Michelle is my sister friend. As in, she has been my friend for almost as long as I can remember and she knows me at my core. I met her when I was 6, when we moved across town. She lived next door and was a constant in my life until we went away to college. Pretty much every memory that I have of being in that house has something to do with her. I doubt that many days went by when we didn’t call each other up to see if we could play. We’d spend entire days being silly…making movies, writing songs, getting lost in the woods. If we were tired of all that, we’d just lay around and read books… There are certain memories that are stuck with me; comfort thoughts that find their way to the top of my brain when I need them most. One of those is the sound of our pages turning as we would shift from one elbow to the next, rolling to whatever position would give our tired little arm muscles relief from holding the books up over our heads without taking our eyes off of the pages.
Our friendship was extra special, because even though we lived right next to each other, we never went to school together. This basically resulted in complete and utter silliness 90% of the time…we didn’t have the stresses of school and peers and our day-to-day life to worry about when we were with each other. We could talk about that stuff freely, and we could move on to more important things quickly. Things like the exercise video we were making in my garage, or the Broadway songs we needed to sing and record for all to hear, or the interpretive dances that needed to be done.
Since she was SO much older than me, Michelle left for college in Denver when I was a senior in high school. After college she was off to Miami for law school and I was busy in NYC with art school. Then it was marriage, and kids, and moves and work and work and life. We still stay in touch, but we both have a fear of phone talking that results in the occasional texts and not speaking nearly as often as we should. She’s still my Tulip Friend, a name that came out of a silly night when we were younger and has stuck with us for 20 years…I miss her dearly and love her immensely.
This year, she had a mini Tulip of her own…Miss Fiorella. A beauty, and a personality to boot…I finally got to meet her over Christmas when Michelle and Pablo came to visit her parents out this way in Newton. We took a quick trip there with the kids, and I snapped a few impromptu shots of them.
Since our move to Massachusetts, I’ve really begun to cherish friendships more than ever. Probably because starting over in your thirties, with kids and the inability to just go out on a whim, makes forming new friendships hard. So, I’m happy to say that I got to be there for my friend Peter on his wedding day. And his new wife Holly, and their fabulous family. Peter is the owner of New Hampshire Images, so aside from being a friend, he is also, obviously, a photographer. Which made me a little nervous. Because as cool as a cucumber that I think I may be on a given wedding day, shooting the wedding of another photographer is a little frightening. Thankfully, I had Leah (UnVeiling Photography) by my side and we talked each other through the day. Go dream team! They had an intimate wedding at the Omni Mount Washington Resort (think: This Car Climbed Mt Washington, all you non-New Englanders). The snow and the mountains and the snow took my breath away as I pulled in, and made me think – yup, this is just about right for me.
The blue skies I snagged on this iPhone pic were quickly replaced by the blizzard clouds…I learned a lot about weather being down in that valley that day! No one complained, though…we were hoping for lots of snowflakes so that we could go out later that night!
I got to hang out with Peter and the boys while they got ready. I loved these moments between Peter and Troy – kind of right of passage-ish as he taught him all the tricks to putting on a tux. And then there were Cam and Hunter – hilarious reminders of my day-to-day as they tried really hard to stay on task, but were totally chaotic.
I believe this is Cam telling Hunter that if he doesn’t behave during the wedding, the police will come. And arrest him. Obviously.
Peter had this wonderful moment with his daughter, Olivia, after his First Look with Holly. Olivia had been watching from the top of the steps, next to me, and they both just totally needed a hug.
See? STORM CLOUDS! I should have been a weather chaser…
Oh, and this is just a small part of the New Hampshire Images team…rocking it. Nice snap, Olivia!
And Leah and me…toasting to a job well done and getting ready to hit the dance floor.
And the sink in my super cute motel room. Which I was so grateful to have, because A) it was blizzarding out and I didn’t want to drive home; B) My voice was gone and I didn’t want to drive home; and C) I was going to have an uninterrupted night of blissful, NyQuil induced sleep and did I mention that I didn’t quite want to drive home?
Congratulations to Holly and Peter! Thanks for having me. XOXO
Just a week ago (really, is that all?) I repacked my suitcase, checked out of the hotel, and got in my car to drive home from Portland, Maine. I’d been there for three days, soaking in creativity and smiles and tears and surrounded by 200 or so fabulous photographers. I sighed and leaned back in my seat, feeling a little stronger, a little braver and very much fuller than when I had arrived. It seems to me that these various retreats and workshops that I’ve gone to over the years have come into my life just when I need them most…when I am starting to feel empty and lost and stuck. John asked me why I was going to this one, what I was hoping the get out of it. He’d asked me many times, and I’d never had the words for it until the night before I left. “I’m going to feed my soul,” I said through tears.
So I walked into my first workshop of Inspire, after driving 3 hours with a white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel through the pounding snow (but, hey, I’m a New Englander again. These things don’t bother me!), feeling a little nervous and pretty alone in a sea of folks who all seemed to already know each other. Cig Harvey floated in, and I remembered the details of the class I had signed up for. I was going to have to write, about me and the things that were at my core. This is my biggest fear. But do you know what she said? Can you believe this? She said YOU HAVE TO FEED YOUR SOUL! Within 2 hours of arriving, I had heard exactly what I needed to hear. She was speaking my language. These were my people.
I took one photo there. Of my hat, and the Inspire badge, because my mind was once again BLOWN when I realized that I had bought myself a hat that matched my badge PERFECTLY. It’s the little things…
The next two days were full of equally awesome conversations and presentations: Jennifer Thoreson and her amazing, mind-blowing thesis project that I would have loved to have seen in person. Her ideas for photographing women and the beautiful images that she creates; Anne Almasy and her ability to write like a photograph…rich, and raw and full of emotion and imagery; Jane Ammon and her amazing ability to bring kids out in her photographs so that you look and say, “Ah, there you are.” These are just the folks that I had the pleasure of sitting and listening to. The interactions that I had with other people over the three days, people so friendly and warm and willing to just let you open up to them and do the same in turn to you, and the images that I saw throughout the time, and knowing that I am not alone in any of this…we are all struggling and winning and falling and getting back up together…was, well, inspiring.
I’m not sure how this experience will effect my work. I’m sure it will show itself here and there. But now that I’m home and have had a week to think about it and process all that I’ve taken from it, I am realizing that I didn’t go there to change my work or influence my business. For the first time in a long time, I went and did something just for me. Not me as a businesswoman. Not me as a wedding or portrait photographer. Not me as a mom, or a wife. Just for me…as an artist and a person who needed to feed her soul.
Thanks to the amazing Inspire community! I can’t wait for next year…I’ll come a little braver, a little more sure, and ready to dance. I swear.