If I've learned anything from my meager 30.5 years of existence, it is that the sheer stabbing pain of humility has gotten me further than any pride, arrogance or prestige ever will. To rest in a state of degradation has given me more insight into the brokenness of my human nature than anything else ever will. I really feel that we are at a turning point that demands that the ugliness of ourselves be unearthed to reveal what really lies within. And with that, I mean our deepest conscience. Not one that is seeking the respect or approval of others. The one that stands solely on their own. The one that speaks their voice and walks remotely away into a solitude unknown. The one that needs no one else for approval. The human, that like, in Christ, rests in a state of complete unknowingness and humility; open armed and ready to bare a burden unlike we've ever known. We are here. It doesn't have to be repeated a hundred more times. It doesn't have to be poked and prodded. To continue on the path that we are on is imminent. Our generation isn't one that was just born out of fault. It has taken a thousand lives to get here, a thousand wrong doings, a thousand hand-offs of people enabling each other over and over again in hopes of a better good. This is where is has to end.
It's been awhile since I've been back here to write. The words seem to be just lingering lately, so I'm probably just going to ramble. This year has been one of many great shifts and transitions. It seems like every corner I turn there is a new person or situation stirring up some kind of deeply embedded seed of an emotion that I've chosen not to look at. I believe we see ourselves through the eyes of others. That people are placed strategically in our lives to unearth, expose and to shine a light on things we might not want to take a look at. This year has tested my faith. Period. I watched almost every plan and pursuit I had literally crumble before my eyes, redirecting me onto a different path. And I went into it swinging. This isn't where I'm supposed to be. I've tried so hard, it's not fair, I deserve better. I refuted it to the point that it had made my life a living hell, rather than just falling back and accepting that maybe there are larger things at play. Maybe, it's not all up to me. I feel like there is a time to insert our free will and ego into our lives and a time to completely step out of the game and rely solely on a higher guidance. It's made take a long hard look at myself and my intentions. Where do I see myself? Who is it that I really want to be. What do I want to give back to the world?
Happy to finally get these babies up on the blog. Back in May, my good friend Lee and I got to collaborate on some images for Lancaster County Magazine. Lee is Bar Manager at POUR on Prince and makes some mighty tasty beverages if I must say so myself. Our focus was a summer-inspired cocktail, in which you could easily make at home. Recipe below. Check it ✌️
Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum ‘’Navy Strength’’ 57% abv.
John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum Liqueur 11% abv.
Cilantro-Infused Pineapple Shrub Bar Keep Chinese Bitters
Grated Nutmeg Garnish
''And the starts blinked
As they watched her carefully,
Jealous of her shine''.
So glad to finally get these guys up on the blog tonight. Jake and Jess have been long time friends of mine and recently asked if I'd grab some pre baby pics before their little one is due in September. It's been a little while since I've shot at golden hour so I wanted the timing to be just right. I've been trying to push my work with light more so we decided on the Rockford Plantation in southern Lancaster where the sun seems to just sit magically on the horizon 🍂
I heard a quote once
|| Sometimes a forest must be completely burnt down in order to promote new growth.
I am here.
I've never been in such a place where old structures have been completely crumbling right before my eyes, but not without new, miraculous ones rising furiously. He called me into his study today. My grandfather. '' I just wanted to see where you were at with all of this''. I had to hold back tears. He had been such an ass lately, ripping me apart and taking the most low lying blows. But I understood. None of us want to go thru this. We were all scared, and we've just been taking it out on each other. ''I'll be okay, I've got some options''. The reality is that I've been flying terrified, by the seat of my pants. I have no idea and I'm not sure what's going to happen. But that's not the space that I want to be in. We can't do anything there. It's here, in the calmness of the storm that we can make that headway. That deep-seeded faith that it will all work out. I've fought for years to honor that feeling. That internal compass, that gut faith that all will unfold exactly when it needs to.
This is where you fall back.
