Hannah and Ben | Magness Tree Farm Wedding 7/15/17

It was a very warm 85 degrees on the day Hannah and Ben committed their lives to one another; summer light slid through the trees around their venue, dappling the forest floor with emerald pools and the promise of life ahead. We drank Moscow Mules and sat in the shade of cabins, and we laughed, and we rejoiced. Cheers, Hannah and Ben. It is an honor to have documented your wedding day. Thank you for letting me in and trusting me to capture your essence. I'm so thrilled for all that life has in store for you as a married couple!

video by austin harris of rowboat films

HannahandBenBlog-07.jpg
HannahandBenBlog-48.jpg
HannahandBenBlog-76.jpg

tattoos and black bears and water; whistler, bc.

the longer i exist in this body, chemistry, and personhood, the more i realize how fiercely independent i am and always have been. i am more grounded when i make intentional space for myself, i am kinder, i am more patient, i am more eloquent, i am more gracious. i stand up for myself and am not afraid to express how i feel to myself and to the people i love. i'm more honest. i'm more thoughtful and conscious of how hard it is to be human, and in doing so, i give people the benefit of the doubt more. i'm a better artist. as primarily an extrovert i don't like being alone, but solitude is very different than loneliness. and in independence, solitude is necessary. and from a very young age, i played with homemade toys and ribbons tied to sticks and ran around in my front yard, immersed in my imagination. whenever my family would come outside or a stranger would walk by, i would immediately pretend that i wasn't in my head, that i wasn't curious, that i wasn't strange. i felt shame and embarrassment at eight years old about playing and taking the time i needed to be fully who i am; i was afraid of being seen. and now, out of school for a year after being in a classroom for sixteen years, told to not doodle during class even though it helped me learn and concentrate, fidgeting in my seat because i needed more time than other students to release my energy and anxiety, i am letting the young girl within me speak up again, and she has a lot to say. she is reminding me that it's okay to take my space to play and explore and imagine and be curious by myself. she is reminding me that it's okay to make and sing just for the damn sake of making and singing, even if it doesn't look or sound good. reminding me that my intensity is nothing to be ashamed of. she is reminding me that i can be by myself, and myself is good. and i don't have to run away from her anymore.

at least twice a month i have dreams of singing and letting my voice reverberate within my ribcage and throat without censoring myself. it is a dream of freedom and a cry to be seen by myself again, to no longer be afraid of who i am and what i need.

i went to new york city by myself in the spring to visit friends in brooklyn, and after that trip, i felt almost exactly the same way i do in this moment. empowered, full, grounded, capable. so very capable, and it's one of the most calming, powerful, and lovely feelings. i love traveling with my partner, but as our relationship continues to evolve and become evermore steadfast, i am realizing that i need to escape at times, to listen and breathe and see and learn through my independence and other relationships; personal pilgrimages. as much as austin and i intentionally fight against the gender roles and expectations we have been taught our entire lives by religion and society, there are narratives that we both cannot help but accidentally slip into without even realizing at times. and so, i am discovering that it is a non negotiable for me to step away every so often to collect and remind myself how strong and intelligent and fierce i am. that i can cross the border by myself, trust my gut that a girl i only know from instagram will be a good weekend travel partner as i pick her up in vancouver, that we can find a secret camp site on a random dirt road that my sedan definitely shouldn't have been on, that i can drive twelve hours by myself to get a tattoo that has taken seven months to schedule, that i can kayak by myself and let my heart and eyes overflow into the water and mountains, that i can be a leader in camping and traveling and make calls from my intuition and gut, that i can let the earth cradle me and let experiences be holy and sacred and thoughtful. and it can just be mine. having a human partner to witness my life is a gift, but there are times where witnessing yourself in solitude is an essential form of self love.

i am picking up fragments and souvenirs that i have lost throughout my life. they feel foreign and dear and as though my sensitive, easily broken, porcelain heart is finding a way to beat again. rediscovering that the water is cold but the way that it creates drops upon my skin is fantastical, and friendships are hard but healing is possible, that even when we lose ourselves we are always there to come back to, and we will be embraced by the Divine that is always waiting within to let us collapse and weep and unfurl our leaves into the sunlight once again; rooted, again.

