9/11 Stair Climb | Denver Event Photographer

We all remember where we were on September 11th, 2001. I was still young and I remember my 4th grade teacher telling us to sit on the carpet as one by one, my classmates got picked up by their parents. When my mom picked me up, she told me what happened. I could see the Sears Tower from my house and I was convinced that it would be the next target. I was also convinced that it would fall, from 2 miles away, onto our house. I made an emergency plan to hide under the coffee table in the basement. For years, I was scared every time a plane flew by the building. At that age, I wasn’t quite able to process the loss of life or the sacrifices the first responders and others made that day.

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In college, my partner was a volunteer firefighter. Every Friday night, he would be on duty crew, waiting at the station for calls to come in. Even though most of his district was a college campus where the biggest calls were for dumpster fires or alarms because students forgot to put water in their Easy Mac, there was always the slight fear that something worse might happen. That he might not come home that night. That is the reality for so many family members of first responders, especially those in New York City in 2001.

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Each year, around the county, firefighters come together on September 11th and converge on the tallest building in their city. In teams, they climb stairs equal to the number of floors in the World Trade Centers. In Denver, they climb 1801 California St, twice, in order to equal the height of the twin towers. Stations from all over the state were represented. Each one wears the name tag of a firefighter who lost their lives at Ground Zero. Some of them represent the same firefighter each year and maintain a relationship with their families.

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I photographed the ceremony before the climb and then waited on the stairs for teams to come up. Once some of the teams had finished, I went out to the roof, which has some incredible views of the city. My favorite part of the day was when the news crews on the roof interviewed the first woman to finish the climb. I was so moved by how many women were participating. The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb is such an important event and I’m so honored I could be a part of it.

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If you have an Denver event coming up, let me know. I would love to be a part of it and document all the most important moments. Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Getting in the Frame | Denver Family Photography

This year, I’ve been trying to take professional self portraits of my little family. I actually made it one of my new years resolutions to be in one professional self portrait (meaning I took it with my big girl camera) each month. I failed that goal pretty much immediately. These were the first “pro-selfies” I took of us and they were from Valentine’s Day.

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Each Valentine’s Day, our tradition is to plan out a meal and cook it together. We’ve made pizza from scratch a couple times. One time we just made cookies; I guess we got lazy. This year, we decided to make homemade pasta. We had just bought a hand crank pasta maker and found a great mushroom sauce recipe.

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It turns out past is pretty easy to make! Our meal was delicious and we had a lovely Valentine’s Day together. I learned a few important lessons from this attempt at self portraiture:

  1. I thought I could use my phone as a trigger but the app kept disconnecting from the camera’s wifi, so I used my wireless trigger instead.
  2. My camera kept turning off so I had to set it to never fall asleep. I thought it would die after being on all night but it hardly drained the battery. Win!
  3. Setting the trigger to 2 second timer mode made for more natural, less posed, and less awkward photos. (Notice us holding the trigger in the header and the first photo as opposed to the last two images.)
  4. All the lights in my apartment flicker ever so slightly and in photos, it drives me totally crazy.
  5. Taking self portraits all night makes everything more annoying but also more fun! And the memories are totally worth it.

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Every day is a story. I would love to help you share yours and document all of life’s little moments. Find out more about Storytelling sessions and tell me about your adventure at jamie@jamiekraus.com

Women’s March on Denver | Colorado Photographer

On Saturday, January 21st 2017, I marched on Denver with my brother and two friends. We joined almost 200,000 people, marching through the streets of Denver.

This was probably the most positive, respectful march I’ve ever been to. I saw a woman with a backpack that said First Aid on it. Everyone cheered any time a helicopter flew above us. I drove past the park after the march was over and it was spotless, aside from a few barricades left over. People were asking each other to pose for photos, all along the way. Everyone was kind, respectful, and caring. It felt incredible to be a part of such a big movement and moment in our history.

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The most emotional, inspirational, moving part of the day was that hundreds of thousands of people in other counties, across the world, marched with us and for us. People who will never be directly effected by most of our laws and policies, protested the ones that could hurt people they will never meet, on the other side of the world. Click here to see a great compilation of photos from marches around the world.

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This is absolutely my favorite photo of the day. It was so incredible to see young kids participate in the march. It was especially inspiring to see kids with their own signs and outfits, laughing and smiling and chanting. This supergirl wasn’t just along for the ride. She clearly knows the power of girls!

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I just love the sentiment of this sign. We are the storm!

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The most important thing to take away from this event is that this is the start of a marathon. From here, we move forward, we work harder, we keep fighting.

  • We have to give what we can (time, money, skills, resources) to organizations like the ACLU, CAIR, and Planned Parenthood as well as to candidates running in local elections.
  • Stay vigilant and informed. With the spread of fake news and other lies, it is so important to stay informed, find sources we can trust, fact check, and be skeptical of un-cited information.
  • We need to engage in conversation, even when it’s uncomfortable (especially if it’s uncomfortable), so that we expand our own views and help inform others.
  • We must vote! Midterm elections are in two years. There may be local elections before then. We need to vote any time we get the chance.
  • Write and call your representatives. Voting is not the end of your part in democracy. You still have influence and power to change laws and government policies. When enough people write and call about the same issue, it absolutely can pressure a representative enough to take action. To start, here are the phone numbers for Colorado Senator Cory Gardner. womens-march-denver, denver-social-justice, denver-event-photographer, denver-womens-photographer, denver-womens-march-photos
  • If you can, run for office. There are plenty of small, local government positions across the country that need filling. Many of them don’t even require a huge time commitment, so you can keep your day job.
  • Comment below with your suggestions on how to move forward and make waves.

Interested in working with me? Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Best of 2016 | Denver Photographer

Wow, 2016. I’m not going to lie and say that 2016 was great. It was a very difficult year, for the world as well as for my personal life. But, of course, there were good parts and some really good parts. And now, it’s over! So let’s celebrate with some photos!

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This is my 2016 photo review. My favorite images from my favorite sessions throughout the year. My business, my work, my clients were consistently positive throughout the year. And for that, I am so grateful. When I was at my lowest, crying alone in an airport, I got an inquiry for a really fun photo shoot that I knew would fuel my soul. It didn’t lessen all the pain, but it did give me something positive to look forward to and something to be grateful for.

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In 2016, I started working more closely with Opera Colorado, taking portraits of the Young Artists, and working with Inside OC. I got to photograph one of my dream dance companies, Streb. I started offering headshot sessions and was able to work with some incredible people one-on-one. I was hired by Naropa University’s Theater Program and photographed three shows for them. I worked with a lot of dancers around the country, making creative portraits together. Perhaps most exciting, I started a new dance project, which will be announced later in 2017!

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Interested in working with me? Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Christmas with Mike | Denver Family Photographer

I hope everyone who celebrates, had a very Merry Christmas and first few nights of Chanukah. I didn’t take too many pictures this year because I wanted to remain present, but here are a few that I did take. 

We celebrate early, in Colorado, by decorating our Christmas tree/Chanukah bush, opening presents and watching the fireplace channel on Netflix with some hot cocoa. 

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We always go back to Mike’s hometown to celebrate with family. We get up early on Christmas morning to open presents in our pajamas. Then we have breakfast and get ready. We spend the afternoon with Mike’s dad and grandparents and then we go to his other grandparents’ house to have a big, family dinner. Mike got a thermal camera for his phone. Just like a little kid, he played with his new toy all day. 

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Every day is a story. I would love to help you share yours and document all of life’s little moments. Find out more about Storytelling sessions and tell me about your adventure at jamie@jamiekraus.com

Fall Recipe | Denver Family Photographer

Around this time last year, I was kind of obsessed with watching the show Worst Cooks in America. In one of the episodes, they made ravioli uovo, and I knew I had to try it. It’s a large ravioli with an intact egg yolk inside. When you cut open the pasta, the yolk runs and mixes with the sauce. It’s hard to find the dish in restaurants so I decided to make it while I was at my aunt’s house, since she has a pasta maker. We used the recipe from the show, which I copied here, except we skipped the bacon and sage and we already had the pasta dough from the day before. Recipe credit goes to Chef Anne Burrell of the Food Network. The photo of me was taken by my boyfriend, Mike.

Ingredients
4 slices bacon
10 leaves plus 2 sprigs fresh sage
Kosher salt
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 large eggs plus 4 large egg yolks (all heirloom or organic eggs)
All-purpose flour, as needed
Pasta Dough, rolled for ravioli, recipe follows
Semolina flour, as needed
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cups chicken stock

Chef Anne’s All-Purpose Pasta Dough:
1/2 pound all-purpose flour
2 whole eggs, plus 1/2 egg yolk (all heirloom or organic eggs)
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water or more if needed
Kosher salt

Directions
To a saute pan over medium-high heat, add the bacon and render until crispy. Remove from the heat and place onto a paper-towel-lined plate. To the bacon fat, add the sage leaves and fry until crispy, about 30 seconds. Season the sage leaves with salt. Finely chop the bacon, crumble the sage and set aside. Reserve for garnish.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, Parm, parsley and 2 whole eggs; mix well and sprinkle with salt.
Dust a clean work surface lightly with all-purpose flour and lay out 2 sheets of pasta about 12 inches long; brush lightly with water. Equally space 4 dollops of the ricotta mixture on one of the pasta sheets. Then use a spoon to make a nest or small hole in the center of each dollop. Carefully separate the remaining eggs and put a yolk in each ricotta nest; the ricotta should lovingly nestle each yolk (if a yolk breaks, scoop it out with a spoon and don’t use it).

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Cover the ricotta nests and egg yolk with the remaining pasta sheet. Use your index fingers to press around each ricotta nest to seal the edges. Then use a fluted ring cutter or dough roller to cut around each ravioli (they should be 3 to 4 inches in diameter). Reserve the ravioli on a tray generously dusted with semolina.

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Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. In a large saute pan, melt the butter and chicken stock. Add the sage sprigs and season with salt. Bring this to boil and reduce to simmer.
Add the ravioli to the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes, no more. Using a spider and slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ravioli from the water to the pan with butter and chicken stock and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. If the sauce reduces too much, add a few drops of the pasta cooking water. The sauce should cling to the ravioli in a buttery hug.
Transfer the ravioli to serving plates, one per plate. Spoon a little extra sauce over each one, and finish with a sprinkey-dink of grated Parm, the bacon and then the fried sage.

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Get the pasta dough recipe here.

Cooking is a great activity to do during a storytelling session. I would love to help you share yours and document all of life’s little moments. Find out more about Storytelling sessions and tell me about your adventure at jamie@jamiekraus.com

Remembering Nana | Denver Portrait Photographer

I spent last week in Chicago, with my family, even though I’m going back in a few days for Thanksgiving. I went home last week to attend my grandmother’s funeral and to sit shiva with my family after. (Shiva is the Jewish tradition of gathering with friends and family for a few days after the funeral to mourn.)

To honor her, I wanted to put together a blog post of photos I’ve taken of her, as well as the photos we displayed for shiva. I loved looking through the old photos of her when she was young, her and my grandpa, her with my brother and I as babies. I wish I had taken more photos of her in the last few years.

It took me a long time to realize her strength. My other grandma is a holocaust survivor so that was what I thought strength always looked like. But this woman recovered from a horrific accident, beat cancer three times, lived with one lung, and was recovering from surgery when her husband died. She still found motivation and joy in her life. She showed me that strength comes in many forms and I am so grateful to her for that.

This Thanksgiving would have been her birthday. We usually have a theme every year that we base our meal around. This year we will be cooking Nana’s recipe’s and playing her favorite music.

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Every day is a story. I would love to help you share yours and document all of life’s little moments. Find out more about Storytelling sessions and tell me about your adventure at jamie@jamiekraus.com