Loving Who You Are

This beauty came into my studio.  She has spunk.  She has charisma.  She is full of life.  But I was also told that she doesn't always see herself as amazingly as I do.  And, at 11 years old, there's no reason she shouldn't feel as though she has the world at her fingertips.

I remember being that age.  I was bullied.  Kids poured itching powder down my back.  I was teased with "boring Dohring" (my maiden name).  I was teased horribly because I couldn't afford certain clothes and my parents could provide the same things the other kids had.  I just couldn't quite fit in.  And, looking back on it, that sucked.  A lot.  So, I was hoping, by getting this age into my studio, that I could somehow alter the way this age group interacts with one another.  If I could just somehow show them all that they, each and every one of them, are so unique and so different, that it's impossible to completely fit in.  That there's no way that we will all get along.  That, if we just accept each other as being different, then we could move past the idea of "weirdos" and concentrate on being kind.  Being our own individuals.  Using that individuality as our strength and making this world stronger and more compassionate with it.  Just maybe....  Right?

I'm not sure I accomplished anything with this session.  But I will tell you, this young lady now has a chance to see herself the way another person might see her.  I may not be one of her peers, but I am another human sharing this most wonderful world with her, and I hold tight to the thought that we somehow conquered something here.  

Namaste.

Film Noir Inspiration

I haven't posted in a little bit - I'm obviously not any good at blogging.  But, hey, here I am and I'm just happy you're reading this ;)

I'm keeping this blog post short as all I really want to do is share this session with with you all!  Not only was it super fun, but it embodies everything that drives me.  Creativity and beauty.  Without either of those, I'd be lost.  I encourage everyone to find time in their busy life to stop and do something like this for themselves.  There's nothing greater then seeing yourself as you are (with a little polishing ;) ) from the eyes of another person - then realizing that you're amazing.  Because, you are amazing and you should be reminded of that on the regular. 

Namaste.

Enticing You to Love Yourself

This month has been AMAZING!  I have been able to work with some of the coolest women.  Not only are they brilliant and charming and kind and loving, but they are positively STUNNING!  Yes, a little makeup and a nice curl helps, but that's not what makes these women so lovely.  It's they themselves that bring that X factor to the camera.  I couldn't do what I do without them.  Without YOU!  (And, by the way, all hair and makeup has been done by the most fabulous Kashmir.  Without her, I don't know what I'd do ;) )

I encourage you to speak AT LEAST one kind thing about yourself today.  Don't look in the mirror and criticize your nose or your thighs yet again.  Instead, use that energy to love yourself and find the beauty in yourself.  If we can't love ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to. 

 

Until next time, namaste.

Why I Am A Photographer

The Who

I grew up in Southern Arizona.  I have three amazing sisters and an odd combination of family members.  I am married to a most amazing human being, who I look forward to every single day with.  He is my rock.  Our two babes keep us busy with the typical 4-5 year old stuff.  They give us life and remind us to appreciate the little things.  They completely and utterly rock!  Really.  And, they are super cute too ;)

I started calling myself a photographer about three years ago.  Before then, I would do the typical family photo stuff and took a few college courses.  And, like any photographer, I decided to become a photographer because I wanted to capture genuine, relevant moments that my clients could cherish forever.  But, then, I realized I needed to tell you WHY I want to do that.  So....

The Why

I was twelve years old when I lost my father to heroin.  My youngest sister was five.  And although my father had his issues, this was still a huge shock to our family, especially my mother.  For the four years proceeding my father's death, my mother did nothing but drink.  Southern Comfort.  Bottle, after bottle.  She couldn't escape.  Needless to say, I don't remember much of this time.  My brain has afforded me the ability to completely forget the terrible things.

When I was sixteen years old, my mother finally lost her battle to ovarian cancer.  And, although her final diagnosis was cancer, I do not believe it was cancer that killed her.  That woman endured more heartache than any one person could handle in a lifetime.  If you ask me, she died of a broken heart.  I'd go on about my mother much more, but she is my biggest regret and I'm just not ready to talk about that just yet.

We were adopted by my mother's most generous best friend and her husband.  Life would've been completely different for us if it weren't for them.  No doubt.

Fast forward sixteen years and here I am staring a two photos.  One, taken in the mid 80s, a woman with feathered bangs and purple eye shadow matching her lavender blouse and high wasted button jeans.  The other is of a boy, about 5-7 years old, military style hair cut, buttoned up shirt, and the makings of an amazing smile.  The combination of these two humans are why I have life.  These images are why I decided to do what I do.  Preserve memories.  I wouldn't have anything if it weren't for these images and I understand now, more than ever, why they are so valuable.  It helps us remember the things we forget. 

And, this has become quite clear to me since I've became a mother.  Since I started seeing the true value in life and being a human and watching a human go from a little blob to a little dude/dudette, I realized how important it was to catch that.  I realized that I never wanted my children to live without being remembered.  Now... if only I could work on getting me in front of the camera more often, then maybe I won't be forgotten... ;)  Until next time, namaste.

