on being a part of it…

over the past 16 years i have photographed a few families and every single time i think… “WHY DON’T I DO THIS MORE?!” then i quietly go back to head shots, models or weddings. well, not this time. i’m all in. i’m all in for the story of family. i’m all in for the recording, the capturing, the documenting (or whatever the “it” word is this year) i just want to do it. maybe because i don’t have little ones of my own i want to be a part of it somehow. maybe it’s the idea that what i captured one afternoon (in the perfect light) … could somehow wind up in keepsake box… for the children of these children… makes me want to be a part of every family for just one hour on some sunny weekend afternoon.

bring them on… i’m ready now.


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on finding your tribe…



this can be a difficult task, but it’s necessary. i repeat: it is necessary.


just like with most things… you surely can do them alone, but it’s oh so much better when you have a +1 or in my case a +2. you need to find your tribe. your people. your village. sure sure friends family all that is fantastic, but i am talking about your working tribe. then *fingers crossed* they become your friends.

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i met miss J first. i found her on *cough* model mayhem. she’s the brilliant designer behind Stone Crow Designs. from the first second i met her… i knew we had something. we did a few things together and they turned out amazing!!!




it was around the time that i shot with a model named Faith and she brought her very own MUA (make up artist) and it was absolutely love at first site of Miss K. we cranked out this little session in no time


then spent a lot of time talking about how we all would like to move in a much more edgy direction with our style. that sealed the deal for me with Miss K.

I am not exactly sure when Miss K and Miss J met, I think it was a little party on the roof of our apt in cap hill. it was electric. well i thought it was. i had finally found my tribe. two women who i could start really exploring my creativity as a photographer. we’ve been working together ever since. our relationship along with our styles have evolved over these years and i can honestly say i am infinitely better as a photographer and as a woman for having them in my life. we work in all different combinations sometimes with other photographers, sometimes with other MUA’s, sometimes other designers… hell, Miss K has taught me a little mu artistry and she’s also become an amazing photographer, check her out here! we often shoot side by side. aside from being a designer, Miss J… has styled shoots with some pretty famous photogs.

no matter what our roles are, when we join forces… i believe we have a strength to our images that is unmatched. the key to that (i think) is the freedom of experimentation. we rest in the fact that we are all amazing at what our jobs, i never have to worry about what the outcome will be, i know for a fact that we will walk away with a least one spectacular image from the session. every single time, it is truly a COLLABORATION.

we’ve managed to keep expanding our tribe, models, photographers, mua’s and designers. in the coming blogs i’ll introduce many many of those very important people in my life, but for starters.. you should know Miss J and Miss K. they are my photographic life force.

if you didn’t get it by now, the first picture is us, one night our model didn’t show, so we opened a bottle of wine and took picture, what else would we have done?! side note: we have many names for our little triad, but the one that we love the most: “Nasty JAK.”  i cannot remember where the ‘nasty’ part came from. 😉

I’ll leave you with this question: do you have a tribe of people who you feel free to just play at your craft? sharpening each other… challenging each other as artists?

ps- here are two of our collaborations.


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ADHD!!!!! and the monotony of editing.

“you are a photographer?! that’s so cool! it must be such an amazing job!!”

yeaaaaaaa….. sometimes. the majority of the time, i sit right here. on this computer. EDITING until my eyes BLEED.

sitting here in my pjs at noon on a thursday…with my cold cup of coffee, half eaten omelette, all sorts of xhd’s…card reader… cords … envelopes with notes i’ve jotted down about this and that, my phone that’s notifying me every 30sec of something and a bra i guess i took off at some point yesterday because i found it oppressive…

this part, isn’t “cool.”  the thing is, if you are a full time photographer… chances are you totally get this! perhaps this is what your desk looks like too. please tell me i’m not alone in this. how do you handle it?

today, i want to run away. i have project after project to get done and clients waiting. the pressure i put on myself is a little intense. i guess that goes with any job. what They don’t seem to tell you about is the physicality of this job. my hand, arm and shoulder ache all the time just from editing. (i know, i know, have someone else do it…. i can’t, i’m a control freak.) my body… hurts from shooting… i always joke about shooting a wedding that it’s actually just a full day of doing squats.

