Monday, December 31, 2007

Sarah & Allie

Right after Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to photograph Sarah & Allie. Sarah & Allie are sisters, and their Dad leads worship and is an elder at my church. His wife thought it would be a great surprise to have photos of the girls taken for him for Christmas. So, they came over to my place on "Black Friday" and we had some fun! Since it was a surprise, I couldn't share them with you until after Christmas, but now that the cat's out of the bag - check 'em out!!

Sarah & Allie laughing it up in the warm glow of the sunset. The sunlight was warm, but the air outside was COLD - they were such good sports!!

A slighty more vintage version of the same scene

and cross-processed...

Allie in the sun

And Sarah

Eventually, we had to put jackets back on to keep them from freezing. Here's a couple shots against the back of my house.

Sarah joked about climbing the tree in my back yard, and I wasn't about to let her get away without actually doing it! Allie got up there too, and the shots ended up being some of my favorites from the day! (don't you just love that barn next door in the background?!)

Finally, their noses were getting all red and my fingers were getting numb, so we headed inside. I don't have a studio in my apartment, but I do have some awesome wallpaper in the hallway - so that's where we shot :)

And for the last shots of the day, we headed to the kitchen. See, Allie & Sarah are AMAZING cooks - or bakers, rather. So, my original idea was to get them cooking in their kitchen. Since it was a surprise for Dad, and he was at the house, we made do with looking at cookbooks in my kitchen instead. My kitchen is small, but right at sunset, it has the most beautiful light!

All in all, it was a really fun shoot! Thanks Sarah & Allie for being such good sports and for making my job so easy :) I hope your Dad loved his Christmas present!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Photo Biz Boot Camp

Wow! It has been a crazy couple of weeks around here! Just when I thought I was about as busy as it gets with finishing up jobs in time for the holidays - I spent much of last week at Photo Biz Boot Camp. Liana Lehman came up from Atlanta and spent 3 days with 8 of us from 7 studios in the area going over the business side of photography and helping each of us develop some goals for the coming year and beyond. It was incredible and I am SO glad I was able to go (thanks to a scholarship from Davina Fear)! I have so much going on in my head and I need to take some more time to get it all out on paper and make some plans for the coming months. Now that all jobs are up online and prints have been ordered, I can't wait to take a few days to process and plan ahead!

Here are some photos from our last day of camp...

Matt Grazier workin' it for the camera

Enna Grazier looking like HOT STUFF!

Matt & Enna having their portrait taken by Liana

Maureen Ford being photographed by, um, everyone

Eric Laurits, aka :e: in between shots

Meghan Thomas - one of the few of us who actually seems to like having her picture taken

Lauren Rutten laughing it up, enjoying life, thinking about the "darkroom," I'm sure ;)
(ah, you had to be there...)

Amanda Harris playing with the Grazier's puppy, Jackson

Liana working it Santa-style for Enna and Eric

Thank you for coming all the way up to Boston to be with us, Liana! You are a great teacher and an absolute blessing! And thanks to each of my fellow photographers - for being such an encouragement to me! I'm so glad to have met each of you and can't wait for that follow-up session on the cruise ship next year :)

I'm really excited about the next year in my business and I can't wait to see what happens when I start putting all of this into action. Big changes will be coming, so stay tuned...

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Day at the Fells

A few weeks ago, I photographed a family from my church. This family is awesome and so unique! Doug & Neilani have an amazing capacity to love. They recently had a baby, Ezekiel who they call Zeke (isn't that a great name?). But, they also have 3 teenage boys who they adopted from Haiti! This is one of the most diverse families I've ever photographed, or known for that matter. It's just so awesome to see how they have opened their homes and hearts in obedience to God and have built a wonderful family in the process.

So, Neilani & Doug had me come along as they took the boys for a walk in the Fells near their home. It was a great Fall day - sunny & warm - and the woods were a great backdrop for our shoot. Check it out...

Here's baby Zeke laughing as we tromp through the woods.

Here are the older boys, heading through the trees...

...and coming out at the pond where we planned to shoot.

And posing for the camera

It was really cool to see these 3 big teenage boys hanging out and playing with their little brother. They're totally sweet with him - and don't they make a handsome bunch?

Neilani & Zeke hanging out by the pond

Doug & Zeke back at the house

This is Sheku. He was totally camera shy and did not want his picture taken! But he loosened up after a while :)

This is Paul. Totally cute and very comfortable smiling for the camera!

And then there's Ephesien. This guy was like a professional model - he just kept posing for me. It was great!

He even took me over to the soccer field by their house for some shots of him in his element...

It was a great afternoon hanging out with you guys! Thanks so much for trusting me with your memories!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Demian, Elizabeth & Esalina

While I was in Chicago a few weeks ago, I was able to spend some time with my friends Elizabeth & Demian, and their adorable little girl, Esalina. Elizabeth was a bride at the studio I used to work for in Chicago, Real Life Weddings, and then she joined us as an employee for about a year. After working with her as a bride and then as a co-worker in the studio, we also worked together on my website. (don't blame her for the Coming Soon pages though - those are waiting on me to choose my favorites :) Elizabeth is an all-around great person, and her family is just adorable.

Check out these shots from our portrait session last year...

So, anyway, we figured that while I was in town we should get together for photo shoot!

We started the morning at their apartment on the North side of Chicago. I hadn't seen Esalina in about a year, so we spent a bit of time at the beginning helping her warm up to me. Mom & Dad did a great job keeping her entertained and happy.

