Monday, October 27, 2014

Temporarily Closing Shop

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I have to close my doors for a while. My brother passed away suddenly on Saturday of cardiac arrest at age 57. He was my only sibling. He was living with and caring for my mother who is in very bad health and battling serious illnesses and required constant care. I will be flying across country without my boys to live with her and care for her, so I will not be offering photography services in Arizona for an indeterminate length of time. Thank you for your understanding and support. 

While in the Charlottesville, VA area, I will be offering photography lessons. For information or to schedule a lesson, please click here to email me

Thanks so much,

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Creative Break - Snow Queen in Summer

Outdoor portrait sessions being as popular as they are nowadays, it's not hard to imagine that those sorts of sessions get slow in summer here in Arizona when the temperature hovers around 110 degrees. I have no beef with that, mind you--Photoshopping sweat from humans does not generally turn out well, nor does photographing people as they pass out from the heat. 

So, i decided to take advantage of these less active days and gather up a model, a hair chick and an MUA (makeup artist) and do what started out to be a Snow Queen session (or Snow Fairy...we were winging it, but then i decided to not wing it--literally, i didn't feel like wings fit the mood when i was editing the images, so i left them out. But don't hold me to that; i may add some in later. You just never know with me). It turned out to be a fantastically fun day!

Here are some behind-the-scenes snaps from my iPhone of my hair and makeup team getting our model, Abby, ready for the shoot:

and us, after the shoot:

from left to right: Rachel Dixon (hair), Abby and Taleaha Slaughter (MUA)

Rachel Dixon (hair), Taleaha Slaughter (MUA), Abby and meself
[ Thanks Wooz, aka Dale Townsend, for taking these team images for us! ]

and this is where we ended up (although like i said, we may sprout wings before i'm finished editing this set ;) Something i found myself doing during this edit that hasn't happened in the pass is obsessing over multiple edits of one shot. so, i just kept them all. ha!

To contact Taleaha's MUA, please visit her Facebook page.
To contact Rachel Dixon, email me and i just *might* let you borrow her! ;)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Taking Care of You - Depression and the Sink Hole

::sensitive subject warning::

so, this is something i don't talk about publicly very often. i can think of only tiny mentions here and there in obscurish places online. it's a subject with a lot of stigma. it's a subject with triggers for some. and it just makes people uncomfortable. 

but until the subject of mental/emotional health are talked about openly and respectfully, it's going to remain that way--dark, triggering, embarrassing, "shameful," uncomfortable. 

those of us with "issues" have been blamed for them at some point in our lives. and some of us have even been angry or blaming toward others who have emotional challenges, even though we understand that getting angry at someone or telling them to "get over it!" is like telling someone with cancer or MS to just get rid of the disease. we realize this and we pull our heads out of our asses and come to a place of more understanding and compassion (for them and for ourselves as well). we issue-challenged people ask this: be patient. we're trying. and if we're not, it's because we can't see our issues yet. we don't want to be spiraling and miserable, i promise. 

so, i've been in some pretty dark places in the past year. i've experienced a lot of change and didn't always handle it well (that's a huge understatement). my PTSD has been triggered and i've struggled with some really heavy depressions--the kind that look like this:

see? i told you i document all of my life, even the "bad" parts.

it got so severe that i was letting important people and relationships slip away from me. i couldn't work, i couldn't get out of bed some days. i was sinking and felt paralyzed to do anything about it. i had to get help.

then i remembered a guy i had met through Facebook (i've said it before and i'll say it again and again...Facebook has been life-changing and wonderful because of the people i've reconnected and connected with there). 

i reached out to Matthew Miller, (click his name for his LinkedIn; i highly recommend him) a licensed counselor in Canada and we started counseling online. within a couple sessions, i began to feel and see more clearly and identify with what was going on. i got a better sense of my triggers which helped me start to work through them and disarm them. Matthew provided me with some extremely valuable insights and tools to help me get back on stable emotional ground. i am forever grateful. there's no need to suffer alone in our struggles. sometimes we have a tendency to push the people out who love us the most. sometimes we don't feel worthy of their love and attention or we feel like a burden. i get it. it sucks to feel that way and in some ways, compounds the problem. that's the best time to reach out to a's their job to help you so you don't feel like you're "burdening" them. 

so, today i feel like i'm back from the edge with a clear head and i'm feeling really hopeful and happy. i'm starting new projects (exciting! exciting!) and enjoying all the moments. 

that was hard to write! and it's even harder to hit the "publish" button, but i want to be able to say to anyone dealing with similar debris...i see you. i understand. don't give up.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Enough With the 'Selfies'"

Twice recently (by two different people) i've been passive aggressively called out for the number of "selfies" i post.

I laugh.

And then i feel sorry for them.

Listen, people. One day you're going to be 80 years old (or however old you get to be) and you're going to think back to the days when you could run, jump, dance like a lunatic, had far fewer wrinkles, fewer aches and pains, and more adventures. Your grandkids are going to see you as a white-haired, wrinkly, age-spotted, loose-skinned old wo/man and not even realize that you were once young. When they in fact make that discovery, they're going to want to see pictures...lots of pictures! You as a baby, you as a kid with scuffed knees, you with your first love, with your first car, your pets. And you're going to want to look back at all those photos, too. Photos help us remember. Photos help identify us. For me, photos are a way of storing feelings and time. They're a way of recording my interpretation of my life in all it's various ups and downs. 

So, for those negative nancies who think i post "too many selfies," here's what i think of that:

and furthermore:

and if i wasn't clear, let me reiterate:

while also being sure that you understand:

So, yeah. 

Now go take some f!#%ing pictures! You can thank me in 30 years.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Catching Up...Senior Portraits in Mesa, Tempe and Queen Creek, AZ

I've done it again; i've fallen behind on blogging. I really excel at some things, like consuming chocolate and singing off-key, but for some reason, blogging has a way of falling by the wayside with me. Tsk. Anypoo...let's catch up a bit, shall we?

This time of year there are usually a few seniors who have had too crazy-busy a life to stop for an hour or so and have their senior portraits done. Better late than never, as They say. Here are some last-minute stragglers...great kids and fun sessions!

Congrats to you all, Class of 2014! Class of's not too early to book your senior portrait session. Text me and let's talk! 480-286-0112