There is something special about being intimately invited into people’s spaces, lives and routines in a way that photographs cannot always capture.
Though, truth be told, it is that very specific situational aspect of life that I am most often drawn to in my photography work. Capturing the raw and unposed moments that conspire within the framework of the mundane and attempting to convey the interpretation of that perceived beauty.
Raven is someone I’ve met here in New Mexico who has taught me so much about the caring for a type of animal I, admittedly, have not thought too in depth about aside from eating their eggs for breakfast most days of the week…
However her love and care for her chickens is evident, even in these images, and is a heartwarming thing to witness.
(It should be noted that giving her chickens baths is not actually a regular occurrence, but they were preparing for a chicken show in Arizona the next day)
This is just a small vignette of what have become numerous unexpected moments throughout living on a farm in New Mexico.
I wish I remembered exactly how Jeanie Tomanek’s work came into my life.
I do remember a Winter afternoon in 2015, looking at her Etsy shop and being captivated by the elusive and etherial figures and scenes she depicted in her paintings.
I favorited nearly every single one.
I soon discovered she had an instagram and after following, would regularly click on her account, drawn time and time again to the peaceful and dreamlike imagery that, to me, conveyed this spirit of hope and resilience.
A theme she often focuses on when painting, I later learned after meeting her.
I finally purchased one of her originals, which you can see here, titled Tiny Bit of Faith, which reminded me of the great many leaps of faith I’ve taken in my life, and how each and every time I have always landed after leaping.
A thing you can forget when you are on the precipice or in mid air.
Of course her celestial themes and moon centered works leave me star struck (pun somewhat intended…) as well. You all know how I feel about the moon.
Her figures, often featureless, without hair or skin color, are the defining symbol behind her art’s moniker. Something I tried to rewrite to convey what she told me in person, but I think I will just let her own words convey the idea.
“I love to show the strength and optimistic attributes of women. Even when they are in a quandary or in danger, I always try to show a glimmer of hope and wisdom—that they will solve the riddle and make it through, stronger and with dignity. Being bald and shorn of any particular identity, they become all women.”
Jeanie did not hesitate to welcome me to visit her in her studio space when I inquired if she would be up for this photo essay.
I brought a dear friend along and coffee and cinnamon buns were awaiting us as we entered her sun splashed home last Spring. I instantly felt at home, not just in her space but in her presence as well. Jeanie is the kind of warm and friendly that makes you want to be her life long friend and that you kind of just want to be around in hopes that some of her depth and wisdom rub off on you.
The mess of artist’s spaces are my favorite. The slant towards imperfection and allowing natural creation to take you where it will. There is a kind of raw freedom there.
A freedom that knows that the process is often more important than the end goal.
It was all the more incredible seeing her work in person, as well as some of the tangible inspiration behind it. Our conversation that afternoon centered around the beautiful resilience of women, following your heart in it’s inclinations of what it was made to beat for, and pushing past fear and indecision and allowing yourself to sit in vulnerability so as to reach a braver and stronger self.
All images shot on Portra 400 35mm film and are in their original as-shot unedited state.
If you enjoyed this Artists In Film essay please check out the others below!
A newer series I’ve started
Spaces In Film
Keep an eye out, because there are more essays in the works!
Thanks for reading friend.
This project is one that is incredibly close to my heart and it means the world that you paused for it.
These are portraits of a dear friend of mine. She lives in England. We’ve been friends for about seven years, but met in person for the first time this year.
Okay, there is more to this story…
Siobhan and I have been internet friends through our blogs for longer than we’ve had Instagram. I remember having my blog on Blogger when she started following it, and I remember her blog, Bless The Weather, on Wordpress back when she was mostly knitting and only dabbling in taking photos. (For those of you who don’t know, she’s a kick ass full time photographer now.)
We have come a long way in the development of our businesses, but more importantly our friendship.
It’s a funny thing to some to befriend complete strangers online (though I’m not sure why, when they’ll date online with apps like Tinder without a second thought… a thing I still refuse to partake in…). But it’s been somewhat of a normal aspect of my life for a number of years now. Obviously I befriend people in person as well, but to not utilize the complete wonder of social media these days in this way seems so silly to me. Literally, the entire world is at our fingertips, and this beautiful human is most definitely one of the top people I’ve met online that I can say that I am endlessly grateful turned into a real life friend.
