Tourist as Subject

During my last trip to Italy, which I am in full remembrance of since it was exactly a year ago, I quickly tired of photographing the sites in the same way it has most likely been photographed millions of times. Don’t get me wrong I loved creating photos of the beauty of Florence & Rome.  I couldn’t pass up creating photographs of things like the Duomo & the Arno, they are magical and historic and beautiful. Yet, on one of my last days in Italy I entered into the Pantheon and as I stepped gingerly into the sea of people from all over the world I realized there was something more to see and capture. I waned to create something different, something we don’t usually focus on when we are traveling. For me this was the tourists who like myself were seeing these majestic pieces of history for the first time.

After I made my way around the inside of this stunning space creating detailed impressions of what I saw as interesting and beautiful I turned my lens to my fellow explorers.  It brought an immediate smile to my face to witness how people reacted to and within this incredible place. I was enthralled watching each indivudual reaction that emerged over the many faces  in front of my lens as well as how complete strangers maneuvered and danced around one another. They were sweet, endearing, and at times delightfully child like in their vulnerability. It was not lost on me that I had some of these same reactions.

This was our common humanity coming to the surface. My desire to see others for the beautiful authentic humans we are was satiated in my exploration. I found so many interesting elements not only in the main subject but also in what was happening around them. I continued documenting these moments as I traveled the next two days around Roma.

I look forward to more opportunities to continue this new photographic journey. I hope these bring a little smile or recognition of sameness we all share and I look forward to more opportunities to continue this new photographic journey. I hope these bring a little smile or recognition of sameness we all share.

When Are You Going To Be Enough?

Over the last few years I have been positive I’ve been meant to do more, that what I am doing is not enough. I am inundated with messages of “Get more followers”, “How to Kill it as an Entrepreneur!” “Top 5 Things You Must Do for Your Business” or “You suck and Should Be Working Non stop!” Okay, that last one may just be my internal dialogue, but I think you follow me. I am constantly getting and earful and eyeful of  what I am not doing and what I need to be doing to be successful. Everyone is an expert and everyone has a secret to success. OMG I am exhausted just writing about it!

That feeling of exhaustion was actually my wakeup call. (AH, the bodies genius, always keeping us on track if we listen.) I was going into my photography studio everyday, a business which I loved but now struggled to enjoy and was EXHAUSTED! I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open while at my desk. I was thrilled when I was actually shooting, but immediately after I would sink back down into defeat. I even hired consultants and coaches to help me unearth what this mystical and magical new path might be. I was more than a little annoyed when one suggested, ” What if there isn’t something more?” WHAT?! NOTHING MORE??? Then what the hell am I doing? Where is my value? What is the point of me and my business? This can’t be IT I thought. I need to do more to deserve what is coming to me. I need to give more  before it’s “over”.  (Slightly dark I know) As if running a full time photography studio wasn’t enough….I SHOULD be doing more. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Anna Scott was right. Side note, check her out…she’s amazing!

Since no great lessons come in one perfect  little package it took a few more gentle hits on the head for me to get this one. About a week ago I went to a goodbye party for a friend who is moving to Ghana. I was inspired by her huge life choice to sell her house and begin a new adventure, and also by something she shared, “We don’t have to push ourselves to absurd limits to deserve the good we receive.” Certainly based on almost all advertising this was inccorect. Why just today an online retailer emailed to tell me the coffee table I deserved was on sale.

I sat with this wisdom for a few days as it melded into my consciousness. I would roll it around and try it on for size. It felt good in my body. It felt right. It wasn’t saying don’t effort, just effort less and flow more, do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do. Then one day….ummmm,this past Monday, I had an incredible “shift”.  This business I have created over the last 30yrs, THIS is what I do and I do it pretty damn well. It doesn’t need to be MORE, I don’t need to be MORE.  It’s simple I know, but this simple revelation released me from this heavy weight of, ” I am not enough” and I immediately noticed as I repeated this new believe throughout the day that I wasn’t struggling to stay awake at my desk. I was enough and so was the work I was offering to my clients from my heart.

