I've been in process of updating my blog, so once again I have been somewhat inconsistent. Just when I get on a roll. Such as life.
In past posts I have mentioned making changes to my business. I honestly can't wait to unveil what is coming ahead! After a number of years as a successful wedding photographer, I have decided to discontinue my wedding services. Rather, I will be focusing 100% of my business efforts within Portrait photography. To be completely honest, portraiture is what moved me to first begin work in professional photography services. I love taking peoples portraits. It's an incredible honor and privilege to capture the essence of who someone is. I have been able to do this in Ecuador, China, India, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Colombia, Peru, France, the Bahamas, and of course, all across the US.
There is something magical about creating art with someone's personality and form. That is one of the things I enjoy the very most about my job.
I am excited for the season ahead. Change can be scary, but it is also exciting.
To the end of making my business even more wonderful, I began to do some additional reading. I wanted to pass along some fantastic titles for a rainy day - or snow day if you leave in Colorado; these apply to anyone who wants to make a difference with their work:
2. GREAT WORK
My portrait business has always been focused on stories. Largely because I personally believe we are all moved by stories and the examples of those around us. I have found these books to enhance the stories we create with our work; And the motivation behind the stories we want to live within.
Enjoy and have a lovely week!
It took me 26 years to discover my life's work.
When I found it, everything made sense.
Advocate. Artist. Writer. Teacher. And, as someone once called me, Crusader.
In my travels, I've been to 15 countries so far. I have a special place in my heart for every single country. But I must confess, Colombia is where I found my heart, my life work. I have a special place in my heart for Colombia.
The discovery was based off a simple idea: Go to a third world country. Teach children photography. Build bridges and relationships. Then come back home and sell their photos in galleries where 100% of the profit would go back to the children. I didn't know if it was possible. I didn't know if it would work. But I found people who believed in the idea, and together we made this great attempt in Colombia with Global Encounters. Elizabeth Fox. Daniel Cavanaugh. My siblings, Benjamin, Brandon, Ashley, Daniel. And some incredibly big-hearted photographers: Marissa. Greg. Ashlyn. Kristi. For three weeks we set out on this adventure.
By the time we returned home, I was convinced. This was work I needed to do. This was work I could do for forever.
When I returned home, I tried to determine - what did I need to do in order for this dream to come about? Should I go to school for International Business? Should I work for other Micro-Finance organizations to see how things operate smoothly?
Thanks to a friend, I found out that I did not need to spend years before I lived out this dream.
And that is when I found out about 100cameras.
This organization is incredible. It truly is the embodiment of everything I thought I may be able to do with photography to practically help orphans and children in poverty. I was persistent, and soon found myself speaking with one of the founding members, a woman who has become a dear friend. Together we began working on different projects to help mobilize others to help.
After a few months, I decided to do soemthing that I wanted to do for a while: Host a fundraiser gallery for 100cameras. My hope was that this fundraiser would give support to the organizations next project, and give financial support back to the children.
100cameras has completed projects in Sudan, in Cuba, India, New York, and Baltimore. Their efforts have enabled these young photographers to support their communities with eye glasses, medical care, sewing machines, and a host of other practical tools and oportunities.
I am so excited to introduce you to this amazing organization; One that mirrors my passion for helping children in poverty through art and photography.
That is worthy life work if I ever heard of one.
If you live in Denver and want to spend an evening with me to be inspired, send me an email. I'd love for you to be there!
My Grandmother Eloped.
The memory of it surprised me on the day that I eloped too.
It was a crazy day. Lots of phone calls. Tears. Yelling. Laughter. Every emotion known to mankind was felt on that day, either by myself, my honey, or those who loved us. I have never known such a vast emotional mountain and valley at once. It was wonderful and it was excruciating all at the same time.
In the days that followed, my Grandmother called me. Of everyone I knew, she was the only one who said she was proud of me for taking care of myself how I felt led. I have no doubt my grandmothers understanding was one of the greatest gifts I could have received at that time.
Now, my honey and I completely understand what everyone else felt, and why. We had been officially dating for a month, although we knew each other as really good friends the year before. Philip and walked with me through a previous abusive relationship as best he could. Neither of us really could understand or explain what happened in that month. But something clicked. As I never knew before, this person got me, accepted me, and took joy in just being with me as I was myself. It was truly incredible and freeing. Yes it was sudden, but at the same time, for us it felt rather normal.
My brothers and best friends had always heard me say that I would elope. I know it seems contradictory that a wedding photographer would elope, but I'll be honest here: I had my share of weddings. In my career I've photographed closed to 100 weddings and their ceremonies. I have seen every side of a wedding in the book. I've helped people deal with the drama. I've been honored to create the memories that will last their lifetime. I truly have loved being a wedding photographer. But when it came to having my own wedding, my heart was just not in it. I couldn't imagine the tension of the clock, the overwhelming list of things to do, the careful tread of who got what role and how many to invite. And of course, the finances. I have no judgment for anyone who chooses to have a wedding, and truly I applaud their bravery and resilience. I just never had a desire for my own. I wasn't the girl who dreampt of colors and favors and venues and bridesmaid dresses. I never really knew why. Now I realize it was because a wedding just simply wasn't for me.
I had read stories about people who had eloped. One of the things that was brought up over and again was the fact that, while you understand there will be an emotional fall out, nothing prepares you for what it actually is like. That was completely true. It was amazing and terrible all at the same time. It was beautiful and also very, very difficult.
If I am going to be honest, I would say that I do wish that we had done it slightly different: at the very least that we would have said "next weekend we are getting married! families please come!" For such a special, once in a lifetime day, I do understand the hurt that is there for family to miss out. After the first month of strain, my family has been pretty incredible, understanding, and gracious, and welcoming. I can't lie, it takes time to rebuild relationships, but I am blessed to have a family who is committed to doing so.
Eloping has a different share of issues than a wedding. You have absolutely no time to research the "after-wedding" to-do list of consolidating bank accounts, finding a new place to live, changing names, etc. It is a sort of "let's throw one another into our lives because we don't want to go another day without each other". For myself and Philip, neither of us have any regrets about eloping for ourselves. We loved spending every minute together. We make each other laugh all the time. We feel completely accepted and at home with one anthers souls. We eloped because were just ready to go all in. And while I do wish I did dress, and my family witnessing, everyone in each of our lives to know us both intimately, this jumping off a cliff was really good for us. God used both of us to drastically change the course of one another lives. And it is perfect, because we desperately needed one another.
Truth be told, we love this life together. I never thought I would get married, that there could be someone so custom made for me (soldier, musician, cuddler, bff, listener, nurturer rolled into one). I can't believe how wonderful marriage is. Some days I feel guilty for how blessed I am.
I love Philip more than anything. I am so happy that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.
[And thank you to the amazing Abby Lockhart for the gorgeous post-married photos!]