Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
Thousands of images.
Three hundred sixty five days.
Dozens of Stories.
Fifty Two weeks.
Holy shit it’s been a whirlwind year. They say (whoever “they” are) that you should do something every day that scares you – so today that thing is going to be talking about my accomplishments. I’m terrible at self-promotion but I’m going to give it an honest-to-goodness go. Gulp.
In August I hosted my first workshop, Write Your Life, and am working on launching my second. Three days later I lost my corporate job and was catapulted head first into legitimate, scary-as-f*ck, self-employment, though it is a position I should have chosen for myself ages ago. This fall I was asked to hand letter a magazine cover for Minnesota Monthly and the beautiful Lucia at Utterly Engaged tasked me with writing an article on finding intimacy in portraiture which turned into an article offering advice for those booking a wedding photographer who want more than posed, perfect portraits. As the current year draws to a close and the new one breaks on the horizon, I find myself ready for whatever 2016 has to offer. What new things my camera – my heart – will gaze upon and document. I look forward to celebrating joy and love and promise and hope on mountains and in breweries, in fields and forests and wherever else work takes me in the months to come. It’s time for me to make more images for myself – to shoot more on film and less on my iPhone. I’m ready for more editorial work and am confident that 2016 will allow me to make images for brands that look, sound, and feel precisely like life. I’m beyond excited to be expanding my travel portfolio (yay adventure!) and photographing people in places I’ve never been.
As I attempt to eloquently articulate my feelings on the past year, I find myself lost in thought. I’m swimming in the sounds of laughter and dancing, newborn baby cries and children playing in soft summer fields, rushing water and chilled beer bottles clanged together in reverie. Cicadas at sundown and music turned up to eleven, the hum of generators and plodding rhythms of dizzy feet punctuating the memorized beat of love songs and party songs and lets-dance-until-we-can’t-stand-anymore songs. I can still taste the summer breezes as they blew across the river, across Lake Superior, through tents and trees and off the sweat-shiny shoulders of brides as they turn their heads back toward me and my camera, eyes excited and mesmerized by pure joy.
Making images that matter for people who invite me so wholly, completely, irrevocably into their stories is the most rewarding, wonderful, fulfilling, every-overused-cliche-adjective-ever job. Though I absolutely work my ass off, picking up my camera has never once felt like work. It’s quite the opposite rather, and it never ceases to amaze me how fortunate I am to be able to make a living doing the very thing that makes me come alive. As such, it’s impossible to me that I can even begin to summarize my year in a handful of images (read: entirely too many because I couldn’t possibly narrow this down any further), and yet, here we are. At the end of another year, another season, another miraculous and harrowing and scary, crazy, sad, beautiful trip around the sun.
Here are a few of my favorite images from this year (in no particular order). An immeasurable amount of gratitude belongs to those of you who chose me, who trusted me, who invited me along and invited me in.
If you know me (or follow me on instagram), then you know that I have a ridiculous love for fashion and styling. Though it’s only really come out – via social media – this past year, I’ve loved and admired fashion and design since I was a little girl. Throughout most of my life I thought I’d end up at Parsons or FIDM and live the life of a designer in New York. Somehow that was railroaded (by a boy) and I never really got back on track. Until now. Though my aspirations have changed – from fashion designer to styling, design, and merchandising – the passion still runs to my core. I can feel it in my belly, the warmth rising, fueling me, driving me, pushing me to do more. So naturally, I married my two passions together and produced and designed an editorial bridal fashion shoot. I wanted to stretch my wings as a photographer, and break into the editorial market. With the help of an insane list of talented creatives (full credit below!), we made my dream into a reality. If I’ve learned anything in my lifetime, it’s that you have to be brave enough to go after what you want. There are so many people ready and able to tell you no or can’t or don’t, that it’s truly imperative that you become a voice of “yes” for yourself. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait for approval or applause. Do the thing that makes you come alive. As much and as often as you can. Because if you don’t burn, where will the light come from? Be brave enough to follow your voice and realize your visions. It’s amazing how remarkable we each are, if only we allow ourselves the space and the freedom to simply try.
This shoot turned out better than I could have ever imagined, and now that’s it’s over, I find myself wanting more. So much more. If you’re a model and in need of photos, contact me and let’s get something set up. If you’re an editor or stylist or art director and are in need of editorial work (from concept through production, or simply need to hire a photographer) contact me and let’s make magic. And if you’re anyone who wants fashion pointers, tips, advice, help, etc. contact me. I’d love to help you find your style.
A million thanks to my amazing and insanely talented team of creatives:
Production, Styling, Photography: Athena Pelton
Models: Abby Fischer + Laina Kaskinen, Caryn Model Management
Hair + Makeup: Amber Heckert
Floral: Studio Fluerette
Rentals: On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals
Gowns: Leanne Marshall, Linyage, Anna Campbell, Rue De Seine, and Elizabeth Dye (three gowns sourced from the impeccable A and Be Bridal, Minneapolis)
(Fax)Fur: Brown, Target. Black, Photographer’s own, vintage collection.
Masks: Annie Libertini