Grand Rapids, Michigan
It was a wee bit chilly for Alissa and Josh’s engagement session this evening but all the more reason to get close and snuggle, right?! We did have a chance to be indoors at Argos Book Shop for a spell. (I think all three of us could have stayed a few more hours looking at books!) Josh and Alissa said they “do awkward well together” and, although I think the shot of them smooshed between the book stacks shows their awkward playfulness, I think they are pretty darn adorable.
Josh and Alissa, I can’t wait for your August wedding!
A few of my favorite images from Michigan-based band Willamena.
“I don’t know how music works, I’m just glad that it does.” – Lou Brutus
I’m not sure I can even recall the first time I met Rev. Don Mathews and his wife, Grace. All I know was I remember the voice. If you’ve ever heard Rev. Mathews speak, you know what I’m referring to. The voice may have been my first impression but it was their commitment to this community and its people that left the final impression.
Rev. Mathews and Grace left Muskegon earlier this month to move south to be near family. They recently celebrated their sixtieth anniversary and then a reception was held at First Presbyterian Church so the community could say their goodbyes. If long lines, tears and more hugs than you can count is a testament to lives well-lived, than Don and Grace did just that.
Rebecca is a fitness instructor and trainer who makes really yummy vegan whole food bars and granola, too. The first time I met Rebecca was the day I took these photos. She has a positive energy about her with a killer smile and laugh. Rebecca runs a small local business, like me, and I’m fortunate our paths crossed. If a healthier you in on your horizon, look up Rebecca. You’ll be glad you did.
It’s always a bit odd to photograph a senior when you’ve known them since they were little. Miles wasn’t too fond of having his photograph taken and his mom and I joked that the next time he’d have to take this many photos would be on his wedding day. (Now photographing Miles wedding would make me feel REALLY old!) Miles, although quite tortured by the whole picture-taking thing, was a great sport and even waded into a very chilly Lake Michigan to end the night.
Best of luck during your senior year, Miles!
There’s something refreshing about a teenager who can be bold and have her own style. Natalia came wearing a vintage black birdcage veil and jewelry for her senior session. She also brought her viola and pug named Peri who happened to be wearing a pink dress and bow tie. (You’ll have to check the blog in a few weeks to see Peri!)
June 24, 2013
The third Monday: As I made breakfast, I told Yuri and Harper to find something they wanted to do until it was time to eat. Yuri grabbed a book (which he decided to try to read upside down and backwards) and Harper grabbed an animal — so typical and so expected but I love it just the same.
After we ate, I decided to dig out all the photos I could find of my father who passed away last month at a much too young age of 57. I told every story I could remember to tell them about their Pap. You see, my parents divorced when I was too young to even remember. I lived off-and-on with my dad until I was Harper’s age — just ready to start kindergarten. But anyone who knows me, knows that my memories stay with me. I told them how my dad would drape my little legs over the handlebars of his motorcycle and drive down the country roads of Unityville, Pennsylvania. I told them how he would laugh because I was scared of the “eyes” that grew on potatoes when they rested in the bin a little too long. I told them how he indulged my sweet tooth and let me eat sugar cookies for breakfast and how he would let me comb his hair hours at a time. I told them how my dad teased me that, although I didn’t inherit his height or his wild nature, I sure got his ears.
Yuri captured the sweet photo of Harper listening to one of my stories and Harper took the photo of me smiling. As I edited the images for this post, I looked at the photo of my dad dressed as a cowboy in his fifth-grade school picture next to the photo of me smiling and I noticed I inherited a lot more than Danny Kessler’s ears. I see our smiles are the same. My eyes crinkle in the same places. Our chins are identical. A few freckles dot our cheeks. My time with my father was far too short but my memories will stay with me for a lifetime.
June 17th, 2013
The second Monday: They say home is where the heart is. My special day set aside for Yuri and Harper was shared with twenty of my family members that gathered at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, Virginia for a family reunion. They came from New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, Missouri and Kentucky. Trust me, a posse of young cousins was much more intriguing to Yuri and Harper than their old mom but I still shot a few images (and Jon shot one too) to document a slice of the day. Then I set the camera down and let it all sink in. I let Yuri and Harper form new relationships. Yuri learned to play chess (well, sort of) with his big cousin, Andrew. Harper rode on her Zanny’s back pretending she was riding a horse as the Virginia sun transformed her freckles. We put together puzzles, hiked, read books and swam. We talked and talked some more. Yes, without a doubt, everyone called Virginia home and we all left with our hearts better for it.
