women's march 2.0

Have you seen the girl with the mind on fire?
She set out to tell the world how they suppress our desires
Said she wouldn't back down till the rules were amended
And she didn't give a fuck who she offended
Have you seen her now?
- Aisha Badru

One year ago I marched with half a million of my sisters in Washington DC. Today I marched at home in Seattle. where we brought the heat despite the cold and a little rain. 

fifty

FIFTY years. Holy smokes, my parents have been married for 50 years. Marriage isn't easy, but I feel fortunate that my parents stuck together all those years and provided a home for my brother and I full of love, support, adventure and endless laughter. They have set the bar high for my own marriage and I'm constantly in awe of everything they've accomplished together. We all traveled to Hawaii where they honeymooned FIFTY years ago, only this time the kids and grand-kids were there to celebrate as well. The kids collected fallen plumeria blooms so I could string them together with dental floss to make lei's for everyone, we decorated the cottage, Uncle Nate manned the BBQ, and the kids ran around and climbed tree stumps with their Grandma Bon Bon and Grandpa Dino masks while we sipped champagne and watched the sun set. Happy anniversary mom and dad.

 

 

cousins, bathtubs, mobile saunas, and chickens | seattle tacoma documentary family photography

It's been far too long since I've blogged, but spring has arrived and I've been shooting a lot lately. I'm also *very close* to fully recovered from major knee surgery last year (more on that coming in another blog post) so I'm ready to start photographing families again! While Viggo competed in his very first chess tournament last weekend (you can see my Instagram post here), Leo got some quality time with his cousins. Documenting the day with his cousins was a great reminder that we can include extended family and cousins in your photo shoot. I would love to spend a morning or day in the life with your family, your littles, and their cousins. The cousin relationship is pretty special, whether they are all close in age, or years apart, it's such a fun, unique dynamic. I'm not sure which was more fun - 3 cousins in a bathtub or 3 cousins in a hammock. We have a bathtub (but the light isn't nearly as pretty) but I'm convinced that we definitely need a hammock.  Back at the house after a long day of chess, Viggo sat proudly for a photo with his trophy before we all jumped into the converted horse trailer that is now a mobile sauna. We warmed up in the sauna listening to the pouring rain on the metal roof of the trailer, snacking on bowls of goldfish, when Leo shouted "chicken bawk bawk!" and sure enough we looked out the little windows to see one of chickens running down the alley. The kids all jumped out to chase the chicken but he was long gone, leaving four sopping wet cousins scrambling to get inside and warm up in front of the fire. It was everything that a day with cousins should be.

women's march on washington

"Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul."
-Coretta Scott King

Last week I traveled from Seattle to Washington DC for the Women's March on Washington. I had heard amazing stories about airplanes filled with women donning their pink hats, but since the first leg of my trip ended in Charlotte, I only saw a handful of pink hats on my plane. Wearing my own hat however (knit entirely of pieces of pink scrap yarn from the 15 hats I made), got me a seat upgrade and a free glass of wine. I rolled into DC in the midnight darkness on the eve of the inauguration, my taxi driver taking side streets to avoid road closures. The day of the inauguration I was careful to avoid all activity and protests, opting instead to explore the neighborhood and enjoy a long lunch with friends. The morning of the march we spent a laughably long time deciding what to wear, adding layers only to change our minds and remove layers, and change our minds yet again. I know all about music festival attire but protest attire? Not so much. Ready or not, armed with our pink hats, good walking shoes, metro cards, and packs of granola, we set out to the nearest metro station. After letting a few full trains go by, we squeezed our way into a packed subway car, only to welcomed by a woman from NYC who greeted us with "All aboard the pussy train!". After a very crowded and very slow trip, and about the time our collective claustrophobia had reached a tipping point, we were let out of the metro and eventually found our way above ground to overcast skies and cool air. We could hear the voice of Michael Moore over the loudspeaker and slowly made our way to the nearest jumbo screen where we could finally see some of the speakers even though we were 7 blocks from the stage. I got goose bumps listening to Ashley Judd recite “I’m a Nasty Woman”, a spoken word piece written by 19-year old Nina Donovan. I strained to hear Gloria Steinem talk about our collective strength and the importance of working together. We heard Alicia Keys and Scarlett Johansson and the voices of the amazing, diverse women who organized the march. But the one who stood out, the one who brought down the house of hundreds of thousands of people, was 6-year old Sophie Cruz, the daughter of undocumented immigrants, who in the clearest, most confident voice, wise beyond her years, gave us this message: “I also want to tell the children not to be afraid because we are not alone”. The speeches ended and we soon learned that there were so many people in attendance that the march route was completely packed and no one could even move. We ccelebrated the fact that there were far more people in attendance than planned and considered it a victory despite not being able to move and getting restless. Finally, the crowds were starting to move so we jumped into the current and marched. I met people from all over the country, from Florida and Texas, to Portland and Ohio, and Saskatchewan, Canada. At the time I had no idea just how many people were present, but I knew I was in the midst of history being made and it was spectacular. We were on our feet standing and walking for close to 8 hours, and at dusk as the march headed to the White House, we crossed the street holding hands, zig-zagging through the crowds one last time before starting the long walk home.  Exhausted, sore and hungry, I felt like I could have marched forever. Back home, I’m still basking in all that we accomplished from DC to the sister marches across the globe, from Seattle and everywhere in between, knowing that this is just the start.

