Whatever the reason. (or season.)

Prelude.
One of the most wonderful things about writing is that you can look back on how you have been feeling, and how your perspective has changed. In the past my battle with this blog has been slow and steady bouts of writers block followed by intense focus and eventually, a common thread. One worth sharing.

The past four months have been quite different, and so full of experiences that the writing just appeared each day, like it did in my much younger years.
And even though the common thread (now pretty frayed from so much use) is so long it dangles behind me when I walk, and has become difficult to manage even; it still seems worth sharing.
So forgive me for taking so long and for a few disconnections, but stay with it. Because nothing worth doing is ever easy. And some lessons can take a while to learn.

February.
I don’t know if everything truly happens for a reason. But I do like the comfort of the message. I also like stories with a narrator, with their omniscient nature and the promise of balance in things. February reminded me of how much I enjoy what I do, and how even the simplest encouragement can push us forward.

At the start of the month I shot an event with a dear friend of mine, Jana Everett, for a new business in the up and coming Highland area of Denver. The Tea Bar has become part of a local Triad with The Green Garage, and The Motherhood. All three are located in one very large space, and offer Green options galore. The Motherhood has educational classes, yoga and products for new families, while the Green Garage is an eco-friendly full service auto center. In between the two you will find the Tea Bar by Teatulia, chock-full of delicious options including infused tea sodas; an invention that they were giving out the night of the grand opening. My favorite was a strawberry tea soda infused with lemon grass. I started to feel spring creep in when I would drink it, despite the cold and windy weather outside. By the end of the night we saw a few hundred people pass through the space, and between the band playing in the garage, Teacup the Clown, Joy’s face painting and free children’s yoga, I was moving and snapping the entire time.


The following weekend I had the pleasure of shooting a B’not Mitzvah for All Digital Studios in Lafayette, Colorado. The event took place at the Lions Gate, a huge interior location with dark wood and a giant stained glass window face. It is one of the most challenging places to shoot, but I adore its vintage touches. It was my first mitzvah of any kind and a really  beautiful tradition to witness. This particular occasion is called a B’not Mitzvah because it honors two girls (sisters in this case) that are accepting the responsibility of adulthood. It made perfect sense to me as I watched that the tradition called for tremendous focus in education and philanthropy. There was also singing in Hebrew, which I think is a feat in and of itself. The girls finished their ceremony without any mistakes and I saw the Hora for the first time. I admit for a minute that  I wished to set my camera down and join them on the dance floor.

A few days later  I received an email from Joy Knickerbocker, a fellow artist that I had met the night of the Tea Bar Grand Opening. Joy was reaching out in an effort to connect and to also collect some images that I had taken of her that night. After reading the blog she said,“Your writing somehow felt like it was watering my soul as I was reading it.”
And I was reminded exactly why I started this blog to begin with. Because I wanted to share my work and inspire others, and in that moment I felt so successful and full. She went on to remind me that I was due for another entry, and that night inspired by what she said, I sat at my computer for a few hours writing about duality and learning about its corresponding theories in physics.
When I finally retired for the night, I said a little prayer for Joy and I slept so well that I didn’t dream at all.

 
March.
It was in the first few weeks of March that I realized that I could count on one hand the months left until our wedding day. In quiet moments I could close my eyes and look back on all the change and patience and distance covered in the past three years. In those moments I could feel, very physically, my pride in Drew and all our growth.
During one of these quiet moments, in the middle of the afternoon, Drew called me at work to tell me that he had mailed our invitations. When I came home I saw that the little red flag on the mailbox had laid down. Like an excited child I peered inside to make sure that they had really gone.

I never thought I would be so happy to see our mailbox, empty.


A few days later I got an email from Yellow Paddle informing me that I had a client looking to do an engagement shoot in the next few days. Mindy and Levi had a very similar story to my own. He was in the military and they had known each other for years. I swear, as I watched them together on that sunny afternoon my heart swelled. Their love was so genuine and she watched him with adoration as he told me their plans. Our session went on for almost two hours and if I hadn’t any other appointments that day I could have stayed on into twilight. Love has in it so many possibilities. And with my camera I tried to capture all of them.

April.
It was well into April when I had a truly ‘terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.’ And even though I loved the book as a child, it seemed not nearly as funny when one morning I woke up to a very flooded basement and no hot water. Later that afternoon  I would learn that my car was due for some very costly and time sensitive repair, and so I called into work and sat waiting for our ‘super’, while Drew ran to the hardware store. As I watched him drive away I looked up at a looming storm and thought that perhaps my mood had brought it on.

It is in these moments, usually forced upon us, that we can give thanks for the good days and realize that maybe they wouldn’t be so good, without the bad one’s. I wrote at my desk for nearly an hour before our doorbell rang, and in the end I was thankful for the inconvenience. It was the first day off that I had seen in 10. And our kitchen floor was finally clean.

 The following day I borrowed Drew’s car and  visited one of my oldest friends and her husband in order to shoot their very first maternity session.


For those of you that have followed Seraphim Fire, you may recognize this lovely couple from their wedding shots posted last year. I have known Sassy since college and this day she helped me complete a dream of mine. To steadily capture the growth of a couple as they move through love and into a family. She is an even more beautiful mother than she was a bride, and a terrific friend. Congratulations Mr. & Mrs Allender…
 
 

May.     
It was actually the dogs that  helped me notice all the time that had passed. That suddenly May was here and instead of snow we had sunshine all around us. We found a new hiking trail in Morrison and I could wear short sleeves and the dogs could swim.
I have always loved this change of the season. It feels to me, like a crush. Something you wake up thankful for and look forward to. The heat is comfortable, welcomed even, and my skin slowly darkens by the end of the day.
 
