Hope and Memory Photography bio picture
  • I help clients capture their child’s personality. Oh, and I’m really good at acting (I used to be a performer in a former life), terrific at eating dessert (my fat jeans would definitely agree), and my Russian accent is stellar (Russians have confused me for an actual Russian until I give them a blank face when my Russian vocabulary runs out). Clients love my creative whimsical photos and are always commenting on how I’ve captured them in such a unique and beautiful way. Personally, I think my ability to return emails faster than Superman’s flight speed is pretty impressive. My Momma thinks I’m determined and that I have great hair and beautiful eyes. My friends envy my ability to balance everything on my overly full plate (they should be envying my husband because I certainly couldn’t do it without him). My clients love that I effectively capture their family and bottle moments in time for them to savor for years to come; I help them hold on to their memories.

The Crane Wife | Children’s Concept Photography

 

First, you need to know that this concept was inspired by one of my favorite bands, The Decemberists. They released an album in 2006 (and, I think it is also my favorite album of theirs) titled “The Crane Wife”. There are 3 songs on this album (Crane Wife 1, 2, and 3) that tell a story that has captured my imagination for quite some time now. I’ve included a video of this below; please watch it to get the full effect.  childrens concept photography

This was a personal project that was very special to me. I knew going into it that I was going to have to take my time with every last detail since I also knew that I wanted these on my walls. I could not find a wardrobe that fit my vision for this shoot and I did what I often do and decided to just make something. Unfortunately, I do not have the best sewing technique and tend to learn things like that on the fly so I enlisted the help of a friend that is a very talented costume seamstress and knitter to help me construct the bones of the dress. My vision for this shoot was sculpted by the Decemberists style of music, especially on their Crane Wife album, which has a whimsical western flare to it (in my ever so humble opinion, anyway); the dress had to reflect that. I started with a “western” prairie girl-esque dress pattern from Simplicity (kind of like this western style girls costume but I can’t remember now if it was actually this pattern) and mixed and matched the pieces in there until we got the look I wanted with a stark white sateen-like material. I then picked different elements, all in grey, white, and black, to embellish it and give it an avian feel. This included a white with black piping ruffle fabric, sheer white frienge, lots of lace, and some grey organza to add a Victorian sash (kind of like tail feathers). To put it simply, the finished product is, despite my shoddy costuming abilities, stunning!

I ended up compromising quite a bit on my original vision and plan because I could not find the right location. Once I found it, my girl (whom the dress was made specifically to fit) had outgrown it to the point that we couldn’t even zip it all the way up! My perfect location is in the Tacoma area and I was flying back to Houston to pick up the kids after a stay with the grandparents and I knew that I couldn’t wait another 2 weeks to do the shoot, so I threw the dress in my luggage and purchased props in Texas, where I photographed my kid the first day I was there. It isn’t perfectly what I wanted but I still love this set of photos for what they are. I do plan to photograph this again with a different model in the Seattle area, so if you have a girl (preferably with dark hair) that fits a size 5/6 dress, and are interested in a session like this, let me know!

“And all the stars were crashing around
As I laid eyes on what I’d found”
Crane Wife, concept photography, inspired by the Decemberists, composite photography, unique portraits that tell a story, art inspired by art, children

“It was a white crane
It was a helpless thing
On a red stain
With an arrow its wing
And it called and cried
And it called and cried so”
Crane Wife, concept photography, inspired by the Decemberists, composite photography, unique portraits that tell a story, art inspired by art, children

“My crane wife arrived at my door in the moonlight
All star bright and tongue-tied, I took her in
We were married and bells rang sweet for our wedding”
Crane Wife, concept photography, inspired by the Decemberists, composite photography, unique portraits that tell a story, art inspired by art, children

“We were poorly, our fortunes fading hourly
And how she avowed me, she could bring it back
But I was greedy, I was vain and I forced her to weaving
On a cold loom, in a closed room with down and wool”
Crane Wife, concept photography, inspired by the Decemberists, composite photography, unique portraits that tell a story, art inspired by art, children

“Sound the keening bell
And see it’s painted red
Soft as fontenelle
The feathers in the thread
And all I ever meant to do was to keep you
My crane wife…
There’s a bend in the wind and it rakes at my heart
There is blood in the thread and it rakes at my heart
It rakes at my heart”
Crane Wife, concept photography, inspired by the Decemberists, composite photography, unique portraits that tell a story, art inspired by art, children

“And under the boughs unbowed
all clothed in the snowy shroud
She had no heart so hardened
All under the boughs unbowed
Each feather it fell from skin
‘Til thread bare while she grew thin
How were my eyes so blinded?
Each feather it fell from skin”
portraits with meaning, Crane Wife, concept photography, inspired by the Decemberists, composite photography, unique portraits that tell a story, art inspired by art, children