After years of emails and commenting on one another’s blogs and interacting over social media, we finally had the pleasure of meeting in real life in New Orleans earlier this year. We both made the trek down (albeit a much longer trek for Siobhan, coming from England and all) and we could not have clicked any more fully and immediately, finally solidifying our sisterhood and friendship in person after all these years of virtual connection.
There also could not have been a better place for the blossoming of our friendship than the vibrant motion of the jazzy New Orleans.
This Fall I stopped in England on my way to Greece and spent a few lovely days visiting her and her dear family in the incredibly charming small English town of Hitchin.
Taking these portraits of her was only one of the many highlights of our weekend.
Especially because she is due to have her second little one in the beginning of the year! Being present to capture this season of her life felt like such a special gift to us both.
I am sure you can see, from these images alone, why we make such good friends. I mean, overalls, a brimmed hat, film camera, loving plants and being outside??
Yes. Yes, we are indeed soul sisters.
Much like Artists In Film, Spaces In Film is focused around a more intentional and simple documentation of intriguing interiors and favorite vignettes found on the road.
Film is a format of photography that I increasingly fall in love with as the years go by.
Indeed, I often prefer it over its digital counterpart. While I shoot digitally for work most of the time, there is a mystical, etherial and nostalgic way about film that just can't ever quite be replicated with digital images.
For these reasons, as well as the often imperfect and one-time-shot aspects of the medium, I have come to treasure my film photos in a way i'm not sure i'll ever feel about any other kind of photograph.
Film is one of my favorite ways to create, to document. Largely because of the intentionality and slowness and care I have to execute in the midst of it, but also because it teaches me to appreciate imperfections.
Blurred edges. Out of focus planes. Light leaks.
Some would argue that these are the makings of a bad photograph, but I beg to differ.
Because they are real.
They are raw.
They are capturing exactly what it was in front of the lens at the time, unapologetically, with no filter.
This first space I am sharing with you is The Jupiter Flats, an Air BnB in Joshua Tree California that was a stop during The Wild + Wonderful American Road Trip.
My favorite spaces are the ones that incorporate the outdoors into their functionality and everyday living. They are the ones I find myself happiest in. Closer in routine to that which we came from. A natural invitation to rewild.
We spent the evening unpacking and repacking our bags, playing vinyl records, turning on the twinkle lights, making a batch of margaritas from our earlier-in-the-day purchased roadside tequila, and soaking our clothes and then ourselves in the outdoor tub.
As the day wore out and the stars grew more contrasted as the sun rotated further from our patch of sky, it was apparent that this space was not only a respite for our road weary bodies, but our minds as well.
Simplicity brings space which allows for open thoughts, concise actions and clear convictions.
This space was rich with it.
You can follow the jupiter flats on instagram and book your own stay with them on Air BnB here. Don’t have an Air BnB account? Follow my link here to get $40 off your first stay!
All images shot on Portra 400 35mm film and are in their original as-shot unedited state.
If you enjoyed this Spaces In Film essay, check out some of the Artists In Film essays!
Keep an eye out, because there are more film essays in the works!
Especially with coming home and getting all of the film developed from
Thanks for reading friend.
This project is incredibly close to my heart and it means the world that you paused for it.
the kind of girls who follow their dreams, not trends.
the kind of girls you want as friends, sisters, partners, mothers.
the kind of girls who encourage you to be more you by simply being unapologetically themselves.
the kind of girls you will be late for buses and trains for.
the kind of girls to go dancing with under late night city lights.
the kind of girls who have wild and relentless ambition.
the kind of girls who listen with their hearts.
the kind of girls you will book plane tickets with.
these are the kinds of girls i feel grateful to not only know, but call dear friends.
these three strong, independent and beautiful sisters inspire me endlessly.
i feel lucky that from time to time our lives line up to allow us to be underneath the same little patch of sky and with the same rooftops beneath our feet.
travel dates are to let you know when i'm going to be somewhere other than home (which for me is sweet beautiful Virginia) and have availability for additional bookings for photography work.
because while, yes, i totally can and will come to you for a session wherever you're located, if you see that i'm already going to be near you during a certain time it'd be more cost efficient to go ahead and book a shoot while i'm already planning on being in your area!
plus i've decided in 2018 to offer my photo sessions booked during travel dates at a discounted rate!
what's not to love right?
for the latest travel dates announcements check out the blog tag! or my instagram story highlights.
Feel free to message me on Instagram or shoot me an email if you have any interest!
