black and white

After the Storm...

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And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up,
I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

After The Storm, by Mumford + Sons

* I have posted the lyrics to this song before. It’s one of my most favorite ballads of all times by one of my most favorite bands ever. I listened to this music during a very hard time for me and remember feeling like it was a life jacket that some threw me in a wild, stormy sea. It still brings me to my knees when I hear it.

This is depression.

benji lee

I recently got to shoot some very special portraits for a music feature in the Charleston City Paper on local comeback musician, Benji Lee. The weird part, however, was the shoot and the article really weren't focused at all on his music, his drumming, or even his comeback to the local music scene. The article focused acutely and specifically on his depression.

In my all-too-short time with Benji, we were on a fast track to get to know each other (shooting editorial will do that to you). I don't think there would have been any other way for either of us, though. We became immediate friends. I picked Benji up north on the peninsula of Charleston and we took as short drive to some old, rusty storage shed for the horse drawn carriages near the waterfront. I needed a spot that was a little imperfect. Not the "South of Broad" facade my typical clients request. I needed something real and honest and gritty. I needed something to reflect what I was about to see spilled open in front of my very eyes.

In so many ways, I feel more connected to this shoot I did with Benji than any other shoot I have done in a while. His pure candor and sheer honesty made me want to show more. His humility and gentle spirit made me want to linger all afternoon - asking questions and picking his brain.  I wanted to photograph his insides. His heart and soul. I wanted to show his truth.

So on that steamy afternoon, I found a shady spot to spend a short time with my new hero. He would most likely shun that label, but I think Benji is a brave soldier - fighting the battle every day with depression...slugging it out with himself and still standing strong in the face of one of the worst diseases of all.

If you care to ready about Benji and his battle, check out the Charleston City Paper this week.

In the mean time, warrior on, brave souls. Warrior on.

 

Throwback

beach boy

I took this photo towards the beginning of the summer. My son came with me on a family shoot I had scheduled weeks prior and the weather was too nice to leave him at home - even though he wasn't super interested in coming with me.

I love stumbling across photos you forgot about...old ones and new ones. It sharpens the memories a little more so they aren't lost in the back of my mind as I shop for groceries or schedule vet appointments. These overlooked little gems are like tiny diamonds, once again cutting open that forgotten pathway to my heart.

Looking back at this photo, I can almost smell the ocean. I can feel the humid evening wind as it gently tousles his hair to and fro. I can remember the milky light that evening and the warmth of the sea. It all just comes back - melting into one memory and sealing it's way into my heart once again.

 

Baby Love

baby love

Baby love. On the beach.

Sweet, sweet baby love. This shoot with Monica and her sweet family seems surreal in a way. I knew her when we were both single, young professionals and our lives were much, much different. Now here we are, years later, with kids of our own and families to take care of. It seems like a lifetime has gone by in a few short years.

Lucky for both of us, it's a lifetime of love and memories.

 

Time for Summer

Time to sleep in and catch up. Time to stay up late and sleep in even later. Time to soak up the sunshine, let the wind blow our wild hair and smell the salty air for a few minutes more.

Time to read a book, eat some ice cream, watch a movie, and sleep in later than I should. Time for more sunsets on the beach with wine and warm water, laughter and love. Time for doing a little bit of nothing and a lot of everything.

Time for rest.

It's time for Summer.

 

Love After Love

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LOVE AFTER LOVE
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Discipline

homework

We have learned a lot around here these days on the topic of discipline. Not the "you are in trouble" kind. But the "get it done" kind of discipline. It's been a topic of conversation lately. I am no stickler for grades because I think we have an archaic system. Whose to say that grades are actually a measure of what you are learning. But we live in a system that doesn't want to change and seems to keep measuring our kids by the same standard we know doesn't work.

I digress.

When I noticed Graham's grades starting to slip, I decided to dig a little deeper. Turns out, my child has the same disorder most of the world suffers from - lack of discipline. His grades have been slipping because he lacks the discipline most 12 year old boys lack. He's distracted with hormones and friends and electronics and life. Because being 12 is actually harder than it looks.

So our work together these days is in getting the hard work done first...for both of us. I have to make the calls I don't want to or deal with the my looming and inevitable taxes. He has to read that extra chapter and study for those quizzes he knows are coming. In turn, I report to him about my struggles with work and he reports to me about his where his struggles are with school. End result: we both have a cheerleader and we both crossed crappy tasks off our lists of things to do.

I think kids need to learn early on that their struggles are real. However, I think they need to realize they aren't alone in them. I never knew my parents struggled. Or other kids. I think it's okay to tell them a little bit of that. Mostly, I think it's important for them to know they are not alone in their battles. They have support.

So we are learning a lot about discipline right now. And elbow grease. And grit. And hard, hard work. Sweaty work. Getting your hands dirty work. Not just here. But all over our lives. And the result is going to be the harvest he reaps come report card day.

And if it all works out, we just might celebrate with a little gelato!

 

Auntie Libby

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Besides being a mother, one of my favorite things in the world is to be an Auntie. It's full of all kinds of perks. You get to play with them without any of the hardships of parenting. There is really no discipline or punishing. There are no bedtimes to stress about or mealtimes to angst over. It's just play. Fun. Adventure. Love.

This week, I got to play Auntie for a few short and precious hours. We threw balls and colored. We played Bubble Guppies and read books. We even sang and danced (well, not so much me with the singing and the dancing. But this one sure put on a show!) It's always an adventure being the Auntie.

I also got to meet this cutie pie and be a totally different kind of Auntie...more like squishy pillow Auntie.

These newborns get me every time. The baby smells and the sounds and the gummy smiles. I am all a melted puddle of love after holding a newborn. I always thought it was a such a treat having a little one around of my own - albeit too brief.

For now, though, I will love being the Auntie. The play and fun and treats all make for feeling a little bit like Mary Poppins in the life of your friends and family. I know when momma needs help and rest. But I also know when it's time to step down and let momma do the work she needs to do.

Because nothing - and I really mean NOTHING - can replace your mom in this world.

The Intern

So... my son has to do an internship for a week with his school. They have to show up at a real-life job and do real-life job things. Today was my little guy's first day on the job as photographer's assistant. And since we couldn't find other friends/family/suckers to take him, I am the boss.

Here he is...Day 1. Reporting for duty!  "Seriously dude. Wake up already. Its 8:00 AM and I have accomplished about 40 things already."

I kid...this is what my intern really looked like today:

Just a few hours in and he was editing photos in a program he had never used before. He mastered that software like he'd been doing it all his life - LIKE A BOSS. What's even more awesome is that he is a perfectionist (Mom...that's not in focus! *sigh*) and a good worker! I am super proud of him today.

Tomorrow, we have an exciting shoot and some additional fun things on the books for the rest of the week. So I am looking forward to a fun and fruitful week with my main man.

Stay tuned for more adventures this week in interning.

 

Weather the storm.


Some days that water comes in strong,
washing the secure foundation
out from around you
and leaving you on shaky, unfamiliar grounds.

Nothing between you and the sea anymore.
Nothing to hold you up.
Nothing to catch your fall.

But still, there you are.
Standing strong in the face of it all.
Ready to weather it again.

Ready to rebuild whenever needed.