Last month Luke and I packed up my Honda Fit with musical instruments and cameras and hit the road to Austin, TX stopping on our way for Luke to play a few shows. Our main reason for this road trip was to visit our dear friends Katie & Maia and meet their sweet sweet little baby named Noah Ryan. He is basically perfect, their new home is the best and I really didn't want to come home - I wanted to stay on their back porch, snuggled in with a book and a baby and eat tacos from breakfast, lunch and dinner. So before we left, I had to document this little family in their new space.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Tulum, Mexico to document Stacy & Will's wedding on a Thursday afternoon on the beach. I've been sitting on this blog all week because I couldn't figure out how to put in words how I feel about Stacy & Will and this beautiful trip we all got to experience. I am so grateful for this opportunity to document these two exchanging vows, taking tequila shots with all their lovely friends & family who all took a week off from their lives to come and celebrate these two gems, watching Will and Stacy smash so much cake in each others faces and Stacy, sweet sweet Stacy, laughing so hard about the amount of cake that is in her hair. So much love, so many drinks and dancing in the sand on a Thursday evening was a beautiful thing to document and experience, thank you Stacy and Will for having me be apart of this epic week.
I never really partake in the TBTs of the internet but on this cold winter Wisconsin afternoon I can't help but wander back to the day I spent in Joshua Tree National Park with my dear friends Janelle and Andrew back in October. I came into town to document a wedding but these two have been on my list of "I want to photograph" since they started dating years ago. So they drove down to Palm Springs from L.A and we took the beautiful drive out, did a little thrifting and made our way to a little slice of heaven.
I find myself in January wandering back to August when Luke and I spent 10 days in Panama away from email and wedding edits. So today will be a little throw back to the images I took on that trip where we spend a few days exploring Panama City,Â then took a bus to Boquete for some coffee tours and hiking to then get a shuttle to a water taxi to Bocas Del Toro where we lived the island life for a few days, biking, swimming and not seeing a sloth- which was my one goal for this trip.
A few weeks ago Luke and I took to the road and drove to the warmth of New Orleans for a few days for a little vacation. Often times when I am on vacation I find myself working still, photography is my job and also my hobby & passion so I find it difficult to put my camera down, so for this trip I decided to leave my digital cameras and computer behind and just take what I learned on - my little canon that I shot my first 5 weddings on with a 50mm and 3 rolls of film - I took only the good shots, I framed up, focused and decided in that moment if what I saw in the Â view finder was worth the space of the roll of film. I took under 100 images, here are some of my favorites Â - I still have one roll to develop but I couldn't wait to share.
As many of you know, back in 2013 I travelled to Ethiopia to work at a school and document for Seeds Of Africa. After returning a decided I wanted to share my images and not just through my instagram, Facebook and blog but instead with prints in a pretty gallery filled with people who can discuss the images rather than giving it a thumbs up or a heart. I wanted these images to do something for Seeds of Africa and the families they support, so I put together a show, had a grand openingÂ and all proceeds from sales will go to Seeds of Africa this coming Monday when I go out to New York for a fundraising eventÂ where two of my prints will be auctioned off. This has all been exciting for me, I do enjoyÂ documenting weddings, families and even fashion but this is what makes me the happiest. Below you will find the prints that are currently for sale, these prints are mounted and ready to be put on your wall sizes range from 12x18 ($150) to 16x24 ($250) -- if you are interested in purchasing a print, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org --- All proceeds will go to Seeds of Africa.
A few weeks back I travelled to Missoula, Montana to spend aÂ week with my dear friends Abi & Christopher and celebrate with them at their wedding. The day after I gotÂ in we took a trip up the mountain to the spot whereÂ these two were going to say their vows, a beautiful little hike into a quiet little spot. I am so thankful for these two and feel so honored to have been able to be there on their wedding day -- I love you guys and I am missing you dearly.
Sometimes before you start to set up a DIY wedding you need a little time in the woods. A few week back, my best friend, Elizabeth Rose got married and before the wedding I spent 3 days with some wonderful women in a cabin.Â Time with my girlfriends is a rare thing in my busy season, but something I need -- these women are lovely and inspiring and when my time is up, I always feel refreshed and inspired. Elizabeth Rose makes me all of my favorite jewelry, sends me the most beautiful mail and I get to spend many evenings on her porch in Appleton until the late hours of the night. Noelle and I just met on the trip, but it didn't feel that way, she is an amazing artist who has made a career out of Â her talents, Â the hats in these photographs are made by her, she is currently having a 30% off sale until the 4th, so visit her website hereÂ . Here is a series of images from Elizabeth, Noelle and I's Â morning stroll in the woods, before Colleen arrived and we baked 100 cupcakes and made burrito fixings for 60 people.