the float (4th) of july

I have a lot of problems with the way that the 4th of July is celebrated and the attitudes of nationalism, pride, and ignorance that arise with a vengence on Independence Day. I am thankful that I have freedom as a white, cis-gender woman who grew up Christian and is dating a man. But my freedom and my gratitude cannot shadow the suffering and fear that too many people still live with in this country. I don't have to fear for my life when I am pulled over. I don't have to hope that my child won't be shot for playing with a toy gun in public. Violence and exploitation still rule this nation; White, Western imperialism should not be celebrated. Instead of being a day of humble gratitude where we look forward to all of the work that still needs to be done and take responsibility as people with privilege to make that work come into fruition, the 4th of July becomes a celebration of white privilege, binge drinking, and power. And that is what I have a problem with.

So, this 4th of July, we sailed and marveled at the natural world. We jumped into the water and ate bread and cheese in different forms and belly laughed. We hugged and splashed, and those who had work off used their day to spend time with their loved ones. We drank tasty brews and set up a hammock on the mast of my boat. We made new friends and leaned our heads onto the shoulders of old ones. We floated, all day. We watched the fireworks quietly. And it was a good day. A strange day to celebrate and come together, but it was a good day nevertheless.

thank you, my dear Austin, for taking some of these photos. you are talented and i love you.

DSC_6518.jpg

idaho

family vacation means slow mornings of dappled sunlight, good rest for the soul, romping through meadows and beneath the shadows of mountains, jumping into glittering bodies of water, making and consuming homemade ice cream, taking our time to exist in ways that we can't in the movement of normal life. family is complicated, and that's no different when you temporarily change environments. but it does somehow cultivate more kindness, more silliness, more genuine conversation. and it does lead to some photographs i'll cherish for the rest of my life.

thank you, austin dear, for capturing images of my family and i that we would never otherwise have.

recent goodness (may/june tidbits)

how do we deal with the clean up? of relationships pivoting, of moving homes, of seasons extending?

visits, weddings, sunsets. days of packing and unpacking, cleaning and making another mess. buying a boat home with my life human. a whale spotting from alki point. birthdays, including my own. parades, the sweet taste of summer finally bursting through. connection and loss. healthy wonderings and questioning, terrifying doubt. falling asleep to the gentle rocking of my old friend, the sea.

these last few months have been full and chaotic, and i am now settling into this wonderful, new lifestyle of waking up on the water to the cries of seagulls and being able to host my favorite people with veggie kabobs and cold brews. some of these photos hurt to look at, some make my heart glow. and some are somewhere in between, but they are all good. and they're pretty honest, which is all i can sort of hope for in my work. (although, the countless hours spent in these months fixing up and renovating the boat are not seen, they are sort of assumed for me once people start appearing in boat photos)

and last week I looked at my reflection in our thin, horizontal window of the main cabin and I felt myself surface from a wave of uncertainty with relief and gratitude. salt water of my childhood surrounding my new home, memories of submergence a reminder and a grounding, swirling, tumbling return. when you dive beneath a wave for the first time, it feels like you're drowning. but time and time again you surface and gasp and wipe the salt from your eyelashes and the sun casts gold upon the translucent tension that we are thrust beneath, or perhaps we sometimes choose this turbulence. but we return, and there is hope, and what once felt like drowning slowly becomes familiar, you don't grow gills but you do cultivate trust and hope, even if we can still underestimate the size of the wave. 

I don't remember being born, but I remember being loved. and I remember surfacing. I've been reminding myself that everyone is always trying to do their best. here we are, once again, where we always are in our feeble humanness, where we can always come home to, where once we have known love, can simply Be. 

to the people in my life: i love you, i love you, i love you. thank you, thank you, thank you.

Recently-15.jpg
Recently-73.jpg
Recently-93.jpg

technically the rest of these photos were taken in the beginning of july. doesn't matter to anyone else really, but i like keeping track of time.

Kate and Jacob | Laurel Creek Manor Wedding 5/27/17

Kate and Jacob's wedding day glowed. The warm, end of May sun beckoned in their commitment and the evening glittered with the dancing of young children and bright petals. It was a joy to document their wedding day after six years of movement and love and long distance - thank you, Kate and Jacob. Cheers!