When the new year started my family and I talked about where we wanted to go as a family in 2023. Both Arann and Ally said New Orleans. I remembered Fibershed, a nonprofit I have photographed for since 2010, has an affiliate program in Louisiana, so I reached out to see if I could document the affiliate program during our spring break.
Luckily Fibershed said ‘yes’ and so we made our plans. These are the photos of our family adventure on either side of the work portion of the trip. I am very excited to share the photos and stories from the affiliate trip in a later post.
For now here are film photos of our family adventure in New Orleans and Cajun country. I love photographing film for our family adventures. It means I am limited how much I can photograph, so I get to be present in the moment instead of photographing, and I don’t spend time on the trip looking at and sharing photos. When the film is eventually developed it feels like a gift to travel back to our adventure and see what photos made and which didn’t. Which photos will live on to tell the story of our lives.
Spring break, summer plans, what school should our kids go to next year?
Refinance, home repairs: roof, fence or paint?
24 February, 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine.
March 6th, 2022 PBS News: “1.5 million people flee from Ukraine, families choosing to leave their homes with only what they could carry, drag their children across borders.”
March 7th, The Guardian: “Children and volunteer soldiers: casualties of the war in Ukraine. UN has recorded 406 deaths and 801 injuries among Ukraine’s civilian population since 24 February.”
My Brain on War…
How many Ukrainians just finished remodeling their homes before they were bombed?
What is the insurance process like when your home is bombed?
My country falls apart when we are told we have to wear masks. What would happen if we were invaded and attacked by another country?Where would we go to get away?
My boys are obsessed with war: Star Wars, Marvel Wars, all the human wars. How do I take the glory out of war, without making them more anxious than they already are?
And what about the animals in the Ukraine Zoo stuck in their cages panicking during air raids. My dog is scared of the wind, the smoke alarm that beeps in the middle of the night, and the heater. I can’t imagine his heart would make it one night of air raids.
How are we supposed to go on living our lives, while millions of people are fleeing to save theirs?
Donate photo shoots and encourage others to give money. OK, here we go again: First 10 people to match my $750 donation to a charity of your choice from this list will receive a FREE 2 hour FAMILY photo shoot in the SF Bay Area, or one of the places I am traveling this year. (Businesses must donate $1,500 for a free photo shoot.) If 10 people make $750 donations… that will be $7,500 that we can raise together if you help spread the word. Send me proof of your donation to firstname.lastname@example.org
And I was able to spend time with and photograph these beautiful people.
I also want to send a big THANK YOU to Keller Street CoWork, who generously donated the space for the photo shoots, and to Elizabeth Mori, who volunteered to assist during the photo shoots.
It feels really good to live in a community that cares so much about others and strives to make the world better, especially when the world feels upside down.
And when the world feels upside down, I feel very lucky to be able to use my photography to help in the way I know how. When I get discouraged that what I can do doesn’t feel like much, I remember my middle school motto: Together We Can.
Thank you for supporting my photography and women’s rights. While this fundraiser has finished, I guarantee there will be more fundraisers in the future. So let me know your photo needs and stay tuned for future photo fundraisers. Happy Giving Tuesday!
As you have probably heard, women’s rights are under attack in Afghanistan and in Texas.
Listening to the news makes me feel helpless. Helpless because I don’t have money to donate, and helpless because I live in a small crowded house and don’t have any room for refugees, although I have thought about trying to make it work.
And then I remembered I can offer photo shoots, like I have done in the past. I have been thinking about doing a headshot day for awhile, so now feels like the time to do it.
The cost of a 20min headshot session will be $350 and I will donate $175 to the nonprofit you choose, either Women for Afghan Women or the Lilith Fund inTexas. You will get 2 edited high resolution files of your choice and all unedited digital files.