As many of you may know, last summer my darling Luke and I traveled to Ethiopia to teach for and work with an education and community development nonprofit called Seeds Of Africa. During my time there I took many photographs of the children and the community as well as taught the students photography . When I returned home I thought about the many photographs that now sit on a hard drive and decided to put together a gallery show to share what Seeds Of Africa is doing to my community here in Madison, Wi. Adama, the city where we were is about the same size as Madison and in many ways they are similar, so it is only fitting to share with you all my experience, my photographs and together raise some money to help Seeds Of Africa continue with all of the things they are doing. The opening is this Saturday, April 26th at the Common Wealth Gallery located at 100 S. Baldwin St. Madison, WI. We will be there from 6-10pm with Yes Coffee Roasters sampling Ethiopian pour overs, as well as some lovely coffee donated by Johnson Public House - Brown Rice and Honey is baking some delicious goodies, there will be a raffle Â and DJ ASUMAYA (aka Luke) will be spinning some Ethiopian cassette tapes that we found on our days off.
The gallery will be open until May 2nd, which there will be a closing reception from 5-9pm for Madison's Gallery Night.
The last part of my trip was in Leipzig, a beautiful city only 120 mile and only a 1 hour train ride from Berlin. My dear friend Katie Krol studies there and she took the a few days off to show me around the city and I was finally able to meet her boyfriend, Lukas. My time spent in Leipzig with these two was wonderful and although I got sick, I have Katie and Lukas to thank who made me tea, soup and watched Harry Potter movies with me all day. When I wasn't sick we spent our time wandering the city, Â eating amazing food and meeting up with Katie's friends. If you ever find yourself in Germany, try to make a trip to Leipzig, I only wish I would have had more time to explore.
After my time in Sweden I hopped on a plane to head to Germany for a week. My plan was to spend 3 days in Berlin alone and catch a train for 4 days to Leipzig to visit my dear friend Katie. I arrived to Berlin on Monday afternoon, me with a big ol' backpack and 2 camera bags -- grabbed a cab to head to Berlin Mitte where I had a room booked through AirBnB with a lovely family. I spent my first evening finishing my first book I brought on the trip ('Where'd You Go, Bernadette?' read it, you will not regret it) and mapping out my first full day in the city - feeling overwhelmed with how much I wanted to do and see and realizing 3 days just wasn't enough. I made it work -- waking up on Tuesday at 7am and made sure I was out the door by 8:30, Day 1 ---amazing breakfast buffet, art museums, and wandering on foot. This was my first time traveling solo in another country, apart of it was refreshing, not having to work out a plan with another person (or persons) but just going with the flow, if I got tired of a museum, I would leave and go sit in the park with a coffee and read or just watch all the tourist look at their maps or search for reception on their phones. The other part of traveling alone; the photographer - I had this pressure to make sure I documented everything I saw, the texture in the roads, the people on their bikes or the ladies sitting outdoors with their latte in hand and their dog resting by their feet, the street musicians collecting euros in exchange for a song, the architecture that literally brought tears to my eyesÂ -- the list could go on. I had to take a moment to remember to be there,on the first day in the park I remember writing in my journal 'it is so beautiful here, I have to come back' instantly scolding myself, you are here, so be here. I often don't live in the moment but instead relive it from my photographs, a problem I am sure many photographers experience. So my week in Germany was less photographs more just being there- enjoying meals alone, taking small bites and ordering a second coffee, honestly a hard thing for me to accomplish, but I did my best. So with that I will share with you the only photographs I took in Berlin. Enjoy.
On March 1st in Horred, Sweden I documented Isak & Clara's wedding celebration. A car full of girls picked me up in the morning and drove to the next city over to go to the salon where Clara got her hair done and her girls got ready in the waiting area. When we returned to Horred we went to the apartment for Clara to put on her wedding dress that her now sister-in-law made for her and we left the place for Isak and Clara to share their first look alone, as much as I love documenting that moment, sometimes moments are meant to be shared alone and I love that I wasn't invited. It called for rain but it never came, we drove to a few locations for images before the ceremony and made it to the church with 1 minute to spare --- The ceremony was beautiful, although I didn't know what was going on since it was all in Swedish, but there were still moment where my eyes filled with tears and I found myself laughing with everyone (luckily they translated the program for me so I didn't miss the kiss). After the ceremony, Isak, Clara and myself went to a few more places for photographs but made it quickly to the reception where guest were waiting to greet them. There was an amazing dinner was made by Clara, Isak and their families and served by friends. The rest of the evening was spent listening to stories of the couple, songs their family and friends wrote and a little dance between the new married couple -- a beautiful day filled with so much laughter and quite a few tears as well -- this couple has such a beautiful community surrounding them and it was a beautiful day to be apart of.
On my first full day in Sweden, Isak and Clara wanted to take me on a little adventure and we turned our adventure into a little engagement session - Enjoy.
