Today in my Skin

You know those days where you're just going along, doing your thing and then out of nowhere a voice in your head pops up out of nowhere and says weird stuff like, "You would look better with a smaller nose. Your lips are too tiny. You need to gain some weight. What is the deal with that wrinkle between your eyes?" That happened to me today, and I got kind of sad for a minute. And then I was like, hey, Lily and Thomas, can you take my picture? And they were like, um, ok, but why? And I was like, "Because I am feeling completely and utterly vulnerable and I want to capture this moment because someday when I'm 96 I'll be like, girrrrrl what were you feeling sorry for yourself for? Look how human and alive you were!" And also, I think it's important to photograph myself as part of this life's story, too.

Self acceptance is a work in progress for me. It has taken me years and years to finally be OK with the fact that my art is not pretty. It's imperfect and human and real and beautiful. And maybe the next step, is to feel the same way about living in my own skin, too.


My Thoughts on Books

2015-02-08_0054 Braedon is writing and making a book. I'll let him share it with the world whenever he is ready, but I want to share this:

His advisor at school asked him to interview people who have also written books, so, this morning I got this email from B:


Subject line: Progect

1.What makes a book good? 2.Whats makes a cover good? 3.What pulls in a reader? 4.Should I include photos? 5.what makes a topic interesting? 6.How much does publishing cost? 7.what are good publishing com.? 8.What is the best type of story's

Here are some of my responses:

1. A lot of people will tell you to consider you audience when deciding how to craft a "good" book, but I don't believe in that, at all. I believe that what the world needs most are artists who are writing unfiltered and undiluted and I can think of nothing that would make a book better than a hearty dose of raw talent and honesty untarnished by the ego. 2. Again, this is totally subjective. Although I would argue that a "good" cover shows the title and feeling of the book clearly, and doesn't scare people away. 3. I'd have to go with my answer for #1. I think what people are most hungry for is honest story-telling and beautiful words. There aren't enough raw writers out there right now. Pull the reader in with your story, and then tell that story with sobering truth. 4. Yes. And maybe paintings. Because you are SO talented. Maybe Lily can do watercolors to match the emotions of your story? 5. Again, I have to go back to #1. Interest is such a subjective thing, and I'd rather you create a book that is meaningful and freaking awesome than one that appeals to the masses and follows all the rules. 8. The best stories are the ones without any bullshit. The ones that you write. Just keep doing what you do because the world needs you, B. FIST BUMP!!!!

And I think I need to share this with you because it reflects a lot of how I feel about photography these days, too. I'd rather you create a photograph that is meaningful and freaking awesome than one that appeals to the masses and follows all the rules. The. End.

Artifact Uprising Book + What I Learned Shooting For Just Me

I made a personal book of hundreds and hundreds of never-shared black and white iPhone images from our Airstream journey. It is, and will forever be (I'm willing to bet), one of my most treasured possessions.

I used VSCO b2 to edit each image, and Artifact Uprising to print the book.

Now that I have had it for awhile, I think I am ready to share a few things that creating this book taught me.

1. Pretty is overrated. My art will never be pretty. My art will always celebrate the wrinkles and the reality and the raw patina that only experience can leave behind. I kind of live for the things that many people think are ugly, and I'm finally OK with that. I'm finally OK with being the photographer who thinks your ugly is my beautiful.

2. iPhones are kind of great. We are a media-free family as much as we can be, but, living alone in the woods with two children for months and months left me exhausted to the point of fainting. Thank goodness I could just put my tiny phone in my back pocket and run out the door, because if I had to carry my giant camera and lenses every time we went on a hike or down to the lake I honestly don't think I would have made it out alive. I weigh barely 100 lbs and my camera bag is heaaaaavy and being able to capture the moments that matter most to me with a camera that is so portable and lightweight was crazy freeing.

3. Take the picture, apologize later. Don't second think. If your heart says, "Girl, you better capture this," then you better capture it. My Gram does not enjoy having her picture taken and she often yells at me in French whenever I start snapping, but I did it anyway. I believe that to be a really great photographer, you have to be brave and ballsy sometimes/always. And as long as you are staying within the limits of the law, don't take no for an answer. If your Great Aunt shuts you down, keep at it. Promise her this isn't for anyone to see but you because you love her so much. Which leads me to my next thing...

4. Keep it to yourself. There is freedom in creating a body of work that will never, ever be seen by the public eye. There is so much joy there. I made this giant book at the same time I was crafting River Story and it was exactly what my soul needed to keep singing. The whole shoot + share tsunami has my brain overloaded most  days, and it feels really good to have a cohesive and beautiful collection just for me and the ones who eat at my breakfast table. The ego is a dangerous mother fucker, and I've seen so many talented photographers get swallowed whole. This book kept me rooted in what matters.

5. Black and white, always. In 1995 I developed my very first roll of black and white film in the darkroom at The Kingswood-Oxford School and that was that. I was hooked. I love the latest film whatever presets and actions as much as the next person, but when it comes to documenting my family's moments, my heart will always, always beat in tones of black and white.

I know I just said the book was/is just for me and my beloveds, but here is one iPhone image because I have OCD and it bothers me when a blogpost doesn't have an image to go with it. The cover of the book features our pet tomato plant.

Processed with VSCOcam with a9 preset



The First Five Minutes

Last night I slept with my big-girl camera next to the bed all ready to go. The first little noise she made, I started clicking. This is all part of an assignment for my new DEFINE School class launching in March centered around including our families in our creative process. The first five minutes are when it's all undone and human. The wild hair and the tangled bed and the crinkle-nose yawns. The tear in her special butterfly pillowcase, and the way she pushes down Foxy Loxy's nose and cracks up every time. Her blankey. Oh, her blankey.

It's also when my brain is still soft and fuzzy and I'm closer to the part of my mind that makes unconscious creative choices. No posing. No directing. No moving the pile of blankets (or still-sleeping husband) out of the way.

Life is beautiful enough on its own and I believe in the preservation of the truth. 2015-01-24_00022015-01-24_00032015-01-24_00052015-01-24_00062015-01-24_00072015-01-24_00082015-01-24_00092015-01-24_00112015-01-24_00122015-01-24_00132015-01-24_0015