halloween part I

We kicked off the Halloween festivities at my aunt's house where the boys discovered my cousin's old rope swing. The kids got dressed up in their costumes and they all got to pick out their own pumpkin from my aunt's garden. Pumpkins were claimed, rolled, carried, gently placed in wheelbarrows and accidentally dumped out of said wheelbarrows. While the big kids played basketball, Leo ate the last of the tomatoes from the vines, and once he discovered my cousins stash of old star wars toys, we couldn't get him away from them. I don't blame him - the Ewok treehouse was amazing. The boys wore their vampire capes and my niece wore my little brothers old crayon costume, reminding me of the year we went trick or treating down 10th Street, me in the purple crayon and my brother in the yellow crayon. Growing up my mom sewed all of our costumes, and still helps me create costumes for my boys today. Maybe that's where my love of Halloween came from. 

halloween part II

We were at a Halloween party over the weekend and someone asked me how soon I start working on our costumes, to which I replied "September". But realistically, Halloween was just a few days ago and I'm already thinking about next year. So yeah, I'm that crazy person. Luckily, my oldest has acquired my love of all things Halloween and is already plotting our family Star Wars costume next year. Baby brother was quick to agree to his plan, claiming "Dawth Vadah" for himself. And if you don't believe that a 6 year old won't change his mind over the course of an entire year, think again. Last Halloween he decided that we would be vampires and while he briefly considered the Incredible Hulk, he stayed the course and we all went as vampires. Luckily I got one photo of the boys together in their costumes, because in a classic toddler move, as soon as we started trick or treating Leo refused to wear his vampire cape and looked more like Angus Young from AC/DC.  Viggo held his hand for the first few houses and before we knew it, Leo was climbing stairs, desperately trying to keep up with the big kids, saying "twick or tweat" and collecting his candy all by himself. 

a very hitchcock halloween

I paired up with Hitchcock Madrona, a local jewelry store in Seattle, to shoot their annual Halloween looks. Erica shares my love of Halloween so I was more than happy to work with her on this project as she transformed herself into Madonna (Like a Virgin), Tim Burton's classic Edward Scissorhands, and a modern take on Marie Antoinette. When we arrived in Anacortes, we asked the check-out girl Chloe if she knew of any old buildings in the area and she directed us to the abandoned Northern State Mental Hospital in Sedro-Woolley. It was the perfect back drop for the Edward Scissorhands look! For Marie Antoinette, we tromped through open fields and corn rows and ended up on the slightly terrifying bridge over Deception pass as the sun set. I'm already thinking about locations for next years shoot! Featured jewelry from Lulu Frost, Eddie Borgo, Xenia Mara, IOSSELLIANI, Jennifer Behr, and Mariella Pilato.  Edward Scissorhands dress by Comme Des Garcons and harness by Zana Bayne. More information on the jewelry can be found on the Hitchcock Madrona blog.

