In an effort to keep the areas of my photographic brain nice and organized, I've dedicated this site exclusively to my personal work. If you're interested in booking a session with me for a documentary wedding or family session, learning more about my class at Click Photo School, or would like to view my client work, go here. Thank you!
No Eye Contact.
I met Priscilla almost out of the blue -- we had been in the same Facebook photography group, and she was looking for a second shooter for weddings. I am so thankful she contacted me, because in those two years since I feel fortunate to have met such a kind, compassionate and beautiful soul. You immediately feel welcomed and comfortable in her presence -- and the same can be said for all of her friends and loved ones I met on their wedding day. It was so much fun to be a part of it -- being able to witness a tradition and culture completely outside of my own (those amazing desserts and the dancing is just a start). Being able to witness family and friends coming from a completely different continent to celebrate this marriage. Witnessing family who weren't able to make it -- like the mother of the bride -- watch the entire day as it happened, partaking in toasts, seeing photos and videos through cell phones and Periscope. So often we regard phones as a distraction to days like these, but sometimes it's all we have to bring us together, to connect us to important moments like this. What made it all even more meaningful was that Pri and Alvaro and now even farther, having left for their new home in Australia a few weeks ago.
I wanted to share some words from Pri herself about her wedding day:
I always wanted to get married. I always tried to plan a wedding and every time it was so hard, all those big lists, those rules and the head ache. The truth is I planned my wedding in 2 months and I broke a lot of rules. Yes... I always wanted to get married but not a big fancy wedding... I wanted something small, simple, where the most important thing was the moment and not anything else. We got married in a church the day before with Father Leo but as a photographer my only wish was to find an outside place full of nature and get married during the day to celebrate. We had our friend Gee as an " officiant " (That's another thing that I wanted very much...someone that knew us as a couple so it will be special).
We decided to do an intimate wedding, inviting people that knew us as a couple, that always have been part of our lives until now and it was the most amazing thing and that's why I could make this happen. Of course I had some angels in my life and one of them was Tia Inez who dedicated a lot of time and talent on decoration and details. I could not have done it without her. The party was so fun and I had to send my dress to a dry cleanner because it was soooo dirty.
The reason that I am saying all of that is because if you have doubts about it just do it the way that you can. You don't need tons of money and to worry about the rules, big lists etc.. Do it but do it the way that you can.
It was the most amazing moment of my life which I will always remember. To have all my friends and family reunited was amazing. I know that it is fast and it is just one day but at least in my case I feel like I am married now and I can begin a family after that day.
A big thanks again to Danielle Nichol Photography for second shooting as well as Fair Verona Photo for video and documenting me attempting to dance.
What comes to mind when you think of your community?
For me it's chain link fences surrounding 1960's concrete block houses. Sticky air and coastal breezes. Live oak trees covered in spanish moss. Towering utility poles. Buzzing mosquitos. The distant sound of gunshots from the sheriff's ranch firing range. Ant bites all over my feet. Year-round Christmas lawn decorations, toys and cars parked in the shitty grass areas we call yards here.
For my class last month at Beyond The Wanderlust called "Here Is Where: Photographing the World Around You", I asked my students the same question. With everything we see on social media, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking where we live is boring -- but boring is a relative experience, brought on by seeing the same things day in, day out. Each one of these photographers kicked that notion to the curb and proved that the most important, most beautiful (but not necessarily pretty) place they could photograph was the one right in front of them. There were perspectives not only from all over the country, but all over the world. They pushed through their own limits to capture their surroundings in a way that was meaningful, turning the camera towards their own lives as well as the lives of complete strangers.
I wanted to share some of the work they made because by Week 1 they proved to be quite a force of talent to be reckoned with. Seen together, it proves how diverse yet collective our experiences can be no matter where we are in the world.
I met Sara and Jordan because of nice, clean teeth. No joke. A wonderful friend had referred me as Sara was cleaning them at a dentist's appointment last year. I'm so glad she did because in the time leading up and during Sara and Jordan's wedding day, I was able to meet two really wonderful people. There were so many sniffles and tears at the ceremony it was hard not to get caught up in it. Seeing Sara walk down the aisle with her grandfather, and watching not only a bride and groom but a family join together. It never stops feeling emotional, but at least I can hide behind a camera. Though we all have our own stories and paths to lead us where we presently are, many of our experiences feel so much the same. But that's what makes it so great, right?
PS: A big thank you to my amazing second shooter Danielle from Danielle Nichol Photography for totally killing it.
Not pictured but equally important: Sitting in the front yard basketweaving grass. Eating Bizzarro's pizza.