SarahCoon

Love @ Shirley Meeting House Wedding + The Bull Run

If everyone reading this was coherent on October 15th and were in the Massachusetts area, you'd know that is was a most spectacular day.  The colors of fall were brilliant.  The air was pure and refreshing.  The sky was clear and promising.  It was a perfect fall day.

On this October day, love most certainly was everywhere.  And, I do believe, somewhere in Fantasyland, Cinderella wept because she hadn't found this dress first.  (I can't decide if Aurora or Cinderella has the better dress.  But, then there's this dress, and now I'm really torn ;).)

The ceremony was held at The Shirley Meeting House.  The reception was held at The Bull Run, just down the street from The Meeting House.  Both locations were in prime condition for a day like this beautiful October wedding day.

The bride and her maids were undoubtably gorgeous.  The groom and his men were men in suits, and that's all I should have to say about that ;)  But, the love.  That was magical.  And it wasn't a love that was overly expressed.  It's a love that was felt.  There is no need for words when it comes to a love like that.  

To Bobbi & Shane, may you both enjoy the wonderful journey of marriage.  It is no doubt to anyone who knows you that you will both live happily ever after.  Enjoy your beautiful honeymoon!  Until next time, namaste.

Bouquets and Floral are by Rosebude in Dracut, Ma.  Cake by Dutch Kitchen in Fitchburg.

 

Mount Watatic + "Do I Get To See Every Image You Take?"

I spent Columbus Day hiking Mount Watatic with this Class of 2017 Senior.  He made me hike three miles up a mountain so he could get some images at the top.  I wasn't really looking forward to it.  Not that I don't like being in nature, I just don't like hiking.  Not at all.  But, I have to say that the view, and these images, made it all worth it.

Along our hiking journey, I was asked if he would be able to see every image that I got that day.  I answered very simply that he could not.  But, it got me thinking, why would he want to see my unfinished product anyway?  It's not the first time I had been asked this question, but this time it made me want to step back and explain WHY any professional (or aspiring professional) would NOT show a client their unfinished work.

Mt. Watatic Senior Portrait 3

A photographer is not only an image maker, they are also curator, a story teller.  

A photographer makes images using their camera - this is only the very beginning of what ends up to be the final product.  Once they have the images, they cull, or pair down to the best images from the session.  Typically, the images that didn't make the cut are those with closed eyes, pursed lips, weird arm placement...  And, the images that didn't make the cut are because of the photographer's eye.  The eye a client paid for.   

The culled images are then edited according to the photographer's preferences and paired down further if need be.  The photographer will then prepare for their presentation of the images.  This is where the client sees their story.  

A photograph's journey is not yet complete until an album has been curated, a canvas placed properly on a wall, or a digital file sized appropriately.  Each photographer is different, and each story is different.  Every client seeks something unique in their photographer, and it's the end product that they are looking at, not the raw images.

Thank you Mitchell for asking me this question.  And, out of the over 200 images that I took, I paired it down to 40 for you.  Which I know makes you wonder what the other 160+ images look like, but trust me when I say that aren't good ;)  These one's here though, you rocked!

Until next time, namaste.

Farandnear + Family Photo Fun

It's been almost two years since our little family packed up everything we own and moved far far away.  This isn't the first time a family has done this, and it's obviously not the last.  But, it was the first for us.  And, it's still pretty difficult to get used to.

Since moving out here, we have met some pretty cool people.  We have met some diehard New Englanders.  We have met some of the rudest people we have ever encountered.  I think they refer to themselves as Massholes ;)  But, then there's this family.  This family might be one or all of those people I just described, but to me, they are understanding, kind, fun, and totally worth having in your contact list.  

Not only was I able to shoot this family portrait session in record time due to their over the top well behaved children, but they made me feel something I have not felt since I've been out here.  I felt accepted.  They understood my want (and desperate need) to go back to where my heart is.  THEY UNDERSTOOD.  Something most people just want to defend.  "Why would you want to leave this?!?"  "Isn't it too hot in Arizona?" "Too many things that can kill you in Arizona!"  It's home.  There's just nothing else I can say.  And this beautiful family accepted that from me.  I could not appreciate that more.

farandnear-family-portrait

Thank you so much for sharing your time with me.  You guys are awesome humans and I love that you let me photograph you!  Namaste.

Fall + Love + Family

The beginning of Fall is such a lovely time.  Leaves begin to change.  The air cools slightly and a breeze becomes constant.  It's still warm enough during the day to be adventurous, but at night there's nothing greater than snuggling under a blanket watching American Horror Story.

It seems to me that while the months start getting cooler, families start getting together more often.  Playfulness starts getting the best of even the crankiest of people.  More smiles, less judgment, and bigger hearts.  Lovers cuddle more, siblings share more, and drivers rant less.

