Erika

I have been photographing Erika for seven years. I have images of her hunched over a table, fiddling with petals in her early 20’s with old-soul fashion. She wore a striking white lace top tucked into something perfect.

Once we images of her precariously teetering on a wooden ladder while wearing woven wedges. Sweaty and determined we set a scene in an overgrown field, both of us pushing away stalky sunflowers, hoping the ladder would hold. We needed her high, we needed her caught in the late fertile light of September. Like yesterday I see her straw hat angled in picturesque style on her curl-topped head, surrounded by sunflowers.

We made photos on her wedding day, standing on a carpet of summer grass with perfect Claudia Dell contrapposto. She wore a classic cream dress, a peach in hand, wearing a bemused smile.

I have behind the scenes images from my Provo studio where she arranged flowers to top my Dotter’s tiny head and later atop Carol Lambert’s elderly one.

Mrs Lambert’s granddaughter hired me to photograph her purple-obsessed grandmother and I hired Erika to make floral crowns. We worked together to make images that captured Carol in her aged glory; crone, mother, maiden, girl- all the parts of a woman there and gone, rising to old age in the white-haired woman who sat regal, in flowers. Carol died a few days after that session of royal purple and flowers. We caught that image just in time.

As women and creatives, Erika and I have seen things, life has intersected over us and we’ve witnessed it together and apart; a confluence of witnessing and documenting, sharing and showing.

Erika has allowed me to chronicle her majestic life unfolding; here a little, there a little while mine unfolded unseen behind the camera. Totally comfortable and trusting, our relationship has always been fed by apertures and flowers. Each time we’ve worked together we basked, created and remembered while I attempted to understand the ethereal spaciousness of the archetypal woman in myself, in her, in Carol, in us all.

And so it is.

Here are some images from last Spring when we celebrated Erika. I hope to make photos like this again.

And so it shall be.

1/11/2019- Weekly Braindump and Review

Art and Community-

I posed for a figure drawing class at Simple Life Studio . It was a life wish and the circumstances were perfect. Maybe at some point I’ll share the photos I snagged of the beautiful sketches, each different in their lines, interpretations, and perspectives. I left with tremendous respect for the ancient act of sitting, being seen, seeing, showing up and sharing the gift of representation through art. And for women in art who work to know the world in little glimpses that sketch purpose and beauty.

Listened-

Good Life Project with Samin Nosrat

Takeaway-

-At 10 years you begin to know what you are doing. This is so real. The last few months have really clarified my work for me.

-If we throw ourselves entirely and unabashedly into a projects and passions then we won’t have ourselves to regret or blame, regardless of the outcomes of that effort. The work, and our unique vision of that work matters and communicates something singular.

Super Soul Sunday with Glennon Doyle

Takeaway-

- The feeling of deep knowing only reveals the next step, not the 10 year plan that will become from taking that next step.

-I found this to be particularly striking as a reflection of what it means to be a human, specifically a woman, “I’ve felt split in two my entire life. There is the part of me on the outside that is saying the things that I am supposed be say, like, ‘I’m fine’. And then there is the part of me on the inside that is scared and lonely….We are all truth tellers…and it is very hard to hear the truth from a woman…and since negative emotions are less acceptable for a woman, we end up sometimes telling our truth in different ways than words, sometimes dangerous ways. Everyone tells the truth with something…which is why it is so powerful when you can integrate those two selves and tell the story of what’s going on on the inside with your words.”

- “Everyone is afraid of their pain but what we should be afraid of is the easy button- that is where suffering comes in. Pain is mandatory, it is what teaches us. Suffering is optional.”

Watched-

Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown Episode of Newfoundland. Bourdain’s contributions were great and he was such a perfect heart-filled asshole, I am so glad we have so much content from his voice and vision of the world. As for the episode, it is filled with forest and intention that communicated such a beautiful culinary and cultural story of Newfoundland. Images of rustic surfaces studded with crystal glass, wine chilled in rivers- it was dripping with naturalist romance made only the more contrasted by the Motley Crew telling the story. Something achingly nostalgic and ancestral was spoken about self-reliance and a connection between what we are and what we eat and how that sacred process of taking into our bodies something that has its own distinct form happens.

There have been many times in the last year, since moving to a low-income, working-class neighborhood that I have realized how reliant we are and, therefore, how wrong we have “it'“. It being living, and feeling connected and satisfied. How close we are to ruin and hunger, being as entirely reliant on trucking, highways, and low wage farming, water as we are. It felt right to see the rejuvenating cod in the cold ink water after learning about the destruction of those waters by heavy nets that dragged the ocean (I cringe at the untold bycatch) enacting a moratorium on the cultural of cod.