June 10, 2013
This summer I decided to stay home every Monday with Yuri and Harper. Oh sure, my editing to do list will inevitably grow to what will seem like an impossibility to accomplish but they will only be 4 and 6 once I figured. I already feel like they are growing much too fast. Often I tease them I want to put books on their heads so they will stop growing. They always giggle. Not only do I feel guilty being so busy but I’m always photographing everyone else’s magical moments. But not this summer. Every Monday, which I’ve decided to call “Mondays with Mom” I will spend the day doing things together and I will photograph it. It’s more for me – – a way to remember but I hope you’ll enjoy our journey, too.
The first Monday: I made pancakes from scratch in our old cast iron skillet, we had a creativity session with modeling clay and I even threw my Virgo tendencies to the wind and let them mix colors. They also got to stay in their pajamas until after lunch and I let them pick out their own outfits. (I wasn’t lying when I said I threw my Virgo tendencies to the wind!) We “popped some tags” at Goodwill, did a whole lot of snuggling and reading and went to the park where we played and explored nature. I even gave Yuri a photography lesson. The last two images are his.
“Life, love, and laughter – what priceless gifts to give our children.”
These are Yuri’s images. (Can I brag? Dang, he’s good!)
Blue Lake Township, Michigan
Every once in awhile, I get a chance to be creative with something other than people. It’s fun to focus on texture, shape and light instead of emotion, laughter and moments. Don’t get me wrong, people are my real passion but I enjoy a timeout — a chance to take a visual breath. Besides working with the two wonderful owners of Carnivore Hunting Products, I didn’t have to leave my home. I’m always rushing away to photograph weddings in some beautiful location but, on this day, I walked out my front door and onto the 28 acres that ground me. Looking up, I saw my sweet 6-year-old son watching me work from our bedroom window. “Yes,” I thought to myself. “I needed this. He needed this.”
Today I was hired to photograph the Veterans Job Fair aboard the USS LST 393 in downtown Muskegon. As I wandered around looking for things that caught my eye, I saw the Muskegon High School’s JROTC practicing before Posting Colors. This young teenager was so proud, dignified and honorable. Instantly, he made me feel patriotic and hopeful. Ironically, when I got back to my office, I received a phone call from my sister saying that my father, also a veteran, was nearing the end of his battle with terminal cancer. I’m not sure why but the two events seemed relevant. Intentional. I know today isn’t November 11th – – the day set aside to honor veterans but that’s just what I want to do — thank those that have sacrificed so much for this great country. Shouldn’t EVERY day be Veterans Day?
It’s no secret that I love creative people. I feed off of their energy, their ideas and their passion. Ellis, Michael & Muxlow are three wonderful human beings but when you sprinkle in a whole lot of creativity and musical talent, well, you get something pretty magical. If any of you were at my get-together on Saturday, you got to hear some of that magic firsthand. EM&M, keep making beautiful music together! (A shout out to my good friend, Matt Gade, for scoping out this sweet location!)
East Grand Rapids, Michigan
Panic set in at first when the bride didn’t show up to the church on time. Oh sure, brides and grooms are late frequently but Hayden was REALLY late. She was sick and had been admitted to the emergency room, yep, a wedding “first.” You would think that would have put a damper on things but let the photos speak for themselves. Hayden had such a good spirit and by the end of the night she was dancing with her new husband, Ross, and all was good with the world. A few other things to note, I was in Heaven as I got to listen to the dreamy accents of twenty or more Australian guests. Swoon. I also loved how Hayden and Ross wove in so many sentimental things about their special day (sharing her grandmother’s anniversary, wearing her other grandmother’s wedding ring and having the reception at Cascade Hills Country Club – – the same place her parents did.) A big thank you to Nick Tremmel who helped me shoot this wedding. (Amazing photographer and awesome person to boot.) Ross and Hayden, may love always surround you in SICKNESS and health.
Most people know that I have a degree in photojournalism but most people are unaware that my minor was agriculture. So, when I’m taking pictures AND I’m on a farm, it’s a match made in Heaven. Not to mention this gracious family got up really early so we could take advantage of the gorgeous light. Frost + Farm + Blue Skies + Red Barns + A Big Loving Family = Perfection.