What if we relaxed into this? What if we balanced effort with flow? What if we all knew that this career, family, who we are and what we are so passionate about is enough just as it is?

 

…and of course here are some visual reminders of what it looks like when we allow ourselves to show up as enough.

 

Even while feeling under the weather at our shoot Cathlene was glowing and bright.

 

CEO Michon transformed by the end of our shoot & clearly that is the confident expression of woman who knows who she is.

Knowing you are enough and knowing who you are go hand in hand. Jonathan was not new to any of this knowing.

Lisa relaxed into the couch and herself with total ease as the shoot unfolded. This moment always comes…it’s when we know we are enough.

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I Don’t Want to Be the Creator, I Want to Be the Creation.

I’m unsure the author but there is a poem which goes something like this, ” I don’t want to be the poet, I want to be the poem. I don’t want to be the dancer, I want to be the dance. I don’t want to be the musician, I want to be the music.” I giggle involuntarily in deep recognition the moment I heard this. It resonated in the bones of my body while my mind took a moment to catch up.

I have been struggling lately going into my studio to sit down and do the work of running my business I have created the last 30 years. I realized recently I did not want to be there doing this kind of work. This busy detached work the must be done. I was feeling overwhelmed by my to do list of social media postings, marketing, bookkeeping, blog writing, endless emails, & editing. Any photographer will tell you it is these things that you dedicate most of your time until you can outsource some of it.  Some it, like writing these posts I love but when the lists go on and on and you can forget why you love things. For most photographers the “running the business part” isn’t why any of us started down a path into photography. It’s not why I did at least. I honestly had no idea what a career in photography and running a successful business looked like so many years ago. They simply didn’t teach you this when you’re getting a BFA or Masters in photography.

So here I am sitting in my studio slogging through the drudgery of it all until my next photoshoot when I get to be in connection and be IN the creation. Up until a few days ago I saw no relief in site and then I heard, “I don’t want to be the poet, I want to be the poem.” I found the word which spoke to my situation within the structure of the peom, “I don’t want to be the creator, I want to be the creation.” AHHHHH, yes, that was it.

So what’s a gal to do in this situation? Well first I noticed there is relief in the knowing. Once I was able to identify where my struggle was I instantly exhaled. I made the phrase my mantra since that moment, “I don’t want to be the creator, I want to be the creation”  and  say it the minute I begin to feel overwhelmed or lost. It reminds me to make sure I am the creation and not the creator aka the do-er. Next I had to find balance. A few things which help are working when I can from a cafe where other live humans are. YAY connection! Other days it’s working from the coziness of my own home and taking walks intermittently. Sure there are times I need to be at my studio computer editing but on days I don’t I can be in the creation of life, and flow through until my next photoshoot when I truly feel present and in creation.

To be the creation is to be in communion with all of life, to feel it all.  I don’t want to stand alone doing this all by myself. I don’t want to and never have wanted to create in a bubble, to be separate from the whole of it all.  My work at its core is all about collaboration & connection and it’s why I love being a photographer. I could not do what I do without the subjects complicity, openness and willingness to be creating with me. I want to be in the swirling beautiful flow of all that is creation and connection, to be in the experience of all of life.

Here are some photographs I created during my 2016 trip to Italy, one place I feel in the constant flow with all of creation. I am all at once creating but also connected to everything and everyone around me.  I am enlivened and completely free. I hope you each have a place like this.

 

 

 

View From the top of the Duomo in Milan, Italy. I wanted to create from a perspective not many saw of Milan.

During a hike around Lago di Braies up in the Dolomites of Italy. Nothing is more precious to me then being in nature.

 

A gentlemen along the hike. He nodded in agreement to having his photo created.

Another of Lago di Brdi Braies. Yes, this place was a favorite.

 

Business people during the hustle of lunch in Milan, Italy. I loved the grace with which the people of Milan glide around their day.