Why am I going on about Autumn?  Because it's the best season right next to Spring.  And, for whatever reason, it helps bring out the best in us.  I just wish the best in us would stick around longer.  Namaste.

Gibbet Hill + Class of 2017 Senior Kayleigh

What can I say.... Spending time with, and photographing this absolutely stunning young woman was more than I could have asked for.  Not only is she super sweet and easy to get along with, but she is down to earth and totally fun to be around.

While she's busy applying to colleges and taking AP courses, she is also playing volleyball and being annoyed by her little brother.  She will be attending college next year, working to become an art therapist.  

kayleighseniorportrait

Her smile is beyond contagious and she has this light that shines on absolutely everything she gets near.  I was fortunate enough to be a something that her light graced.  And, I will forever remember our session because of that light.  Thank you Kayleigh.  You are a perfect example of what our future could look like if we all smiled more and loved unconditionally.

Until next time, namaste.

Stillman Fair 2016 - Lunenburg, Ma

For all my local people, I hope you had the chance to visit the Second Annual Stillman Fair this past weekend.  But, if you couldn't attend, here is what you missed.

Highland Farm

Highland Farm

Snow Place Farm

Snow Place Farm

Not only were some of the BEST farmers available with the freshest produce and meats, but the greatest artisans in the area were there too.

visionwright.jpg
JuneBug Quilts

JuneBug Quilts

And, above all else, the finest fire fighters and police force a town could ask for were also there to show off their awesome dogs and their amazing strength. ;)

Lunenburg firemen ;)

Lunenburg firemen ;)

This is only the second year that Stillman has put on this fair and I think it's safe to say that it won't be the last.  

Happy faces.

Happy faces.

Painted faces.

Painted faces.

The Lunenburg High School Football team made quite the impression by helping vendors and taking over the military car and tug-of-war.

Lunenburg High School Football Team

Lunenburg High School Football Team

The ultimate tug-of-war.

The ultimate tug-of-war.

I was able to spend my time meeting new people, creating amazing relationships, and having great conversations.  If this is all anyone got out of this day, I say that it was a MAJOR success.  But, if you were able to scoop up great local products and eat awesome food while having great conversations, then you did exactly what this fair was intended for.  And, at the same time, you helped our local Lions Club.  

I look forward to being apart of this event next year.  Until then, I hope that I see each and every person I met again, and I hope this time I am behind my lens capturing a moment for you.  Until next time, namaste.  

California Wedding + Daniele & Ruben

This past weekend I was able to not only capture a beautiful wedding, but I also got to spend time with family I haven't seen in years.  Some of them it had been so long that they have had babies and their babies have grown.  One of them has been living outside the US and married a beautiful French woman.  Another has dreads for hair.  Others, like my sisters, it had only been months, but felt like years.  And as I type this I cry because I only wish that I could still be with them.  All of them.  You see, I am fortunate enough to actually adore and love my family with every fiber of my being, which makes this blog post that much more special for me.

My darling cousin, Daniele, is one of those people who has the patience of a saint and the beauty of a Disney Princess, like Aurora, may FAV. ;)  And, it wasn't a surprise to us when she found a man equally as awesome as she.  My heart swells with happiness every time I think of Daniele & Ruben.  With their super cool movie jobs and their endless love for one another, they remind us all what true love is really about.  Love.

Thank you Daniele & Ruben for reminding us all how to love with compassion and tenderness.  Thank you for showing us happiness.  And, above all else, thank you for sharing your day with us.  The memories that were made at your wedding will surely live on for the rest of our lives and it's because two beautiful people fell in love.  With all my heart, namaste.

The Stevens Estate + Romantic Wedding

This day just couldn't have been better for any bride & groom.  Stevens Estate in North Andover was stunning.  Weather was perfect with a mild breeze to keep the sweat at bay.  Nothing was out of sync and everything was on time.  Just, a perfect day for a wedding ceremony.

These ladies were so much fun to work with!  They had their matching robes and fondness of champagne - and the romantic feel of Stevens Estate made it simply easy to photograph.

And then the wedding dress.  This dress!!  Oh... My... Goodness... Even on the freakin' hanger it looked amazing!  Put it on the bride, and even I was breathless.  This dress was defiantly made for her.

Simple.  Elegant.  Romantic.  

Simple.  Elegant.  Romantic.  

Because of the Groom's Italian heritage, the couple choose to write a letter to each other and store it in a wine box with a bottle of wine.  The letters and wine will be revealed on their 5th wedding anniversary.  **LOVE**

We channeled some Bridesmaids (the movie) for a fun, candid shot.

We channeled some Bridesmaids (the movie) for a fun, candid shot.

The sun was totally in our favor for the bridal and family portraits.  And, again, the bride couldn't have been more stunning.  

As they are on their way to Italy for their honeymoon, I can only think of how lucky I was to be apart of this day.  To capture their moments.  To see their love.  Until next time, namaste.