Ultraviolet Progress-

Negotiated a new floor for the studio, this time polyurethane. We are delayed and that occasionally leaves me feeling like we have failed something that hasn’t begun. But it will begin and Ogden is going to love our production studio. I feel faithful to the original ideas through and it has been miraculous how the money, time, and resources have fit and happened. Despite that, I am at that point in creating the studio where all woman who have given birth have been, in transition. I am that creator that wants to go home to avoid the demand of the delivery, that ring of fire edges closer. Anyone who wants to do big shit has to deal with the contrast of opposition. It’s weird in fact, and I have so many stories to share at some point, provided that I can fight my imposter syndrome back enough to get through writing this one-off post so that I can write the next one. My break this morning came in the form of seeing myself a few steps ahead, all having turned out to be the ennobling canvas we hope it will be for not only ourselves but for other people willing to brave the comical terror of delivery and creation.

Read

I started to read “The River”, from Gary Paulsen’s Hachet series to the kids and it is so beautifully written. I wonder if I will ever be the writer I want to be.

I am still reading Women Who Run with Wolves (it is so dense and resets my soul course making it hard to read at a normal pace).

I am also reading Hold Still by Sally Mann.

Ate

Made Mandy’s Shepards Pie which reminds me, I’ve been vegan for 3 years now. I still want some moose meat in Newfoundland though.

Laughed About

TV dinners, marketing

Parenthood

I love being with my children while they are in the process of discovery. The frustrated loping of laces, the goose egg first steps, the triumph of speaking bravely, the depths that come as they (and us with them) learn to sit in pain or say goodbye. They grow to face questions and realities that so often don't have formulaic answers and it is a gift to sit in what we don’t know to develop what we do.

Dotter and her class are reading, "The Watsons Go to Birmingham" and this evening, after dinner, she came to me with her hand on her heart,

"Mom, no one in my class is racist! Today we read about Martin Luther King getting shot and everyone was so sad."

Her experience is complicated with firsts! To feel sorrow and shock as bonding preteen peers, to learn about the heaviness of the ongoing civil rights movement, to examine what it means to be white, to learn about art, race, war, politics, abuse, sexism, love, equality, hatred, forgiveness- these are all necessary and sensitive topics. But to feel that no on is racist is a hopeful and harrowing thing.

Published // Distance of the Moon

The benefit of collaborations are that they bloom and steady the players, benefitting subjects, creatives and the goals of the individual artists that contribute to that collaboration. Matthew Peterson (my partner in life and love) and I created these images in support of Sackerson’s latest original work, “Distance of the Moon”. “Distance of the Moon” is an adaptation of Italo Calvino’s captivating short story about a long-ago time when the moon was close, pulled the earth’s tide water treasures to its skin and attracted the most eccentric characters to its scaly surface. The original short story was adapted and creatively interpreted for Sackerson’s stage by the brilliant Morag Shepherd. Directed by Dave Mortensen.

Playing at Wasatch Theater Company through December 22nd

To read reviews and see online publications of our images see:

Medium

Utah Review

THE BEATTY FAMILY // AT HOME FALL 2018

Their home has changed since we made these photos. Holiday decorations bring color where autumn leaves once lining the river receded into winter coming. The dark of solstice brought ice to a once flowered walkway. And the subjects, the individual beauty of these people who call each other family? They have changed too. We are all changing. The soul of this family has evolved by visiting new places, finding tradition in habit and routine, by feeling melancholy, exhaustion, and comfort ebbing and flowing- expanding them, shifting their shapes. But after all that they return home. Night after night, after moving through the world this is where we land; hurt and hollow, reeling and regal, wanting and adventuring in the nest of home. 

After discussing what it meant for Amy and Matt to be photographed, after the ordering of prints for walls and an albums to tell their home story, I was struck: There is never a good time to be photographed just as much as there is never a bad one. 

Every little bit of our lives together has value and tells the story of you and the people you love as they expand. Every moment is worthy. 

As the year ends, resolve to find the perfect photographer to see and capture you. Soon. Do it soon. Invite the camera into your home and show it what you look like, show it your unique untamed wild. And in showing up, you will be seen. And now is a great time for that.