from london to seattle with love | seattle documentary family photography

You know it's going to be a good session when you wake up to dark Seattle skies and a slow drizzle but instead of canceling, your client embraces it and wants to document life in their new city, rain and all. And even better is when you're greeted by smiling, giggling girls who can't wait to show you their baby sister.  This beautiful international family recently moved from London to Seattle and the girls still have an accent that will melt your heart.  The laugher that fills every room of their house is infectious, and families that embrace the silly will always have my heart. As a mother of boys, I love documenting life with girls and I'm always curious about the differences and similarities and make no mistake, these girls could give my boys a run for their money. They jumped, wrestled, danced, and scaled rock walls in the mud and rain. It was my kind of morning. 

thea rose | seattle family and newborn documentary photography

I've known Sonya since I moved to Seattle almost 10 years ago, starting out as work friends, quickly becoming fast friends for life, and our annual trip to Doe Bay wouldn't be the same without this family. Over lunches and walks to grab coffee, Sonya and I have shared thoughts on parenting, laughed until we cried, supported each other as working moms, shared the joy of our pregnancies and the fears about growing our families, and have been there for each other in this crazy adventure that is parenthood. And yes, I may have cried on Sonya's shoulder once or twice in her office.  All of this to say, when you love someone and that someone has a baby, there aren't enough heart emoticons to describe all that love. Cue the world's entrance of baby Thea Rose. What I love so much about second time parents is just how relaxed and at ease they are, around the baby and with each other. Watching Sonya and Alex hold Thea and pass her back and forth, cuddling and cooing her, staring in wonderment and smiling at their new baby girl, I felt a sense of calm, and so much love. Thea Rose, you are the sweetest baby and so lucky to have such amazing parents.

forty in antigua

The big 4-0 was approaching and even as we boarded our plane in Seattle, I had no idea where we were off to. And trust me, it’s hard to keep a secret from me. It was only while changing planes in LA that I discovered we were returning to one of our favorite places - Guatemala. We first experienced Guatemala in 2006 when we travelled around the country with my family and our trusty guide and new best friend Eduardo. We went everywhere that everyone should visit at least once, from Tikal and the lesser known Quirigua ruins where we stayed in little bungalows deep in the jungle surrounded by Howler monkeys, to Panajachel and Lake Atitlán where we traveled by boat to the little town of Santiago de Atitlán and offered up cigarettes and “fire water” to the evil saint Maximón, to mountain town of Chichicastenango to witness the famous Sunday market.  

We also visited the beautiful colonial city of Antigua, and after spending only 1 day there, we vowed to return. We stayed at our favorite Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, a retired 16th-century monastery, with views of the surrounding volcanos from the pool, and where hundreds of candles lit the hotel every night. For a smaller, more intimate experience, I recommend the Posada Del Angel on the edge of town. We are creatures of habit so we found a few favorite restaurants and bars and kept returning for more. The meals we had at Izakaya were some of the best I’ve had all year in Seattle.  The chef and owner got his start working at Nobu, and it’s amazing what they were able to do in that tiny, poorly lit kitchen. I’m still dreaming of the beef and fish tiradito. Guatemala is known for its coffee, and we enjoyed our daily coffee from Cafe Condesa, an institution on the west side of the Parque Central. We quickly discovered the best place to watch the sun set over Antigua and her volcanos, was the rooftop bar Café Sky. Almost nightly we would grab a seat, order a mojito, and on several occasions witnessed the Volcan de Agua spew lava. And legend has it, every year around New Year’s, a priest and hundreds of people hike up Volcan de Agua for an annual soccer game inside the volcano’s crater. As night descended we would make our way over to Café No Sé to hang with locals and young backpackers in this dark, candlelit bar serving cheap Gallo beer, illegal Mezcal, and our favorite Ron Zacapa Centenario rum. There’s live music most nights and a secret bar in the back where you can visit and make your offering to Maximón.

