Friday, July 31, 2009

{getting personal...}

I’ve been trying to avoid it for a while now. I thought that maybe if I carved out enough time in my day, then my personal life and my photographic life wouldn’t have to cross paths because they would have their separate outlets…their separate spaces. But at long last, I’ve come to realize that trying to shelter one from the other is like trying to shelter me from my peanut butter or Starbucks or my husband…it just can’t (nor should it) be done!

I don’t know why I thought that my photography should remain a separate entity from the rest of me when just about every ounce of my blood, sweat and tears has been poured into it. And in all honesty, I’ve never done anything more “me” than this. Nothing has been more authentic or genuine or sincere than my photography or my pursuit of it, so how did I ever think that I could get away without having the two intrinsically linked?

For nearly four years now, I’ve been posting on a personal blog. The ups, the downs, the new, the old; for better or worse, life has happened there, or at least been transcribed there. Over time, I’ve grown quite attached to my little corner of cyberspace. It’s been an outlet of creativity, cathartic venting and endless conversation. But I’m feeling the need to simplify, to reduce the many demands on my life and somehow find a way to continue the dialogue without the strain of adding one more thing to my “to do” list (I live by the sanctity of lists!).

I believe that a reasonable solution has finally risen to the surface as of late and that is to try having one conversation instead of two. To try bringing my life more in sync with my photography and acknowledging that one never fails to influence the other. The initial argument that I had with myself in my head was that “one blog is for my professional life and the other is for my personal life” but who am I kidding? Given that I spend the majority of my waking hours focused on my profession then that, by default, very much makes it personal. My photography is personal, whether I want to admit it or not.

Nearly ever aspect of my life has influenced my plunge and my passion; my love of God and my love of my husband; my desire for balance and my desire for a life well-lived; my fear of cancer and my brush with cancer; my admiration of beauty and my admiration of simplicity; my need for creativity and my need for freedom; my quest to conquer my fear and my quest to belong to something bigger than myself. All roads have led here and any attempt to deny that merely takes away from the type of photographer that I ultimately long to be.

So this place will no longer be just about my pictures or my clients; it will be about my life and my love; my fears and my insecurities; the adventures that I laughingly call my life and my time wishing that I was just as cool as Jasmine Star!

Because that’s me…the real me, which in turn, makes the photographic me.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

{you matter...}

Okay…so who’s the worst blogger in the world these days?!?! Well the verdict is in and yours truly is guilty as charged! For whatever its worth though, I don’t mean to be!! It’s not so much “willful delinquency” as much as it has more to do with a seasonal condition better known “summer overload” {that would totally fly in court, right?!?!}. All in all, things are just busy!

Last week was a marathon week of shoots for me which left very little time for editing, especially given that we had to shoot between the rain drops all week. Our record breaking rainfall for the month of July has made outdoor photographing a challenge like no other! Mother Nature was kind though and gave us all the hour and a half windows we needed to get the job done and by the end of the week, all of my July photo shoots were finally caught up!

Then came the sickness! Really, there’s nothing more fun or feels more unnatural than being sick in the summer!! So when I should have been editing my mass of photo shoots, I was instead curled up in bed with my perfect feline watching the first season of Gilmore Girls!! So I suppose that being said, it wasn’t all bad {I’ve missed Luke!}!!

But I’m back…and trying relentlessly to get my regular blogging self back into action!! It shouldn’t be too hard either as I have TONS to blog about; Joe and Louisa’s maternity session, Josh and Courtney’s engagement session {and much anticipated wedding!}, as well as some family sessions thrown in there and of course, our upcoming trip to Italy! Before I dive into any of those though, I wanted to post some pictures of one of my favourite photo shoots yet; my afternoon with Baby Tobin on his first birthday! I had put some teasers of him up back in June but neglected to give him his rightful post on my blog {bad Gen!}. Then I saw this great little tidbit of wisdom on Jen Berry’s blog {I believe also borrowed from yet another fellow blogger} and it seemed like the perfect way to introduce this beautiful little boy; who matters so deeply to so many people…

• When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.
• When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter.
• When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.
• When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.
• When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you matter.
• When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.
• When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.
• When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.
• When you inspire a Nobel prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter.
• When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.
• And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.


