Sweet Baby Georgia

I don't often photograph families, but when Katie asked me to capture baby Georgia, there is no way I could refuse. She was born premature and has quite the warrior's journey already, and it was just such a profound blessing spending time with them in their home yesterday. 

The rivers are too cold for photographs right now, and being in this cozy house with these two beautiful souls was exactly what my heart needed. And honestly what is better than capturing brand new Motherhood? Truthfully, it was a bit effortless because the love was just so true and new and powerful.  The hardest part was not putting my camera down a hundred times to snuggle sweet Georgia. Eventually I had to, though, and she fell asleep in my arms, and basically, it was the best. 

Motherhood is my favorite miracle. 

Morning Pages

I am writing a book. And it's sort of hard because I spend my days writing, and not sharing it at all. And I have always loved show and tell day at school, and so I thought I'd share a few crumbs here and there. Plus it makes me brave. It will help me get ready for the big and final publishing.  The more uncomfortable I can make myself in the face of fear, the stronger I become. What I will be sharing are just tiiiiiiny little snippets from a big book. Because that's how me and courage roll. Little by little. Slow and steady.

Here are my morning pages from today:

I wake up angry. Pissed off at the stories in my skin for not writing themselves. I’ve always been a defiant one, and so the act of sitting down to surrender to sovereign syntax feels sinful. Writing takes obedience. I’m not sure I have a salt grain of that in my skull.

I can feel this baby moving inside, I can feel her legs that will one day walk across the coals of a bitter reality stretching under my ribs, and I know I am running out of time. I keep a shoebox of my mother’s old mix tapes shoved in my trunk. They’re cassettes with things like “Summer with Jeremiah 1990” written in faded ink across peeling labels. I can’t talk to my Mother but when I play these songs I feel like I can listen to her. Like I am curled up on an old wool blanket in a backyard somewhere, hearing her reminisce about long drives to the beach, and the way her salty strands got tangled in someone else’s fingertips. Before the baby, I’d open my apartment window, sit on the sill, smoke a joint and let the music of my Mother’s memories fill my lungs with the inky smoke. When I’d fall asleep those nights, I’d swear I could feel her tucking me in.

I run to the car, the hot gravel burning the soles of my feet, and find the box. Anything to ease the pain of this last chapter. It is impossible to type and dance at the same time, a fact that proves how evil it all truly is. To sit still and solitary when there are mountains in Mongolia to climb seems to be the very definition of soul level suicide. And yet it is only when I free the words that I am ever really alive.

If only I could cut myself and let the pages pour themselves into pools on the sidewalk.

If only this wasn’t the worst kind of torture.

Foundations of Black + White Class // Student Work

I love that I am a teacher. I love that I get to connect with brilliant souls from all over the world and make art together. 

I teach at The DEFINE School, where I've been for the last 6 years. I've been asked to move many times, but there's something about loyalty and also, it's nice to evolve in a space that supports you through all the awkward parts. It's like a friend who asked me to sit with them at lunch even when I had braces and a bad perm. They saw me and believed in me from the start, and being able to teach for them is sort of the best. 

Here is some incredible student work from this last month's class. I'm not lying when I say these human beings, who somehow find their ways into my online classes, make my creative world go round.

In January I will be teaching a revamped version of my very first class called Awakening the Spark. I'm only going to be teaching it once in 2017 so if you're feeling like you need a wake up call, this is the time to strike the match. 

Hillary Rain 

Hillary Rain 

Jasmin Fragias

Jasmin Fragias

Josune Aizpurua

Josune Aizpurua

Josune Aizpurua

Josune Aizpurua

Josune Aizpurua

Josune Aizpurua

Kelly Lapp

Kelly Lapp

Kelly Lapp

Kelly Lapp

Khiara Doorley

Khiara Doorley

I knew there was something special about Michelle… but there was no way for me to comprehend just how much magic she contained. I knew very little about black and white imagery before taking her class. I’d use it carelessly on photos with little to no thought or intention behind it. My world instantly changed with lesson 1 of her course. Each week she gently smoothed out our rough edges and helped refine our eyes to the beauty and intention behind black and white. It was life changing, soul-lifting. She has an incredible gift of challenging you but making sure you understand you’re not alone. I will forever be grateful for her wisdom and words. You must take this class. You deserve it.  
-Khiara Doorley
 

B L A C K (AND WHITE) F R I D A Y

I love sales. But I only love really, really goooood sales. So this Black Friday, I'm offering 50% OFF all black and white editing presets in my little shop. This is my last sale of the year!

Use code THESALE and stop fighting with your photos! One-click editing is here and it's beautiful. 

All of the following images are by my beautiful, fierce and talented friend, Rachel Liu-Ballard, using my Story Waters presets for editing. I adore how they all have such a timeless, photojournalistic, emotional feeling to them.

Black and white will always have my heart.