End of a chapter

I thought about reviving this blog for months. I left Hawaii, I stopped photographing kids and families and I started new life in Seattle, but I still wanted to keep this part of my days: colorful images of happy children in beautiful surroundings.
Little did I know about dark winter months in Washington state. It is dark when I leave in the morning and it is dark when I come back. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but my Hawaiian photo adventure has definitely ended. A lot of rain, but no more rainbows.
Time to start a new chapter, and what’s the better time than the start of a new year? I finally decided to go back to blogging, but in a new place: AngstSolution.com. It will be more personal little venture and I am excited to dive into a blogosphere again.
I am also starting a blogging project with my husband, who is a great writer and an experienced hiker. Two-pines.com will focus on our exploration of Pacific Northwest trails and hikes, our journeys and lessons, and we would love to exchange ideas with other explorers and outdoors aficionados.
It will be a fun year.
cooper river-10

Meaning infused simplicity

Photos taken just for fun – not for technical excellence, not for someone’s pleasure and satisfaction. I wanted to create images without scouting locations and a burden of the little-one’s self-consciousness in the presence of other people. Something simple, yet meaningful. So I set myself limits: blank wall, window light and a pastel palette. Like bookends for my photos.

girl and butterfly

The effect represents for me a moment in a little girl’s life when she is facing and embracing change, when she learns about transitoriness of all things and is still looking into the future with hope and serenity. Vulnerable and graceful, like a butterfly.

girl and butterflies

 

Are you looking for meaning in pictures? Do you interpret or analyze them?

girl and butterfly

 

 

Why I don’t enjoy hot summer weather.

After over 3 years in the tropics, I was impatient to experience this famous Seattle weather everybody was talking about: rain, clouds and general gloominess. Every TV show and movie happening in the area is painted in gray tones, with heavy rains in the background (I recommend “The Killing” on Netflix, if you haven’t watched it yet – great plot and characters), and instead I was welcomed by heat waves, record high temperatures and a sizzling weather carnage. Now that’s called disappointment…

So when it cooled down a little bit last weekend, we finally went out to explore on foot our new city. Sun hidden behind the clouds, cool air on our faces, and a drizzle here and there, we strolled through the streets to discover some weird (Fremont), eclectic (Pike Place) and quiet (Olympic Sculpture Park) spots.

waterfront
Waterfront walk, smell of the sea.

Each day we set ourselves a goal to achieve: on Saturday it was finding a store with a nice records selection and making mussels dish, and on Sunday – getting French cheese for la truffade for dinner. We found a lot more than that though: from the strangest vintage mall to a free Shakespeare play on the grass under the Space Needle.

Pike Place
Hallmark of Pike Place Market.
We couldn't decide which glasses are the coolest...
We couldn’t decide which glasses are the coolest…
.. but I think that's the winner
.. but I think that’s the winner

modern sculpture

drinks
Air mail – perfect Sunday drink!
evening
The little one is refusing to eat seafood, so more mussels in curry broth for us!

All in all, it was a great weekend that would never happen in a hot and muggy summer weather, and this is exactly why I enjoy cool, grey and slightly wet aura. So bring it on, Seattle, bring it on.

Last sessions in Hawaii

The move from Hawaii to Washington finally over (more or less) and I was able to go through my last sessions under a tropical sun. This particular one took place in a beautiful area of Kawai Nui Marsh in Kailua, the largest wetlands in Hawaiian Islands, with stunning views on the Ko’olau Mountains in the background.

The family was truly amazing, with every child expressing her or his own personality, and parents being warm and authentic the whole time. I was granted a privilege to hear the best performance of “Let it go” that I will never forget, and might or might not have been bitten by a duck.

Brassfield-30girl singinglittle boy

family with 3 kids girl laughinglaughing couple  daddy sonlittle feet

On a side note, Melanie is a fantastic professional and a mastermind behind Career Wordsmith, assisting with her expertise in every step of a job search. She has a charming australian accent too. 🙂 If you happen to be looking for a job, check out http://www.careerwordsmith.com and don’t hesitate to work with Melanie to succeed on your career path.

Something to read. A photographer’s recommendation.

good read

I picked up this book with no expectations and I was surprised how well-written and captivating it was. “It’s what I do. A photographer’s life of love and war” is a memoir by Lynsey Addario, an achieved war photojournalist, contributor to “The New York Times”, “National Geographic” and “Time Magazine”. The book includes many of Addarios’s photographs, thus providing us with an additional aesthetic experience. Great read, and here’s why.

Being a female war photographer.