To see the rest of Tobin's session, click here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

{seeking refuge...}

I’m a reader. Everyone who knows me well knows that I never leave the house without a book in tow. I need the written word the way that I need oxygen and the idea of there being a time when books were burned by the masses almost takes my breath away. I do have to admit though that I am a very particular kind of reader; I love words on paper. I love the smell of the ink on the paper and the sound of the spine cracking anytime I open a book. I love to hold it and touch it and pour all of my love into it. Like my relationships, I like my literature to be tangible (sorry facebook!).

I actually saw a man the other day sitting at a bus stop reading an e-book. We studied the evolution of the electronic book in my writing class last year but I had never actually seen one in real life. E-books haven’t managed to breakthrough the Canadian market very well and I find great comfort in this! I like that some things can’t be ushered out by the ravages of technology. In such an ever changing world…I think this is more important than ever.

That being said, this makes blog reading a bit counter intuitive to my nature. Don’t get me wrong, I most definitely have my tried and true blogs that I can’t live without but unlike many of my counterparts, going through my blog updates usually doesn’t take much more than twenty-minutes each morning (maybe half an hour if everyone updates on the same day!).

I’ve been making a rather concerted effort though lately to commit a little bit of extra time each day to read up on the blogs of other photographers. I’ve been eager to read how others have done it…how they’ve made their way in the photographic world. I find that it’s easy sometimes to get discouraged by the steep learning curve that I’m on and I’ve concluded that I can either dwell in it or hear from others who have been there themselves.

Photo blogs are everywhere. Really good photo blogs are everywhere. But humble photo blogs are a bit harder to come by. Those who are willing to put their humility on paper and openly discuss the mistakes, the discouragement and the times that came before the easy road are not a dime a dozen…but they are out there. And I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the absolutely amazing photographers who have been so willing to eloquently share their struggles and their insecurities regarding a craft that they love so deeply yet still has a rather competitive edge. I’m grateful that I’m not the only one who fights to unearth the little seeds of doubt of that sometimes get planted in my head. I’m grateful that even though it doesn’t smell like a Jane Austen book or sound like a J.K. Rowling book, technology has enabled me to find comfort in a world that sometimes seems very daunting.

Also, blogs are cheaper than therapy!

Friday, July 24, 2009

{making an entrance...}

To all of my brides...perhaps you want to consider this for your ceremony!!!!
{thank you Paper Moon Photography!}

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


So tell me, what exactly do you think of when you hear the words “country girl”?!?! Not being anything even remotely close to a country girl myself, I really have no idea!! Don’t get me wrong…I can Calgary Stampede it up with the best of them but when it comes to “living the life”, I’m at a loss! That being said, my recent photographic subject, the lovely Kristen, broke the mold of stereotypical country girl (whatever that may be) with a vengeance!! Think Abercrombie & Fitch meets Heartland!! It's hot!

Kristen and I started planning our session together many months ago when I knew that I would be making an appearance in her neck of the woods (her neck of the woods being a mere eight hours away from my neck of the woods!). She wanted something a little urban…a little country…and all Kristen! Really…what could possibly be more fun?!?!

When the day finally rolled around, the dark storm clouds stayed at bay and Kristen happily showed me what it’s really like to be a country girl!!! We roamed the dirt roads in her SUV (complete with her pink iPod, pink cowboy boots and a bag of sour gummy worms!) and stopped whenever we felt inspired (which turned out to be frequently!)!

A little over six hours later (because we had that much fun!), I packed up my stuff, followed the setting sun back home and realized that few things are hotter than a pretty girl and her farm toys!!

Our apologies to the gentleman who nearly fell off his motorcycle as we were taking this shot! Really, it's not her fault that she's so distracting!!

