Travel Prints || Portland, Oregon Film Photography

In the span of my first three trips to Portland, I shot five rolls of film. On this past trip, I shot five rolls of film.

Street photography has become meditative for me. Since I’m shooting only for myself, it allows me space to try new things while developing my style, to continually train my eye to find the story. It’s also a time for me to “unwind,” to let everything else on my mind melt away for a couple hours while I focus solely on the sights around me.

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Our Family Photo Album 2018

I’ve been printing my photos since I first got into photography 15 years ago. In fact, I decided I’d pursue the art further when I won a local photo contest in 6th grade - I’d entered a print of a butterfly. Photographs and collections of photographs have been a part of my life for a decade and a half, and have been the focus of my business from the very beginning. So, to be able to curate my work into our own family heirloom was pretty special.

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Cannon Beach Roadtrip: Making Friends as I Go

I talk about that a lot - not having a plan. That’s become rather important to me this year. I mean, obviously it’s useful to have some sort of game plan for a lot of things (I know several routes I’d like to explore in my business next, for example), but the key is to not get hung up on one objective, not fixate on one goal. So, when I organized the trip, all I said was that I wanted to go to the coast and I wanted to take photos, and that if we added in a winery visit I would not complain.

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Our Family Photoshoot: Celebrating the Confluence of Old and New

As quite a few of our old film photos were snapshots taken as we went about our daily lives, I spent my first evening back home just sneaking around the house trying to take ninja candids. It wasn’t until yesterday as I was planning my social media for the week that I came across an old 35mm project I did in college, doing this exact same thing. I’d shot several rolls of black and white images around my parents’ and grandparents’ houses with the goal to capture each family members’ personality through environmental portraiture. In essence, I wanted to capture them doing their mundane daily tasks, going about their routines in the places they spent their most time, working off of the assumption that through time and repetition they’d created spaces which conveyed their characteristics through decorative choices, lighting preferences and clutter (or lack thereof.) I have always been fascinated with people’s chosen environments, which is why my style of portraiture often uses whatever local architecture or nature is there in order to frame my subjects. But it wasn’t until looking through that school project, and subsequently reflecting on this summer’s family shoot, that I finally understood the importance of environment: it’s often just as telling of someone’s identity and personality. And, in a project dedicated to conveying my family’s story, showing true character was paramount.

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Portland in November Days 1-3: A Little Bit of Everything

I finished up what turned out to be one of the best days I’d had in a good while with a delicious meal at Thai Peacock. Noodles are good in all circumstances, but perfectly cooked Pad Thai with crispy trout after a very long day of photography really hit the spot. As I took the bus back to the house, I reflected once again on what an amazing journey it’s been: from that first feeling that Portland was the place to start, to this day capturing the love of two people I would never have gotten to be friends with had I not taken the initial plunge. Sometimes things happen slower than you want them to, but now that I’m on the other side enjoying the fruits of all my hard work, I can see that every bit of it was worth it for a day like this.

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Times Square Portrait Session || Milena

Milena was immediately very bubbly - not shy in front of the camera and with no reservations of me shooting mere inches from her face. She exuded a pleasant happiness fed by our constant laughter while swapping traveling stories. Additionally, as I first saw in the in-between moments, she also had a serious side, a desire to explore the vastness of the world. And at 24, like me (at the time), she seemed to recognize the numerous possibilities open to her. Which is why I spent a good bit of time photographing with the prism (and often using it to overlay the colorful lights on her portraits) - to capture her likeness while still alluding to the stories yet untold, the path(s) not yet even visible.

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Washington DC: Finding Independence

Now, perhaps driving 7.5 hours somewhere by yourself doesn’t sound like an exciting adventure. And, truth be told, there wasn’t much exciting about that part - or any of the 20 something hours I spent driving this weekend between the road trip, the tours and the photoshoots. But that was exactly the point. To be able to get in my little car and drive off to another state where I know only a handful of people, to schedule networking meetings and photoshoots with strangers, to photograph for another business (i.e. to profit while traveling) and to do all of this on my own. This is what the new me looks like. I’ve been reaching for this person for a very long time (my social media presence often projected this “dream person”) and after enjoying every second of my solo journey this weekend, I think I’ve finally found her.

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Wiseman's View Surprise Proposal || Julie + Trevor

We ended our photoshoot in signature fashion, adding another layer to this couple’s experience to even better remember their sweet weekend. To create this ring photo, Julie and Trevor collected leaves they thought were beautiful. Then, being a wildlife biologist, Trevor pulled out his field journal so they could press the leaves and keep them. Julie has reportedly dried and kept every flower Trevor has given her, so this was a fitting way to memorialize his proposal. I love getting to be a part of any surprise, but especially one so thoughtful as this!

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Biltmore Estate Surprise Proposal || Kelsey + Kyle

Though golden hour is gorgeous, I just as much love shooting in that harsh late morning light, using natural spotlights to highlight my subjects’ emotions while pushing everything else into the background. This is, perhaps, hard to do when the background is a majestic mansion or an incredible mountain range, but Kelsey and Kyle’s elation still stole the show. As they were all smiles and laughter, I wanted to show off their playfulness, so they spent several breathless minutes laughing from the hilarity of chasing each other through a field and giving piggy-back rides.

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Dry Falls Waterfall Elopement || Brianna + Nick

The first, and one of my favorite couple’s photos to date, is the backlit series from directly under the falls. I got wet, the bride and groom got wet, my camera got wet, but it was totally worth it. Initially, we had an umbrella to keep their hair safe from the now pouring rain, but the umbrella was all but forgotten as they kissed, sharing a romantic moment under the waterfall completely to themselves (hooray for telephotos!)

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87th Annual City of Asheville Open Tennis Tournament 2018

The biggest thing I noticed throughout this entire tournament was how much fun everyone was having. Laura Loftis, the facilities manager at Ashton Park, made a similar comment to me after looking through the slideshow I put together to run each day in the clubhouse; in seemingly every photo, everyone was smiling - even the competing participants. As a lifelong athlete myself, taking photos of smiling competitors truly enjoying the spirit of the game was quite a pleasure.

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Film Photography || Asheville Prints for Sale

The main difference when looking at my travel collections versus these Asheville photos is that I’ve been by far more experimental here (which should come as no surprise, I’ve had much more time and no “I might not be back, better get the safe shot” to hold me back.) There’s a mix of everything I’m interested in: street photos, portraits, self portraits, architecture, classic black and white imagery, experimental color effects films, double exposures, and even a bit of social commentary sprinkled in.

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Grand Central Station & New York Public Library Portrait Session || Denise

For these portrait sessions in the city, I wanted to focus on a few things: the vibrant colors, the historical architecture (perfect for framing our photos) and the constant sense of movement. Denise’s gorgeous blue shirt certainly brought the color, so when I saw slew of taxis in front of Grand Central waiting to pick up their passengers, I knew we had to make use of the contrasting color. For these images especially, because of the symbolism of the ever-moving cars, I wanted Denise to simply be still, to be the calm amidst the craziness. I wanted this juxtaposition to also illustrate Denise’s strength, as a traveling mother of two and as a woman in general.

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Magical October 20, 2018 Wedding at Mountain Magnolia Inn || Alicia + Dave

October in the mountains at a Victorian inn built in the 1800s: this wedding was already a recipe for magic. But when Emmaleigh and I arrived at Mountain Magnolia Inn to begin capturing Alicia and Dave’s day, we didn’t realize just how much magic we were in store for.

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North Carolina Arboretum Engagement Session || Alicia + Dave

If the great thing about being a photographer is capturing people’s connections, the second best thing is exploring how each connections fosters another one! Such was the case with Alicia and Dave, a lovely couple from Little Rock, Arkansas. They decided last year to host their intimate 2018 wedding in Hot Springs, NC and while searching for vendors learned that Vortex Doughnuts caters weddings! While paying for their treats, they told the cashier about their wedding plans and he (Alex) gave them my business card, directing them to my website to check out my photos. Lo and behold, a few simple steps brought two people from hundreds of miles away into my life, and so much the better for it!

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Downtown Asheville Engagement Session || Brianna + Nick

As they’d just come in from out of town and were preparing for their elopement the next day, we wanted to keep their engagement session low-key. What more perfect way to do so while showing off what attracted them to Asheville, than photographing at a downtown brewery? After a couple beers and lots of clinking glasses, we took the short walk up to Aloft to finish their session with rooftop portraits. On the way, we got even more Asheville flair than we bargained for as the LaZoom nun “shot us!” (with a water gun.)

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Travel Prints || New York City Film Photography

There is no "capturing" New York City. Just when you think you've photographed each juxtaposing facet - wealthy and destitute, historic and modern, stoic and vivacious - you realize you've only documented the city from one lens, one perspective, and it would take years to delve into each borough with each of its own microcosms of cultures. So, on my 2 trips to NYC earlier this year (where I stayed mostly in Brooklyn and Manhattan), I didn't set out to try to capture the heart of the city. Instead, I wanted to document my own experience of it. This meant not going out of my way for a photo, rather clicking the shutter just whenever I saw something I personally found interesting.

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Arlyn + Alex's Crest Center Wedding in Asheville, NC || July 15, 2018

If rain on your wedding day is lucky, and a butterfly flying over your is equally felicitous, then Arlyn and Alex's marriage will surely be blessed! They made their vows backed by a view of our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, as all of their family and friends came to wish them well. More than that, their loved ones participated in the ceremony. Both the bride's and groom's parents walked their respective children down the aisle, then the couple's godparents carried down each of the traditional El Salvadorian wedding items to present during the ceremony. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful outpouring of love for Arlyn and Alex. Thank you to everyone who helped make it such a special day!

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