“And I will hang my head, hang my head low…
A grey sky, a bitter sting
A rain cloud, a crane on wing
All out beyond horizon
A grey sky, a bitter sting”
Crane Wife, concept photography, inspired by the Decemberists, composite photography, unique portraits that tell a story, art inspired by art, children

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Port Orchard, WA Wedding Photography | Anna and Trevor

It’s the middle of Winter on a particularly cold (for this Texan transplant anyway) night and I am lying in bed with what I think is the flu. I’ve been meaning to post this lovely wedding for quite some time, but I got busy with clients and morning sickness and holiday orders and then the actual holidays… so, um, blogging fell by the wayside. But here I am in this new year with the resolution of being a bit more consistent with my posting this year instead of just being sporadic. My other resolution is to just take more photos of my kids and enjoy the moment instead of fussing with perfectly composed shots with excellent exposure. I’ll likely be posting a lot more personal photos and what-have-you, but I’m not ready to take on another weekly project this year as I typically burn out on those by mid-Spring.  Since I am craving sunshine and warmth, I am so very excited to finally share my very first wedding with you, shot at the beautiful Cedar Springs in Port Orchard, WA.

Now, I have to be honest in telling you that I never thought I would shoot a wedding, to the point that I swore up and down that weddings were not not not for me (never say never, right?!), but Anna and Trevor sold me on this whole wedding thing. Anna was the antonym of bridezilla and the two of them were just the perfect client throughout the whole process from engagement session to album delivery. They are such an impressive, strong young couple and I am so honored and proud to be the Seattle photographer that they chose for their stunning August wedding.

This necklace that Anna wore as a bracelet belongs to Trevor’s family. It was her “something borrowed” and such a sweet touch.
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“First look” photos always make me a teary-eyed emotional mess, and I was thrilled that Anna and Trevor agreed to one. I’d been crossing my fingers since the beginning and couldn’t have been more excited when they said yes!
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Anna is a contributor over at Best Friends For Frosting, so clearly she knows her way around baked goods, but she opted out of a traditional wedding cake for a s’more bar! I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed since I am a wedding cake fiend and was REALLY looking forward to that little perk… until I saw it and how amazing it was for the couple and their the people they treasure most in the world to gather around a fire, roast marshmallows, laugh, and enjoy time together. It added a wonderful and intimate element to the wedding and was fun to photograph too!
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And, of course, Anna and Trevor had to knock it out of the park with a sparkler exit instead of the traditional rice or birdseed. What a perfect end to such a wonderful wedding!
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I can’t end this blog post without saying that I could not have done this without my amazing second shooter, Val Spring. She was in the places I couldn’t be and helped me document this sweet couple’s big day. Thank you, sweet friend! xoxo

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Seattle Custom Holiday Mini Sessions

Looking for 2014 holiday mini sessions?  Click here!

 

I will be foregoing traditional Seattle holiday mini sessions this year in

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favor of what I think is a much better option. Instead of scheduling one date at a specific location that may or may not work for everyone, I am now offering custom minis! How does this work? Gather a group of about 5 families (these could be close friends or family, parents from dance/soccer/yoga classes, other families at your kid’s school, or even just a group of interested parties in a parenting group, etc.), decide on a date that works for all of you, then email me to let me know you are wanting me to reserve a date for you. After that, I’ll work with you to decide on a location and even a theme (if you so desire) that fits you and your friends perfectly. Super easy and super simple. I’ll photograph each family for about 10 minutes, you’ll get approximately 5 proofs, and either 25 holiday cards or 1 high res file for just $150. What a deal! Let’s get together ASAP since it is officially busy season and I am booking quickly. And while I am at it, just a reminder: all holiday sessions and orders must take place by November 20th to ensure Christmas delivery.

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My Most Prized Possession

If I bounce around a lot, just bear with me as this is what has been on my mind all morning and is just my thoughts being poured out of me as they come.

Everyone has traits and quirks that just are known and associated with them by everyone that really knows them. One of mine is Russia; everyone that knows me knows how much of a Russophile I am. But that’s not the quirk that this post is about. I’m also very sentimental and nostalgic and when someone gives me something, no matter how small or insignificant, if it is a gift from their heart, it has meaning to me.