Norfolk, VA August 28th-30th
New York City September 9th-12th
London October 17th-22nd
Greece October 22nd-30th
Texas December 30th-January 7th
Charlie Umhau and i used to be neighbors back when we both lived in Richmond, Virginia.
it was a while before i realized the jovial wild-haired being, who always greeted me on the sidewalk with a grin and a wave, was the same one on Instagram commenting on and resonating with my wild and creative musings (and here is just one of the many examples of how the internet has brought the most remarkable people into my physical world).
though we really only had the opportunity to become friends and hang out for a short time before he moved to New Orleans, there was an instantaneous connection in our conversations and ways of viewing and loving the world. from our common ideas on rewilding, our mutual experience of feeling a little-bit different than everyone else around us, to answering the call of leading and living a life counter to what our society told us to live. such was the scope of more than a few late night talks over beer and underneath city lights and starry skies.
all coupled with the recognition of our lives being fueled by the art of our self-made themes, concepts and projects.
if you love it, it will survive
ride boldly ride
hope is a verb with it’s sleeves rolled up
writings from a would be beatnik
anywhere on the water is a place i call home
learning to let a little green into my life
not to mention, we both lived in proverbial castles, though his was a castille.
(you'll have to follow his Instagram to learn more about that and similarly, those of you who have not been following me will need to familiarize yourself with my documentation of #theknittingqueenscastle)
however this dwelling was not just in our minds, but in the real world too.
for we are both royalty.
The Knitting Queen meets The Cowboy Prince.
we’ve talked extensively in the way of how to be in the world as artists but also in what it means to be a part of humanity in general, within the boundaries of that desire. the balance of being in the world as individuals but also as a part of a larger body of others. staying true to inner drives of creation though not to the point of alienation.
i wish i could convey some of those conversations and ideas to you now, but the second-hand translation wouldn’t even begin to do them justice.
i will say however, with the deepest sincerity, that his way of creating and being an artist is unrivaled by anyone else i’ve ever met before, or since.
i have truly never encountered another soul like his.
his themes of resilience of the human spirit, strength, hope, and action are bold and both vocally and visually portrayed in not just his art but all that he does.
he is one of the few i feel i can truly say who not just create his art, but embodies and lives it, in every single aspect possible. through his painting, writing, sewing, pattern making, sculpting, drawing, and countless other trades and skills woven in between, each piece created, whether it’s wearable by body or wall, is steeped with symbolism and meaning.
i am going to be incredibly transparent and open when i say that i am not sure i have ever encountered an artist and art that has so completely intrigued and moved me.
in sharing this man and his art, vision and space with you, i so badly want to do it all justice through these photos and in my words.
but i think part of this project for me is realizing that i am unable to do that.
to encounter another art form is something that transcends secondary interpretation.
to see a print of an original painting does not move you nearly as much as seeing and smelling the real thing. hearing a recording of a song can hit you in the chest, but not nearly as deep and bone rattling as being at a concert standing in front of the stage, hearing the music come at you and feeling it in your body right then and there.
such is also the case, at times, with seeing photographs of things.
but my heart in this project, of photographing artists in their spaces and studios, has a few intentions behind it.
being that i first and foremost want to expand the understanding and thought process of what it means to be an artist.
secondly, that i want to simply blend and share an art form of mine with another’s and emphasize what a privilege that is. because i think often we are meant to mesh and blend our lives and passions with others more often than we perhaps allow for.
thirdly, i want to highlight some of the amazing people i’ve met over the years in all manner of places, doing such genuine heart-felt things and who truly treat their lives as their proverbial canvas.
last but not least, i am looking to stretch myself in my own ideas and understanding of what it is in me that feels alive and passionate about my various art forms through witnessing the fire and passion of others practicing theirs.
film is one of my favorite ways to create, to document. largely because of the intentionality and slowness and care i have to execute in the midst of it, but also because it teaches me to appreciate imperfections.
blurred edges. out of focus planes. light leaks.
some would argue that these are the makings of a bad photograph, but i beg to differ.
because they are real.
they are raw.
they are capturing exactly what it was in front of the lens at the time, unapologetically, with no filter.
i can achieve certain elements of that in digital photography at times, even with my iPhone on occasion (for every single photo on my instagram feed is shot and shared from my iphone because i have always been somewhat of a purest in that way— feeling as though sharing my DSLR images on a platform originally meant for phone snaps was “cheating”.) but i cannot tell you the last time i didn’t actually take 15 shots to get the one that i wanted, or shared a photo i hadn’t edited in some way.
in film i can’t do that.
