Anna & Lil

While I no longer professionally shoot clients, occasionally a special request will come along that's impossible to refuse. And this was one of them.

Anna is the grandmother of one of my good friends. At 103, she is still sharp as a tack. She has a twinkle in her eye and won't hesitate to make a joke. She shares her room in the nursing home with her sister Lil, 101. I remember visiting with Lil when she lived at my friend's house decades ago. When I'd ask her how she was doing, she'd say "I'm fat 'n sassy!" and do a little jig. These days, Lil doesn't speak at all due to dementia. But she seems content and will flash you a smile. She loves Elizabeth Taylor (which was obvious from the posters tacked on her wall) and she loves to hold her older sister's hand. Anna told me she thinks it comforts her.

Two of ten children, I imagine Anna and Lil sharing a room growing up. Giggling at night, sharing secrets, maybe even having a few posters on their wall. I imagine Anna leading her little sister around their farm, holding her hand and keeping her safe. And after all the flurry of two lives well lived, here they are together again---right where they started.

While at the nursing home, I couldn't help but think of all the unrecorded stories that were floating around in that building just begging for someone to capture them. I think aging is hard for all of us to grasp and to look at; it makes us uncomfortable to imagine what the end of our own days will look like. But if you have old people in your life (and even if you don't, seek some out), I urge you to hear their stories & capture their portraits.

And I'm not making this plea just so we, the photographers, can feel all warm and fuzzy inside afterwards. As I was leaving, Anna rolled up to her friends at her dinner table and announced proudly, "A photographer came to see me today." It's for them too.

We're all in this together.

Thanks Lyndsey, Anna, & Lil.

Falling back

Every year when November rolls around my body protests, complaining to me like a disgruntled employee: "Are you kidding me? It's WAY too cold and dark and wet and dreary for me to function normally. I'm going on strike!" And then like clockwork, my autoimmune disease flares up, I get debilitating fatigue, SAD kicks in, and the whole shebang goes to hell in a handbasket. By December the change of season inertia settles and things balance out. But man, November is always a challenge for me. 

I'm already feeling the November tailspin so I decided to go back through some summer pictures to remind myself of what sunshine looks like. These are from our family trip to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. 

There's a certain magic about the Northwoods that I've loved since I was a little girl. Nature's presence is so looming & undeniable you can't help but get lost in it. While we definitely weren't roughing it, the isolation and quiet was deep solace for our souls. I think I devoured four books in seven days, Aaron fished to his heart's content (and fed us so well), and the boys spent their days wading in the soft buttery sand while searching for treasures. We look forward to returning to this special spot next year. Besides our host's cabin, we had the entire lake to ourselves. 

These photos were balm to my frazzled body today. I hope they can remind you too of the sweet breeze of summer days. 

(All photos shot on film. Medium format developed and scanned by Indie film Lab. 35mm developed by CSW Film Systems and scanned by me. )

 

 

The Best Things in Life are Sweet

"Our lives are stories built of small moments. Ordinary experiences. It is too easy to forget that our days are adding up to something astonishing. We do not often stop to notice the signs and wonders; the writing on the wall. 

But some days we do."  - Christine Purifoy

Melanie was one of my very first clients when I started my business, and not just any client. She was THE MOST SUPPORTIVE client I've ever encountered. It always baffled me how someone who didn't know me very well could just be there, constantly in my corner giving encouragement and excitement whenever I put out new work. But that's just who Melanie is. I remember having a very stressful week shortly after we moved into our new home, and I must've mentioned something in a text to Melanie about being stressed. The next day there were flowers at my door from her. See what I mean? She's just that kind of warm-hearted, thoughtful person.

I really should stop referring to her as a "client" thought, because quickly after our first session together she became a friend. Every time we chatted, whether it was about about our mutual love of photography or navigating the ups and downs of motherhood, I always felt a sense of connection and peace between us.  I could continue this Melanie love fest for awhile but since there may be one or two other people reading this blog I will get to the point. :) 

When Melanie came to me with her idea for a motherhood shoot, I was over the moon. She was pregnant with her second child, a beautiful "rainbow" baby boy, and wanted a documentation of her and her daughter's relationship before the new baby came along. She wanted to capture a casual ordinary day together; them at their favorite cupcake spot and horsing around at home. I could not have been more honored to bottle up a little time capsule of this special time for Melanie's daughter to see one day. 

Melanie, I am so thankful for our friendship, and so thankful that you've chosen me throughout the years to capture your sweet family. xo 

All film images are Portra 400, developed and scanned by the wonderful Indie Film Lab

While I am no longer taking on family sessions for the remainder of 2017, I am taking on a limited number of motherhood sessions like this one, which are my absolutely favorite type of session to shoot. And might I add...they make a fabulous mother's day gift! Please get in touch with any questions. :)

A morning with Mama

Motherhood sessions were something new I added in 2017 and I couldn't love doing them more. In fact, they are my absolute favorite sessions to photograph. It's hard to describe, but the vibes of these sessions are so different than family sessions. A little more casual, a little more intimate, a little more relaxed, a little more.....laugh-y and love-y (to put it not-so-eloquently).  Plus, nothing makes me happier than focusing solely on the remarkable bond between mom and her kids. 