This month's Pieces of Life is a day in the life. It's been so long since I've done one and been able to stick to it the entire day (key point being: stick to). This is pretty much us - no special plans, barely washed, sitting in front of screens a lot. Am I happy with that? Yes and no. I take these as a reflection of who we are, for reasons I'm proud and not proud of, because it's important to me to look back on my life and remember it just as it was. There are also plenty of things in this day that didn't get photographed - not by intention, but because many of them are intangible. Or maybe they do have a presence, but the presence was not part of my day and instead lingered in my thoughts. The best way I know how to photograph these things is to show all of the representations of them within other aspects of our life. Everything seeps into everything somehow.
Jodie Byrne | Felicia Chang | Alice Che | Megan Cieloha | Kristin Dokoza | Stacey Haslem | Karen Jacot | Caroline Jensen | Kristin Ingalls | Kirsty Larmour | Lauren Mitchell | Meredith Novario | Kara Orwig | Kristen Ryan | Jessica Thomason | Julia Tulley |Ginger Unzueta | Elle Walker | Sarah Wilkerson | Emma Wood
In celebration of our messy ass Florida yard, from the Live Oak that never stops raining piles of leaves and the palm tree that never stops shedding fronds that could knock a human out cold if standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. May our yard look forever trashy.
In the ongoing "Doing Disservice to the Masters" theme I've got going here, this month's artist was Mary Ellen Mark. I say this mostly with sarcasm, but each time fully realizing why these photographers are considered masters. However, something else I've noticed - the point of all of this, of photography, of the journey, is creating images that represent us all as individuals. No wonder, then, that trying to see the world through the eyes of Saul Leiter, William Eggleston, or Mary Ellen Mark has proven so difficult - I am not them, they are not me. Which is a good thing.
Mary Ellen Mark developed incredibly special relationships with her subjects. They weren't just faces. They were real people, with real (often troubled and complex) lives. In taking on her work this month, it really had little to do with 'style' (although Mark was an incredible photographer who was a master of the edges of her frame). It was about substance. I decided to focus on my daughter -- my closest connection as a subject -- and her world.
To see how Kari took on Mary Ellen Mark's work this month, go here -- you aren't going to want to miss it.
This month's Pieces of Life is kind of split down the middle. A tale of two Floridas, both in geography and in subject...although it seems to be a recurring pattern for me that nature always sneaks its way back in to my pictures, even through the tiniest cracks and crevices.
Visiting Big Talbot Island was so surreal. You know how you envision places and when you get there, it's nothing like the way you thought it would be? Well, this was exactly the way I thought it would be, down to the fog. I don't really have words to describe how beautiful it was. I don't really feel I even scratched the surface of it either. I could have stayed all day. I hope to again.
And what to say about home? I love being able to see something new in the same old places. No matter how many times I've walked the sidewalks in Cocoa Village, there's always a new angle. Something different to discover.
To see more Pieces of Life:
Here's a (possibly weird) fact about me -- sometimes I think back to my grandparents' home when I was a child and take a 'tour' in my head. I try to remember each room as best I can. I'd start with the foyer, going through the fancy room with the nice furniture that no one really went into except for holidays. Then it was the den where I would wake up at 5 AM before anyone else, watch Mighty Mouse, doing somersaults on the couch and hanging upside down pretending that the ceiling was actually the floor and how cool it would be to walk on it (I told you, weird). After that I'd imagine the kitchen, the smells of my grandmother making Thanksgiving stuffing (the celery, especially) and watching her soaps on the little tv. I'd imagine the kitchen table and how I'd use up all of my grandparent's paper creating menus and making dioramas of New York City out of old bakery boxes while watching Nick at Nite. Then the back guest room where I'd sneak and hide Christmas cookies in the drawer of an old sewing table for later. And so forth, and so forth, into each room, trying with all my might to remember the rooms that housed some of the best, most cherished memories of my childhood.
Some of these memories I do have photos of, but many I do not. In being able to come over to photograph families in their own home, my hope is that the things they look back on later -- these little moments -- are preserved within the images. That maybe they will be able to recall the smells, the feelings, all of the other parts that make up a memory.
When I visited the Lehlbach's, they were only a week away from moving halfway across the country, leaving this beautiful home they had loved so much for the past few years. It was so fun to get to know them -- playing (me losing) a game of cards, jumping on the trampoline in the pitch black darkness, warming up in the spa, meeting all four kitties, making breakfast, visiting the local park...really, so much stuff! They are now settled in to their new home, but I hope these photos remind them of all of the wonderful things that happened during their time in Florida.