i only have 36 frames on a roll of film (sometimes even only 24 or 12) and part of my self imposed limitations with this project was to shoot only one roll of film for each session and to share the photos afterwards as-is, without any touching up.
i have found that it is within limitations that my best, and most loved, work is created. the shots i probably never would have gotten had i been given all of the luxuries and conveniences of digital technology.
of course there is also a certain heightened love and appreciation for that which is scarce and in small supply.
not to say that these are incredible photographs, publish worthy, jaw dropping.
accept, well, to me they kind of are.
they are once-in-a-life-time.
because that’s what a photograph is: a millisecond captured of an irreplaceable moment in time.
they are the result of my rawest and most vulnerable kind of image making.
i have to overcome a lot of insecurities and self doubt in creating these photos because i am not proficient in film and am not as practiced at documenting with it as i am with digital (which is my paid profession).
and i think that is what i find most precious and special about these sessions: that these artists are extending to me a similar kind of vulnerability.
they have welcomed me into their most sacred space, the place where they create and put out the art that they just can’t help but do. the things they go to bed thinking about, dream of in their sleep and then wake up with in the morning still on their minds.
because they have to create.
they were made to do this specific thing, and they don’t know how to not do it. as an artist who holds the spaces in which she creates as very reverent and sacred, i know all too well how meaningful it is for someone to be willing to share that with others.
with all of that being said, i am going to let these blurry imperfect photos not speak for Charlie and his art, but at least start an introduction for you.
if you would like to hear more of Charlie’s own voice and witness more of his process in creation, i highly encourage you to follow his instagram account: @thecowboyprince. it is one of my favorites to keep up with.
(and be sure to read the captions, because that’s where most of the magic lies…)
if you enjoyed this Artists In Film essay please check out the original one i put out!
keep an eye out, because there are more essays in the works!
especially with the impending Wild + Wonderful American Road Trip that i am embarking on next month.
thanks for reading friend.
this project is one that is incredibly close to my heart and it means the world that you paused for it.
i don't remember the first time i thought about driving across the country.
there are many dreams that live inside of me that feel like they've just always been there. often i can remember various details and mile stones that attributed to their growth and permanence within me, but i don't always remember their conception.
the American road trip is one of those kinds of dreams.
(a related side note: after i wrote this whole post, i vaguely recalled writing about this dream years ago and after searching my archives, came across this from 2013. so, you know, there's at least one recorded mile stone for you.)
i think sometimes there is this unspoken expectation in our society, in regards to our dreams and the things we tell others we want to do. which is that for some reason they require justification by means of history and long-time desire and even a communicated "always" to validate them. i'm not sure why that is really. perhaps the drive to be different and one-of-a-kind and original. we didn't just see someone on instagram do that and now we want to, we are deeper and more thought out and planned than that. we wanted to do that before it was "cool".
all of that to say, it feels important to communicate the "i've always wanted to do this" tagline not as a way of validating my desire, and elevating it over anyone else's that may be similar, but more so to simply revel in, and celebrate, the finality of finally embarking and choosing action and motion in regards to this long-held dream.
a fact that feels important in more ways than one for me. many of which i am not able, nor will i try, to communicate here.
but that idea, of getting in my car and driving from one end of the country to the other, and back again, as cliche American right-of-passage and Jack Kerouac as it may be, just feels like one of those things i need to do.
not to mention i have somewhat had this long-time obsession with being on the road. some of you may even remember one of my past knitwear collections being designed around that theme.
for so long there has been a rhythm of restlessness in me. indeed i have a hard time remembering any kind of living without it. it's even translated in small long-ago-ways in my childhood. wanting to accompany my Father to run various weekend errands or visiting never-been-before places with my Mother. or even the short reels of memory that contain closer-to-home moments, though still ones of motion, in the way of dancing and running around the apartment i was born in.
i have always loved movement. in all of it's various forms.
set in motion perhaps by the above reasons and also the privilege of many family trips to far-away places in my adolescence that attributed to shaping my curiosity and perspective.
and of course a voracious appetite for reading has lent a hand or two over the years as well.
i tried to quiet it for a time, that desire to go and move, appease it with other smaller things. short-term things. often guided by the desires of others as opposed to my own. a thing i am really the only one to blame for. if there is any blame that even needs to be cast. which i suppose there isn't. for that would convey some manner of regret, which i don't really have, because i recognize all that i have lived and done before now has been what has shaped me into the person i presently am.
a person i actually quite like.
but it took me a few years in the in-between of wide-eyed-innocence, and whatever you would call my current state, to realize that.
