the full stream of life

I don’t give much advice because I just barely manage my own life. And, I receive tremendous help from friends and family and the Divine. But, I’d just like to offer one piece of advice that I feel is universal: take photos with the ones you love the most. Even if you never hire a photographer, if you’ve got a smart phone, you’ve got a camera at your fingertips most of the time. You don’t have to identify as a “photographer.” you don’t have to copy the composition you find on Pinterest. You don’t need to weigh a certain amount before you’re “photo-ready.” You don’t need to wear what’s found in this season’s look book. I will say that some lipstick will work wonders (if that’s your thing), but honestly, these elements are all secondary to the raw emotion that a portrait of a loved one evokes.  

Nothing we see here is permanent. There’s this term I heard from Jack Kornfield a number of years ago about embracing the full stream of life. As it turns out, life and death are just not that far apart. Something I’ve noticed through the years is that when I photograph newborns, I feel about as close as I ever have to the Spirit within each of us that I have come to call God. There’s a fresh luminosity and a palpable sense of the Sacred. 

These are my friends, Leah and Jon. We thought these might be his last photos, but he’s since been moved from hospice to palliative care - a true miracle. I spent an hour with them and truly didn’t know what to expect because it had been almost a year since I’d seen him. The previous time he could barely speak, and I remember telling him, “Jon, I’m going to go now, and you don’t have to respond, and I want you to know that when you’re ready, you can go, too…I love you.” And, he’d not acknowledged me at all until that point but still somehow choked out, “I love you.” I thought that might be the last time I’d see him because that’s what all the doctors said. As his mom says, we fight to get in this world, and we fight to get out. Here he is still defying all of the diagnoses and prognoses. 

His mom gave me a homemade oat bar to eat on my way home. And I wondered how - with everything they’ve been through and continue to go through - their Presence filled me up so very much. When the film came back, I could actually see strange lights and auras that were not visible to my eye that day. If I think too much about it, I’ll think it’s impossible. But, everything about Jon’s resilience has seemed impossible. He is a breathing miracle with a smile that could change the world. That’s really the only reason I post these photos here. And to remind you that it doesn’t matter if you’ve not slept in a year or if your photo shoot occurs in a bed, in a room that you’ve lived your life for years, take more photos. His mom insisted that she take a photo of me with Jon, and I felt myself shrink for a moment because it was humid and my hair and I didn’t…and I said, “Yes, that is so thoughtful of you. Thank you” and I will cherish the photo for the rest of my days. 

If I allow myself to absorb the moments in people’s lives - the highs and lows and the moments in between - I get to share, my heart swells with gratitude. “Honored” seems a strange word, but I do feel honored…and completely humbled at the same time. Here’s to the full stream of life.

newborn blues: newborn family photography at home in Aledo

My son is 17 months now; how did that happen? I remember when I’d ask parents, “How old is he?” And, inside I’d laugh when they answered in months. So in homage to pre-parent Amber, my son is one. I miss when he was new, and I don’t know if I’ll ever experience what it’s like to have a newborn again. Who knows? I’m fortunate that when I get a little blue or nostalgic, I begin to get calls to photograph newborns. 

When I photograph newborns and families, I send out a guide with some general information about what to expect, my process, what to wear, etc. I am in the process of rebranding my business, and I’ve been looking at colour palettes, and I actually googled “portra blue.” Kodak Portra 400 blue is my favorite blue hue. I know, I’m so strange. People have said that to me since I was this kid’s age. His first-time parents were so smitten, and how could you blame them: he’s perfect. Even the Great Danes agreed. I will always love a cool blue and a warm skin tone. This is the magic that film produces. I crave experimenting at the edges of grit and elegance, where vintage meets modern and light plays in the shadows. I love a timeless portrait and some authentic lifestyle photography, too. In a newborn or family session, I strive to create a mix of both in your home environment. If you or someone you know is expecting a baby in 2019, send me a note. 

family : my vision: fine art film photography in Fort Worth

I can’t tell you how many times I arrive for a newborn or family session to find some version of this: Dogs are jumping…Dad is on a call or watching tv…Children are half clothed at best, eating red popsicles on the white sofa…and Mom is stressed. 

I get it: the very idea of family photos makes you want to break out in hives - so much so that you may have opted out last year…and the year before…and a couple more years before that. 
But the thing is, art doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

So, I pet the animals and tame the kids with something sans red dye no. 5 and and give Dad a job to do (he just wants to know what to do with his hands 😂) and assure Mom that she can relax - I’ll take it from here. 

Family, in and of itself, is art. Messy and challenging, exciting and liberating, beautiful and shocking, always in progress and never perfect. Just as art is anything the artist decides it is; family is anyone you decide to love, unconditionally. My vision for family photography is to celebrate and showcase each individual, every colorful relationship, and the living family canvas as a whole. 

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