During the day we wandered the streets of Antigua, taking in the famous sites like the convent and ruins of Las Capuchinas, the church of La Merced, the ruins of San Jerónimo and La Recolección, and the iconic Santa Catalina Arch built so that the nuns of the 17th century could walk across the 2 sides of the convent without being exposed to the outside world. We saw a procession for La Quema del Diablo (burning the devil), a tradition held on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, where families build bonfires outside their homes and burn all the bad from the previous year and start anew from the ashes. We travelled to neighboring villages where we witnessed a funeral procession, saw women doing the wash in the public wash pool in Santa María de Jesús, and we were lucky enough to meet up again with Carolina and her fellow weavers at her workshop co-op in the village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes, where the women make and wear the most exquisite huipils.

Mostly I’m drawn back to Guatemala for the warmth. The warmth of the people and the colors that flood my dreams like a painting. I am in awe of the craftsmanship by local weavers and the intricate, vibrant huipils, each one unique, representing different villages. I love walking along cobblestone streets past low buildings drenched in bright pinks, yellows and blues, past smiling, curious girls selling their handiwork. I love getting lost in the rush of energy, language, colors and smells coming from the market, seeing cowboys hanging out of pickup trucks on their way into town and the ornately painted chicken buses blowing by.  I can’t wait to return.

dancing in the rain | seattle family documentary photography

We met at t-ball, standing on the sidelines chatting and watching our boys clumsily chase after the ball, learning to throw and catch, all while being cheered on by their coaches and parents. My family quickly fell in love with Coach Caleb and his sweet demeanor, always patient with this gaggle of 4 and 5 year old boys with an easy smile. Sharsti and I fell into the habit of walking up to the coffee shop, with Abbi volunteering to push Leo in his stroller. I was thrilled that Sharsti asked me to photograph her beautiful family this winter at their gorgeous home in Montlake. The weather was terrible, utterly and absolutely atrocious. It was dark and gloomy and I didn’t think it was ever going to stop raining. I considered canceling - but this is what I love so much about this family - they just rolled with it. We do live in Seattle after all, and this is what life looks like in November in the Pacifc Northwest, and they totally embraced it. The rain let up a bit so we decided to take Bailey for a walk out to the Montlake cut. We watched boats go by, the kids hid in the weeping willow branches, jumped over puddles, and sang Macklemore songs with voices much better than my own. My kind of afternoon. By the end of day I felt like I knew the kids so much better and was able to see their different personalities (and voices!) shine through. I left admiring Caleb and Sharsti for how beautifully they embrace and nurture Max and Abbi's different personalities, loving them for exactly who they are. I can’t wait for more lingering mornings on the t-ball field with these guys this spring. 

a beautiful mess | seattle documentary family photographer

In our bedroom we have a kids lamp from Leo’s old room sitting on top of the electric heater because we don’t have bedside tables. You’ll also find my parents old wooden rocking chair that doesn’t really fit in our small room but I can’t bear to part with it because I was rocked to sleep in it when I was a baby (and I call Tom the sentimental one!). Then there's our dog Otis who shouldn’t be on our bed but who, if you know him, is terribly behaved and does whatever he wants, and we gave up trying to make him behave right around the time we had Viggo. The cheap aluminum mini-blinds in the big window from the previous owners sag in the middle and are impossibly hard to raise and lower, and as a result we probably flash our lovely new neighbors more that anyone would like. And I’ll admit that as I was editing these photos, I caught myself cropping out the sagging blinds in an attempt to make our crappy bedroom look a little less crappy, but that’s not our life. Eventually, we will remodel this old house by the woods and it may look very different, but for now I want to remember this house and it’s quirks - the purple bedroom, the yellow kids room, the pink rec room, the ridiculous blinds, the funny Mad-Men-esque bar in the living room, the funny jetted tub in the shared bathroom.  But mostly I want to remember this time in our lives where this house is simply the backdrop to our life, to the time when Leo was constantly ripping off his diaper and preferred to run around in nothing but his gold sneakers, with a cheeky grin on his face after doing something he knew he shouldn't, making read and re-read the same Gossie & Gertie book, to the time when Viggo would pick out objects around the house for next week’s letter line-up at school, when he started coloring inside the lines, and had more tantrums about dinnertime than we thought humanly possible. This is 10 minutes of our life last Saturday, in all it's messy glory.


