In 2012, I traveled to Hawaii to take a photography workshop with Doug Beasley. It was at a time in my life when I felt really lost and lonely, which nobody in my life knew. On the outside I was social, running a successful photography business, outgoing and optimistic but on the inside I was sad, confused and depressed. When I got to Hawaii, I was hoping to find ways to create deeper meaning in my photography work, to find ways to express my feelings through such a literal medium. Doug's work is all about that, so when he invited me to come along, I jumped at the opportunity. I found that I was really drawn to the banyan trees that were on the Big Island, where we stayed. I had never seen trees like them, they were massive and their roots were intertwined and haunting looking. I saw this tree one day while wandering around Hilo and as I walked up to it, I felt it's powerful presence. I felt like it was hugging and grounding me and I started to cry. For most of my life, I have desperately wanted someone or something to make sense of things for me, to make me feel like I know what I'm doing and to have some sense of peace with myself. That feeling has come in waves but has never stuck around consistently. For a long time, I was jealous of artists who had found a way to creatively express what was going on inside of them with what looked like such ease and confidence. I was privately struggling with the two parts of myself; the public one that was running a successful photography business based on pleasing others that was made up for emotive, beautiful, happy, colorful images and the private parts of me that felt so emotional, dark and alone. I wanted a way to express those private feelings creatively and have found that while looking backwards through the archives of my work, that I see those feelings bubble out in images or other artwork here and there, like they were seeping through the cracks without me noticing.
In 2010, I visited my siblings in New York and was wandering around at night with them in the city and we walked through Washington Square Park. I loved how the chess tables looked lit by the streetlights. They looked like they were sleeping, waiting for the next day when their people would come and play and complete the visual story of the scene. I intentionally blurred this image to make it feel more like a memory, to feel more ethereal and moody. I love that it looks like it could be a print with ink.
My parents have a house in Naples, Florida that used to be my grandparents' until they passed away a few years ago. I try to travel there at least once a year now to see my folks and get a break from the long winter in Minnesota. My dad loves to take beach walks and it's one of my favorite things to do with him when I'm there. This old pier sits in the Gulf and looks so cool when you walk past it. It's usually full of birds in various formations throughout the day. It's only the beginning of winter in Minnesota right now but I'm already craving being on that warm beach! I'll be there to celebrate my 35th birthday in a couple of months and I can hardly wait.
In 2015, I was living in Brooklyn, New York and had recently quit my full-time job and was piecing together freelance photography again while I figured out my next steps. I decided to venture out one very snowy, cold January day to the Brooklyn Bridge and wherever else I felt like wandering. I got up to the bridge and there were only a few other folks there. The city was hiding in the snow and fog, it was windy, freezing and incredibly magical. I took a few photos with my iPhone including this one before the battery got too cold and my phone turned off. When I got back to my apartment, I looked through my photos and loved this one so I edited it a bit and knew it was one of my favorites.
In 2015, I traveled to Rhode Island to photograph a wedding and the next day, I wandered around this cute little, quaint town before heading back to Brooklyn, New York where I was living at the time. I loved how calm the water was and how all of the boats looked sitting so still. It was such a welcomed peace compared to the chaotic city I was living in. I snapped two photos on my iPhone and moved on to explore more.
In 2014, I had moved to Northampton, Massachusetts with my partner at the time for a job she got. The transition was really hard for me, harder than I expected, having left my life and my career that I had built over 10 years in Minneapolis to go on an adventure and try something new. I was ready for a change but thought it had to do with not being satisfied with being a full-time wedding and portrait photographer and longing to make art, which was a big part of it, but I also realized that I was deeply unhappy in my relationship and very out of tune with myself and what I wanted and needed in order to feel like my best self. That Thanksgiving, about a month after I had moved, I drove to Brooklyn, New York to have Thanksgiving with my family. I was feeling very lost, which is how I've felt most of my life, but when I was in New York, I felt more like myself than I did in Northampton. I felt alive, I felt excited, I felt inspired, I felt invigorated. Al lot of that had to do with my people being there and feeling safe with them to be fully myself but it was also being a place that was so full of possibilities. I took my dog for a walk outside of my brother's apartment and noticed this tree across the street. I love how the trees in the city are such an integral part of the visual landscape...tucked between buildings, bending over sidewalks, squeezed into parking lots. I snapped this with my iPhone and edited it in the Hipstamatic app.
When I was living in New York, I wandered around a lot. There are endless things to notice and wonder about in that city. On this particular day, I got off the train at Union Square/14th Street to go to a photo store to buy film for a wedding I was photographing and as I was walking down a street, I looked up and saw this vintage dress hanging from a fire escape. The door behind it was open and the entire scene filled me with so much curiosity and joy. Who's dress was it? Why did they hang it there? Were they trying to catch peoples' attention as they walk by? If so, why is the door open? It was such a random, magical visual moment that made me smile so I made a photo of it with my iPhone before continuing on my way. I processed this in the Hipstamatic app and then made more adjustments in Photoshop. Prints of this and all of the images from the travel photography series that I'm sharing are available in my Etsy shop.
I made a new greeting card for those of us who love (or hate) to get together and talk about our feelings but know it's worth doing. This could be a card for someone who has withdrawn from you because of challenging things in life and you want to reach out or it could be for a friend or a partner who you love to talk about feelings with while drinking coffee or wine. This card is available in my Etsy shop here.
This new greeting card is now available in my Etsy shop! I made it because, well, life is stupid sometimes and it's nice to have a card to send to someone when crappy things happen to show support. You can find this card here!