on one side, a handwritten prayer: ‘babies’, on the other, as she endured the gutting rhythm of hope and loss that is infertility. The unrepentant cycle that torments so many of us beautiful, successful and vibrant women throughout our thirties and forties, until a choice (we think it is one choice – but it actually becomes a new choice, each and every thirty days) must be made. To take extraordinary action or to rewire our hearts and minds to cherish a life different than that of: mom.
She, her husband and a superhero surrogate woman used science, grace, magic and a new definition of family to bring this gorgeous baby into the world. He may just be the most loved individual on the planet. And as such sends that love out in shock waves to all who hold him.
Posted on December 18, 2018
17. I think often of when things might calm down. When I’ll be in a rhythm that feels less risky, with an outcome I can predict. And then I remember that I’m an Aries, and I love the challenge of flight – diving into the unknown and how that uncertainty pushes the limit of what you thought was possible. Each day I create something or many things, send it out into the world, suck in my breath and hope that it’s good enough, and try not to beat myself up too much as to how much better it could have been. The life of both an artist and a businesswoman: all of this flight with no guarantee of the landing. But riding those thermals and embedding myself into the rhythms of the world is what it’s about for me, what it’s always been about.
This juvenile osprey in Challis, Idaho was newly taking flight. He was large and unsteady enough to force me to stop the car and just witness the impossible possibility of it all.
Posted on December 18, 2018
16. I was a painter in my late teens and early twenties. Not a great one, but a passionate one. I never had the patience or the right tools for fine line work, but the process was really all that I needed. I didn’t paint this. This is a moss covered wall in Desolation Sound, where it’s pretty remote. For instance, this is what the map shows when you pull it up in Google:
We took our sailboat up into this inlet as part of our month-long journey last summer, and it just got more and more gorgeous. More and more remote. Here’s some other photos for fun. Cause it’s Monday and we all need a bit of pretty to start of the week, right?
And yes, we are anchored to that wall. The anchor couldn’t be put down because we were in about 400 feet of water – but the sheer cliff was clean straight down, so we just put out our fenders, and tied up!
Posted on December 15, 2018
15. We are pack animals by nature, and the tribe equals survival. In my life I’ve always dared to desire. Learning and reaching and leaping have been a part of manifesting those dreams. But alongside that leaping has always been a “keep it safe, check this off of the list” approach first. I want to birth many businesses, travel endlessly, build a fascinating community…but first I must buy a home, have a child, build a retirement account. The gypsy and the rock living together, vying for space and time and effort. It’s the old question of fitting in. Not being too unique, too visible, too risky. The voices in my spirit that warn me of danger around every corner, failure too.
This image of Nicole and Sydney was the last frame of our session. After I had gotten all of the standard newborn images of Sydney sleeping peacefully, wrapped in a blanket, shots of toes and fingers. The whole session I had been thinking: these images have no soul. So my gypsy took front stage for a split second, and I asked Nicole to climb under her blankets and bring Sydney skin to skin. I felt at the time that that request could go either way – but my clients trust me – know that all is safe, and that I have a vision. Now I just need to remember that too.
Posted on December 13, 2018
14. Have you ever sat down on a yoga mat (or meditation cushion, or tree stump, or forest floor) closed your eyes to the stillness, and realized immediately that you’ve been holding your breath since you don’t know when? Do this now: sit up tall, lay your hands in a little pool in your lap, feel their connection, how touch is a form of coming home. Close your eyes, relax your shoulders, relax the eyeballs behind your lids, relax your tongue, relax your jaw and breathe in….10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1. Suspend your breath. 1,2,3. Breathe out….10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.
You’ve opened your eyes to read this. What did you feel? Unless you are someone who I have never met and walk around centered all day, you felt an awareness. You were just, 23 seconds ago, holding your breath, clenching your jaw, furrowing your brow, narrowing your eyes, spinning out on one or twenty thoughts. Let that be fine. That is fine. That is human, especially in our world assaulted with noises, devices, and real and perceived needs and to-do’s. Just let that little check-in be a window into what you are carrying with you all day long, every day, until you circle back to your simple, crucial, breath.