Kristen's long time boyfriend (they've been together longer than I've even known my husband!!), joined us part way through our shoot so that he could happily play his part as her most beloved of accessories! life is hot!

Click here to see the rest of Kristen's smokin' slideshow!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

{twinkle twinkle birthday star...}

Dare I say the words…"I am thirty-one now"! Yikes!

Last year, for months leading up to my birthday, I would have dreams about losing my teeth. Once I took a moment to look it up, I discovered that such dreams are in reference to having anxieties about getting older. The subconscious has an interesting sense of humour!

I seemed more willing to “cross over” this year than I was last. In fact, in a lot of ways, I was rather looking forward to turning the page into an older and so I’m told, wiser year. Being thirty was a challenging year for me. At times I may even have been willing to say that it was among my hardest years so far. I found myself tested in ways that I had never been before; my health (both mental and physical), my faith, my relationships, my sanity…they all took a fairly unpredictable trip on this ride we laughingly call life.

As my husband and I discussed the trials of the my first year in the “Triple XXX”, we were reminded of how even among the darkest of times…God is good. I say this because not only have I come out on the other side (and fairly unwounded!) but in the midst of it all…I found this; these pictures, these words, this site, this passion, these people. Hidden among all the dark shadows that followed me around, there was this bright light brewing that I wasn’t even aware of.

Back in February, when this tiny little seed of an idea to pursue photography got planted into my head, my husband and I mentioned how perhaps by mid-July it would be fun to have a blog up and running about my photos…and then maybe, one day, we could actually have an entire website. Our eyes glistened with far off possibility at the thought! But low and behold, God had other plans…faster plans! And here we are, not only having a shiny new website to show you…but also with an entire summer booked with photo shoots and inquiries rolling in for next year already. During one of the darkest years of my life, this has become one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me. Perhaps God knew all along!

So without further ado, and thanks to the most amazing, the most supportive and the most devastatingly handsome man I’ve ever known…ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to welcome you to the new and completely fabulous home of fifteen:fifteen-one photography…

Click here to take the grand tour of our new digs! Enjoy!

Friday, July 17, 2009

{missing in action...}

Okay…so it’s been eleven days since my last post. Unforgivable, I know. It’s been a bit of a crazy couple of weeks…tumultuous even. But I am still breathing and plan to get back on the blogging bandwagon very shortly. In fact, it’s my birthday tomorrow and in turn, my husband tells me that there might be a few surprises in store for all of us (most likely in the form a shiny new website!!)…so bear with us as we roll over into my new year in style!

On another note…it’s been raining cats and dogs in Ottawa as of late. Very un-July like! Normally we find ourselves stampeding over each other for space among the air conditioned rooms because of the immense heat and humidity…but this year; not so much. All of the rain has resulted in a number of re-scheduled photo shoots which somehow, have all accumulated into next week’s agenda! So the upcoming week will be jammed pack full of photo shoots in hopes of trying to make up for Mother Nature’s lack of cooperation. That is of course, unless it rains…again!

While we wait to find out, I’ll leave you with this; me…many, many moons ago {and in very poor resolution!}! Ahhh...remember the days when the worst of your problems was keeping the rooster from eating your hot dog?!?!

Monday, July 6, 2009

{postcard from home...}

So I'm still out of town for a little while longer...surrounded by a flurry of homemade food and nieces and nephews!!! But I wanted to post a couple of pictures from a shoot that I did last week while we have been away; Kristen and I spent the better part of Friday afternoon and evening together driving around the countryside seeing how many different ways she could look amazing! Apparently the answer to that is "countless"!!!!!

Also, you may notice the new watermark on her pictures! That is just one of many changes you're going to see in the very near future as we're in the midst of giving fifteen:fifty-one photography a bit of a face lift!! I'm pretty excited to show you the new website but we're both going to have to wait a little bit longer for that one!!

In the meantime, these are just two of the ways in which Kristen rocked my camera!!!