Category Archives: resources for clients

Why photographs matter.

99% of this blog has been dedicated to telling photo stories of people around the world.  But today, I wanted to share some thoughts I had recently about photographs and why they matter.  And it started with a birthday present! FullSizeRenderB

On my last birthday this photo was sent to me by my sister, Annie.  I don’t think she knew just how much it would mean to me when she sent it, but I was pretty much taken aback when I opened her package to me and saw this picture.  I stared at it.  And stared some more… in that moment, I felt a myriad of emotions.

It’s me and her.  Ages 3 and 2.  We didn’t know our two younger sisters yet, and I have no idea where we are sitting or what we had been doing, nor who the photographer is.  We were kids: innocent.  We hadn’t tasted the best that life had to offer yet.  Nor did we know what it really meant to worry; or what taxes are; or what first kiss was like (or a breakup); or what our parents divorcing would feel like; or what it would be like to experience death firsthand.  I saw the photo and felt all of these things jumbled together in an instant: a million reminders that I have lived a good story and (God willing) have more stories to live for many years. Beneath it all: I love my sister.   Someone snapped this simple photograph, and as a result gave me this photo as a reminder 33 years later.

This is the power of a photograph: they remind us that we are alive. Photographs matter because the people in them matter; at the center of the images we make are real people living real stories.  They will grow, love, win, lose, move, stay, laugh and cry.  All we have to do is tell the truth, and they will matter infinitely to the folks we have the privilege of photographing.


We are honored that this is our profession.

Taylor - 05/23/2016 - 8:43 am

So very true.

hootenannie - 05/13/2016 - 11:08 am

I love this picture. I’m glad you loved it, too. :) So thankful to have you as my brother.

Liz, Joel, Annie, Grace, and their magical little world in the suburbs.

i am a firm believer in magic.

i think it’s worth chasing, trapping in your fists like a firefly, and holding onto once you find it.
i have never been a firm believer in the suburbs.
as a person who has called both rural Africa and the heart of the city my home, i just have never felt like i fit in the rows of beige houses.
but my dear friend, (also a fantastic artist) liz, and her family live in the suburbs.
liz is one of the most magical people i know, with a soul that is the anti-beige. so when they asked me to spend an afternoon and evening with their family, making photographs of their “normal” i knew i had to say yes.

i learned something that day i will never forget: magic travels and it doesn’t discriminate.
magic doesn’t care what color the house is or how many are like it on the block.
it finds a home in a willing participant, and it goes wherever they go.

the fairy dust that is sprinkled all over summer and childhood, sweaty afternoons on the slide, hugs, laughter lines, favorite books, real love, dress up, and ice cream can thrive anywhere.

liz, joel, annie, and grace,
you did it.
you took the gold dust covering each of you and transformed the ‘burbs into one of the most magical places I could have traveled to on a Sunday because of who you are.
thank you for being the kind of people who live with your eyes wide open, pick your noses, and smile with all of your teeth.

i love you,


thanks again, magic makers.

{ if you are interested in scheduling an afternoon/evening for me to come tell your family’s magical stories, click contact and send me a line. xo }

Jenna - 07/24/2015 - 8:13 pm

just lovely!

Lecinda - 07/16/2015 - 7:39 pm

I can feel the magic <3 just beautiful

elizabeth koeher - 07/16/2015 - 10:16 am

these are so us. every single frame. US. i am in awe of you, dear friend, and your heart’s immense generosity and love for people. it pours over and into every photograph you make and every letter you write. simply put you bless others. i’ll never forget the first time you came to my home, amongst the sea of beige that is my neighborhood, you stepped in and said, “i love the stories your home is telling.” then you walked into my backyard and proclaimed it to be perfect and magical. your eyes helped shape mine that night. to step away from my restlessness and longing for something new and to see what was happening right then and now, to reawaken my belief in this mystical undercurrent of life that is being woven together in bright, streaming colors by our Creator. so in a way, we didn’t do it, He did. and He used all of us as instruments to bring us to a greater truth in this season of life. i can only pray someday i get to bless you in the ways you have blessed me, ash. xoxo

Hanneke - 07/16/2015 - 3:12 am

Ohh I love that they dressed up for dinner!
They are so cute! Beautiful series :)