fabulous in oakland | seattle family documentary photographer

"A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” -Coco Chanel

I've been anxious to share this family session, but I wanted to give it a little time and distance or I likely would have included 100 photos. Words can't express how much I love this family and in a week where loss has been the theme, it felt really good to go back and focus on this beautiful family that I hold so close to my heart. Mikal was one of my first friends when I was the new kid in high school and though we drifted during our college years, we found each other again in San Francisco where I was lucky enough to witness Mikal and Mike's first dates and early months of head over heels falling in love. Within months they were engaged and planning their intimate back yard wedding. Fast forward a few years when they welcomed their first son Liam who I am lucky enough to call my godson, followed by sweet Henry. Although I have photographed this family for years, during weekends in Seattle, at their home in Oakland, or on San Juan Island, clicking away between conversations with my best friend or while trying to get dinner ready for the kids, this time I was focused entirely on them and it was magical. That morning in the Oakland hills, the fog swept over their house and the entire hillside was covered in mist, reminding Mikal and I of home in Seattle. The photographer part of me was so excited to photograph in the fog (I love me some fog!), and Mikal didn't let the weather deter her from being her glamorous self. Always one to throw on a dress and heels in lieu of jeans like the rest of us (okay, me), she played tennis and baseball with her boys, all while looking fabulous and so completely Mikal. It was a morning of jumping on the bed, close cuddles, laughter, a few meltdowns to keep it real, comforting embraces, and joy in the midst of all that fog and real life even though it may look a bit more glamorous than yours or mine.

sisters + sparkle | seattle family documentary photo session

When I learned about 3-year old Lucy's type-1 diabetes diagnosis the week before our scheduled session, I assumed that Maria and David would want to cancel or reschedule. Their life had just been turned upside down and suddenly they were navigating these new circumstances, learning how to give injections, count carbs and monitor blood sugar levels. But instead of rescheduling, Maria wanted to document this shift in their life despite their new and often overwhelming daily routine just 1 week into diabetes treatment protocol. I'm honored that they welcomed me into their home so that I could document the beautiful space in this time of transition and show them just how strong, loving and exceptional they are as a family. After I arrived at the house, we spent the morning doing what they typically do on a Sunday morning - they finished breakfast, drank more coffee and read the paper while the girls played together, made sparkle jewelry, and danced to the chipmunks.  Outside, Lucy and Josie did roller coaster rides in the backyard laughing the entire time, they explored their secret garden, and picked carrots and tomatoes.  I loved watching big sister Josie take Lucy's hand in the secret garden and how much Josie looked out for Lucy all morning. And just like any other Sunday, they rode bikes through the neighborhood to their favorite park. If I hadn't overheard the conversation about exactly how many snacks Lucy could have, I would have never known how much their world had just changed. It's a beautiful thing to see first hand such a connected, supportive family, and I'm so happy that Lucy got her sparkle back.


big love | seattle documentary family photography

I spent the late afternoon and early evening photographing the Moon family at their beautiful home in Madrona on one of the last lingering days of summer. For someone with 2 kids, the idea of 3 seems completely overwhelming to me, but Anne makes it look effortless. She is the kind of mom the rest of us aspire to be. Her three kids are incredibly sweet, and Anne always keeps her calm even in the chaos that naturally unfolds when you have 3 children under the age of seven. I am constantly amazed and in awe of all she does as a mom, wife and friend. When I arrived, little Lou was running around following her big brother and sister, Auggie wanted to check out my camera, and Charlie was twirling and running and jumping as Charlie does. I loved seeing how Charlie and Auggie took such care of their baby sister and how baby Lou looked up to both of them with those big eyes and the most squeezable cheeks you've ever seen. Mostly I love seeing families in love. Anne and Justin recently celebrated their 10 year wedding anniversary and the love just exudes from all of them. There was dancing, lots of laughing, a game of tag, whispers and giggles between siblings, rope swinging, tickling, daddy pig piling, make believe, and a family walk to take in the view of Mt. Rainier at the end of the street. It was a really, really good evening.


