project HERE… with John Crowley

This is John Crowley, he is the definition of community in Petaluma.

About 7 years ago, this Irishman decided he was tired of sitting alone in his Petaluma home, watching TV on Saturday nights… and he realized he was probably not the only one who felt that way, so he decided to make a change. He started with a simple pub-crawl with a theme: bring a book that changed your life and share it with people you meet. And as people started emerging from their homes and back into the community, the pub-crawls turned into conversation cafes, drum circles, open-mic nights, movie nights and more. Now Crowley has his own cafe where he can hold as many different kinds of community events as he wants and the people of Petaluma don’t have any excuses to sit at home alone anymore.

The reason I photographed John Crowley is for. Project HERE.

Project HERE is a cool community project started by Tyler Young. He is trying to pump up the community spirit in Petaluma by profiling inspiring people like John Crowley. The goal is to create a poster of each person with quotes about why it is so great to live HERE in Petaluma. And when we have enough posters at the end of the summer, we will have a show.

So, me, the photographer obsessed with the concept of community, I was psyched when Tyler called and asked me to help out. I am working on editing my interview with John Crowley now, but first I wanted to share my portrait of him.

I had a vision of John in the street with thousands of people behind him… but my vision came to me on Friday and the notice was posted on Saturday… so the fact that we got 30 people to come on a random Monday night, with only two days notice and without offering anything free… makes me pretty happy.

And in conclusion, I like my portrait of John Crowley and I am super grateful to the people who came out and I really hope it will work for the campaign.

Photo Booth Geniuses!!

For my friend Claudia’s wedding, I wanted to set-up a photo-booth, where the guests could photograph themselves. I like photo-booths because people are always more relaxed and creative when they are allowed to photograph themselves, rather than when a stranger is taking their photo. And at weddings, inevitably there are guests that I am not able to photograph, so a photo-booth helps ensure that the couples have photos of everyone who wants to be photographed.

So before the wedding, I sought advice on how to set it up from Jessamyn, a photographer friend, who often sets up photo stations at her weddings. And then I sought help from Thomas, another photographer friend, who was also coming to the wedding. Together we set up the station with lights, a cable release and a sign instructing people on what to do.

The day after the wedding, Thomas and I were flipping through the photos, and we found a lot of good ones, but mostly the usual: smiling, kissing, silly face photos…. and then we found this…

Absolutely amazing!! I have no idea who these people are, but they are photo-booth geniuses in my book. Anyone who is that creative when left alone with a camera has got to be fun to hang out with.

And well… then there was this one… but I know these two, and yes, they are lots of fun to hang out with!

A different kind of Head Shot…

This is Tim. He works for Petaluma Home Loans and he decided he needed a new head shot. Tim didn’t want a traditional head shot, he wanted something to show the environment as well, which is good for me because I am not very traditional.

We’ve all seen the bad head shots on the real estate billboards on the side of the road. I am amazed at the photos some professionals use to sell themselves… most times it seems like choosing not to use a photo would be better than the photos some people select. So it was fun to work with Tim, who understands the value of a good photo, and to try and create a natural, yet professional head shot.

Fun Idea for a Bachelorette Party (pass it on)

This is Gina. She was one of my first friends when I moved to SF and she is getting married in August. She currently lives in NY, but for her bachelorette party she decided to come Sonoma for a wine country weekend. Gina is one of the most positive and full of life people I have ever met. Life is always fun for Gina, so we wanted to plan a fun, Gina appropriate, weekend.

We did the whole wine tasting thing on Saturday and Gina wore her veil with plastic male body parts all day.

(holga photos: click photo to enlarge)

But we wanted something more…. something more memorable…. so as a surprise, we hired a burlesque dancer to come and teach us some moves (we thought it was a little more realistic than the pole dancing trend, seeing as not many of us have access to poles on a regular basis.) To help create the mood, the teacher wanted us in “appropriate clothing,” so we needed an excuse to tell Gina, why we had to dress up in boas, fishnets and slips.

Leave it to me, the photo obsessed, I decided the perfect solution would be to have a boudoir photo shoot beforehand, because Gina loves taking photos, and I thought she would enjoy getting to play. So we all bought her something fun to wear and we dressed her up. She pretended to protest a little, but eventually she gave in and had the Gina fun we were hoping for

The hardest part was getting everyone else to change into their sultry side. I would say this is a pretty conservative and modest group, so it took a little pushing and encouraging, but eventually everyone played along, got over their insecurities and we laughed a lot. And now everyone has a portrait as a souvenir of the weekend, which is an added bonus.

So if you are trying to think of something fun for your friend’s next bachelorette party, let me know, paige green the boudoir photo shoot photographer extraordinaire, is willing to travel.

(click photo to enlarge)

As a study in portraits… I love the comparison between these two. They are both so powerful and so different, even though the information in the photos is minimal… it is all about body language and eye contact. I am having fun with formal portraiture and I am slowly getting more comfortable at giving directions and slowing down…. yay for my Rolleiflex.

A success story and why I love weddings…

Jennifer and Steve met 5 months ago on and last weekend I got to photograph their wedding story. I was a little nervous, because it had been over a year since I photographed a complete wedding, do to my year-off for grad school, but this wedding was the perfect reintroduction. Everyone was so happy, the location they picked had gorgeous light and wonderful shade from incredible oak trees and so I just got to play. And weddings are so good because they have everything…. stories, happy people who actually want to be photographed, emotions, products and lots of action, so photo possibilities are endless.

product photography….

Happy Hula Hooping Birthday

These are just some of my favorite photos from Suzi’s Birthday Party at Oak Hill Farm last weekend. Funny how I have reoccurring themes in my life… right now they seem to be grasslands, bathtubs, and Oak Hill Farm. And hopefully from now on, hula hoops will be a on the list. They make for great photos, they’re fun and I found out I wasn’t as bad at hula hooping as I thought.

The Rollei Makes it Better….

You know how you just know that a shot is going to be good… well this is the one I was hoping would make me feel better about the eggs in a field craziness last week. The minute I took it, I had all my fingers and toes crossed that it would come out the way I wanted it to… and it is pretty darn close.

Just a typical Thursday with good friends…

Meet Rebecca and Kevin. They are my friends, in fact, they were the first two friends I made when I moved to California in 2001. One reason I like them is because when I say, “Let’s do a photo shoot,” they say, “OK, we’ll wear these hats.” And then we went to the thrift store….

and I bought this hat for $13. That was a good Thursday.

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