I met Kellianne at the beginning of my second year of college; since then, we have remained in one another's circles, watching as we found our partners and grew from bouncy college dorm girls into women. It was a joy to photograph Kellianne and Logan as they committed their lives to each other, as well as dance and feast and swim in the Snoqualmie River in celebration of their love. The balancing act of simultaneously being a vendor and a guest can be tricky, but as their steady, lovely day unfolded, I found myself grounded and thankful and rejoicing. Thank you, dears. Cheers to the rest of your lives!
When I met Diana and Lukasz a few months ago, I immediately knew that the two of them would be a joy to work with and photograph. From the beginning, I sensed Diana's kindness and groundedness, her depth of soul and experience; Lukasz's silliness and observance and steadfastness; both of them intelligent and attentive and completely in love.
Engagement sessions are a funny thing; compared to weddings, where there is a calculated schedule and expected images to deliver, engagements are free form and whimsical. Sometimes posing and guidance is necessary, but sometimes, like with Diana and Lukasz, simply saying, "Pretend I'm not here," does the trick. We took the ferry from Downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island, trotted around the park where they got engaged, made friends with some flowers, laughed in golden hour, and basked in a windswept dusk back to the city. Below are images that represent a love that is intimate and full within itself, unafraid of outside eyes, willing and ready to exist and flourish with ferry wind in their faces and pink flooding the sky.
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
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.
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.
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.
I met Déjà on Facebook. When we decided to see each other in person on a mid-May morning, I had no expectations for what our time would be like except that she needed new portraits. I didn't know that we would throw our heads back in laughter together and discuss self love and hold each other in excitement and joy. More and more I see proof of photography and the capturing of the self as a form of therapy. The moment of seeing one's self as sacred, with morning light illuminating the soul as it emits through skin and bone, is holy. Déjà and I talked about the importance of documenting our physical existence, affirming our physical existence. And we sat in the grass amongst the evergreens, glory and goodness seeming to hold us gently.
She is perseverance in the face of indescribable hardship. Her story is powerful. Her voice is soft and sturdy. Her existence is art.
My new friend, welcome to Seattle. It is so wonderful to have your body and spirit inhabit this city. We will make together. I cannot wait to see what our hands and hearts create.
I first met Frishy and Matt two years ago in Tacoma, just months after they were married. We wandered around the outdoor Glass Museum and took their much needed "engagement photos" - we had a lovely time all together, and since then, have stayed in contact from afar. They recently had their beautiful baby girl, Georgy, and asked me to photograph them and their new addition to their family!
The flowers in the garden welcomed us with pink and yellow, and on a day predicted to storm, the sun burst through. Excited to continue documenting this wonderful family as time goes by! Thank you again for trusting me to photograph you and your beloved little one!
Last weekend, my mother, my partner, and I spent three days in the Saddleback Mountains east of San Juan Capistrano at a small retreat center called Pine Manor. Mark Nepo, one of my favorite poets, philosophers, and spiritual teachers, led our small group of twenty five through the rhythms of his work and mesmerizing stories. It's hard to articulate what a weekend of intentional spirit breath can do for the heart and mind. I take pictures when I can't find the words, and I'm still at a loss. But beauty, translated in some capacity, can offer a glimpse into my internal wonderings and weepings of relief and hope.
"Like light of the sun
spilling out of the sun,
the spirit within
beams its way
through all our cracks
till our most treasured
walls come down."
- Mark Nepo
I met Sarah and Kurtis on the day that they got engaged, after my friend Kayla had asked me a couple days before if I was free to photograph her best friend's proposal. And then I had the honor of capturing Sarah and Kurtis' engagement photos in the Cascades six months after that. And then we ran into each other on the streets of Queen Anne at 1 am on New Year's Eve. And then I photographed their wedding last summer.
You never know what's going to happen when you say yes.