It’s that time of year again — time for me to reflect on all that’s happened over the past twelve months. I’ve been dreading this post, actually. Which probably seems odd. But it means that this year is over. That it’s gone, folded into the pages of memory, and I’m not quite ready to let it go just yet. It was incredibly perfect. Everything I’ve been dreaming of since I launched this humble endeavor, and decided, once and for all to chase headlong into the chasm of dreaming-so-big-it’s-scary. This year has been – has meant – everything.
But much to my chagrin, and despite my resistance, the year is coming to a close. So it’s time to savor each and every moment I was able to spend with all of you. A walk down the aisle. A new baby. Friendship. Family. Joy. Your stories are my why, and every single time you step in front of my camera, with your heart full of trust and your eyes wide, I am thankful. I am humbled. I am amazed and awed and filled with overused adjectives that spill forth in a effort to express how I am so incessantly and constantly overwhelmed by how wonderful it is that I get to do this every day. That I get to stand alongside you as you etch your names onto the pages of your stories, your laugh lines and tears punctuating each paragraph, my photographs stuck in chapters, creased, but not worn. Steady. Timeless.
Thank you. Forever and always and more than these tiny words on a screen will ever be able to express. For your trust, and love, and kindness, and friendship. Most of all, thank you for extending the invitation to witness your stories unfold, and allowing me the opportunity to capture them – to document the beauty and imperfection and laughter and minutia – as authentically and honestly and beautifully as I can.
A few weekends ago I traveled to San Jose to document the beautiful women behind Imago Fitness and finally met Joanne in real life. We’ve been internet friends for a couple of years, but become close after she inspired me to finally believe in myself enough to embark on my own fitness journey. Joanne + her husband Jonathan happen to be phenomenal photographers, and the kind of people who steal themselves quietly into your life, slowly filling the cracks you didn’t know existed, and then burst out, effervescent and overflowing with joy. They are kind and beautiful and generous and a million other adjectives that feel trite when I roll them around in my mouth, feeling their weight on my tongue. These are the kind of people for whom words are simply not enough.
While I was staying with them, Joanne mentioned that weekend mornings have become a sort of ritual for them right now. The girls rise early, tiptoe up to their parent’s bedroom and curl into bed with Joanne and Jon, and the four of them snuggle, bodies pressed against each other and bellies filled with laughter and love and that sweet ache of fleeting bliss. Eventually these girls will grow, and be too big to share sunday mornings pillow fighting and snuggling with mom and dad. So when Joanne asked if I would capture this time for them and make images of their incredible family, I was honored and humbled and couldn’t imagine a better way to wrap up my trip. This is the kind of story I live to tell. Thank you, Adobo family, for inviting me – for trusting me – to tell it for you.
Story is as much a part of us as our bodies are. Each of us is a unique and varied novel ripe with chapters about where we came from. Who we are. Our dreams and hopes and wishes and fears. Our mundane everydays and our wild and crazy adventures. We have interspersed into our pages heartaches and celebrations, triumph and turmoil. There are things we are proud of and others we most certainly are not. But they are our stories nonetheless, and whether we write them with monotony or fervor, the inkwell of the pen of our life never truly runs dry. The nib will never fray or get worn.
We are history. Living. Breathing. Being.
We are the torn and creased and battered and pristine pages in the most perfect book.
Story is the reason I’m a photographer – I have the ability to capture a moment that will instantly jog the memory and bring someone back in time. A second or a year or a decade past. A photograph is to the memory what the card catalogue was to the library. It’s an incredible piece of a beautiful and much greater whole. It’s the beginning and the middle but never the end, and that’s what makes it magic.
Because I recently surpassed 1000 ‘fans’ on my Facebook page, and because I promised a giveaway, I’m officially announcing the Story Sessions. An intimate portrait session with you – yes you! – and whatever is necessary to adequately convey the context of your story. I want to capture your beginning. Your middle. And okay, even what you think is an end, and create for you an image and/or series of images that will take you back to any chapter in your life that needs chronicling. Cataloguing. Archiving. A summer spent in the BWCA. Childhood best friends. You – for no particular reason other than the simple fact that today – that right now – will only happen once. Your child and their lovey. Siblings. An adoption. A divorce. A reconnection. You father’s hands. The way your mother looks right. this. moment.
Whatever your story, whatever the portrait, whatever your reason, and whatever your history; I want to hear what makes you so beautifully you.
I want to give your path paving stones instead of breadcrumbs. Because time is a fickle thing. And it’s a cruel thing. And it will steal even the most wonderful and beautiful things from us. Quickly. Efficiently. Without warning or apology. It will steal from us the smell of our newborn child, snuggled milk-drunk on our chests. It will destroy the sound of childhood laughter swirled up in wind and summer rain. It will muffle the buzz of streetlights electrified and magnetic in hot, summer air. The creases on our grandparent’s hands. The magic in our mother’s eyes. We think we will always remember these things. But the truth, darlings, is that we won’t. The smells and the sounds and the feelings will fade. They will be carried to sea on the tides of time and we won’t even be left with a footprint in the sand. Unless we document them tangibly. Legibly. Permanently.
So tell me your stories. Tell us your stories. Leave me a comment on this post (or, if your story is too personal to share, contact me and I will share your story anonymously) with what you would want documented in a Story Session and why, and I will choose one story to document in a personal portrait session. You have until midnight on Friday, February 28th to enter. The only rule is that you be available to the Twin Cities metro area. You don’t have to live here, but you do have to be willing to get here.
Good luck, loves! I can’t wait to hear your stories.