Why You Believe You Are NOT Photogenic

It’s amazing that almost all my clients believe they are not photogenic, within the first 5 minutes of talking almost all of them share this with me.  I ask every client how they feel being photographed knowing that 99% of the time this is their answer. It is such a wide spread belief and getting THAT out on the table is the beginning of creating beautiful photographs. Here’s why they and maybe even you believe you aren’t photogenic.

They are camera owners, not photographers. 

Everyone and their mother has a camera now, everyone! It’s fantastic in terms of expressing our creativity and sharing our lives, but not so great when it comes to us ending up in photos we don’t like of ourselves.  It is so important to keep in mind these aren’t professional taking your photo. Most amateurs likely don’t understand lighting, posing, or facial structures and how all of this plays into creating a flattering photograph of someone. They haven’t spent 30 plus years studying this artistic craft, looking at faces and usndersatnindg lighting. It’s not their fault, they don’t need to know this as a CEO, Chef, Consultant or whatever career THEY kick ass at.

Margaret is an engineer. Give someone a safe space to play and this is who shows up. She is relaxed and open.

It’s a wide angle lens! 

The lens in a camera phone is created to capture as much of a scene as possible. Great right? Yes, for landscapes and big groups but not for portraits. You know what that wide angle lens does? It makes you WIDER…yup, its right in the name. It distorts entire faces and specific features, it makes bodies look bigger than they are and unless you can get that sucker about 5-10 ft from your beautiful face it’s going to be unflattering.  See for yourself in the below images.  The lenses here start at 24mm which is a wide angel lens like the ones we are talking about in camera phones. They go all the way up to a 200mm which is what I shoot with when creating portraits. You can see the effect each lens has on the woman’s face and how much more out of proportion her face looks with the 24mm in comparison to the 200mm. 

I hear you, you’ve had professional photos and you STILL don’t like them. So, here is the the biggest reason I believe we think we are un-photogenic.

YOU DON”T FEEL SAFE.

After 30 years in this career witnessing the challenges people have of being photographed I can share with certainty that how we feel about how we look is why so many of us feel un-photogenic, AKA less than beautiful or handsome. It’s all about self love and feeling safe. It actually has so little to do with what you look like. How do I know?  I see it everyday in almost every shoot. It’s hard being seen. It’s hard letting someone look at us. We believe they will see all of these things we think are flaws. It’s understandable really, this information of we are not enough comes at us from all angles via messages growing up, the media, and social media. We hold all these beliefs and thoughts and then we stand in front of these visual microscopes and are fed back our worst fears about who we are and what we look like.

I understand, I hated every photo taken of myself except for when my younger sister was behind the camera. I realized it was because I felt safe with her. I knew she loved me for me and because of that the inner dialogue shut off and I showed up as the best version of myself.  I simply stopped thinking about the negative beliefs I had accumulated over the years because I new the person looking at me only saw someone she loved.  When we feel safe, when we don’t have to worry about being judged, when we are in the moment of love or laughing with friends, OR don’t know a photo is being  taken that is when we love our photos. Our guard and self protection is in resting mode and we show up fully as ourselves and that is always beautiful.

I have built a career creating a safe space for every single client who walks through my doors. I grew up not feeling seen and it was incredibly painful. I believed I wasn’t worth it, interesting enough, too sensitive. Really it can be any message we received or created.  Bottom line I didn’t believe I was worth being loved, so now I let everyone they are worth being seen for exactly who they are. I share as much of my myself with each one of my incredible clients as I can.  I am vulnerable, loving, goofy and engaging. I genuinely care about each and every person who steps in front of my camera. My deepest intention is that you walk away with a portrait in which YOU can see the best version of yourself. Not a model! This point I want to make very clear, I am not interested in creating some false standard we all need to reach. The most beautiful version of you is the real you! The best version of you! The only way this happens is when we know it is safe to drop our guards and protections we think are keeping us safe but which only keeping us separate.

 

Coach and Advisor at One Women Effect Cheri SHINES joy in this photo! We laughed our butts off this entire session! 

 

Executive Coach Mary M. found her flow as we moved through her shoot to capture this ease filled authentic Business Portrait. Imagine your clients seeing the absolute best version of you! You will be killing it! 