5 years ago, we moved across the country from southeast Texas to Seattle. I’ve always been close to my parents and I have a very close-knit (large) extended family; leaving them was (and still is) extraordinarily difficult. I think about them constantly and miss them deeply. It seems like I’ve constantly got thoughts and memories about at least one of them bouncing around my head. Lately, that person is my precious Daddy. It seems silly that I would be missing him so much right now given that I just spent a few weeks with him a month ago. The last time I was down, he sent me home with his old film camera. My Dad loved photography and shot a few weddings back in the 1970′s (I think that is the correct decade… I suppose it doesn’t really matter as the message is the same.) with this camera. Remember the aforementioned quirks/traits? Dad’s just happens to be that he loves a good adrenaline rush; there are countless stories that he and my brothers have told me about their motorcycle, hunting, white water rafting, fishing, scuba diving, etc. escapades with our father. This camera tagged along on many of those adventures as well. Most of these were before my time or when I was too small to take part or even care, but their stories have always been magical to me. Maybe because that was a side of Dad that I never knew? Don’t get me wrong, I would catch glimpses of it… I’d tag along on the occasional hunting or fishing trip, I rode with him on his motorcycles, and we even went diving – just the two of us – a few times. I was never exposed to the things that I associate with major adrenaline rushes and death defying acts (although I definitely secretly a bit grateful because I am a chicken and would certainly not love it). But this camera was

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there. See that fraying strap? It’s the original. It fascinates me to think of all the things this camera has seen.

Nikon F2 Photomic

It seems like this would be a fixture in my childhood, right? Kind of like how my cameras are a fixture in my children’s lives (and oh, how fickle they are… sometimes they love it and sometimes they loathe it), but it wasn’t. At least, I don’t think it was. It certainly wasn’t foreign to me, but I don’t have any distinct memories of seeing him whip this camera out. Maybe because this one is all manual (I am LOVING the rangefinder, by the way) and he had learned to love point and shoots by the time I came around. In fact, I don’t really remember ever seeing this camera (although I know I must have at some point) in use. My first clue as to the last time it had been used was the Disney World lens cap when I took it out of its case (the last time my dad was at Disney was when I was about 5). He handed it to me with an old roll of film still in it (unused, and probably loaded at or right after Disney World).

I’m young (25) and am a child of the digital generation. By the time I cared about taking photos of anything, film was already on it’s way out the door and almost all of my experiences with film were with a disposable camera. However, I love old stuff. And I’ve recently decided to take up film for a couple of reasons. Primarily, I noticed that I was not taking any snapshots of my kids beyond my iPhone (which is all well and good, but I’d like to have “real” photos as well, especially with a bit more control over the settings and how they look). That task just felt like work and I would take photos and never do anything with them because going beyond the step of actually snapping the shutter was just too much. So, I decided film would be the way to go. I got a Holga for Christmas, broke it before ever being able to use it (it IS a toy camera), and then finally replaced it with a Diana F+ in May-ish. When I mentioned this to my dad, he decided it was time to “break out the old Nikon.” And that, my friends, is how this lovely little camera found it’s way into my hands.

Unedited photos taken with my Nikon F2

 

Another photo, unedited, taken with the F2… all of these are on 20 year old film!

So, why is it my most prized possession? Because it is irreplaceable. The sentimental value, the connection to my father and my family, you an never put a price on that. Much like a wedding ring or an old family Bible, you can replace them with a duplicate that looks identical, but it is just not the same thing. I’m kind of weird in that I have a running mental list of “things to grab in the event of a catastrophic emergency” (like a fire, flood, etc.); on this list are my girl’s baby books and their lovies, my computer with all my photos on it, a few other odds and ends, and now this camera. I would grab the F2 over my 5D Mark II bodies in a heartbeat because those can be replaced. This precious gift that my father has given me can not, but I am so grateful and so touched to be the recipient that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Angel - Love it :) love love love the picture of Chris getting his coffee lol…naturally

amy grace - this was wonderful to read. all over the place is how our memories unfold, how our lives play out, as our eyes search for moments we want to freeze. you do such a lovely job capturing the layers of love, why this is so important, what it means. and how amazing to share such a thing with your dad. just thinking about mine changes my whole face, warms me…and i feel that with you too.

Vintage 1930′s Family Photos | Seattle Family Photographer

This Summer has been insanity for me and I am finally getting back into an actual work schedule that includes time for blogging (yay!) and I am excited to share these sweet Seattle family photos with you.  I know I say this about every client and session, but I really love this family!  They are adorable and so easy going and just a plain joy to be around.  We decided to go with a vintage 1930′s feeling and I finally got a chance to use my antique pram, which was a real treat for me.  I’ve had that sucker sitting in my garage for almost a full year waiting for the right family to come along.  We headed to Pioneer Square for the vintage quality and all the history around that area and it was a perfect fit… although, I may be a little partial because Pioneer Square holds that lovely classy but antique air about it for me.  Without further ado…

1930 family photos, 1930

 

1930 family photos, 1930

 

1930 family photos, 1930

 

1930 family photos, 1930

 

Also?  A quick heads-up that I will be ALL DONE WITH HOLIDAY SESSIONS by the Friday before Thanksgiving; this means all sessions and orders must be placed by this date to to ensure Christmas (or Hannukah:)) delivery.  So book your session before I both yours and my schedules fill up.  This is the busiest time of the year for me and with holidays approaching, this is a busy time of year for you too!:)

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