When this client (also a dear friend!) told me she wanted to capture a typical morning with her and her boy--meaning PJ's, no makeup, nothing fancy-I leapt with delight. They are renovating their house soon and she wanted to capture their life and home just as it was. I don't have much more to say besides squishy sweetness abounds!

All images are Portra 400 scanned by Indie Film Lab. 

Here comes the sun

I woke up this morning to a sharp sliver of sunbeam coming through the shades and my heart leapt. I cannot remember the last time it was sunny in Chicago. One week? Two weeks? Maybe even three? I've lost count. This is the part of the winter where I trudge through the days, head down, barely aware of the passage of time, just wishing for spring to come and warm my bones. Call it S.A.D., call it cabin fever, call it a normal human response to being stuck inside with ZERO SUNLIGHT, but man. It really is a lesson in optimism to try and stay positive when the world around you is enveloped in gloom. 

But we won't worry about that anymore today. Today we'll just celebrate the sun. With that, I thought it might be a good day to share some film images from our travels to warmer pastures earlier this winter. Looking at these, I can just feel the warm breeze in my hair and the sand beneath my toes. Sigh. Who ever thought it was a good idea to live in Chicago anyway?! 

This is a big fat mixture of Ektar & Fuji. Some scanned by Indie Film Lab, some scanned by me. Thanks for looking. 

The beauty of motherhood...right now.

As a busy (and extremely tired) mom, I am guilty of counting down the hours in a day. I am guilty of thinking to myself, "what can I do today to kill time?" I am guilty of wishing a particular phase that one of the kids is going through will pass. That life will be better once he sleeps through the night. Once he's potty trained. Once he's talking. Once he's more independent. Once he's in school. 

It's only in hindsight that I can shake my head at myself for thinking these things, even though it still happens on a regular basis. I know how easy it is to get caught up in what's hard and what's not working. But what if we could just focus on what's right? What is good and true and perfect in our lives right now? 

I look back at pictures of my now three-year-old son when he was a baby, and it absolutely blows my mind that he was ever that young. While I remember our time together at home when he was itty bitty with fondness, my memories are also hazy. When raising a human you get so caught up with the minutiae of day to day living and sometimes, lets face it, survival, that there is no time to stop and take in the big picture. To appreciate. To imprint things to memory. To stand in awe of this thing we call motherhood.

I started feeling the pull over the past six months to focus more on motherhood in my client work. To be a mirror to my fellow mothers who are also in this frantic state. To have them stop, look, and appreciate the beauty that is their life right now with a visual record. While I love to shoot families as a whole, there is something powerful about the relationship that children have with their mother. I'm still figuring out how the full extent of how these sessions will go and I intend to mold and shape them throughout 2017, but if you are interested in finding more about my Motherhood Sessions, please contact me

This was a short session I did for a friend, just her and her son at home. Nothing fancy, no crazy locations. Just them hanging out. This is what sparked the idea to start offering Motherhood Sessions. The whole time shooting I thought "I wish I had pictures like this."

Shot on Portra 400, developed and scanned by Indie Film Lab.

2016 Film Favorites

A lot changed for me photography-wise over the past year. I went from dabbling in analog film photography last November to a full-blown love affair with it. And as of a couple months ago, my work is now 100% film. I could wax poetic about film for a loooooooooong time, but that's incredibly boring so I'll cut to the chase. Here are my absolute favorite personal film photos from 2016. Really the only thing these photos have in common are their randomness and how surprisingly/unsurprisingly they feature a lot of diapers. Thanks for looking. 

hello and welcome

Well, hi there. I'm Kristin. And this just so happens to be my first blog post. EVER! Currently halfway through an actual (human) pregnancy, I'm a little ashamed to admit it took me longer than nine months for me to gestate this website. Admittedly, this was due to more of a lack of technological knowhow and motivation than much else, but regardless I am thrilled this project has finally birthed itself unto the interwebs. 

So...now what? I'm not quite sure. I'd love to promise some sort of posting regularity, or incredibly witty writing, or a steady stream of pretty photographs, but that would be setting expectations WAY too high. As a pregnant mother of a toddler I like to keep expectations low. Very low. So low that even brushing my teeth in the morning seems like a win.

What I can promise is that this place will be a healthy mix of both client and personal work, as well as a place to run my crazed inner dialogue. I can promise one of these things will be interesting. 

Thanks for stopping by, and please come again soon. I promise I'll brush my teeth.