After we played at the house, we went for a walk down to the beach. It was a beautiful day at the Lakeshore and Esalina loves the beach!

Lina loves throwing sand into the water!

Despite our best efforts, Lina still fell into the water :) Luckily, Elizabeth was prepared with another cute outfit.

Isn't she a doll?!

Thanks for a fun shoot you guys! It was great to see you all again - let's do it again next year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

World AIDS Day

In light of my recent trip to Zimbabwe, I was excited to hear about an event going on this weekend here in Boston, and around the US - World AIDS Day. Check it out below and I hope you can make it!

6000 children are orphaned each day by AIDS... so our goal is to raise 6000 dollars, and get 6000 petitions signed.

World AIDS Day
Saturday, December 1st, 2007
10:00am-3:00pm (open event)
Government Center, Boston, MA

Live music/performances from local bands supporting the cause, as well as some traditional performances by cultures impacted by the AIDS pandemic. A speaker will be there for a very informal briefing on how the AIDS pandemic has affected life today. Sign petitions at our booth to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). There'll be boxes to give small donations, even change, and what not. There will also be a table with a Worldvision rep in case anyone feels compelled to sponsor a child. Chalk will be provided so you can chalk up Government Center with huge messages and notes to tell the world that the city of Boston cares. An aerial photo will be taken at the end of the day.

World AIDS Day is sponsored by World Vision. For more information on World AIDS Day events near you, go here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sara & Bodie's Slideshow

I blogged about Bodie & Sara's wedding in the airport on my way to Zimbabwe, but hadn't had a chance to post their slideshow until now. Take a look...

Thanks for being patient guys! I hope you LOVE your photos!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Shelton, Margret & Concilia - Zimbabwe Day 10

Ok, Ok! So, I'm going out of order - so sue me! :) The truth is, I can't go any further with this without telling you about Shelton, Margret & Concilia. When I think about my trip, I think about these 3 kids. When I pray for Zimbabwe, I think about these 3 kids. And when people ask me "how was your trip?" - I think about these 3 kids.

So, here's the story...

When the team was in Mtshabezi, at the BICC Mission, we did quite a few home visits - meeting with many of the people who they work with at the BICC AIDS Project. This particular day was quite hot, long, and emotionally challenging. We met with 4 families that day, and attended one funeral (which I'll share about another day). After the funeral, we went to one of the local primary schools, and picked up Shelton, Margret & Concilia so we could see their home and interview them. I have a hard time photographing and being a good listener, so I have to admit that I don't have all of the details on these kids - but that's what video's for! Hopefully my team can fill in some of the gaps (or correct my mistakes)

Shelton (8) & Margret (10) are brother & sister, and Concilia (11?) is their cousin. The three of them live in the home they used to share with their mothers, who were sisters. And they live alone. Shelton, as the "man" of the family, is the child head of household. Their Grandmother lives nearby, but they actually live alone. I think that both of their mothers died of AIDS, and now the BICC AIDS Project helps them by paying their school fees, providing some food when possible, and sending them to pscyho-social support camps during school breaks. The AIDS Project is supported, in part, by Forgotten Voices and is making a huge difference in the lives of these kids, and 1700 others in the area.

This is their homestead, which includes a kitchen (on the right) and a small bedroom (left) and no bathroom or other sheltered space.

The girls leading us onto the property.

This is their kitchen. Notice that there are no chairs, no tables, and gaping holes in their roof. Please also note that it is now RAINY SEASON in Zimbabwe...

This is absolutely the thing I think about most when I think about these kids. See that bowl of greens in the photo below? Those are weeds they've gathered from the bush surrounding their home. That's all that they eat when they're at home. Thankfully, their school is able to provide 1 meal per day because their school is supported by a project through World Vision. The meals at school don't include meat, and this is all they have outside of school. This is what I'm thinking about while I'm eating my dinner, and when I see food being thrown into the garbage. And this is what makes me think that while we're doing a lot to help these kids, we aren't doing enough yet.

We interviewed them in the kitchen and asked them all sorts of questions about their life and about what they want for their future. I can't for the life of me remember what they each said they wanted to be when they grow up - but maybe one of my team mates can leave a comment below letting us know? I was so distracted by that bowl of weeds that it was all I could do to keep taking photos and not start bawling - so apparently I didn't listen to the whole interview.

After the interview, we were also able to pray for the children, and then take a tour of their homestead.

This is the room that they share - which has a leaky roof as well. The girls sleep with Shelton in the middle (on a pile of blankets on the floor), and the oldest sleeps closest to the door. You can see how much they protect and take care of each other.

And this is their garden.

With very little rain so far this year, and seeds hard to come by, you can see that not much is growing in here.

Near the garden, just outside the fence of the homestead are 2 graves. The kids' mothers are buried here.

But, these kids are still just normal kids. Laughing, playing...

The girls thought it was HILARIOUS when Obert (who works on the AIDS Project, and who you'll hear much more about in another post) tried jumping rope too.

But these kids don't just get to laugh, and play, and do homework and have fun - like most kids in America. These kids have to take care of one another, take care of their home, do all of the chores, gather food, collect seed pods to use as candles, bathe themselves, wake up on time, walk 2 hours to get to school each day, and know that their parents are gone.

My heart aches for these kids, and I pray for them every day. Would you join me in praying for them as well?