Tuesday, May 30, 2017

10 months later....

Hello from our home in Vermont. :)

In my last post, before I fell off the face of the planet, I shared that we were moving to Vermont. We came to that decision for a variety of reasons, the biggest of which was that we wanted to create a simpler, more sustainable life for ourselves. You've heard it a million times before-- having a kid changes everything. And, after having Hugo 3 years ago, our priorities shifted. We wanted to be in a smaller town, with a lower cost of living, where community was strong and valued.
I had also been looking for a way to make my business bi-coastal for years, and a move to New England seemed like the most obvious answer.

In my mind, this cross-country move was going to be smooth and easy, networking would happen naturally and jobs would fall into my lap. I'd skip over that whole not-having-any-friends part because I already have family here, so I'd never feel lonely. And traveling between coasts for work every 4-6 weeks would be an adventure, rather than unsettling and guilt-ridden.

I didn't bank on feeling so displaced and untethered for so long. I didn't realize that, while traveling back to Seattle on a regular basis for work is DEFINITELY exciting and fulfilling, it's also heart-breaking every time I have to say goodbye to my son who doesn't understand why I can't work closer to where we live. I didn't realize that, every time I returned to Vermont after a trip to Seattle, I would feel anxious and utterly disoriented.
I didn't know how hard it would be to be the sole-income earner in our home, and how terrifying it would be to give up our home and our lives in Seattle and fling ourselves off a cliff into fate's hands. I thought I would feel taken care of by the universe, and that the pieces would magically fall into place. 

Don't misunderstand- there have been (and are) wonderful parts to this change: finding the amazing old home we now live in, the people we've met who feel like they've been part of our lives for years, the four very distinct seasons in this part of the country and the utter beauty and charm of New England that never gets old for me. This move was absolutely not a mistake. We have no regrets.
But I can't lie-- it is hard.

It's painful and humbling, after running a successful business for many years, to feel like I am starting from scratch. In Vermont, (and New England) in many ways, I am starting from the very beginning again: networking, trying to get my name out there, playing the part of an extrovert when I am so very much an introvert.
Suddenly, I am doubting myself, questioning my choices, fearing that I am not good enough. It feels like going through adolescence all over again, being desperately concerned that people like me and trying to convince them that I am worth taking a chance on.

Throughout this whole change, I have also been dealing with some very painful health issues in my family. My mother-- my rock, my biggest advocate and my constant support-- has been suffering from fairly rapid memory loss over this past year. The reasons for this are unclear, and the obvious culprits have been, so far, ruled out. But for us, her family, this past year has felt like a slow, brutal death. A drawn-out loss of one of the very most important people in our lives. It has been absolute hell.

There is something that happens to your faith, to your belief in God or Buddha or the angels or just, simply, the goodness of the universe when you lose your sense of being taken care of in the world. When you realize that someone- whether it's your parents or your higher power-- no longer has your back, and that nobody is going to catch you when you fall. You realize you are alone, and you are a grown up. All of a sudden, you are an adult in the world, in a whole new way than you were before.
It feels like an enormous spiritual crisis. And it sucks.

Why am I writing all this on my blog? Well, I've never been great at small talk. I would much rather be real than pretend I'm living a life I'm not. We see too much fabricated perfection on social media every day, making us feel like we are not quite measuring up. We don't need any more of that B.S.

So, here I am. Back to my blog, and being real.

I am going to be posting regularly from here on out. Twice a week, to be exact. I may not have any words, but there will be photos! Lots of photos. So, please come visit.

Speaking of photos, I will leave you now with some of the little guy who makes all the struggle worth it.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

big changes 'round these parts

Let me cut to the chase:

My long-held dream of making my business bi-coastal is becoming a reality! Early this Fall, we will be relocating to Southern Vermont. These past several months have been occupied by readying our house to sell, packing our stuff, making countless trips to Goodwill, renting storage units, arranging movers and setting up meetings in the Northeast. To say it's been a whirlwind is an enormous understatement.

I am happy to say that I will be keeping my studio in Seattle and flying back regularly to work on projects and teach workshops. I have great clients in Seattle and look forward to keeping those relationships healthy, as well as building new connections. As a Seattle native, my ties here are strong and I intend to keep it that way.
I am also incredibly excited to build my business in the Northeast, and to FINALLY be able to offer workshops there! Look out, New England, I am coming for YOU!

I will talk more about this in the coming months-- how and why we made this decision, plans for the future, changes in my business-- but, for now, I just wanted to announce the news. I am so looking forward to the adventure ahead.