A few weeks back I traveled to Sweden to photograph Clara and Isak's wedding. I came a few days early to adjust to the time difference and also to spend time getting to know Clara and Isak a little better before their wedding. I arrived on a Wednesday afternoon in Gothenburg, they picked me and and we drove an hour or so through the countryside to a lovely little town called Horred, where they live and where the wedding was going to be. We went straight to Clara's home for fika, which means taking a break in your day for coffee and usually with something sweet, something I have decided should happen here everyday as well. Then we were able to spend time with a barn full of puppies followed by an evening dinner & wedding prep at Isak's place --- A day of avoiding a nap so I can get on Sweden time was a success and here are a few images from that day.
A couple weekends ago I flew out to Massachusetts where I then hopped in a car full of instruments and musicians and drove to a coastal town called Westport. We showed up at sunset to this beautiful home, I could have just stayed there - beautiful woodwork, wonderful lighting, 3 fireplaces and a mile walk from the ocean -- a photographers heaven. I spent the whole weekend at this house with Hillary Reynolds and her talented band (along with the ever amazing Violet from LA who did hair and make up and haircuts for all!) we cooked meals together, built fires, played music and drank wine and I documented the whole weekend. The Hillary Reynolds Band is currently working on their second full length and wanted photographs of them in a place where they often come to write, rehearse and just get out to the city and relax, here is a collection of the images that I captured during my weekend with them.
As I sit and enjoy my morning coffee, I daydream about Ethiopia, and the wonderful coffee we had daily while we were there. What I loved most about our trip ( tied with the adorable children I was able to hang out with) were the coffee ceremonies. Everyday after Luke and I were done teaching we would go over to Genet's home for an amazing lunch and after we were done eating we would sit for an hour and drink the freshest coffee you will ever have. Â Before you can enjoy a cup of coffee in Ethiopia, you first roast the beans, grind the coffee using theÂ mukecha and zenezena (Â which act as a mortar and pestle). By this time the water to brew the coffee is ready in theÂ jebena (decorated traditional coffee pot) - adding the water and recently ground coffee to let boil together and then served. We were able to enjoy this tradition daily, sometimes twice a day and for Ethiopians, the coffee ceremony can happen 3 times a day, it is an important social event to gather the family and community to talk and be together - I find is wonderful and I miss sitting in Genet's compound listening to the ladies talk to each other in Amharic. Here is a series of images that I took of all the wonderful women who invited us to coffee ceremonies.
Happy Ethiopia Monday! It seems these will sadly end soon since I only have a few more things to write about but today I am very excited to share with you some of my students work! If you weren't aware, while I was in Adama, when I wasn't photographing for Seeds of Africa I was teaching the children photography thanks to a handful of wonderful friends who donated their old digital cameras to me to give the children. So today is all about the UKG (upper kindergarden)Â class and my favorites of their images. I tried to teach the children some simple composition and maybe you can pick some up in these images but my amharic is, well pretty much nonexistentÂ and they were just starting to learn english - so communicating was a bit challenging and by week two I was just letting the kids go wild with the cameras to I ended up really enjoying the outcome:
Today features Fanaya Dinku who started a restaurant using a Seeds of Africa Micro Loan (more information about the program in here). We went to visit Fanaya's restaurant on a Saturday afternoon and there weren't many seats open - we wanted to interview her but it was so busy - Â needless to say, her business is very successful!
The reason we were connected with Seeds of Africa is the same reason why this organization has this wonderful Micro-Finance Project for the mothers- and this reason is the lovely Maggie Sands. I met Maggie a little over a Â year ago on a shoot and while working together here and there I was able to learn more about Seeds and what they do not only for the children but also for the parents. Â To start they offer an adult literacy program that offers the parents the opportunity to upgrade their level in reading, writing and financial literacy, acting as a tool for personal empowerment and a means to reach their full potential as parents, community members and employees. After that they offer a Three Day Entrepreneurship Seminar, and in November of 2012, twenty-three mothers participated. The seminar focuses on topics such as separating money between business and household, reinvesting profit, maintaining records, thinking proactively about new markets and a how-to in writing a business plan. If both programs are completed then the women are eligible for the Micro-Finance Project which allows the women to create a business through a Micro Credit of about 2,000 birr per person (2.000 birr is about 105USD). This opportunity allows mothers to work independently, train in a field to increase household income, and moving away from the traditional aid model, a shift takes place allowing mothers to support themselves and their families. So after Luke and I would teach during the week, on the weekends we would go out into the community to meet some of the business owners. On the first Saturday we went to visit Martha and Banchiayahu's mother who has a successful business selling injera, which is a traditional flatbread made out of teff flour and served with just about every meal in Ethiopia. While we were there we learned about her business and she talked to us about how big of an impact Seeds has been for her and her family. She told us that since she has opened her business she has made a wooden box and every day she puts a percentage of her earnings in the box, she plans to open after she has paid off her loan to Seeds.