The author describes her journey as a photographer from the moment she picked up a camera, but she doesn’t shy away from opening up on her personal life, heavily subjected to the demands of her work.  What’s especially poignant is her experience of gender differences in war journalist’s life – being a working woman in countries ruled by the Talib. Addario doesn’t complain or paint a black vision of gender discrimination, she honestly describes sexual harassment during demonstrations in Pakistan or constant assaults in Libya, where she and her coworkers were kidnapped and mistreated, mistreatment being gender specific. She writes about enduring more not to seem weak and unsuitable for the job of covering breaking news. Men in Afghanistan were uncomfortable in her presence, the sight of the skin on her wrist was shocking, and if they agreed to have her presence in the room, they treated her as “androgynous, a third, undefined sex”. On the other hand, she acknowledges that a woman photographer could get inside places forever closed to men, like women’s madrassas in Pakistan.

Deep understanding of cultural differences.

This unique opportunity allowed her to observe and document lives of both men and women in countries ridden by wars and religious restrictions. Since the beginning of her travels, she strived to understand people beyond cultural differences, to submerge herself in unfamiliar perspectives and blend as much as possible into different worlds. She experienced an amazing hospitality and assistance in the Middle East, but was still often surprised  “to see an actual living being under the tomblike burqua”. She learned that the Mideast territories were much more than women-hating terrorists and she worked hard to tell the whole story of conflicts.

Purpose of photography.

Addario describes the goal of her photography in these words: “I became fascinated by the notion of dispelling stereotypes or misconceptions through photographs, of presenting the counterintuitive”.  She became a messenger for people she photographed and didn’t let her personal opinions and political views influence her stories.  She reveals images that are uncomfortable to many, and even exposes instances of ignorance and cruelty of young American soldiers. This tireless effort to discover truth about people, places and situations is driving her whole career and deserves respect and admiration.

This honest memoir gives a good insight in an unconventional life of a brave woman going back and forth between war zones and safe family life. Her cameras serve to go underneath the surface, document history and reveal the untold. She is also a wife and a mother – that’s called a work-life balance.

Beach family session.

Every family has its own modus operandi, the relationships between family members are always unique and the sum of their experiences creates special connections. Families are so much more than smiling faces on a nice image, they are full of love and chaos, turbulence and complexity, intimacy and truth.

The family I photographed few weeks ago is an example of how beautiful a family can be. They were the most genuine, loving and open people who let me try to capture their family uniqueness. Thank you to Johanna, David, Sophia and Alexander for the energy and patience.

siblings

mother daughter

mother daughter touch

family at the beach

boy playing in sand

little girl

girl in the ocean

father daughter

Chaotic family picture

How watching tv shows inspire me to create

It all started with Netflix binge watching. Hours spent in the world of Peaky Blinders and Boardwalk Empire started in me a curious and short-lived infatuation with the roaring twenties. Prohibition, jazz age, birth of Hollywood, the Fitzgeralds, flappers and “The Great Gatsby”, followed by Al Capone, gangsters’ rule and Ku Klux Klan’s resurgence, everything seemed fascinating and cried to be reworked, remodeled and deejayed in some way.

First I thought it would be done by throwing a themed party, I even got some roaring twenties posters and signs (hopefully they will be used in the future, they are pretty cool), made up a secret knocking code and researched the appetizers “de l’epoque”. Unfortunately this little scheme didn’t come to fruition and my party props ended up in a box. And then I found this amazing location – a gem hidden between palm trees and plumeria trees: old trains, steam locomotives and freight cars. I never thought old rusty engines can give me so much joy, but apparently the need to express my awoken creativity was getting stronger and hungrier. So I convinced my little family to put on some gatsbyian outfits and followed me almost 100 years back in time.

Here are the results, take a look and tell me what you think. And meanwhile I am off to see what’s new on Netflix.

 a gentleman at the train station

little flapper's kiss by the locomotive

flapper and gentleman

flapper's dance

a little girl and her dad in the twenties

little flapper

A gentleman and his little flapper daughter

      

Exist in photos

Women often asked me to take photos only of their kids, mostly because they didn’t feel good enough to be a subject of a family photo. Not slim enough, not glamorous enough, not “beautiful” enough. Harming cultural standards creeped into such a private and important sphere as family memories, keepsakes and legacy.

Ladies, your children don’t want you to look like a glossy magazine cover. They need you as you are, real and wonderful,  and they need you in family photos, because they will look back at them and remember your unconditioned love that enveloped their childhood. Even long after you’re gone. You are never going be perfect in your own eyes, but you are already perfect in theirs.

So step in front of the camera and just focus on a beautiful and sometimes nerve-wracking relationship with you beloved kids. Glammed up or with zero make-up, exist in your family photos. Like Katie.

mother daughter

mom and baby

mommy and baby

mommy and me

mommy daughter

K&E-10

mommy daughter