Christina Mallet on Instagram: Featuring Sandra Coan (@sandracoan)

  Ode to Sandy, Cause.... she's Dandy!

Let's mix this up a bit.

This week's IG feature is an Ode, to someone near and dear to my heart, namely Sandra Coan (call her Sandy), the Lady photog running this here show, the lady who works tirelessly on this site and whose work is amazing.

Well it's as simple as this: Sandy and her dedication to turning her vision, of  elevating family photography to an art form, brings us all here today.

Besides being the co-founder, a dedicated editor, and the curator of Little Bellows, she's also one of the most brilliant photographers I know, and one of my best friends.

I first met Sandy at a Soulumination photographer's meeting. Soulumination is a local non-profit here in Seattle, founded by Lynette Huffman Johnson, that provides families with ill and dying children and parents with professional portraits. You get it, it's super heavy but also really rewarding work. Photographing families on the precipice of saying goodbye to a child or parent is something only certain people can handle--it turned out we are both that sort. Anyway, the rest is history-- 5 years later I refer to Sandy as my hetero-life mate.

Fast forward to 2012: When Sandra first started telling me about her plans to do with this project, now Little Bellows, I was once again in awe of her drive and the amazing things that one can do when they dedicate themselves fully to their mission. There are examples of this throughout Sandy's life. Her work is technically spot on, and always so freaking sharp!, and her images have won her awards and even a place in Seattle's Museum of History's permanent collection. Another area of her life that exemplifies her dedication and success, are her boys Harvey and Dexter.

In the years when Harvey and Dexter were at home with Sandy, I was in constant awe of her mothering. I was also at home for the first three years of my son Xander's life, and it was a constant struggle for me. Sandy was one of those moms who just made it look so easy and fun.

There's one story I tell again and again when I refer to Sandy's super-mom-ness. Once when we met for lunch, she brought her boys (I did not bring my son, who at that time was a combo of Curious George, The Tasmanian Devil and Dennis The Menace, with a side of The Incredible Hulk, all wrapped into one) and we talked shop, except that I don't remember any of it because I wasn't paying attention. What I was paying attention to, were her boys sitting perfectly quiet and all nice like as they each wrote stories in their journals. Uhm, yes, writing stories--maybe they weren't writing the actual words but those two had a beginning a middle and an end. Had my kid been there, he would have been doing a "Hulk Smash!" sort of interpretive dance of their stories.

Sandy is good for me and my photography--having a friend to bounce photog ideas off of and help clarify your vision is super valuable. For instance, I'm working on a project and Sandy has become my 'portfolio reviewer' of sorts. Culling your own work is hard, but it must be done. I recently sent her 85 images for consideration, she and her eyes think it should be more like 18. Without her input, I'd be diluting my project and that would be bad. And so, all this said, in closing I'd like to give Sandy a big fist bump for being such an inspiring and devoted lady, founder, editor, curator, friend, IGer, Seattlite, Hetero-life-mate, photog and friend.

~Cheers, Christina

you can see more of Sandy's work by visiting her blog or by checking her out on Instagram (@sandracoan)