Thursday, June 18, 2015

YEAR IN REVIEW: My Life, My Photography, My Dreams

It's been a long time since I've posted. As some of you know, photography is actually my part-time business, although it's been fighting to become a full-time job. I've thought about it often, but I think God still wants me to be a teacher. He's not done with me yet! As long as I can, I hope to juggle photography, writing, and teaching. My dream is actually to adjunct as a Creative Writing professor for the passion of it and then make my living off of my art: photography and writing.

There's been so much going on lately, and I've been so busy that I haven't made time for an update. Photography is going amazingly well. After taking several months off, I feel refreshed and excited to start new. In January, I applied to graduate school at a top-ten low-residency fine arts college in Vermont, and miraculously I got in with my family-saga novel manuscript. I am so excited to start my professional writing journey at Goddard College and see where the long, winding road takes me. I start next week and will live in Vermont for two weeks each semester.  I'll get to work with published novelists, professors of Creative Writing, and publishing professionals in the industry. 

Oh, and I took a new job at a wonderful private school as their AP Language and Composition teacher, and I will begin creating a Creative Writing Program for them in the next two years. The school is a warm, inspirational place full of welcoming people, and I can't wait to join them in their endeavors.

So... I'm being honest when I say, my head has been spinning... and it hasn't stopped. I feel so blessed, so overwhelmed, and so nervous for all of the changes. It's weird when dreams start coming true. You pinch yourself because you can't believe that things are happening, and you wait in some nervous state for someone to take it all away.

But that worrying is something I've vowed to stop doing. I've spent too much time doubting myself, criticizing myself, and limiting myself. And those mistakes have cost me too much. All of these changes have been so needed, and they prove to me that I'm growing. And all that growth is because of all of the people who have supported me, loved me, inspired me, and pushed me. A "thank you" will never be enough.  But I'll say it anyway: THANK YOU!!!

I am blessed beyond what I deserve. God is too good to us.

I only hope that I can be a source of support and inspiration to all the people who have helped me along the way.

I've included some of my favorite images of the year (so far) below. I hope you love them!

Oh, and please visit me on my journey through grad school and becoming a true artist here: I'll be posting my photography and writing and confessionals there from now on!  

As I've said before I hope to merge photography, writing, and an inspirational platform into one wonderful source. I want my art to mean something more than me, something more than just a beautiful image or a pleasant thought.

And I pray you'll join me from time to time.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An Inspired Journey: Where Photography and Words Collide

You may not know it, but I am a writer first. 

Yes, it's true. Photography came to me much later in life. I didn't actually shoot manually until just over three years ago. But I picked up a pen when I was thirteen, and I haven't stopped since. I earned an English degree at USF, and I teach writing in the AP program at a local high school because of this early calling. I'm even working (slowly) on a novel.

My pen carried me through adolescence, tragedy, depression, and the convergence of unbelievable love and dreams long before my camera came to me. Truthfully, I believe my photography became an extension of my writing and my deep love of nature, the human soul, and everything that is intangible in this world. 

Photography is deeply spiritual for me, just as writing always has been. 

It's therapy. 

It's a special connectivity. 

It says a thousand things at once.

And I guess it's for those reasons that I want my photography to mean more to you, my clients, my supporters, and of course... me.

So, when I was shooting Jessica's senior shoot the other night at the beach, I was deeply moved. I was photographing her with my hands and eyes and writing in my head all at once. These snapshots below only begin to touch on the person that Jessica is and the "looker-on" that I am, but I felt completely inspired to write them and share them with you. 

I love it when photography and writing collide. It's like the most perfect form of art. 

Maybe you disagree. 

But whatever it is, it's completely enough for me: 
                                                            nature, freedom, words, beauty...

I hope you enjoy,


Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Thankful Imperfection

I look around, and I see two worlds:

The one that is shared on social media and in Hollywood as seemingly perfect, with airbrushing, with editing, with calculated omissions… And then I see the other one of a hidden real-world, where people are suffering, struggling, and looking for authentic meaning amidst the superficial flood of popular culture.

As a pastor once said, in our quest to navigate this life, we end up comparing our imperfect real-life to the highlight reels of others. And we end up more broken than when we started.

We were never meant to live that way.

We were meant for so much more than to strive for superficial perfection.  

As a recovering perfectionist myself (who still struggles mightily), I had an epiphany over the Thanksgiving Break to let go of more junk in my life. And when I say “junk” I mean the horrible thoughts in my head (like everyone else) that say, “You’re not good enough,” “You’ll never have this,” “You can never have that…” It’s the same junk that says, “You’ll never heal from the past,” or “You’ll never (you fill in the blank).” They are the expectations that nag at you, telling you what you have currently is less than what you want one day or less than what everyone else has. And more, they are the fears that compromise you, lying to you about how little you are loved or needed... How different you really are… Or if you matter at all…  

I believe we all struggle with this, and what we choose to “share”—be it over social media or elsewhere—is our attempt to edit our own lives. It’s an attempt to quiet the junk.

And family life is no different. When it comes to this dichotomy between the two worlds, family life is full of ups and downs. Dreams and setbacks. Mistakes and triumphs. The forgiver and the forgiven.

There will never be a “perfect.”

So why don’t we all get real?

That’s why this Thanksgiving, I wanted to document my family, just as we are. We are imperfect, just like anyone else. We have seen each other through addictions, abuse, betrayal, and illness. But we have also seen love, forgiveness, mercy, and God’s grace too. And despite it all, we can still sit down together and give thanks to God and for one another.  

In photographs you can see the love and the smiles. Perhaps you see something that looks “picture perfect.” But behind the scenes, there are stories of tragedy, triumph, and everything in between.

We are deeply flawed and always will be.

So, yes, this is my highlight reel from Thanksgiving. My sweet dogs. A collection of amazing cooks. My beautiful, cancer-surviving mother. My artistic, take-no-nonsense sister. Her war veteran and chef boyfriend. Our father, who loves a cold beer and a good story around the fire. And a man, who has grown so much over the past couple of years, that I am deeply proud to call my husband and best friend. 

But also know this is just a snapshot of a simple girl who just wants to be a thankful imperfection 


Here I am, ready to document the day...
Caesar, Grace, and Harper Lee, ready for the family to arrive...