Grayson's First Birthday, #GJPERSONAL

Hi all! It's been several weeks (ok, maybe months) since my last post. With the winter wind down and being pregnant, I've been pretty busy preparing for our little guys July arrival.  But as you can see,  I managed to put my camera to some good use. My husband and I have the privilege of living next door to some of our very best friends. Last weekend we celebrated their youngest son's first birthday. This mama is not only loving and loyal...she is a creative who brings her amazing ideas to life with ease! Her attention to detail and phenomenal skills made this woodland themed birthday unforgettable. From invitations, to homemade cakes and all the little details in-between, it was a joy to celebrate this little guy's first year of life.

I ran home to grab my camera for this little one's cake smash and managed to snap a few last minute photos of only some of the gorgeous details. Enjoy the little tease!

Best of 2015

I'm a few days late, but with 2015 a memory now, I find myself sitting on the couch at my in-laws combing through a year's worth of photographs before we head to the airport. 2015 was spent exploring an editing style to call my own, and trying to purposefully do more personal shoots for myself. A camera was in tow for much of my travels in 2015. The photos below are made up of client sessions and personal photographs. Some were taken on my Nikon while others were with my iPhone 5s. But the one thing these photographs have in common is that they all tell a story. Whether for my clients or myself, these photos serve as mile posts, marking the journey of the past year. 

Every session was special in it's own way and I am honored to have captured many intimate moments for my clients in 2015. The 25 photographs below represent some of my favorites from the past year. Photographs that reflect my personal style and aesthetic, and the ones I'm drawn to time after time. 

Thank you to everyone who let me tell their story in 2015 and cheers to the New Year! xo

Happy Birthday America! #GJPersonal

My family has been making the seven and half hour trek to the cabin in Maine for as long as I can remember. When I was young, my sisters and I would be woken in the middle of the night and shuffled in to the closed cab of our family's Toyota pick up truck. My parents would lay blankets over the green plastic outdoor carpeting, and in we'd go! We were fast asleep as the mile markers ticked away. By morning, we would arrive in Alexander, with it's population of 499 and one stop light. The cabin sits on the edge of Pleasant Lake, a mountain fed spring full of salmon and bass. Time there consisted of swimming, fishing, making a daily run to Randy's Variety (the town superette, movie store and bate shop), campfires, and more swimming.

This past Fourth of July, my husband and I ventured to the cabin to spend the holiday with my family. The weekend was spent partaking in the usual activities, with the addition of the professional level firework display the men put on. Although I brought my Nikon along, I favored spending time with family over taking photos. I did sneak away on the Fourth for a quick 30 minute shoot with some of my nieces. Posted are photographs of Emily. The first few were taken on the dirt road leading to our cabin, and the rest were taken in the old row boat we keep tied to the dock.

Enjoy! xo

California Love, #GJPersonal

My husband and my's recent trip to California was spent celebrating the marriage of a dear friend and traveling parts of the southern coast. Our adventure began with jet-lagged Johnson's arriving to L.A.X at 1am. We crashed in Korea town with a friend and woke up to a 360 degree view of L.A. We quickly departed to Santa Barbara that morning and spent the weekend enjoying wedding festivities. (btw:If you're looking for a good cup of coffee in S.B, make sure to stop at The French Press  on State Street. You won't be disappointed!) The next leg of our tip took us to Oceanside. We spent a night on the coast exploring the pier and then stayed with an old college roommate of my husband's. We spent a few days with his amazing family and thoroughly enjoyed our time with them and their kiddos. We took in a few epic sunsets and ate as many burritos as possible before heading back north. Our last few days were spent touristing the Hollywood Hills with more friends. From exploring the Griffith Observatory to the token celebrity house tours, we managed to do it all in 48 hours. We even snuck in a few moments on Venice Beach. Highlights from our trip are below. Before you sneak you peak, remember one thing...

In the words of Tupac (and 11 year-old Gina singing the mirror), "California, know's how to paaaarty"

Detriot Gems, #GJPersonal

Last month my husband and I spent ten days out in Michigan celebrating the holidays and enjoying time with his family. Aside from festive activities and family time, we were able to spend a few days enjoying the hidden gems of Detroit.  One of my favorites was Belle Isle, a city island park that sits smack dab in the middle of the Detroit River. My husband gets his sense of adventure and spontaneity from his parents, so when I expressed interest in checking it out my father-in-law jumped at the chance to take us there. The island itself hosts the Detroit Yacht Club, a zoo, an aquarium, a coast guard station, a beautiful fountain and my favorite...the Whitcomb Conservatory. This 111 year old botanical garden was simply stunning. It's aluminum beams and glass panes beckon you inside. On this chilly day, it's tropical temperatures and luscious greenery reminded me of summer days. Across the way were rows and rows of greenhouses left to their own devices. This abandon backdrop was perfect to play around with some portraits. We also explored the Detroit Institute of Arts (with its awe-inspiring hall of Diego Rivera Frescos) and sampled some AMAZING bagels from the Detroit Institute of Bagels (lots of institutes that day). As we made our way home that evening, I had to jump out of the car in Greek Town and snap a few. The city felt so timeless in that moment. Enough of my rambling,highlights from our explorations are below. Enjoy! xo   

Olivia's Homecoming, #FlashbackFriday

This one's near and dear to my heart! In April of 2014, my niece Olivia made her way to Missouri for basic training. After 18 weeks away from family, friends and (most importantly) her five year old daughter, her arrival home couldn't have come soon enough. We made our way down to Tweed Airport and anxiously awaited her arrival. The airport itself is small so we were able to head right to her gate...and thus began the waiting game. Once her plane arrived it felt like an eternity before passengers began exiting and coming through the gate. And then finally, a familiar face and an eruption of joyous laughter! To watch a mother and her daughter reunited after being away for so long was breathtaking.  Tears and hugs made way for story telling and laughter. After much prodding we were even able to get a few flexes out of PFC Chavous! All that work in bootcamp seriously paid off! Joking aside, I am so proud of everything Olivia has accomplished and it was an honor to capture such an intimate family moment. Some the highlights from her homecoming are below, enjoy!