Review and Result // Mitchener Twin Children Portraits


“I had prepared for my kids to be shy and scared for their photo shoot. Within minutes they weren’t just enjoying the photo shoot, they had made a new best friend in Ashley. The way she connected with them was more than I knew I wanted it to be. She captures moments in them because of the connection she made with them. I had been looking forward to this photo shoot and it was an absolutely magical experience. Ashley is in every way incredible and her photography is stunning.”- Jensenne

Thank you for the generous review, Jensenne and Mark.

ALICIA SANFORD- LINEN VISIONARY

In addition to booking her annual family portraits this year, Alicia Sanford added an extension to document her beautiful cranberry linen creation.

I love the happy humming vibration of handmade things. Handmade and uniquely designed clothing is so rare, a dying art. The contrast of factory-fast disposable clothing makes seeing the value of one-of-a-kind pieces very obvious. This dress carries the energy of Alicia’s learning and flow. It tells the story of cut fabric, folding and pinned, of broken needles and late night frustrations, of Liberty of London details and the perfect weight for October.

Artists and their art make the world go round.

ULTRAVIOLET UPDATE

Seems premature to write “update” on a forum that is so entirely uninformed about Ultraviolet Studios to begin with, but I cannot be worried and undone by what hasn’t been done. So we’ll start here.

This morning we drove to the studio after having paid the lease for the first month the day before. For me, Ultraviolet has been an act of entire faith. Not faith I referred to 10 years ago that was tied up in “knowing” or assurance but real live “WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?” faith. Faith that is not seen or known. And I’ve realized its texture. Faith that is created by something unseen, but possible and magical.

I’ve been pit-in-the-stomach sick to one degree or another for well over 6 months. One of the greatest assets and appreciations that comes from massively risky undertakings is the learning. Last month, while healing from my knee surgery, I learned the difference between sinking stomach sensations of the intuition and the pit stomach sick that comes from taking a risk and stepping outside of comfort on your own beautiful behalf. I had never learned that; not in this way. In hindsight, I’ve known this distinction, but it always came to me in times of trauma or massive hardship. I didn’t know (more learning) that understanding the difference between intuition signaling and fear were felt differently when electing to elevate yourself, your family, and your community- which is what Ultraviolet Studios is all about.

So to my point- today a new sensation came to me as we walked in the studio. The familiar pit-in-the-gut groaning fear that has been taunting and ever-present since last March (when I found the studio) and grew greater and more defined in May (when we signed our contract) was quiet. Totally and completely replaced with deep excitement and a feeling that borders on conquering, We paid our first rent yesterday. Writing each little letter and number for our November check was a joy. We saved, we worked, we planned, we risked, we went without in areas that don’t count for us. Our fear of one thing (Can we afford that lease?) became a question we answered. And I’m proud of us.

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THE SANFORD FAMILY // AT HOME- 2018

Colby and Alicia live a life of intention and artful trust that I deeply admire. This is our second time collaborating to make portraits of their family. This time Faye greeted me by name. She’s grown. We all have, but most obvious is her growth. She answered a question of, “Faye, what kind of cheese do you like?” with “SWISS!”. Her parents erupted in laughter and so did I.

We didn’t spend nearly as much time at the Sanford home as last year, opting to visit nearby Rock Canyon Park- exploding with the happy subtle fall colors often found in Colby’s home-centric painted celebrations of home and family relationships. The weather was brisk, the colors rich, and the sky was perfectly overcast (my preferred climate for photo session days).

This session Alicia wore a stunning red linen two-piece dress that she sewed and an abstract pattern crop. Colby’s knit cap and Faye’s cardigan are also Alicia’s creations. It is so easy to join Colby in seeing Faye and Alicia as generous muses.

See Colby’s prolific and moving painting HERE

ARTIST INTERVIEW- SD VOYAGER

I am so honored to have been interviewed by SD Voyager’s Artist series. Local Utah photographer, Claire Marika Buys recommended me to the magazine for this interview. The interview process was a very helpful and timely opportunity for me. This has been an incredible year for me both personally and professionally. 2018 marks my 10th year working as a professional photographer. This seemingly short and eventful decade has made me lucky, stretched, wrong, confident, unsure, naive, expanded, focused, and deepened. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone- but it is for me.

I have a deep appreciation for my clients and our relationships, both private and commercial, who have supported my work through the years. I wanted my interview to feel celebratory and grateful- because I am.

“I can’t help but feel love and admiration for each of my clients. For me, adoration means that I do not betray a client’s unique singularity with pre-chosen poses or expectations of what our time together will produce. What a real lucky joy this profession is! To sit (and crouch and run and bend and climb) in the front row of life for an hour or two with other humans always leaves me inspired by their greatness and that makes me so so lucky. Photography matters.”

Click link to read!

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