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Celebrating Family in Petaluma…

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.

Keller Street Co-Work for being the perfect lifesaving basecamp for our print distribution.

• 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.

If you like this project and would like to support this and future projects to strengthen Petaluma, please join Petaluma Blacks for Community Development and TIDE, Team for Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity.

Welcoming the Lucky Ox and a Gift for YOU…

Italia A Collection for Fibershed, model Dorine Euteneier and styling by Tessa Watson.

Dear Friends and Family, 

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. 

‘Almost Nine’ was selected by Franklin Tipton for a Personal Choice award in the 2020 SF Something Personal Exhibition.

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. 

Stemple Creek Ranch
Acre Pizza

Monan’s Rill for Made Local photographed in June before it burned in the Glass Fire in August.

Film portrait of Nasimiyu Wekeasa for Fibershed.
Marietta Cellars

I am also grateful to all of the families, wedding couples, and small businesses who supported my work.

Film portrait of Angie and Pete, July 11th, 2020.
The Life Brief by Bonnie Wan.

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…

“Celebrating Family” for Petaluma Blacks for Community Development.

And the discounted work I do for nonprofits such as COTS, Fibershed, Homeward Bound and Side-by-Side.

FILM PORTRAIT OF RED BIRD IN A DOGBANE PATCH FOR FIBERSHED.
HOMEWARD BOUND OF MARIN

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!

Chinese Horoscope 2021 – Year of the Metal Ox

Happy Year of the Ox!

Love,

Paige

It’s the year of the Head Shot…

So far my first three photo shoots this year have been head shots… which is way more exciting for me than for the person I am photographing.

Typically I get some pretty big groans and grumbles and usually the common expression, “I hate having my photo taken,” comes out.

And I say, “Yes, me too, and so do most people over the age of 10.”

But then we talk about other things… favorite foods, best vacations, what crazy things their kids said this morning, and before they know it we are all done.

And that’s when I hear, “Well, that wasn’t so bad after-all.”

One face, a woodshop and a picket fence…

This is Jason.

Jason wants to seriously start pursuing his acting career, so he needed some head shots.

It was amazing to see how differently a person can look with even the slightest changes.

And it was fun to see what a dusty woodshop and a white picket fence can do.

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