 

 

Find out for yourself how photogenic you truly are! BOOK TODAY 🙂

 

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5 TIPS TO A GREAT FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION

Family photo sessions can be a really challenging time for the parent(s) who are orgainizing!  On top of everything else you do for your family you now want to pull off a great photoshoot, so here are 5 proven tips I share with all my clients order to have a GREAT and FUN shoot! 

 

1) Choose Your Clothing Carefully

First and most important, dress for the weather. We all have that adorable outfit we love on our kids but if they are freezing cold or melting they will not be happy. Dress authentically to who you and your family are. My niece loves stripped stockings with a flower skirt and she makes it work perfectly!  She also feels like she is taking part in something and not being dragged along for the ride. You don’t all have to have matching shirts. In fact I advise against it. Choose one or two colors that work well together and let that be your guide. 

2) Be Well Rested and Fed

Be sure not to schedule your session around your child’s nap or meal time. The best lighting on location is two hours before sunset and two hours after sunrise. If this is during nap time talk to the photographer. A good photographer can create beautiful  light any time of day.  Be well fed or if your scheduling dinner after your session make sure everyone has a snack to hold them over. A full belly is a happy parent and child.

3) Have Fun With Your Family 

Set the stage that this is going to be fun and playful and the kids will follow. If the kids are onboard and looking forward to it your shoot is off to great start. You can also bring a favorite toy for the little ones to keep them engaged. Share a little about the personalities of each child with the photographer so they have insight to the family. I love learning about my clients!  The children are my biggest priority. When you arrive my attention will be focused on connecting with them. I create a relaxed and playful atmosphere which creates a relaxed shoot for the parents.

 

4) Let It Flow

My sessions are about you as a family, having fun and laughing together. I give you all a lot of freedom to show up as you are. Let your kids be silly, funny, quirky or shy. Remember you don’t always have to be looking at the camera. Some of the sweetest moments are you hugging your child or them rolling on the ground laughing. It’s all okay and you’ll always walk away seeing that part of your child you love so much!

 

All of these tips will assist you in having an enjoyable family photoshoot and walk away with gorgeous, timeless family photographs you will cherish forever.

To see more of my family portraits CHECK OUT THIS PRIVATE LINK 

Jennifer is accepting booking for fall family photos shoots. Reserve your spot and  BOOK NOW

How to Get a Free Photo Shoot in Italy!

Who doesn’t want a free photoshoot in one of the most beautiful countries in the world?! I’m a photographer and I know I DO!  So here is how you can make it happen with minimal effort.

1. Walk around in a gorgeous red flowing dress at the Duomo in Florence!  Yes, you will have to get yourself to Italy. Feel free to pick another stunning place with breathtaking architecture in another part of Italy or even another country.  Airfare is on you unless you live there and there is only so much I can do.

2. Have your boyfriend already photographing you leaving everyone to wonder what famous star you might be. I think its clear your going to need a partner of some sort and I haven’t expended my business to match making just yet.  If you’re in a bind I suggest trying a dating    app…I “hear” its great fun. 😉

3. Make sure a professional photographer( ME! ME!) who is in love with Italy and on a vacation high sees you.  Hmmmmm, I am staring to see the level of difficulty but never say never!

4. Make sure to be one of the sweetest two people said photographer has ever met. Easy peasy!

While these To-Do’s may seem daunting they are not impossible, Emily and David are proof of that. This well timed synchronistic unfolding was what brought 3 travelers from the U.S. together this past August in one of my favorite cities in the world, Florence, Firenze if you’re a local or in the know.

As I rounded the corner to the front of the Duomo in Florence I spotted Emily in her stunning red dress, hard to miss her. It’s only been a few months but I was so excited trying to figure out if this was another photographer working with her or a companion that I don’t recall who approached whom. My mind is always working matrix style when I am trying to decipher a situation. All I knew is somehow I wanted to take the opportunity to photograph one or both of them. It quickly unfolded and I learned David was in fact her boyfriend. Score! One is always better then two!

