“such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.
happiness. it comes on
unexpectedly. and goes beyond, really,
an early morning talk about it.”
- raymond carver
when i try to pick out my favorite pictures, my best pictures, i usually get caught on the ones about who we really are. and it is hard to narrow it down. the best images i ever witness and make, are not about playing to the audience, but about a seed of something, a small story of person, a piece of love with a heart of truth. it is hard to pick favorite moments, pivotal ones, as we live them. sometimes they happen before they can sweep us off our feet, leaving us forever longing. and that is one of the gifts of photographs: they sort out life for us. taking pictures heightens your senses. your eyes suddenly have feelings. while maybe at first, you really have to try to pay attention to light, to what someone is wearing, to the clutter in a room, eventually this stuff starts falling away, as does your camera and its settings. and once you break through that layer, your camera becomes an extension of memory. maybe the most precious thing we have, aside from right now.
so many images that made the whole world stop, this week. we are all part of the same one world, but oh, the many universes we know. as i went through these pictures, i was struck with the thought that each one meant so much to someone. beautiful work, with care, with thought, with feeling…yours.
- Amy Grace, A Beautiful Life Photo
Kirsty Larmour Photography
J is for Jane
Bethany Petrik Photography
Jenny Modesitt Photography
Celeste Jones Photography
Emily Robinson Photography
Lindsey Bergstrom Photography
Meghan Boyer Photography
Melissa Weicker . Photographer
Annie Otzen Photography
Eleanor Haley Photography
Dirty, barefoot and caring a big stick! Could these photos be anymore “boy”?! Love them! Beautifully shot and lots of fun. Thanks Jennifer!!
Jennifer is such a down to earth person, with exceptional talent and joy for what she does. Seeing what she is doing with film, from start to finish, is as inspiring as the warmth and truth of her pictures. the way she and her family live, the landscape of their lives is so pure and nostalgic in itself. these portraits are free and touching and wild and timeless. film is such a perfectly organic medium for the kind of life she’s sharing here. the closeness and expansiveness she captures are such beautiful ways to show his spirit, his size, his adventures.
- Amy Grace
” My little boy… on his land… doing what he does best. Scooters, sticks, lots of dirt and all with a mischievous look on his face.
Shot on 35mm with a combination of Portra 160 and 400.”
About Jennifer: based in Virginia / website / contact / facebook
In a room, a rhyme, a song.
In the box, in books: each element
An instrument, the body
Still straining to parrot
The spirit, a being of air.
- robert pinsky
i make my daughter playlists all the time. but we call them mix tapes. it is what they really are. an act of love, careful planning, emotional evaluation, deeply rooted messages, soul stirring. i tell her i could map my entire coming of age by the music i pieced together in all of my longing and joy and suffering, before i could rent a car. we all learned how to be romantic and intentional and hopeful, through the sharing of bars that reached our solar plexuses, the words that promised to write our tenuous futures when all we could do was dream about them with goosebumps. we learned to speak with words we borrowed, and soul that had a voice, in the common language of heartbeats and hands almost touching, of first kisses and last innocence. everything was a tribute to the life running through our fingers, to which we will never catch up. but they were an era that i can see as much as i can feel. the music brings me back and all i have to do is open my eyes.
now, she is the muscle memory of my heart.
it is all the same language, it comes from the same place, but the singing is between the lines and the light. we are slicing time and preserving it, storing it for winters to come, for years we will tread through, keeping each other in our peripheral vision…when i want so badly to reach for her hand in public. i am trying to build a soundtrack that she can play back when i am not there to sing her to sleep, when she needs a dose of courage or home, when she needs a sweet hit of memory. her songs are an emotional crib sheet; if there ever is a shortcut i will carve the path by the scars of mine, maybe sparing her hurt. she always cuts through to the heart of a thing; this one will be a path to me. these pictures will be a collage of all of the soul and light within her. i want her to see it so there will be no confusion, even in the fog of the future.
i have waded out of little kid land, letting my feet sink in the sand, while i watch her swim in the distance. the cocoon we built around ourselves has been replaced with butterflies in my stomach. but they are mine, and in all the honesty i swear to her, i will not betray this one secret. she is on the verge of everything. and while the layers of knowing and worry and responsibility cloud my own eyes, she is all grace and clarity. as the noise builds, i just reach my hand back to her in the car, and it is as elegant as it was on our first night, her five fingers around pinky. my son says to me all the time, “are you mommy?”, as we play at different voices and animals and lives. “i’m always mommy,” i tell him. it is that simple now. but for her, i need to keep growing into something more. i need to leap and dive and be brave, to meet her at the top of the waves as they break. she needs to see the kind of faith i am begging her to have in herself. and i am terrified.
to be a mother is to commit a radical act of hope. to love is to walk a tightrope of fear and say “thank you” for it. i think i know what it is to have my heart broken. but i do not. i cannot imagine, because she is here and growing a more beautiful soul by the second. the world breaks and heals in a million different places every day. our worst days are an average day for someone else. in the putting back together, the making sense, the finding of beauty, we stand in the face of the world falling apart around us and say “enough”. we can only hold on to our kids with every bit of string and love and strength we can collect, only to set them free to the wind, hoping they know how to sail, hoping they know freedom in their bones before they taste it on their skin. i want for her: the corner of the world that makes her happy, to feel music when there is none, to know love and fear and safety in one breath, and to know i would give her my last one.
About Amy Grace, A Beautiful Life Photo, based in San Diego, CA: Website | Facebook | Contact
Yesterday was the loveliest day. My husband had the day off work, my boys were out of school and the sun was shining (which is rare this time of year). We decided to go on an impromptu family adventure. We drove an hour north of Seattle to Skagit County, where the Tulip Festival is in full swing. We spent the day together walking through tulip fields, eating lunch, visiting cute shops, and just enjoying each other. It was magical.
Then we came home, and learned about what had happened in Boston. I have no words, except to say that I’m sad and frustrated and angry. I am so sick of completely crazy people who want to hurt us and make us all feel unsafe.
I saw this quote by Patton Oswalt on Facebook. It makes sense to me and seems like something I need to remember, so I wanted to share it with all of you.
The photos were taken by my husband (Peter Czark) on his iPhone. I love them. We really did have a great day…
“I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”
But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.” – Patton Oswalt