Send me a venmo, with the name of the nonprofit you choose, for either $350 – OR
Send me a venmo for $175 and an email (email@example.com) with a receipt of your donation to one of the two organizations for a minimum of $175
If you want to be extra generous and pay it forward to a local a BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ person in need of headshots then please send me a venmo, with the name of the nonprofit you choose, for $700 and that will cover the cost of a headshot and donation for you and an extra person.
Who: All people are welcome to sign up for a headshot. If you don’t need a headshot but want to squeeze in a quick family shoot that’s ok too. I love animals, you can definitely bring your pets.
What: The headshots can be used for whatever you need them for.
Where: I am not sure the exact location in Petaluma the headshots will be held yet. You will get an email with details after you register. If you have a location that you think would be ideal, please let me know. I’d love to hear some ideas.
If you have to cancel, please do so with as much notice as possible.
If you realize you can’t make your slot at the last minute, please try to find a friend to fill your spot.
There will be no refunds if you cancel the day of the photo shoot.
The schedule will be tight, so please arrive a little early, so you don’t miss your spot.
If it is an unhealthy smokey air day then I will reschedule.
At this point I only have two days available for this special offer. If it goes well then maybe I’ll offer more.
I will wear a mask and stay six feet away and hopefully the location will be outside, or at least have a big open door to keep the fresh air moving.
I need a helper each day, so if you would like headshots, but can not afford the cost, but have time to volunteer then please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you need a tax deduction then please make the donation directly to one of the two nonprofits.
If you don’t need photos, but want to pay it forward that is awesome too. I am happy to offer your photo shoot to a local Petaluman who needs photos.
I wish I could donate the entire fee to the nonprofits as I have done in the past, but I need to feed my family as well, so this year I am donating half the amount. Usually my headshots cost over $600, so this is a deal.
All photos on this page are samples of headshots I have taken over the years. I do not know what the background will be yet, but I will try to let you know ahead of time.
THANK YOU for reading this far. Please share this post with anyone in the SF Bay Area, who you think would like the opportunity to support women’s human rights and get some new headshots. If you live in a different part of the Bay Area and think you know enough people who would be interested, I am happy to come to different towns too. Thank you for caring and sharing. I hope to see your faces soon. xxx
To see the Celebrating Family exhibit grab a map and scavenger hunt form at Copperfields or the Petaluma Arts Center and head downtown Petaluma. Share your thoughts about the exhibit and your favorite photos on social media with #celebratingfamilypetaluma
During the summer of 2020, at the peak of the racial reckoning across the United States, I photographed a protest in my town after the murder of George Floyd and other unarmed Black people by police. At that protest I met Maude and her five-year-old boy, who was the same age as my son. I couldn’t escape the significance that her Black son was leading protesters in chants as we marched down the street, while my white son watched quietly by my side.
Shortly after that protest Maude’s family found someone had written the N-word on their car in front of their Petaluma home.
Heartbroken by that news, I reached out to Maude and asked her if I could photograph her family, as a gift to honor their love and humanity. She accepted my offer and we scheduled our photo shoot. When I arrived, her son raced to greet me and gave me the first non-family hug I had received in three months since Covid lockdown. That hug dissolved my heart.
After that photo shoot I reached out to a couple of other Black and biracial families in my community and offered family portraits. I was unsure of what, if anything, I would do with the photos, but I felt compelled to do something and this is what I could do.
Three months later, as I was speaking with Faith Ross, the president of Petaluma Blacks for Community Development, I learned that the national theme for Black History month in 2021 was going to be Celebrating Family. I told Faith I had started this portrait project and would love to contribute portraits for her annual Black History exhibit. She was excited about the idea but told me she wanted to include all families, not just Black families, because PBCD has always been open to all families since they started in 1978. And because the Petaluma History Museum, the home of the annual Black History month exhibit, was likely going to be closed due to Covid, we needed to find another way to display the photos. Faith suggested we use the vacant buildings downtown, while I wondered why not all the businesses downtown. With our plan in place, now we just needed more families.