to realize that the voice telling me to "go.run.move" cannot be quieted.
i don't know if i will always have this insatiable desire to wander and roam, but i know that i have it now, and now is all i am promised.
so that is the moment i am going to live in.
i will be leaving very near the eve of the first day of Summer, next month. not exactly planned, but a happy happenstance. for what better time to set out on a Summer road trip than the first day of said season?
i will be gone for a few months and i have a list of places i must see, people i want to visit and meet, and experiences to settle into and feel with every bit of my skin and bones.
but there's going to be a lot of wandering. a lot of free wheeling. a lot of let's-see-what-happens.
partially because i have never been one for planning every single detail of my life, and partially because the times i have always seem to end up falling by the wayside as counter to what was supposed to happen in the first place.
i would be lying if i said there weren't some nerves jumping around inside of me. i live in Virginia and the farthest i've driven alone is Georgia and the farthest i've driven with others is probably a toss up between Maine, Florida and Michigan.
while i've been to many of the points in this country (32 of the 50 states to be exact), and many of the places in-between that connect them, most have been traveled to by plane. which feels in this particular way a kind of short cut and is coupled with an odd feeling of loss in regards to many of the unseen pieces-places-people that make up our country and that seem somewhat elusive and unable to be explored and experienced with a quick two-week trip.
SO to wrap this up, here are some things i do want to specifically say:
1. i have several photography jobs along the way so if you live in any state out there other than Virginia and you have a desire to get some photos of some kind taken by me, let me know! it doesn't hurt to at least express interest, because you never know what could work out! as stated on The Traveling Photographer page, sessions booked during my travels are always cheaper because i waive travel fees because i'm already on the road.
2. if you have a thing, a place, a food, a person or really just about anything that you have experienced or met or seen in this big beautiful country of ours, that you want to share or suggest for my trip, i would love to hear from you. instagram DM me or shoot me an email. i admit i am somewhat overwhelmed with the long list of things i already am trying to organize and connect into a cohesive plan, but i just can't say no to more suggestions (especially because i have a feeling this isn't going to be the last trip of this kind) so please bring them on!
big or small, i want them all.
3. i am looking specifically for suggestions and "nominees" if you will for my Artists In Film series. so if you're a person who's doing interesting things, you know someone doing interesting things, or there's an artist you follow somewhat anonymously but would love to learn more about, message me!
i want to continue to expand the idea of what it is to be an artist and to showcase beautiful people in all walks of life who are doing things they love doing.
4. if you want to say hi and EVEN if you have a guest room/couch to crash on/yard to camp in, well i would kind of love that too. again, much of this trip is about meeting new people and making new friends, so i would love it if you wanted to be added to that list of persons (regardless of whether or not you're willing to host me! meeting over coffee/walks/drinks are also welcome.)
so i suppose all that is left to say is what the aforementioned, and possibly overly quoted (especially by yours truly in 2014), Jack Kerouc said:
"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road."
for quite some time now i've been holding this idea of doing film photo essays on various artists i love and admire and sharing them here on the journal.
film is a format of photography that i increasingly fall in love with as the years go by.
indeed, i often prefer it over its digital counterpart. while i shoot digitally for work most of the time, there is a mystical, etherial and nostalgic way about film that just can't ever quite be replicated with digital images.
for these reasons, as well as the often imperfect and one-time-shot aspects of the medium, i have come to treasure my film photos in a way i'm not sure i'll ever feel about any other kind of photo.
yesterday i re-shared this post of photos from Anna's home in Portland Oregon, but it wasn't until recently that i developed the remaining rolls from this trip. so in addition to her lovely home, here you can see some vignettes from her studio space as well.
what struck me most about first meeting Anna, and spending time in both her studio and home, was the seamlessness of her spaces. both conveyed her lifestyle, values, goals and taste in an interchangable and genuine way. she has since become a dear friend and has remained a huge inspiration to me in this way. for my various art forms and work are indeed my life as well, and as such i want my life to speak of that, in whatever outlet or avenue people encounter it.
not in an artificial "branding" or for "asthetics" purposes kind of way, but rather as an intentional and authentic thread that speaks to how much we artists truly do live, breathe, and believe in the art we put into the world.
which is namely the inspiration for this series.
showing artists in the spaces in which they not only make their art, but live it.
i hope to feature more artists soon, from past studio visits as well as future ones from my many planned travels this year!
but to start of the introduction of this series, please enjoy the beautiful Anna of Experimental Vintage.