big picture// a wedding at the Merrill Center

I keep thinking about this wedding at The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Merrill Center. About the fact that it was elegant and tasteful and beautiful in every way imaginable, and yet there was something about it that felt so beyond those elements. There was a depth to the whole event that I cannot manage to articulate.

What I know is that every detail was attended to in such a way that you forgot to think about the details. It was all big picture. The marriage superceded the wedding, even while great wines were poured and oysters were shucked. 

Little girls read improvised poems and the dance floor filled up and the bride and groom circulated without being harried. Even as I worked, the ease of evening soaked in. Joyful but languid. An auspicious beginning. 

risk and reward // pictures from a first birthday party

I have an unhealthy fear of being boring. 

I have never been particularly afraid of standing out, but I have been afraid of being dull.

I don't want to say what other people say, or do what they do. I don't want to be dressed like everyone else. And I don't want my house to look like every other one on the street. I have always been attracted to sub-culture over pop-culture,

I've always been more attracted to quirky than I have to preppy or popular or pretty.

And every time I flirt with the idea of minimalism, I remind myself that every house I have ever loved has been weird and bold and filled with bits and pieces that serve no purpose except to amuse.

So of course I love Eryka and her family and her house filled with pets and farm animals and hand painted murals. She's not afraid of big undertakings and substantial risks. 

Her house is the type that keeps you entertained- peeking around to find hidden treasures. The kind of house that evolves and transforms, sometimes in fits, sometimes in spurts, but never stagnates. 

Maybe she's always feared fitting in too.

A hopefully, probably, that's what she's instilling in to her kids, one of whom turned one year old a week ago, complete with musubi and sprinkle cakes, balloons and water guns. 

the story of shoe baskets

i've gotten lazy at telling my own story. the one I share with my children and tom, my parents and family.

I miss it.

the looking.

the search for words.

different times in life for different tasks. 

this time is for telling lots of stories and my own takes a back seat.

i'll let this handful of pictures tell their thousand words a piece. and i'll run off to change a diaper. pack a basket for the pool. switch up a load of laundry. 

a lesson in life/ a lesson in love/// north beach wedding reception

In every picture, she is touching her friends. A slight squeeze to the shoulder. Hands held together.

When the party bus pulled up to the restaurant, she walked right up to the bar ordered a drink, and then was quick to offer it up to each passing friend. She is clearly the kind of person who made the party happen. The sort to bring people together. 

I'm reading a powerful book: "The Upside of Stress." And I already have one dozen things I want to tell you about it.

One of the things I want to tell you is that people of who have a positive view of aging in midlife live on average 7.6 years longer than those who don't. (Exercising, not smoking, maintaining healthy blood pressure on average only add 4 years, just for perspective).

Last week I got to photograph Janice's wedding reception at the Westlawn Inn in North Beach, MD-- a party for friends a couple of months after her ceremony in the Keys. And it was the most fun I've seen people have on a random Tuesday that I can recall.

Here was a couple finding love later in life. Inspiring each other to make art. To laugh loudly. To play. It was inspiring.

We all need to take a lesson from Janice, and maybe if we do, maybe if we stop worrying about getting older, and start getting excited, maybe we'll get 7.6 more years of live to do all the things we love to do with the people we love to do them with.

the livin' is easy

You don't need to be an artist to seek inspiration.

We all just have this one short life, and we need to do it right.  

Sometimes it helps to be inspired.

These guys might be just the inspiration you need. These guys will make you want to invite your friends over to sit in the backyard while children play in good old fashioned plastic yard toys, just like the ones from your own childhood.  They'll make you want to let the kids make mud pies while you thread kabobs and sip hard cider, the smell of honeysuckle eventually being overpowered by the grill. They'll make you want to listen to JJ Cale and early Springsteen and stay late into the evening so you can help your friends clean up so that they won't wake up to a dirty kitchen. 

You don't need to be an artist to be inspired by them. You just need to send the damn group text and make it happen.

This session was a part of a  giveaway that I held on Facebook a while back. The idea was that I wanted to  take pictures of families in their own spaces, living summer. I'm so happy Della won this and shared it with a group of friends, which got me thinking about how similar sessions could be orchestrated. If you and a group of friends would like to do something like this, it would be a way to get lots of candid natural photos with your friends, but we could also easily peel off individual families for a few minutes for more traditional family shots. Everyone in the group could pitch in on a two-hour session, which would make it an affordable way to get photos and a fun excuse to host a party.