Look at this sweet couple and THAT DRESS!

Both adorable and sweet I took a few photos of Emily and David with his camera first and then I asked if I could create some images with mine.  Many people assume that since I am a photographer I can magically pick up any camera and use it to its full capabilities. Not so. Sure I could take a couple of nice shots but knowing your equipment is key in creating stunning photographs. The camera works for YOU. So for the next few minutes I had two real life models to create, play with and photograph. Seriously, this was a dream for me and I knew I could give them something they would never have otherwise, a professional photoshoot in beautiful Florence, Italy! I love when these moments of synchronicity present themselves and I will always take advantage of these gifts.

These two are sweet as pie!

While I do a lot of my portrait work in my studio I love creating photographs on location whether it’s in the San Francisco Bay Area were I live or around the world. I’ve been lucky enough to have been hired for shoots in Kenya, Italy and all over the U.S.  One of my dreams is to be booking in Italy two months out of every year and I really believe putting that intention out there creates these opportunities to unfold.  Here’s to the dream and big thanks to they beautiful couple for allowing me to create something special for them.

My time in Italy was magical and this was one perfect experience that added to the entire experience.

I have tons more to share about my trip so make sure to follow me on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM. or just BOOK A SHOOT and we’ll create!  You can see more of my portrait photography HERE

By Emily and David! See you next time!

Bye Bye!

 

Collateral Beauty

In the movie Collateral Beauty Helen Miron, “Brigette” tells Naomie Harris, “Madeline” in the face of loosing her 6 yr old daughter to cancer to, “Watch out for the Collateral Beauty”, a seemingly thoughtless comment when a mother is about to loose their child, I was reminded of how I knew this experience in the face of deep pain, this idea of collateral beauty.

When my mom passed almost 4 years ago friends asked about my experience that the first year. I shared that it was equally devastatingly heart wrenching and stunningly beautiful all at once. I think its fare to assume we all know why this would be the former experience but what exactly was the latter? The latter it would turn out was the collateral beauty of it all.

As I began to deal with the anguishing pain of loosing my mom without any warning I was acutely aware I needed to dig into our combined bag of not so pretty dynamics. I sifted through what belonged to each of us, what was true, what was a story and all the emotions around it. It was an amazing, expansive time in my life.  I retold all the stories I held onto for 45 yrs. All the hurts and pains I carried from my dynamic with my mom and along the way I found myself.

I became vulnerable and open in a way that stripped any facade from my being, it was exhausting and unmatched in the rewards and gifts it gave me. As I went into the deep hurt of my past experiences and stories with my mom I allowed myself to think, feel and declare whatever came up.  Even if some part of me knew it was MY story based in fear I allowed myself to go deep into it. It didn’t have to be based in someone else’s truth or experience, it was my truth and that was where the answers would be.  Allowing myself to feel say whatever I believed to be real around my experience with my mother ultimately allowed me to reach the core of it.  At the core was the unearthed parts, what I refer to as the muck of it all, those parts we may or may not know about but when they are revealed we can choose to them put to rest and let go. Through this process I also saw falsehoods that I created out of protection. Again digging into why I was protecting myself and how that showed up ultimately allowed its release.

Along this almost 4 year journey I have come to a place of understanding for myself, compassion for myself and a deep compassion for my mom and her experience. I’ve cried it out so many times and each time I release the stuck pain of the experiences we had together and move closer to the love.

There is still some hurt and pain and overtime I know if I am brave enough to dive into it there is the gateway to expansion and love. This is my collateral beauty of loosing my mother, seeing me and loving myself for where we I am and who I am.

As I move through the transition of a romantic relationship into whatever it will be next  I am again aware of the collateral beauty. Through the grieving of it, of this relationship not being what I thought it might I also get to see into myself via the pain. How? I let myself tell the story in my head and I get a chance to debunk it. I get a chance, if I stick with the hurt and let it out to see the underlying thread, where it originated from and let it free.