Maybe I'm a little biased, because it is my cousin and all, but I'm totally diggin' on this engagement shoot. Kirk and Court are getting hitched in August and asked if I'd drive up north to grab a few shots in celebration. Wellduhofcourse. It was nice to get out of dodge for the day. Not that I don't like good old Lancaster County, but having some new scenery in the backdrop is always a treat 🌾
Jess and I shoot together so stinkin' much that I occasionally forget to put photos up. A few from a midsummer's night along Speedwell Forge Lake ❤︎
It still blows my mind that we still live in a world that puts so much emphasis on what we ''do''. Our careers, our day jobs, our titles define us. It's the first round of questions that gets spit out at a party, when meeting new people or connecting with a potential suitor. It's like a default question riddled with ego, yet deeply embedded with insecurities. Because, it is not, who we are. I came across this twice today and was taken back by surprise. I wanted to fire back, but bit my tongue. It's yours not mine. I've met the most profound people that have tucked their lives away behind ''sub par'' jobs. They could have ''done more'' with their lives. They just never ''got it together''. I have such a problem with the 9-5 mentality. It still rules the majority and it still reeks more than ever with prudent discord. There is no room for the creative mind. It's abruptly disregarded, shrugged off and set to the side until, it's ''needed''. I'm sure this whole post sounds pretty biased. It kinda is. Don't get me wrong, I get that there needs to be a balance, a yin and yang. But lately, it just feels very one sided. It's like just as I feel were getting to a more even playing field there's this backlash, a smack to the face. I've watched some of my deepest loved ones go thru it. My dad, seriously one of the most brilliant-minded men I've ever met (I know, I know, he's my dad..) led this Goodwill Hunting type of life so to speak, ''under performing'' and ''throwing away his talents'' at menial jobs. I don't believe so. And I don't think that for one second, his was a life wasted. He touched sooo many lives being the kind, compassionate individual that he was. Lives that he would of never gotten to know had he been ''on the correct path''. I think we need to re-examine what it means to be human. What makes us ''successful''. I truly believe we are placed exactly where we are intended to be. To reach those that need us and whom we need in return. To bring a higher sense of purpose to the table. I saw it in the line at his funeral.
Been a little obsessed with free-lensing and multiple exposures in our garden this week ✌︎
I wondered what he wished for as he blew those candles out. My mind was so numb I could barely focus on anything other than that 6pm light that danced beautifully off of my grandmothers dining room walls. We all were just here. Bodies. Appeasing her because it wasn't worth fighting anymore. I downed my second glass of cheap red wine and began to fade. It felt good to fade. To just put the last pieces of your overactive mind out of it's misery. Even if it was just temporary. I couldn't help but smile watching him light up. I was so incredibly grateful for him, and she knew it. He was the first one there at the accident and the one that had been silently fighting for me for all these years. There was this unspoken camradery. Something that I yearned for my entire life. Something that I'd give back in an instant. I didn't know where the rest of this year would go. We wouldn't be sitting here for the next that was for certain. All I could do was keep putting one foot in front of the other in hopes that it would all make sense, eventually.
I can't say enough about this girl. Well, right off the bat she's absolutely stunning. But get to know Mya a little bit more and you'll find that she's one of the most gracious, talented and down-to-earth babes you'll meet. Mya is a high school senior this year and a ridiculously talented artist. Her mom, a good friend of mine contacted me about getting her portraits done back in the fall. We shot a bunch of ideas back and forth about cool snow-inspired pics but eventually settled on the idea of renting some warm studio space. It was my first time working in this type of setting and I wont lie, I was completely terrified. Indoor spaces are always tricky because you have fixed lighting sources and are racing a setting sun that is constantly changing the pattern of light. But this girl rocked the hell out of her shoot and we ended up getting some pretty baller images, if I must say so myself ;)
I think it's funny how life seems to have a way of precisely placing people in our lives the moment we need them. Whether its to challenge us up to a higher level or gently guide us through the uncertainties of our lives. I've known of Jaclyn for years thru family ties but didn't get to connect until recently. We had been following each other online and finally decided to set up a date to collaborate together. I can't say enough about this beautiful soul. She truly shines inside and out. She's got a cutting personality and unparalleled drive for success, yet is graciously down to earth. Sometimes, I feel like I go into these shoots and come out completely changed. For it's more then just the pictures I take.