Thanks to February, March and April I was able to enjoy so deeply all the experiences that I was sharing with my family, and soak in all the love that was being given to me. Three weekends out of the month were dedicated to bridal showers and celebrations for my up coming marriage to Drew.
I shot as much as possible but allowed myself the freedom of setting my camera down when we all gathered together.  For the first time, perhaps ever, I enjoyed the weightlessness and absence of my camera strap, and I forced myself to remember all these special moments in a new way. Mostly.


I once described love as the light hitting the water, and I really do see it that way. When you are loved and give love back, things can brighten all around you, motivate you, and give you peace.
And despite not having all the answers (and the occasional bad day) that refracted light can help you see far into the distance.
I think, thanks to all these experiences, which I never could have had with out all this love, I understand this concept more than I ever have. And the future looks bright.


I
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The light hitting the water….

Have you ever woken up from a long night of sleep and really taken notice of your waking style?

For me, waking up is, some days, an act of feverish irreverence. I feel like my four year old self, frustrated with the weight of my arms and legs. (I remember my father’s response to this plight; “Get up and shake it off. You will feel right as rain once you move around a little.” He was right, and every time I wake up feeling this way, I hear his words again, bouncing around the walls of my memory.)   There are also those mornings when I breath in deeply right as the light starts to creep into my room, and the morning shows promise by doing nothing but letting that light land against me.

Two and a half years ago I walked into a design class at 7:30AM on one of the former of mentioned mornings. It was my first class of my second degree, the first in three years of living in New York, and now I was back in Colorado; somewhat of a stranger to my old hometown.
In the front row sat a lovely looking woman with a pair of bright blazing blue eyes, and the same look on her face that I exhibited. It was a look of excitement and skepticism; the exceptionally large cup of coffee next to her told me that we would be kindred. Michelle Knudsen, a young and athletic dancer and photographer, would grace nearly every day of the following 730 days. Our schedules mirrored one another, and most of our colleagues came to know us more as sisters. Flash forward to early March, when Michelle casually asks me, in the most charming way, to write something special for her wedding next month. This was not the only request, but she also expressed a desire that I present these musings during the ceremony.
(In that moment I am not sure that she realized how my pride had swelled.)

Now it is no secret to those of you that know me, that I am a romantic. I am silly with the stuff in fact, and cannot seem to pry myself away from the sweetest of ideals. So this task seemed perfectly appropriate, and although I knew it would be a challenge, I accepted immediately. I did however show pause over my ability to read it aloud on the big day. As social as I am, I have a death defying fear of public speaking. This fear claims 75% of the population, but add my emotional nature and tendency to cry at weddings, and well… I had to take time to consider what I would be delivering up there. The weeks that followed have been a personal journey into not only capturing the love of two dear friends, but also an attempt in defining love entirely. Or perhaps, more simply, what I love so much about it.    

I began by thinking of what made Michelle and Rob so unique, and in my eyes, so true. I thought back to that first day; the privilege of gaining this new friend. It was a few months before I met Rob, and I remember thinking that Michelle radiated a particular light. ( One that most photographers go in search of their whole lives.) When I finally laid eyes on her other half, and then their wonderful ‘dance’, it was like adding water. He seemed to pull the light out of her, and improve its shine. It was a remarkable thing to see. In fact, it was something I will never forget. (As a child I would have described it like a kaleidoscope. One side shows you the blurry but slow falling of colored beads and the creation of constant new design. If you flip it over and look through the other side it is a whole new experience, but with the same use of color and form. The same kind of beauty, but independent of its second side.

Not unaware, simply unencumbered.)

After these revelations, I got stuck. Each time I would sit down to write about my love of love, I would short circuit. For centuries writers have tried to successfully take an emotion and explain it with words. Painters have tried to capture it with color, and musicians have exhausted their efforts in connecting notes that reflect the simple expression of feeling. I would become overwhelmed with my task and walk away from my computer, sometimes cursing heatedly under my breath. Not at myself, but at all those artists, for setting such a reckless example…. (Heh heh eh)
I finally realized that I would have to take all of that anxiety and turn it into something manageable. I began to picture it like a kitchen sink piled with dishes. I could take each dish one at a time, and rinse away the mess. And with that thought, I started clean. What I uncovered was all the obvious things that we already know, but enjoy revealing.  

That each of us is a truly unique being; in the eyes of the ones that love us best. That we get to create our relationships right out of our wildest dreams. That the ‘rules of the game’ have never been defined because, well, they are different for every team.

I began looking back on my photography and even there I saw the evidence of my always evolving theories. An on going series called ‘What love must be like’ popped up in my archives each month, and I felt again like a child, seeing myself grow.  

I realized that it isn’t a ‘definition’, as in the boundary of a meaning, but the shaping and directing of a substance. Even one that is theoretical.  That light hitting the water.

In 19 days I will hop a plane to the Riviera Maya, and surrounded by rich yellows and seductive reds, I will delight in the sharing of these revalations, and regale in the coming together of  two amazing elements.

Congratulation Michelle and Robert Dillon…. I am in awe of your light.

“The tide is pulled and kept constant by the gravitational pull of the moon. These two things rely on one another to continue on, unabashed. You are what pushes and pulls me against all the otherworldly concepts. When you are there to ground me, my world can keep on spinning. “