As the new year begins, so does a whole new chapter in my life.
My husband and the baby and I, and our dog and cat, are moving from our cozy, sweet home in Atlanta to a lovely home in Denver later this month. We're excited to start our life in Colorado, but also so sad to leave our wonderful and amazing family and friends in Atlanta. It's been such a rich and beautiful three years.
2018 alone has been an incredibly interesting and challenging year.
I have had the absolute honor of photographing so many heartful, amazing individuals. I've been brought in to witness sacred spaces, family milestones, and moments of personal growth.
Professionally, I've stretched my craft into areas I hadn't really considered before: the moments of bliss and pain and relief and joy of the families of brand new newborn babies. I've gotten to spend hours and hours in hospital rooms and birth centers and homes with the most honest, beautiful, loving parents and their children. Being with people during these first few hours after giving birth is one of the richest experiences of my life. It's seeing mothers and fathers at their most vulnerable and emotional. It's watching siblings meet for the first time. Witnessing grandparents cradle their first grandchildren. It's all been revelatory for me. This is what I want. This kind of humble, unselfconscious beauty. This rare look into the blossoming of new love.
I've also turned my camera to the emotionally difficult and joyful world of dog rescue. I've gotten inside looks into foster families and their rescue dogs, and shelters that want more than anything to spare the lives of the thousands of animals in their charge. What began for me as simple portraits of animals to help them become more attractive on the website has transformed into my documenting as many dogs as I can in a more complete way. I hope to be able to communicate the dogs' individuality, their spirit, and their capacity for connection and love. It's something I've been working toward with human subjects for a decade -- trying to capture something deeper, something richer. And now I'm using those skills with homeless dogs in order to find them truly loving companions and a forever home.
Over the course of 2018, I've also had the pleasure of photographing a gorgeous boudoir session with a young bride, a surprise engagement on an Atlanta rooftop, weddings and bar mitzvahs, dance parties, a traditional Vietnamese engagement ceremony, and beautiful, love-filled family portraits.
And, during this past year, I've had the joy of watching my little boy grow, ever more curious, joy-filled, empathetic and loving.
But 2018 has been a difficult year overall -- families separated at the border, refugees refused entry, war and famine, and a growing unease about violence and climate change and the future of, well, everything. The only thing I can say about it is that I'm working to not become complacent. Not to get lost in the sadness and the overwhelming nature of it all. That as a person, and as a photographer, I'll keep shining a light on inequality and keep working to make the world a better place.
It's been quite a year. 2019, come at me. I'm ready for you.
I'll be working full time as a photographer in Denver, and would love to photograph you and your loved ones! Send me an email to book a session, wedding, anything you like. I'll also be traveling to Atlanta at least twice a year, so if you're in Georgia, drop me a line, and we'll organize in advance.
Love to you all, and Happy New Year!
I barely remember the hours after I gave birth to our 18 month old. I remember being ecstatic, relieved, energized, dazed. I didn’t quite recognize our little boy, who’d been hiccuping in my uterus for months on end. He wasn’t extremely familiar, but he was precious and beautiful and present. I remember holding him and sobbing for the first few minutes after birth, but after that, it was a blur of hamburgers and breastfeeding and visiting family and nurses in and out of the room.
A few pictures exist of those first few hours, but not the kind I crave. I want to see the intimacy and exhaustion and bursts of emotion. I want to relive those first moments when we became a family.
It’s always been a dream of mine that my photography and my business be a mechanism for capturing authentic joy. Connection. Attachment. Love. And in service of that mission, I’m beginning to offer Fresh 48 sessions. Sessions that take place in the first 48 hours after birth, and ideally in the first 3 or 4.
And so it begins. Baby Harper was born at 1am Saturday morning, and I made it to the hospital in time for her older brother to meet her for the first time that afternoon. Needless to say, it was a perfect day.
When I asked Bethlehem if she was excited for her two older children, ages 3 and 6, to come in and meet her hours-old newborn, she said she was thrilled. Her children were getting ready to meet their new lifelong best friend, she said.
There was something so beautiful and simple about the way the children interacted with each other. They seemed completely relaxed, happy to be there, and happy to be near their new sister. They wanted to be near the baby, to touch her, to feel the texture of her hair, and softness of her arms and legs. They were gentle and cautious, but also confident. This new person is their person. To hold and love and adore.
It’s one of the mysteries and beauties of family. An additional person doesn’t subtract, only adds: love, affection, joy.
The more time I spend going to visit families just after birth, the more I feel it’s just where I’m meant to be. The energy is quiet and electric at once. A whole new person has entered into the world, and that’s almost hard to process. These parents, these families, have been immeasurably changed, and being one of the first witnesses to the process is fascinating and beautiful. There is a kind of relief in the air that speaks to something beyond the end of the physical pain of childbirth. It’s a relief to finally know this person who is meant to change and form your family forever. This person you’re so ready to love.