Knowing I wanted to reach as many families as possible, but unsure how to photograph multiple families efficiently and safely, especially during a pandemic, I reached out to Kinyatta, an inspiring community leader and activist, for advice. She gave me the good idea of picking a date and location and allowing families to sign up for photo shoot slots, while also asking them for quotes about what family means to them. That plan worked perfectly until the stay-at-home order was put in place. But with permission from the health department and with very careful Covid restrictions established, the photo shoots continued.
After days and days of scheduling, emailing, and texting families, I held six all-day photo shoots, with the help of generous volunteers, who graciously gave up their weekends to stand in the cold parking lot with me at the wonderful Maria Do Ceu’s Outwest Garage.
And after several editing all-nighters, and multiple calls and trips to Bill, the patient printer at The Digital Grange, and after very careful planning of which portraits should go where and at what size, with the museum problem solving master Heather Fordham, only to have to ditch that plan and start over many more times during the week of hanging enormous paper prints in the rain with Molly Best, my superhero business outreach manager, and her talented installation expert husband, Danial Moorehouse, and the friends, who answered my last minute desperate call for more installers, the Celebrating Family exhibit is finally up in over 46 businesses in downtown Petaluma for the month of February.
To see the Celebrating Family exhibit grab a map and scavenger hunt form at Copperfields or the Petaluma Vistor Center and head downtown Petaluma. Share your thoughts about the exhibit and your favorite photos on social media with #celebratingfamilypetaluma
Thank you to…
• Faith Ross and Gloria Robinson for all you have done in this community for 43 years. You are an inspiration.
• The uber talented Christine Walker at The Design Guild, who jumped in and took on the whole design process, creating a beautiful logo, map, scavenger hunt, posters and website with enthusiasm.
• The City of Petaluma for believing in and sponsoring this project.
• All the businesses who generously allowed us to fill their valuable window space for this exhibit.
• All the community members who donated, showed up, offered their time, talents and words of encouragement.
• My family, my reason for being.
And finally, a HUGE thank you to all the families who trusted me, during a pandemic, to take their portrait and share their family stories.
My motivation for this project was to build relationships and strengthen community. And my hope is that together we heal, together we close the divide, together we celebrate differences and together we make Petaluma a safe, welcoming place for ALL families to live and thrive.
What a year 2020 has been. For those who have lost loved ones during this year, I am deeply sorry for your loss and pain.
For those who have gotten sick, lost jobs, suffered from depression and isolation, experienced the emotional drain and trauma from the racial upheaval, were affected by wild fires, struggled with distance learning and juggling it all, I am also so, so sorry… it has been a lot.
My family certainly had our struggles, but thankfully we have been healthy and we have had the support of many, so I feel incredibly lucky and grateful.
This year could not have worked without the support of our essential worker, my mom. She was our distance learning teacher for both boys and she gave Arann and I the gift of time together.
This year also could not have worked without the financial support of my brother, who sent us stimulus checks when we didn’t get any from the government. Arann essentially lost all income since Farm Camp and Animal Music were shut down and he was never able to receive unemployment.
I was lucky to continue to work (turns out photography works pretty well with covid: 6 feet away, outside and with a mask), and I will be forever grateful to Stemple Creek Ranch, Acre Pizza, FEED Sonoma, Fibershed, Made Local and Marietta Winery for keeping me working when all other work stopped.
I am also grateful to all of the families, wedding couples, and small businesses who supported my work.
Please know that when you support my photography, not only are you supporting my family, who shops locally and sustainably whenever possible, but you are also supporting ALL of the work I do, including pro-bono documentary projects…
And the discounted work I do for nonprofits such as COTS, Fibershed, Homeward Bound and Side-by-Side.
As a thank you to all of those who have supported me over the years, I am offering you FREE downloads of all of your photos. Send me an email and I’ll send you a link to download your photos as they are in the galleries. If you want any photos edited, there will be additional costs for the editing time.
