The play of two hearts

It was early that morning when she messaged me. I could hear the rain pouring down outside in typical West Coast fashion. I had been waiting anxiously for this shoot for weeks.  I was dreading reading her message, thinking it was going to say something like, "another day I guess". But I should have known better. She's an artist. She sees the beauty and the light in everything.

"Yes!! it's our day woman!", she started, following up instantly with a "How are you feeling today- up for a stormy photo session?". My entire body swelled with excitement. The energy was on point. This was our day, rain or shine.

By the afternoon, when our shoot was scheduled, the clouds had begun to lift. As we approached our spot, she shared with me that she had no idea where she was.

I like showing people places on this beautiful island that are new to their eyes and senses. And after a short walk down a trail blanketed with maple leaves, there it was, the lake I had been waiting to show her.

She takes everything in.

She turns back to me and smiles.

This is our spot. This is where I will attempt to capture the beauty that exudes from this woman as she creates life.

Few things make me feel more grounded than when I am creating art, and that is what photography is for me, art.

We begin to play off of ideas and I am immediately drawn to the stillness of the water. It's time to play with reflection.

She takes it to an entirely different level and I am so taken back.  As I watch her, I begin to reflect myself, on this experience, and everything it is doing for me.  For the first time in a long time, I feel an energy that is so full of life.

And then she sits and stops moving.

I take in the beauty of the stillness.

Nature is peaceful for me. I spend a lot of time alone in nature, just being still. Today, she is the epitome of peace and stillness.

It's the end of October and it's the hottest day I can remember feeling in a long time. We've had herons fly over us, dragonflies swarm around us, and the sun shine down on us since we arrived.

A man has shown up on the dock now and he begins to play music. It's almost time to go.

Can you stand at the end of the dock?, I ask her. I just want a couple more shots.

The light loves her. It parallels her curves where life is growing and I am reminded that the highest form of art is life.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember when?

Remember when you were young enough to not care what anyone else thought of you? Me either.

People ask me all the time what I like to photograph the most. My head always go to the same place; every time I think about kids. I think about how I can talk to them during the shoot as if they don't have a giant black lens pointing at them within a couple of feet. They are engaged in our conversation. They are answering my questions. They are laughing with me, mostly at me. They are enjoying their day, the same way they would if I wasn't there. And that, that void of what anyone else is thinking about them; that is why my answer will always be "kids".

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I am currently taking a mediation course. I enrolled to learn new skills. And although I am doing that, I am also learning that sometimes it is more vital to unlearn how we habitually attach to things and ideas that don't better our lives. We attach to what others think of us far too often.  I am guilty of this. It is something I am trying to work on; I think I do most of this work hiding behind a lens. I am grateful for that time.

Because sometimes, when I am laying there on my tummy in the grass, I get to watch, as my lens captures moments like this...

In those moments I am not thinking about anything else, but what an honour it is to have been asked to witness and capture such a heartfelt moment.

I have said it before, and I will say it again... photography is different for everyone. For me, it is about having an outlet where I can be invisible, yet at the same time, be more present than I will ever know how to be without my camera.  It is about freezing those moments that never last long enough. Those moments when we haven't yet learned to care about what others think. 

This post is inspired and dedicated to the kids that I have photographed and continue to photograph. I want to thank them all for always reminding me, without trying, to be both present and real.

 

 

 

 

Love is counting your favorite freckles.

Define love.
Go...

I know I can't do it, not in words anyway. 

Tonight I sat with her at the ocean, all wrapped up in her blanket, and all I could do was watch her move through expressions.  I get lost in watching her, wondering what she is thinking.

"Nothing, Mom", so I leave it at that and watch her some more.

She's quiet for the first while, watching the sea that I can hear crashing behind me. And as I look,  I know she finds the same peace in the ocean that I do.

People say she is like me, but that is not true at all. She is not like anyone and I am everything I am today because of who she has been for me. There are more stories in those eyes then I will ever be able to tell her, as she lies awake at night. She knows. 

I think that every mom wants to stop that clock so desperately at so many stages. I know that I have. But tonight, as we sat there, rested along the driftwood, I realized what an honor it is to watch such a phenomenal individual grow into her own.

It's humbling as a mother to be constantly learning so much from your child. She grounds me.  And when I need it most, she makes me laugh out of nowhere.

We went to the water tonight with her favorite new blanket, with a mission to get some photographs for the beautiful woman who handmade it for her.  But tonight as we left the beach, I left with far more than just photographs. Tonight I left with the realization that I have been gifted both a beautiful daughter in this life and a beautiful friend.

Ella Rhodes, age 8. Current freckle count: 1582

Apple

Earlier this summer someone asked me what I like to photograph the most. Without hesitation, I said "kids".

Kids teach you things without even trying or knowing. And today I was re-taught and reminded that our greatest knowledge comes from what we learn from the interaction of others.

I think it's sad that we have gotten to place and time where we maintain relationships, even form them, between computer screens and text messages. You can get a lot from someone's voice, their tone, their howls.  But how often do we even pick up the phone anymore.

Today I met Apple.

For years I had heard about her. So much about her. How cute she was. How her little giggle could lift an entire sitting room. I had even seen photos, many of them. Before meeting her today, I felt like I already knew Apple. Was I ever wrong.

They say a picture says a thousands words, but it wouldn't have mattered how many photos I took of her today, no photo would ever encapsulate her vivacious and inquisitive spirit.

"Watch when she first sees her mom", they said.

I melted.

And that is when her little sounds began. Her giggles, her shreaks. And off she went... down the path on a mission.

I followed.

As I watched her make her way to the ocean, independently doing as she wished, I thought to myself, what a brilliant little individual.  How could I have thought that I had any idea who she was before today.

And as it happens, in the presence of children, I lost myself in getting to know her.

 

As I drove away, struggling to bring myself back from the pile of mush I had just become, I wished that I could have picked up the phone to call her and thank her for everything she had reminded me of.  I wish I could have told her how incredible it was to meet her, finally.

 

 

 

 

 

Her

Today was that day... when she turned her head to look back at me and as much as I searched to find the baby in her face, the only thing that I was able to focus on was what a beautiful soul she is growing up to be.

As an artist, I make things. Paintings. Photographs. But nothing will ever compare to her. And I am so ok with that. I am proud of that, of her.