at home with bubba | seattle documentary family photography

I was lucky enough to spend the morning with Erica, Dudley, and Ellis in their gorgeous new home in Queen Anne. It took Ellis a few minutes of hiding behind his mom, but before I knew it he was proudly showing me around the house and giving me the best hugs. Ellis reminded me that sometimes you just need to put the camera down and hug it out. This may be my new motto in life. He showed me his big boy room and his favorite books, and even made me "toast". I loved watching the three of them cuddle in bed, giggle, and play under the covers. Dudley is an excellent gently-toss-the-baby-into-the-bed kind of guy, FYI. 

a morning with batman & robin | seattle, wa

It was a Saturday morning several years ago when I rode up to the coffee shop in my sweat soaked spandex ensemble when I saw this adorable couple drinking coffee, talking about buying the house they had just looked at down the street, and moving into the neighborhood. I somehow managed not to scare them off and after talking to them for almost an hour that morning, I like to think I even had a hand in convincing them to move to Madrona. This is exactly why I love our neighborhood and this amazing community. We have remained friends over the years and had 2 more baby boys between us. I adore this family, how laid back they are, and the always present fun factor. I knew I was in for a fun morning when I photographed the 4 of them at their house, and they did not disappoint. There were remote control trucks and legos, Batman and Robin saved the day, cowboys roamed the wild west, and water balloons were thrown. Keep up the great work Megan and John, your boys are pure joy. 

at home with baby E | seattle, wa

I've known David and Alana for several years and I've even been on some pretty grueling bike rides with David. I was beyond excited to finally meet sweet baby E and see how well they've all settled into their new house as a family of three. They made it look effortless! Seriously though, they were such naturals at this new parenting thing and they had the calm demeanor of seasoned parents. I loved seeing David in his new role as dad and how E has already captured his heart. E is such a sweet baby and is already a great sleeper - no wonder Alana looked so gorgeous and refreshed. Of course no family session would be complete without a guest starring role from the family pets, in this case their hilarious cats "Chicken" and Max.

another summer, another doe bay fest | orcas island, wa

If you've talked to me anytime in the last six months, chances are I've mentioned Doe Bay. We make the trek up to Orcas Island every winter and then wait patiently to return in August for the Doe Bay Music Festival. We take the foot ferry and camp with several families and our gaggle of kids, and have even met some pretty amazing new friends along the way. And that's the thing about Doe Bay - by the end of the long weekend strangers aren't really strangers anymore. Faces become more familiar and all those strangers become your extended Doe Bay family. The music is always great, that's a given, but it's a lot more than just the music. When you create a community of creative people in one of the most beautiful places in the world, magic happens. It's the side conversations while looking for crabs on the beach, morning swims in the Puget Sound and soaks in the tubs, secret shows in the woods at midnight, lazy afternoons sipping margaritas on the beach while watching your favorite musicians play what seems like a private show just for you, the smell of salt water and popcorn as the sun sets, a glimpse of a family of deers walking past your tent, seeing Joe waiting on the beach to greet your water taxi as it comes ashore, sweaty nights rocking out in yoga studio feeling the floor vibrate beneath your feet, kids running around yelling and laughing and waving their glow sticks while bands play the main stage, raw oysters and hula hoops, dancing at twilight, meals of mouth watering food from the cafe with friends, moms wearing their babies and bigger kids wearing headphones sitting on their parents shoulders while they bob their heads to the beat and wave their hands in the air, afternoon naps on the beach, the daily morning brass band processional through camp while you sip your coffee, and so much more. 

And for me, the best part is how inclusive the festival is of all of the kids. Like Joe says, "Doe Bay Fest is a music festival primarily for kids. Adults are allowed too, especially when accompanied by kids". We are fortunate to be able to participate in this community of magic makers that come together every summer and that our friends and family get to be a part of it. I'm already looking forward to next summer where we get to do it all over again.