And for all past clients, if you book a photo shoot with me in 2021 I will give you a $100 discount. For all new clients, I will give you a $50 discount. Just reference this post when you get in touch to book your photo shoot.
And finally, I know there are some folks who have made donations to fundraisers I’ve done in the past but who have not booked a photo shoot with me yet. If I owe you a photo shoot, please let me know so we can get your photo shoot booked in the new year.
Phew. I think that’s it. Thank you all so much. I am glad to have weathered this year with your love and support and I look forward to welcoming the year of the Ox…
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2021 is the year of the Ox. This year is going to be lucky and also perfect to focus on relationships, whether we are talking about friendships or love.
This year, no explosive or catastrophic events will occur, so it is a favorable year for economic recovery or consolidation, a year of long-term investments (especially for creating a reserve stock for the coming unproductive years).
The Metal Ox year is also great for making order in the family life. After all, if the family life is peaceful, everything gets solved!
He was the perfect family dog. Not once did he growl or complain about his role in life as the trampoline, the step stool, the pillow, the bucking bronco, the hot wheel launch pad, or the stick wrestling opponent. He was never happier than when he was in the middle. He would put on the brakes if someone other than a family member tried to walk him, yet he would jump the fence and walk himself to visit houses he knew might have food left out (twice he got himself stuck in houses after cleaning out their cat bowls.)
It was impossible to imagine our family without Arlo in the middle. And then, on September 14th, 2020, one week before our 11th Arloversary, in the middle of a global pandemic, with CA skies full of wildfire smoke, a national reckoning with racism and our democracy in limbo, my mask wearing children and I learned in the emergency vet’s office that Arlo’s swollen belly was the cause of an aggressive cancer and even surgery couldn’t save him. Within hours, and with the help of friends, I found an incredible vet who came to our house to let us say goodbye to him in our home while eating dog treats. Arlo is now buried in our yard, where he can still be in the middle of everything.
To say we have a hole in our hearts is an understatement, but we are grateful to have shared a life with Arlo for 11 of our most important years. We do still have sweet little Billy, but even he seems sad and lost, like Robin without Batman.
In 2016 Philando Castile was pulled over for a traffic stop and then shot five times and killed in front of his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four year old child, after Castile told officer, Jeronimo Yanez, that he was carrying a licensed gun.
My son was four years old when Philando Castile was murdered, the same age as the little girl in the car. Realizing that I could protect my white son from even knowing about police violence, let alone ever experiencing it, was my wake up call.
I didn’t have to have “the talk” that all Black and Brown parents have to have with their children to try and keep them safe from police officers. Police officers were the “good guys” who my boys wanted to be when they grew up.
The fact that I was able to live for 36 years in the “Dream” is my white privilege.
“In his book “Between the World and Me,” Ta-Nehisi Coates describes whiteness as a Dream. The Dreamers, defined by Coates as people who believe themselves to be white, live in varying states of power over black people and other people of color. Usually oblivious to having that power, we don’t think too hard about how we got it. The Dream relies on forgetting and denial. The Dream says, “I have nothing to do with slavery. My ancestors weren’t on this continent at that time. Everyone has equal access to opportunities. Racism is over,” writes Mark Gunnary for the Baltimore Sun.
My boys and I have done a lot of reading, watching, and talking about racism since I woke up from the Dream. Now my 6 and 8 year olds know about systematic racism, police violence and they can explain why we say, “Black Lives Matter,” instead of, “All Lives Matter”.
My boys understand that no one wants to spend their Saturdays protesting against police violence, but if we don’t protest, things won’t change.
It has been four years since Philando Castile’s death. For those curious what happened with Castile’s case:
How do we stop racism and dismantle white supremacy?
In his book, How to be Anti-racist, Ibram X. Kendi argues that it’s not enough to say you’re not a racist. “Saying you are not racist signifies neutrality: ‘I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism.’ One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist.”
Below are some of my favorite antiracist actions and resources….
