Beauty In The Breakdown

I’ve been working on a very personal project lately.  It has kept  me up at night.  It has been living in my heart and my head ever since it was conceived, during the darkest days that I can remember.

It has been gestating every day since, growing and changing at an alarming rate of speed.  It’s taken on a life of its own in my heart and in my soul.  As far as ‘babies’ go, it’s not as easy to love as most, but it has its own beautiful appeal.   It has shown me the value of being whole hearted, vulnerable, and willing to take a risk, and it has made me see the lesson in embracing emotion.

We learn early on that some emotions are accepted, and even encouraged.  Emotions like sadness, pain and grief are relegated to private rooms, and hidden places, or often, not at all.

My own journey has allowed me to see the true gifts of feeling emotion and looking at pain honestly and in finding the gifts that feeling gives me.

This brings me to ‘Beauty In The Breakdown’, my personal project about allowing myself to feel the emotions that I have always suppressed.  I have seen first hand that the one thing I fear that others would see, is not nearly as terrible as I imagined.  In fact, those images are some of the ones that are most dear to me in life.

This project has also allowed me to draw kindred souls to me.

These beautiful women answered a call to action, and they did it with blind faith.  I am humbled and honoured that they put their fear aside, and stepped in front of my lens, and allowed me to witness the raw beauty of their pain.  I can’t tell you the power of connecting with the beautiful emotion of another person for no other reason than to share the experience.  I honour the authentic vulnerability laid bare for me to witness.  These images of real feelings are more meaningful to me than any smiling photograph could ever be, and as it turns out, they are achingly beautiful in their realness.

Without exception, the tears for these sessions started in the lobby, and often within moments.   What I have learned, is that people aren’t at all afraid to cry, if they are given the support and encouragement to do so.  Crying isn’t weakness.  Crying is strength.  No one gets to the other side of the pain river without losing some tears, and as we journey toward the resolution, our travels become easier.

I’ve made some big decisions about the future, and some are making me feel some fear.  I am jumping off my indecision and heading toward my future, as uncertain as it may be to me right now.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

If you think you might benefit from volunteering to be a part of my project, please contact me.

Christmas Mini’s Fundraiser ~ December 7th, 2013!

Many people have asked me if I am doing Christmas mini’s this year,

and I have some exciting news!!!

Last year our family made the decision to forgo many of the gift exchanging that we usually do, in favour of putting the total amount of money we would normally spend towards The Giving Tree at Northumberland Mall.  This charity provides much-needed support to families who need it during the holidays.  We took our girls down to see how many names were on the tree, and how hard it was going to be for some families to provide their children with the kind of christmas that most of us take for granted.  We are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but we do have more than enough in our own lives and certainly we have lots we can share.

Our experience (and the mark it made on the kids) made us want to do a bit more this year for this organization.  As I said, we don’t have a lot of money, but we do have the time, talent, and desire to make a more significant contribution this year.  I am THRILLED to announce that Northumberland Mall has generously offered us a vacant unit in the mall for a day, and we are hosting a fabulous Christmas Photo Party!  On December 7th, children can be photographed on one of several stylized Christmas sets for a $20 donation to the Giving Tree.  100% OF THE PROCEEDS WILL GO DIRECTLY TO THE GIVING TREE!!!   Our friend Joanne from Garden Girl has offered to help us create some gorgeous sets for our mini’s, and we couldn’t be more excited to work with her!

Additional children can be added for $10 each, and all files will be emailed the SAME DAY!!!  Great for gifts, Christmas Cards, or just as a memorial of the 2013 Christmas season.   Stop by and see our elves and helpers to get your kids photographed, and feel great about your 100% donation to an amazing charity that helps children in our community.

***There will be no formal appointments, as it will be difficult to keep to a schedule.  Please come on the 7th and we will fit you in!

Introducing Myles :)

The most wonderful thing happened in my family this week.