They also don’t tell you how lonely it is. so you listen to music, you watch movies, you take breaks, you talk to your dog while you wait for things to render. you get lost on the interwebs…  all and all it’s just lonely.  then you start looking at other photographers… you know, just to see what’s going on with them, maybe it’s their edit day too and you will chat for bit. however, you dont get that far, you just start looking at their AMAZING work and see all the great jobs their are getting. the work that they are doing and you switch back to your editing. UGH why isn’t my work as good as theirs???!!!!! the downward spiral begins.

my adhd doesn’t like this part of the job, at all. i wish i were out in nature today. maybe i can go tomorrow, heh, who am i kidding. instead i should bathe while i want for this batch to render out.



what kind of photographer am i?

a question that i gave up trying to figure out. i don’t know… the kind that uses a camera?

i listened to all of Them say “find your niche!” and finally just gave up, if someone locates my niche… could you let me know? it’s been 15yrs and i’ve tried them all on for size. what i came up with is that i like people. it’s funny because in school, i hated shooting faces. i loved architecture. i loved angles of walls, stairs, the way the light poured through the windows. this image by andre kertesz is still hanging on the wall of my darkroom.

by Andre Kertesz

by Andre Kertesz


even now, looking at it, i’m in love and just want to roam thru silent spaces void of people… collecting light. i had a show in nashville of my work from this time period. all film images and printed by me on 16 x 20 fibre. those were the days. i may have to dig up those negatives and post them… but that’s for another time. here is my favorite:

photo by me (1999) on 16×20 fibre print


my phase of wanting to only shoot still life and architecture quickly moved to street photography when i went to paris for the first time. it was the first time i pointed my lens at a person with intent, with the need to capture more than the moment… but the entire scene. i needed to gather it all into the tiny box i wore around my neck… because what if i never get to go back?!

looking at those images, that was exactly the time when the desire to record emotion was realized. i guess that’s it for every street photographer… to gather people’s emotions or the mood of a night… all into our little boxes… there is something slightly creepy about the whole of photographers…voyeuristically collecting stolen moments of people lives. tho, this being my second post and all i should probably not go so dark.

after that trip and that realization i went to work at a film lab in nashville. no, it was not like a walgreens. our lab handled photographer’s images from around the world. i mean, often i got to talk to a pultizer prize winning photographer (more on him later) and i believe, before my time there, they actually handled a few ansel adams negatives. point being, i soaked in every bit of knowledge i could. i said yes to every assistant gig that came my way… weddings, architecture, portraits… you name it and i was there (usually in heels)  schlepping equipment around not shooting… just holding ‘this’… running to get ‘that’… or helping to make a subject feel at ease in front of the camera.

here and there i begged people to let me photograph them… their weddings, their families, their portraits. anything, just to use my camera. all in film. from then on i’ve said “yes” to whatever came my way. somewhere along the line, they started paying me. it still feels crazy that i get paid to do the thing that is like breathing for me.

once dslrs became the thing… photography took a bit of a turn and i learned to be computer savvy… to edit… and i became so much better with studio lighting. so did everyone else i guess. maybe it’s naive but think there is plenty of work to go around. i think i was always meant to record. to witness. to push a button. when no one hires me anymore, i guess i’ll find something else to do.

so, what kind of photographer am i?

i’m the kind that knows no other way of seeing. it frankly doesn’t matter what’s in my view finder. i’m simply happy. i would say, if you are searching for that ONE THING you do that stands out among the ZILLION other photographers… maybe ask yourself… why is it you need to stand out? what are you trying to prove and to whom?


it seemed like a good idea at the time

you said yes, so here it is folks:

i’m not a writer, in fact, i’m not even a good communicator. so just lower your expectations right now.

time and time again i get asked… ‘how did you start? how are you doing it? how do you get work? how do i find my niché? how do i compete? am i doing it right? how do i get noticed?!  often they start off asking about me. quickly i become more of a sounding board or sympathetic ear for the big questions they are struggling with.

i don’t know, maybe my path as a freelance photographer can help you find yours or maybe… i can just help you ask better questions of yourself.

speaking of- here is my first question: why are you working so hard in life to ‘just be you’ to embrace your jean size, your boob size, your scars… but you are comparing your WORK to every instagrammer on IG?



1- i am a photographer. a freelance photographer. perhaps you’ve gathered. yes, i actually make money at it.

2- i’m a chick. a small, blonde, late thirties, childless crazy… fly by the seat of my pants, chick.

3- i’ve been in business since 2000

4- i love gear.

5- i am unorganized, unmotivated, and typically a mess of a human.

6- i do not view myself as an artist. in fact i usually struggle with photography being considered “FINE ART” (yeah, i know)

7- everyday i wonder… why in the hell does someone want to sit in front of my lens and give me money.

8- i think the majority of my images are absolute sh**.

9- tomorrow i will think differently.