So check in often. Maybe every five minutes, maybe every hour, maybe once a day. Reconnect with yourself when it occurs to you, and it will then occur to you more often.
The more you do, the more I’ll notice your beautiful centered being walking down the street. And I’ll smile and wonder….”where did she get that?”
Posted on December 12, 2018
13. Four years. Six drives across this country. Across lakes, rivers, oceans, tears, dreams, devastation, inspiration.
Twenty stones, gathered by the same hand in the lapping water. Sand muddy between toes. The unknown. Unpacking my few remaining possessions into my new home. The one that is mine, that will be mine, for years to come. Twenty stones. I don’t remember where they came from, but I know why I picked them up.
Posted on December 11, 2018
12. The year I shot these beautiful girls was when I learned to “pose” kids. Not overly pose them, but put them into positions that were more engaged, more connected. As my business ages, so do my clients, and as kids grow, they can actually respond to what I ask them to do. So I have to ask them to do things that make sense, that are accurate to who they are.
But that’s not what this is about. This shoot was compelled because their mother, in the last trimester of pregnancy with their little sister, was diagnosed with stage four cancer. This shoot was an hour long prayer. It was near silent, it was soft, it was meditative, it was connected. All four growing beings were consumed with acute awareness of the weighted unknown of their near futures. The baby, was, well, a cherub. Still connected to both worlds, slipping with time closer to this one.
This shoot, the tears in my eyes as I trained my lens on Mom as she watched her growing girls play, as she gazed at her newborn, on Dad as he watched her, this shoot will never fade. I can feel it as if it were yesterday.
Miracles upon miracles, Katie contacted me last year and asked me to do another shoot. Years had past. The newborn is now a fire-ball of spirit at 6 years old, and Katie has beaten all odds. She undoubtedly walked between those worlds in that massive struggle, but is solidly in this one now.
Posted on December 10, 2018
11. How can we we walk through the world surrounded by people and feel alone? Sam, another Seattle-ite, called into the radio station KEXP last night and said “I’m in need of music tonight because I’m so sick of being lonely”. It was the most pure truth spoken honestly. Singing voices could fill the void for him, momentarily.
I see that in this image I shot in London years ago. The woman in the backseat looks to me lost in thought, lonely. But I have a vision of this amazing contrast – her heading off to a party, full of sparkle and wit in her fur coat as she presents a bottle of champagne to the host. Or maybe she’s going to the hospital to visit her ailing mother. I don’t know. There’s just a separation between her and her driver that strikes me as so universal. Isolated in the company of others. Maybe content, maybe bored, maybe lonely. But alone in the world of our minds.
Posted on December 7, 2018
10. This is Amelia. She has pica, and a lazy eye. The pica was of great concern to her family, her grandfather Don Juan, and grandmother Dona Daria. Her big brothers Eustacio and Jacinto loved her so much. She sweetly and quietly would hang onto moms apron as she milled the corn and made the days tortillas, her dad farmed the plot, her brothers shepherded the sheep over acres, and her 86 year old grandparents sat in the cold mountain sun.
For over two years, I lived across the dirt road from Amelia and her family, on the top of an 11,000 foot mountain plateau in a very remote range in northwest Guatemala. It was one of the most intact and supportive communities I have experience in, here in the States or elsewhere. But also where poverty and the adage “it takes a village to raise a child” live side by side in a gritty, beautiful harmony.
I consider this to be the first photo I ever took. Although I had learned to shoot years earlier, this is the first that was mine, uniquely in the world. When I opened that sacred packet of prints and developed film from the lab, my heart caught a little and I thought: Yup. That’s Amelia.
She must now be 20 years old.