Monday, March 28, 2016

the 2016 farm to table workshop...in leavenworth!

I've said it before and I'll say it again-- this is, hands down, my favorite workshop to teach. It combines some of my favorite things; telling a story though photographs, good food and great people.
I'm thrilled to annouce that we're changing things up a bit this year, and taking the workshop to Leavenworth, Washington! Students will stay at the amazing Sleeping Lady Resort where, in their off time, they will be free to take advantage of the Sleeping Lady's day spa, dry sauna, fitness room or spend some time outside, renting a bike or strolling through the resort's organic gardens. The group will enjoy all their breakfasts and dinners at the Sleeping Lady's award-winning Kingfisher Restaurant and Wine Bar.
The workshop begins on Thursday, September 15th in the late afternoon. We will spend a little time getting to know one another, and then will have our first lecture/pdf, covering how to tell a story through images, (which we will be doing the next day!) Afterwards, there will be some time to get settled in our rooms and then dinner. PLEASE NOTE THAT ROOMS ARE SHARED.
On Friday, we will visit and document Oh Yeah Farms, a sustainable, organic vegetable and grain farm. We will also visit and photograph a second farm, (still TBD.) Much the day will be spent taking photos, but there will also be free time before we meet again for dinner.
Saturday will be all about food photography! Students will see how the food they documented on the farm the day before gets used in a restaurant setting. I am so happy to be collaborating with Colin Patterson from the former Sutra restaurant in Seattle at his new restaurant in Leavenworth, Mana. Students will practice their food photography on location at Mana, as well as documenting Colin in the kitchen. Afterwards, we will enjoy a delicious lunch together.
Saturday afternoon will be spent working independently on post production, before we gather again for a group critique and dinner.
The workshop ends on Sunday morning at 10am.
To register: go HERE

Monday, March 14, 2016

and ANOTHER cookbook sneak peek!

I am so happy to say that I am working with my friend, Hsiao-Ching Chou, on her upcoming cookbook, Chinese Soul Food, (release date TBA.)

Here's an Instagram sneak peak....

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

sneak peek of a new book!

You may remember me talking about the Bitters book I shot last year. Well, I am happy to say that I am shooting another book by Mark Bitterman and this one is all about Craft Salts!

There are few things that make me happier in a photo shoot than playing with texture and making a beautiful mess, and I get to do both with this book.

It will be released this Fall, so stay tuned!

Sunday, January 31, 2016


As my son says, "I DID IT!! I DID IT!!!"
I made a goal to post every day this month, and I followed through. Hooray!

I wanted to wrap up this month of posting with some thoughts about where I would like to go from here.

A number of years back, I attended a workshop on how to build your business. One of the main things that has stayed with me from that class, is the idea that in order to really grow and accomplish those big dreams you have, you really need to "put it out there." This means everything from announcing your intention to the universe to talking about your goals to people. Lots of people. The idea is that you never really know where those conversations you have are going to lead you. This rings true for me.  The bulk of my business has been built by word of mouth, by conversations, by "putting it out there", by the synchronicity of things falling into place at the right time.

Since having my son, my business has undergone some changes. Some of my goals have shifted, some of my priorities have changed. What hasn't changed, however, is how much I absolutely love what I do, how much it excites and fuels me and how, after all these years, I am still in awe of the process of making images and capturing beauty in the world.

Now that Hugo is almost two, I am feeling that itch again to get out in the world again in a bigger way. I feel less home-bound and more eager to spread my wings.

So, in keeping with the notion of "putting it out there", I wanted to share some of my current goals/dreams for my business. Who knows where this could lead? ;)

•I want to build my client base on the east coast. It has always been my goal to be bi-coastal. Almost my entire family is on the east coast, and I want to spend more time there, particularly the Northeast.

•Along the lines of the above goal, I want to spend more time in Vermont. (Hey, Vermont! I want to come work there! And, PS- I love you!)

•I want to go and spend some time working and traveling in the UK. It keeps coming up in my mind. Interestingly, I get a LOT of emails and inquiries from that part of the world, (in fact, one of my favorite projects this past year was with a London author-- I cant wait to share that one) so I am hoping that's a sign that I'll get to work there for a bit. :)

•I want more jobs that involve visual story-telling. More documentary, more capturing of people doing what they do.

•I want to hit the road again. I want adventure in my business. I want to work all over this big beautiful country and go beyond the limits of being a "west coast photographer." Life is too short to limit yourself.

Happy 2016, people. Let's make it a magical year.

Saturday, January 30, 2016