In honor of moms everywhere I am sharing some of my favorites of these amazing humans with their children including this first one of Lieselotte Anke and her beautiful mother who passed shortly after our photoshoot. During our shoot the beauty and depth of their love was so apparent. As in every shoot I look for this depth and create from there.

 

 

 

 

Trigger Happy

Last week I participated in a woman led, all women attended capital raising workshop. It was terrifying! So much so that in the days leading up I sent multiple emails to my business coach and inundated my friend with a should I or shouldn’t I conversation at least 5 -10 times in a 7 day period. I don’t normally have this much trouble making decisions but this was brutal. I would soon find out why.

In the days to follow, 3 to be exact, a cornucopia of emotions ranging from straight up pissed off, to fight or flight, hulk strength resistance, and finally resolution and joy flooded my mind and body. I had no idea the emotions and thoughts that would be triggered by this one workshop.

Lucky I was in a room of women who got it  including Jenny Kassen, my client and the female empowering, financially savvy entrepreneur who created and led her workshop #FundandFuelYourDreams.  As I slowly met the impressive women entrepreneurs who filled the room I began sharing my top question I had, “Why me?” Why would someone invest in MY business? I didn’t think it or I was ready. I could see the brilliance of the other women in the room and their value but I couldn’t see mine.  After 20 years creating my business and hundreds of happy clients I still struggled with my own value.

This wasn’t my only issue. Every time Jenny began speaking about finances and using phrases like, 50c3, debt, VC, and equity I did a hard check out. Yup, Jennifer had left the building. By the end of day two it all came to a head. Following the afternoon session I decided I couldn’t take it any more. I was overwhelmed with thoughts of insecurity and being in over my head. This is when my fight or flight response kicked in. I told women I met I wouldn’t be coming back the next day, that  it wasn’t for me. “I wont use this information”, I claimed. “No one is going to invest in my business and what I am creating”, I declared. Oh yeah, I was pissed…but why?

I was pretty quickly aware I was triggered and new that saying my goodbyes was a cry for help. I wanted someone to stop me. My more expansive self  knew I could do this. I knew this was the next big step in my business as I just had my two most profitable months to date. The paradigm was changing and I could change with it and float with ease down stream or fight like hell and stay stuck where I was.

As the other women began talking me off the ledge they reminded me of some very important facts.  We are the first generation of women entrepreneurs and we are learning as we go.  Even now this thought fills me with so much pride and relief!  They also reminded me that as women of my generation and others we are raised in an economic and entreprenural  boys club where we have had to fight to take our place at the table.  Along with many other women we grew up taking-in the story that finances were to confusing and over our heads. Some of us grew up with our value in being a nice girl, being accommodating which was unlike a lot of our male counterparts whose value was in what they offered and were encouraged that what they wanted was theirs for the taking.

This awareness was exactly what I needed to acknowledge my fears.  I thought I had to know it all, I thought I wasn’t intelligent if I didn’t and I thought if I couldn’t do it all on my own I had failed.  Knowing I was not alone, that many of these women struggled with the same stories, I relaxed into being comfortable with what I didn’t know, that I can rely on others and that I don’t have to do it all on my own.

Tara Mohr, author of “Playing Big” has created her book and a leadership program around women learning how to show up and put their dreams and goals into action. I highly recommend you checking out her book. It is eyeopening and a revelation!

I’d love to hear your stories of what has come up for you as a female entrepreneur or woman in business. Happy #EqualPayDay ladies! #WeAreStrongerTogether

BOOK a Complimentary Phone Consultation &  find out how a phenomenal Business Portrait can take your business to the next level.

Shedding What Doesn’t Serve Us: The Anti Resolution

20151112BP_ChristinaGraham-394-2

As we approach another new year we are met by the concept of resolution. UUUG!  I think the pressure of it is ridiculous and unnecessary. We are all amazing and beautifully complex beings. We deserve a lot of spaciousness and compassion around our growth and one day just doesn’t cut it.  The one thing I can take away from all of this resolution talk is from the definition; the commitment to something new or different in our lives, solving a problem, coming to terms with something. Okay, I can work with this.