1) Vote Vote Vote – national, state and local politics matter (53 days until the election)
Who would have imagined that in 2020, our lives to go from this…
So I wanted to check in with you, because we have been through a lot of life together.
Over the past 15 years I have photographed close to 200 weddings, and at least twice as many families, one birth, and one almost birth (thanks to rush-hour traffic crossing the Bay Bridge on a Friday). I’ve documented birthday parties, anniversary parties, before and after cancer journeys, and most recently I photographed a couple who just learned one of them is facing a terminal cancer diagnosis.
It has been an incredible honor to be invited into so many lives, and a gift to be able to support my family through photography.
To those who are struggling during this time, because of health and or financial reasons, I am sending my deepest love. This is the hard. Really hard.
My family has been lucky (so far) to have our health, but because both my husband and I are self-employed, we are likely not receiving much help from the government, so we are definitely nervous about the future. We are trying to figure out what jobs are fire proof, recession proof, drought proof and pandemic proof. (Let us know if you have any suggestions that would work for a photographer and a musician/farm educator.)
But we are the lucky ones. We have an incredibly supportive and encouraging family and community… we know we will be ok. This is a challenge for us to get creative, downsize and try new things.
We know that so many other people have a much harder reality and are struggling with much bigger challenges. If you are struggling, please know I am here for you, for your family, for your business, if you ever need me. Together we will make it through this.
If you need photography for any reason, once the shelter-in-place order has been lifted, please let me know. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. I want to help artists, small businesses and non-profits, who have struggled the most, get back on their feet.
This time has made it very clear that our teachers, doctors, nurses, grocery workers, farmers, garbage collectors, postal workers, and first responders keep our bodies alive.
But our artists, musicians, authors, dancers, comedians and nature keep our souls alive. Our bodies can not live without our souls, and our souls can not live without our bodies.
I am excited about the stories of wildlife making a come back, air pollution clearing up, animal shelters being out of animals, and local farmers finally getting the recognition that they need. It gives me hope that because of this pause, we will see what is broken and take the time to fix it.
This article really inspired me and I encourage others to read it and I’d love to hear what changes you’ll make when life eventually starts up again:
This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity to get rid of the bullsh*t and to only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives richer, what makes our kids happier, what makes us truly proud. We care deeply about one another. That is clear. That can be seen in every supportive Facebook post, in every meal dropped off for a neighbor, in every Zoom birthday party. We are a good people. And as a good people, we want to define — on our own terms — what this country looks like in five, 10, 50 years. This is our chance to do that, the biggest one we have ever gotten. And the best one we’ll ever get.
And now for my Stimulus Pledge to YOU. For those who are financially secure during this crisis, and who anticipate getting a stimulus check and can afford it, please consider pledging some or all of your coming stimulus check to prevent homelessness, hunger and illness for our hardworking immigrant families through the Stimulus Pledge: https://stimuluspledge.org/
I don’t have the money to donate right now, but for those who donate, please send me an email with proof of your donation and I’ll put your name in the hat for a free all day photo shoot. That is up to eight hours of photography for whatever you want! Or you can donate your photo shoot to a non-profit of your choice (in the SF Bay Area).
I am grateful that we are all in this together. As my middle school motto taught me. “Together we can.”
TIDE is a grassroots organization running entirely by volunteers. We are facilitating conversations within our community to make sure that our schools are welcoming to all of our diverse students. We are offering trainings that are FREE to teachers and school staff and sliding scale for all other community members.
If you would like to make a contribution on Martin Luther King Jr Day that will directly make a difference for the community we live in, please consider donating to our movement here: http://petalumapeople.org/donate/ (be sure to designate your donation to TIDE)
“In a fractal conception, I am a cell-sized unit of the human organism, and I have to use my life to leverage a shift in the system by how I am, as much as with the things I do. This means actually being in my life, and it means bringing my values into my daily decision making. Each day should be lived on purpose.” ― Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds