The time my family spends together and our ever-evolving traditions are so important to me, especially now that I live far away from my hometown. Thanksgiving is by far my favorite family holiday. We always have it at my aunt and uncle’s house. We spend two days prepping and cooking. Everyone pitches in to cook and bake and clean. We all cram into the kitchen, trying not to step on the dog or cat. For dinner, we invite friends over from near and far, we eat, drink, and talk (mostly about inappropriate things). After dessert, we belt out old songs and watch terrible movies. It’s chaos, it’s crazy, it’s perfect, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Because these memories are so important to us, I wanted to make sure they were preserved. So, since I’m a family photographer, I photographed my own family during one of my favorite holidays.
I’ve been working with Vanessa for over a year now and I even photographed her daughter’s beautiful birth story! I was so excited when she asked me to document her and her kids last month. The plan was to come over when everyone was waking up from their naps and capture all the post-nap snuggles, but then A stopped napping so we had to think of a new idea. Instead we opted for a morning session after everyone woke up. When I got there, A was in his PJs and everyone else was getting over a cold. (Including me. ‘Tis the season!) We captured story-time, snuggles, a little bit of chaos, and lots of playtime!
Missy and Jaice met, like many do, on a dating site. Missy says that the night before Jaice messaged her, she wrote down exactly what she wanted from a partner and Jaice fit the description perfectly. They had an instant connection on their first date and their love for each other shines brightly. Their bond is so tangible, it can be felt even when they are apart.
Missy and Jaice’s first date was at a tea house on the Pearl St. Mall in Boulder so that’s where they started their ceremony. They drank tea, laughed with friends, and cozied up together. Then, they all went out to a nearby park and huddled together on a bridge. With the water flowing under them and the beautiful snow surrounding them, it was the perfect spot to begin their next journey together.
This was one of the most joyful and sacred marriages I’ve witnessed. It was an absolute honor to be included in it.
This was my first full year in business and what an experience it’s been! I started my Dance by Design project, where I collaborate with other local artists for an urban dance/fashion photoshoot. I continued working with Opera Colorado, and I started photographing yogis on location.
I also committed to photographing people and pets in a documentary style. I love capturing real-life moments through photographic storytelling and I am so lucky to have been invited into people’s lives to photograph their moments, big and small.
Today is the last day of Chanukah. Last night, I lit the menorah and sang the blessings with my girlfriend and my dad. Then we drove around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. Even though both my parents are Jewish, both of these activities are holiday traditions in our family.
I love being Jewish because there is no right or wrong way to do it. Judaism taught me to question everything and showed me that my identity is a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I don’t consider myself to be a religious person but I’ll always be a Jew. I had a Bat Mitzvah, I questioned everything, I celebrate Chanukah, and I chose my own identity.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to start working with a Bar and Bat Mitzvah Photographer. Dave at InSync Photography and Design is a wonderful photographer (and person!) and I love photographing Mitzvahs alongside him. While working for Dave, I’ve been able to witness so many young Jews read the torah, question everything, and choose their own adventures. I am so grateful to be able to be a part of these milestones; they have brought me closer to my own Judaism. I’ve decided to share some photos of a few Bar and Bat Mitzvahs that I photographed with InSync Photography and Design, in honor of my favorite Jewish holiday.
Storytelling sessions are all about the connections with the people, animals, and things that you love. Carolyn and her horse Toby have an incredible connection. Toby towers over Carolyn but there is so much trust between them through grooming, riding and little moments in between. I really enjoyed capturing their love for each other.
Every Thanksgiving, my family writes down what we’re grateful for in our little Thanksgiving journal. This year, I thought I’d make my page a little more public and share what I’m grateful for on my blog. I’m writing about 5 things I’m grateful for this year, in no particular order and sharing photos from last year’s Thanksgiving.
My Privilege: Over the past few years, I’ve learned what privilege really means, and along the way, I’ve realized just how much of it I have. While it is very important to be aware of the privilege you have and use it to help those without, I think it’s also important to be grateful for it. I owe so much of my success and ease of life to my many privileges, and for that, I am grateful.
Facebook: What a cliche millennial thing to be grateful for, right? Let me explain. Facebook has not only allowed me to keep in touch with friends and family that I moved far away from, it helps me stay up to date with current events, have intellectual discussions, and broaden my worldview, it has been a key networking tool as I become a small business owner in a new place, and it has provided me with a support group as I continue my journey into adulthood. Facebook has gotten me gigs and jobs, it has helped my business grow and it has helped me grow with it.
My Girlfriend: Morgan and I have been together for 4 years, but this past year has been a true test. It’s the first year we’ve officially lived together, had to figure out finances together, been away from our friends and family together, and the first year of my business. She has been incredibly supportive of it all. And despite my lack of kitchen cleaning, living together has been pretty amazing.
My Family: It’s not easy to find a family that will be supportive of two freelance artists from across the country, but my brother and I just ended up with one. Our parents, and the rest of our family, have always encouraged us to pursue our dreams, rather than a paycheck. But they also taught us how to be smart about it, so that we wouldn’t have to live in their basement. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that! If I lived in Chicago, that’s probably where I’d be.)
My Brother: My brother has always been a bit of a nomad. When we go to coffee shops together to have a work day, he can’t stay in the same place for more than a couple hours. I’m not sure he’s lived anywhere for more than a year post-college. Being this far away from home isn’t easy, and I’m so glad that I have him nearby, at least for now.
What are you grateful for? Tell me below, in the comments!