The idea of coming to terms with something resonated. I will adopt this something to mean who I am, a version of myself, or even a part I have cultivated over the years that no longer serves me. I believe we are doing this constantly, not just one time of year.  We are always shifting from one version of ourselves to the next in every choice we make. We are forever making the choice between staying in the same stories and reactions that have been our “go to” or letting go of those old ways of being that no longer serve us.  For me I have seen these moments as a shedding of the unneeded layers of who I am.

 When my mom died I experienced a physical and emotional pain I couldn’t have imagined. I walked around for 2 weeks asking anyone who would listen, “Do you think she loved me?” She did of course and know this now without a doubt, but in those first days all I could feel was regret and sorrow for the struggle we sometimes had as mother and daughter. Within the deep pain there was an immediate awareness of an opportunity for growth and healing within my relationship with my mom. One I wasn’t able to achieve when she was alive. In fact one of my first thoughts  in the 24 hour period after her passing was, “Its time to open your heart now Graham.” and that is exactly what I began to do.

It’s been 3 years of shedding the protective armor I built as a child and young adult. Each piece put in place as a means to keep myself safe after a significant life experience I didn’t know how to process. It was unconscious, and without other coping tools this is what I created. It’s been a deep practice and at times a struggle to let go of these layers, but over the years I have found my footing and am now living into the more truthful version of who I am. Sometimes the armor still shows up. The ” little protector” as I like to call her rages strongly in efforts to keep me safe. I’ve had to show up with compassion for myself and  let “her” now I’ve got this and we are safe.

While the New Year can be a great opportunity to remind us to make a conscious choice about our lives, lets not forget we are always consciously and unconsciously shedding (or holding) what no longer serves us. At our very best we are choosing with love the truth of who we are and want to be.

So this New Years I won’t set any resolutions. I will love myself for where I am and who I am.

So have a blast, smile big and love yourself for who you are right now.  It’s an amazing gift.

Also……

Last Day of BONUS!  Only one more day left to take advantage of this incredible offer!
BOOK my 2016 prices by December 31st and receive a complimentary 30 minute strategy session valued at $397 with my amazing Intuitive Business Strategist, Kelly Tadlock!
She will blow your mind!

Who We Are Is Our Greatest Gift

JG_PORTRAITS_SELECTS_REFERENCE_089_Karen during our on location session in her home.

I stood in my way for a long time in relationship to my photography career. I was afraid I wasn’t good enough, that I had to reach some unseen level before I shared my work. Even after being championed by a friend for years I still didn’t believe I had what it took. I was convinced what my work wasn’t good enough. I realized what I was actually wondering was, “Am I good enough?” and when I dug further it was really, “Am I enough?”

I think many of us question what it is we give or if what we give is valuable and makes a difference. Especially now with the ever present comparison beast of social media and the tendency to question, “AM I ENOUGH?” it is imperative we see ourselves for who we really are and what we offer. 

In the midst of mourning the loss of 36 young artists to the Oakland warehouse fire I found myself going back to this question of what we each offer.  What is it that we each give effortlessly and does it need to be more than simply showing up as who we are?  As I read accounts from family and friends about their loved ones they tragically lost I saw a little light in all of the darkness and an answer to my question. Everything from their art to their loving kindness was a gift to those who loved them and nothing was too small.  What they gave didn’t need to be modified or bigger, it only needed to be authentic in its giving. They gave exactly what the world needed, which was who they were and and will always be to those who loved then, and this is the best any of us can do.

We touch one another everyday in the deepest ways by offering our truest selves, our gifts, our laughter, a smile, our compassion and our passion.  

There is true power in knowing WHO we are and that WHO WE ARE IS ENOUGH. It is our greatest gift to those around us.

 I believe one of most important responsibilities in this life is to listen to that small voice that drives and encourages us to offer exactly what we are meant to.

So whether it is your laughter, your song, your voice, your passion, your art, your shyness, or your empathy, offer it boldly and without reservation. We need you and who you are.

My thoughts and prayers are with all the beautiful souls who left us on December 2, 2016, Oakland CA.