Best of 2014

As 2014 winds to end, I find myself browsing through the hundreds of images I’ve taken over the past twelve months. It’s been tough narrowing my favorites down to just 25 images.  These images are from both professional and personal shoots, so don’t be alarmed if you see a black and white cookie from NYC along side a cozy family photo! All of these experiences have made up my year in photos, so everything was fair game. I wasn’t sure how to go about choosing my photos for this post either. At the end of the day I decided to go with the images that make my heart skip a beat, the one’s I couldn’t stop staring at, and the one’s that reflect my personal style and eye.

With that being said, this was not an easy process. Every session was special in it’s own way and I am honored to have captured the intimate moments of so many couples and families this year. Thank you for inviting me in to your lives and believing in my ability to document your moments.

2014 has been a year of growth. I built and launched a new website, grew in my technical photography skills, bought a new camera (!) and challenged myself to take photographs that reflect my artistic style in a greater and bolder way. I look forward to 2015 and all that it has in store for me!

Enjoy the images below and have a Happy New Year! xo

New Cameras & Horizon Lines, #GJPersonal

Recently my husband and I spent a summer evening climbing a mountain with my niece Shauna. It was day one in a new season of her life and we thought a mountain top may provide a greater perspective. New beginnings can bring a roller coaster of emotions, but with the right perspective they can be a well of change and growth. We encouraged her to embrace this time in her life and she graciously let me document it's beginning with my new camera. Below are some shots from our evening. 

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
— Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

Roadtrip, Brooklyn #GJPersonal

I recently ventured to Brooklyn with my husband and some of our close friends. We originally booked the date after we bought tickets for a Beirut concert, but taking the advice of friends, we decided to spend the earlier part of the day exploring some of the local fare in and around the area. We started the morning with double egg sandwiches from The Notch, a local family owned convince store and food joint. After a hardy breakfast and some good dinner coffee we piled into the car and headed towards the city. Our next stop was Arther Avenue, a quaint neighborhood boasting to be the best kept secret in the Bronx. Known to locals as the "real little Italy", the area has a variety of fresh markets, bakeries, pasta & pastry shops. We sampled our fair of cookies and fresh seafood before continuing on our way. Once in Williamsburg we toured the Brooklyn Brewery, ate some amazing BBQ at Fette Sau (an old mechanic's garage turned smoke house), grabbed some coffee and wandered around the river front before heading to show. Highlights from our day are below, enjoy!

Broad Street Market

I first fell in love with photography at Broad Street Market, two large stone buildings with an iron sign reminiscent of Seattle’s landmark Pike Place Market. With Amish influences, the market is set in midtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Every Saturday for three months, I descended upon Broad Street Market to interview Bernard, an elderly market worker with salt and pepper hair, for my senior thesis. Bernard had worked in the market for several years, wiping down tables and throwing out trash left behind in the food court. On the days I would meet him, I navigated through the busy crowd until I found an empty table where I would sit and wait. Bernard would find his way to me for the moments he had between duties. He’d sit across from me and tell the stories of his life. Bernard had spent his childhood in Philadelphia during the turmoil of segregation. His memory was sharp and graphic, recalling stories of tension and animosity in the ‘City of Brotherly Love’. Decades later he would find himself homeless and living in the bathroom of the famed 30th Street train station. Each week as Bernard Spoke, I found myself piecing together his life. In between conversations, the strangers frequenting the market became animated and full of life. Back then I kept a simple Panasonic point and shoot in my bag. When Bernard would leave to clear a table I would capture the moments happening around me.

Left: Broad Street Market, April 29th, 2006 Right: Harrisburg, April 15th, 2006

I became enthralled with capturing the moments I saw at the market and began bringing my camera everywhere I went. In the years to follow, family proved to be steady subjects, along with strangers on the street and the people I encountered in my travels abroad.

Top: Isabel, Madison, CT Bottom Left: Llano Verde, Guatemala. Center: Antigua, Guatemala Bottom Right: Hope Of Life Orphanage, Guatemala

In May of my senior year I ventured back to the market to hand deliver a copy of my thesis to Bernard. It chronicled our months together and I was excited to share what our time together had taught me, but Bernard was gone. In the months and years to come, I would visit Broad Street Market whenever I was in the area with hopes of catching a glimpse of him in the food court, but I never saw him again.  Over the years, I’ve lost track of most of the photographs from the market and my time with Bernard. Every once in a while I come across one that brings me right back to that table, sitting across from my friend. In hindsight, it was the moments at the market that have shaped my love of photography.

To view more of my earlier work, you can peruse here.