I know you might not believe this, since I can be so long-winded on my blog, but sometimes I have the hardest time putting what I’m feeling or thinking into words. I suppose sometimes there just are no words. I am, by default, a deeply introspective person and I probably only vocalize 10% of what I actually could say about any given thing/moment/person/place, etc. I honestly believe that the words we speak leave an indelible mark on those around us, so I want to purposefully nurture each thought that might give birth to speech in the hopes that it might help, build up, encourage, inspire, teach and love the ears (or in this case, eyes) it falls upon. I know that sounds awfully flowery & poetic, and I’m not intending it to; I think I was just mistakenly born into the wrong era On my journey as a photographer, I have time and again met two types of other photographers: those who love to collaborate; who not only teach others but are willing to learn from them too; who encourage their fellow photographers with heart-felt praise; who give back – not because it will earn them praise or help get them noticed; who are not quick to criticize or tear down; who give others the benefit of the doubt, and at the end of the day are willing to give others credit for the role they play in the beautiful art that is created. Then there are the other photographers, the “I, I, I, Me, Me, Me” photographers who can never get enough credit, enough praise and so they feel that they have to tear other photographers down, make them feel small and inferior, like their talent can never measure up because they don’t do this/have that/know this person, etc. etc. I want to sit these people down and ask them, “When will it EVER be enough for you?” It doesn’t matter how many times/places they’ve been published, how many “followers” or “fans” they have, how many fabulous jobs they get … if you make it all about you, you will.never.be.satisfied. I’d be willing to put money on it. Bottom line, in all facets of my life, I choose to believe and live like it’s really NOT about me. Some of the best advice I’ve ever come across is this “With every encounter, make it your aim that people are better off for having been in your presence. Try in every encounter to give something to the other person.“ Yes, photography is my job, my chosen profession and I love it, but it is not my livelihood. I adore my clients and I hope my work is all about THEM. I hope that they see themselves as beautiful and special through my eyes and I truly hope they treasure the photographs that I’ve captured for them. Never do I want this journey to be all about me, my talent, or my success. I would so much rather use my gifts to shine the light onto others, to encourage them on their journey and to help them however I can. It was in this spirit, that I somehow was blessed enough to lead an amazing group of female photographers, whom I affectionately call the CeFloFePhos (Central Florida Female Photographers.) I cannot say enough about these girls! They are beautiful, they are kind, they are amazingly talented, they give of themselves, they are fun to be around and well, I just love them. Last month, a very small group of us went to Savannah, for our twice-yearly girls retreat and had such an unforgettable time! We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking and sharing (and maybe having a little too much wine, haha!) we cooked together, ate together, slept under the same roof, basically had total girl time! And maybe there was a little photography somewhere in there too We did 2 styled bridal shoots, which only came together by the grace of God, my amazing stylist mother, one super awesome hair & makeup artist, 2 beautiful models, one insanely talented and generous paperie boutique, and my CeFloFePho girls (and my Craigslist angel, Cuchy – another story for another time …) My inspiration behind the first shoot was really just The South itself, I suppose, and what it represents. I am a true southern girl (even if I’ve tried to deny it for half of my life) and when I’m in The South (no, Florida does not count) I find myself talking a little slower, spending more time to take in my surroundings, talking to people I encounter, basically s l o w i n g d o w n and finding rest. I wanted the vibe of this shoot to reflect that feeling, the warm, humid air, the fragrant jasmine, the buzz that only an old, old town like Savannah or New Orleans, or Mobile (my hometown, holla!) can give off. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Savannah had a heartbeat, it just somehow feels alive with history (oxymoron much?) Anyways, I feel like I am so rambling on and on and I have no idea how a post about my difficulty finding words turned into one of my longest posts ever. For those of you who didn’t just skip ahead to the images an hour ago, thank you for taking the time to read my very loquacious thoughts! I hope you enjoy and are inspired by these images. I’ll post part II of our retreat photos (including out-takes, behind the scenes and spot light images of each amazing girl, as well as a very “heavenly” styled bridal shoot) soon!
*Edited to add that I definitely DO view photography as much more than a “job”. It is certainly a love of mine and something I’m very passionate about. I love experiencing art and I love creating art. What I meant to communicate is that photography doesn’t define or consume my life (even thought it’s tempting sometimes); my livelihood is found in the relationships I have in my life.
The amazing floral arrangement and bouquet, place setting and accessories were styled by my gorgeous and talented mother, Susan Harris, of Harmon Harris Interiors and Event Design. The beautiful invitation suite was so generously provided by the sweet LoraLee of LoraLee Lewis (seriously, part of me wanted to be stingy and not share her info, but please – run don’t walk over to her Etsy shop for the most adorable paperie goods!) Hair and Makeup was done by the one and only, supremely awesome Megan Mateo. Our beautiful model for this session was Reese Witherspoon, I mean Christina Adams. Dress was from David’s Bridal, hair piece from The Gingerbread House Bridal Boutique in Savannah.