Joy // A River Story

I have been hesitant to post anything on here because after the redesign of my website, my blog images got kind of tiny on me. I thought it would be a quick fix, so I was waiting (and waiting) but it turns out it's a whole thing and I guess it's all a lesson in wabi sabi creating! There's no point in waiting for perfect, because then, I'll be waiting (and waiting) forever. 

I think I have also been hesitant to post because my relationship with the online world needed some reconfiguring. The internet has brought me some of my very best friends and experiences through online classes, workshops, and just connecting over social media. I can't say that it is all bad, because it's not. But, there is a certain point where it becomes too much for me. I am a girl who needs her feet in the mud, and her hair in the water. I need to be outside, talking with actual people and connecting face to face, and I think often times, in this business, we become so concerned with being "present" online, that we can forget about the other side of things. For me, at least, I needed to step away and fill my lungs with fresh air and just regroup. I'm happy to date the online world, but I don't want to marry it. 

Now that I am back, I can think of no better session to share. This woman embodies what it means to declare your needs and wants. She is the definition of confidence and faith. During her stay in Austin, I learned so much about the parts of my own self that need more tending and attention. The parts of my own heart that need love. And I think that's what real teachers and healers do; they teach and heal without even realizing it. Just by breathing in an out and moving through the world with a passion unwavering, they touch the lives of all who they pass. 

But perhaps the thing I love most about Joy, beyond her angelic gifts, is her ability to be a human being. To share the parts of her life and herself that are broken or hurting or challenging. She shares this, not for the sake of spreading negativity, but for the sake of creating links between people's hearts. Because she understands, like me, that we are all carrying burdens and we are all walking with a bit of fear BUT when we can let those parts of ourselves be shared in the comforting presence of sisterhood, that's when the real healing can begin. 

And that's what this work is for me. The truth is, I do River Stories because I need sisterhood to sustain. I need friendships and memories (in real life) with women in order to feel complete and content. And I know other women do too. And the best way I know how to manifest those sacred bonds is by getting silly and brave and muddy and wet and vulnerable and ridiculous in the waters together. And then, somehow, these images are created and it's like I can finally hold something up to women and show them how I see them.

So, Joy, I want you to know how I see you. I see you as a gentle spirit with a fierce heart. I see you as a gorgeous healer with a resilient determination. I see you as a Mother who is willing to do whatever it takes for her children, and a wife who loves hard enough to say she is sorry. I see you as a hilarious friend who has made me laugh in times when I couldn't even see straight from crying so hard. I see you as a brave soldier of faith who got in freezing cold waters with a smile on her face because she finds the value in everything; even in pain. I see you as a gift. To me, and to the whole wide world. And I am so grateful for our time together at the river... 

There are a lot of images, but I guess I have some making up to do. And plus, I'm in a season of my creative life where I am ready to stop holding back. 



Allegretto River Story

I have forgotten how to write. How to unfold and unravel the protective barriers once in a while and reveal what lives inside of my ribcage. I could say that I don't know when or where it happened, but I do. It was the day my name was spilled out in the middle of a stranger's hate-filled tirade, the moment I discovered I was on the receiving end of the symptoms that only a diseased heart can present. When I was little I would chase around these bugs in my grandmother's backyard that we always called roly-polies. I was always fascinated by them because when you poked them, even just a little bit, they'd curl up super tight into a ball, like a tiny pill.  And looking back on the trajectory of my writing, it seems I have exhibited the exact same practice. The second it seemed I was about to be publicly shamed or made fun of, there'd I go, tucking and hiding, wishing so hard it was all just go away. 

And that tucking and hiding? It's actually quite painful. It feels like suffocation and sadness. It feels the opposite of alive. 

I don't have an answer. I don't have a happy ending (yet). But what I have is the knowledge that even though I still have my linguistic wings clipped, I can unfurl my spine and stretch-out my soul, and let the poetry go. I can open my hands, and close my eyes, and let my songs sing, through these images, the way that words once did. 

They come from the same place, I now see. They are the same thing, manifested into different variations, but of the same vibration and bone. A photograph or a paragraph, identical in weight and meaning. Identical in how I feel once I've released them from my fists. 

The Allegrettos reminded me. In a time when I felt cornered by silence, they cracked it all open and granted me permission to step, all be it wobbly, back into the sunlight. I will never forget this family or this day or this river revelation: 

My voice is never really gone.

(side note, I just realized that these images uploaded backwards and bit out of order, and just as I was about to fix it, I realized I quite love it this way. And so, it stays...)   


The Roses are Wed

I first met Laura when she was modeling for an ad campaign I was shooting for the gorgeous Hotel Granduca. We spent the entire day laughing and at the risk of sounding super creepy, I honestly adored her from minute one. She is a brilliant, hilarious and crazy gorgeous (that smile!!) mover-and-shaker and while I didn't meet Ben that day, I had a feeling he was going to be equally as incredible. My goodness was I right! This couple is a force! Not only do they have a love that could truly move mountains, but they have the support of some of the most fabulous friends and family I have ever come across. Thomas, Janica (our third shooter extraordinaire) and I did not stop smiling for one second this entire day. It was like we stepped into a fairytale land, and we found ourselves asking, more than once, "Is this even real? Is this real life?"

Everything, from the gorgeous Temple completely blanketed in fresh flowers, to the impeccable Houstonian Hotel, was flawless.

While we don't specialize in a particular type of wedding, we do specialize in the most beautiful, brave, enduring love stories in the world. And Laura and Ben are the perfect example of just that.

 

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Wedding Planning and Design: Piper & Muse

Ceremony Location: The Houstonian Hotel 

Reception Location: Beth Israel, Houston

Flowers: Darryl & Co.

Dress: The INCREDIBLE Joan Pillow

Hair and Makeup: Jackie Rosales & Ronnie

Bridesmaids Dresses: David Peck

Videographer: Robert Oberg

Band: Ken Mondshine Band

Third Shooter: Janica Day Boles