My brother became a father. :)

He and my sister-in-law (SIL) have been patiently waiting for their turn to become parents for years, and it is with the greatest joy that their dreams have been realized.  My new nephew Myles narrowly avoided sharing a birthday with his big cousin Tanis, by arriving with a dramatic flair on Monday evening.

Seeing my brother as a dad has been one of the most amazing and satisfying things I can remember.  I know what it was like to have your life uprooted in the most welcome way by the birth of your children, and I am happy to welcome he and Katie to the world of parenthood.   It is a crazy ride, filled with excitement and worry, but always worth the price of admission.

My nephew has been born into a family with so much love, and he couldn’t be more treasured.

Congratulations to you both!  I love you all!  xoxo

Of course, like any proud auntie, I have photos to share! :)



Peoples Choice 2013 ~ Photographer


Thank you!

I mean that.  From the very bottom of my heart.  I appreciate this honour and I am truly humbled that people thought enough of what I do to vote for me.  Thank you to everyone who voted, and also to every person who has ever hired me, past or present.    My job is one of the greatest things in my life, and it has brought me into contact with the most incredible people.  I have learned so much about life from taking photos and spending time with families for the past 15 years.  The most important thing I have learned, is that people will remember that you made them feel happy, and that is a nice thing to be remembered for.    So many of my clients over the years have become dear friends, and I look forward to seeing them each time, and keeping up with all the changes in their lives.  My job is amazing that way. :)

You might notice that I don’t have an ad in the People’s Choice Awards supplement.   My advertising budget is already tapped, and as a small business, i chafe at having to pay $200 to say thank you.  I could definitely take out an ad, but then I would need to pass on the added costs to my clients, and for that reason, I am choosing to forgo the ad.

I am pretty sure this blog post will guarantee that I never win another Peoples Choice Award, but that’s okay with me.  I have known people who have had a photograph ‘win’ an award and have the opportunity to be ‘published’ in a photography book.  However, there was a large fee paid by every ‘winner’ to cover the cost of the books publishing, and I assume, to secure a profit for the manufacturer.  The same is true for poets who had a poem published in a similar book.  The point is, without the ‘fees’ there is no book of photography, or poetry.  It is a ‘contest’ to ensure there will always be revenue generated for the people who make the books.  Contests are big business in advertising and promotion.

This contest is the same.  Without paying for a minimum $195 (or maximum $895) ad, I am told the most you get is a small line in the back, but I could be wrong about that.  There is a ‘freebie’ editorial each business can have as well, but only with the purchase of the aforementioned ad.  As much as I love the idea of local businesses being highlighted for great customer service and excellent products, the reality is that it is primarily done to generate sales for the newspaper.   I realize that this is the way the world works, but I personally don’t want to support it.  I don’t believe in pressuring people to ‘like’ a Facebook page, or in holding contests or giveaways to get likes.  Those kinds of practices are deceptive and misleading.  It is not the number of people who ‘like’ you that make you successful.  If you have a good product, work hard, and treat your clients with respect and genuine friendship, you will be successful.

I congratulate all of the businesses who received this honour in 2013, and I commend EVERY business owner trying to do good work in a very difficult economy.  We have to work hard and appreciate our clients.  Every dollar that comes in to my business was earned by someone who could have chosen to spend it anywhere else.   I am truly grateful for every individual and family that contacts me for photographs.  I am lucky beyond words to do what I love, and I am truly grateful for your continued support over the years.  If I have ever taken your photo, I am talking to you.  Thank YOU.  <3

Winter Engagement!

I know, I am WAY behind in my blogging (per usual!).  I am just getting around to blogging about a beautiful SNOWY session as spring decides to finally roll out. :)  Regardless, this session was too lovely not to share!  This is what happens when we put a little extra planning into an engagement session, and we truly reflect the personalities of the individuals involved.  This couple loves snowy weather, and are very outdoorsy.  It fit their style perfectly.

I want to encourage all of my clients to dig a bit deeper and let me know what makes them unique.  I want to incorporate more of the real lives of the people who trust me with their photographs, and there is no time like the present!  Let’s get busy, people!  Let’s see what YOU are all about!!!:)

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