senior portraits with ‘alice’ | santa cruz photographer

This was more than just taking senior portraits with a high school student, this was like hanging out with Alice in Wonderland. Santa Cruz always feels like a pretty magical place to photograph, but when you add a beautiful, adventurous, willing and kind-hearted girl, then Santa Cruz becomes Wonderland. We had so much fun together, and I feel like our portrait session captured the many different and lovely sides of our sweet ‘Alice.’


lifestyle portraits | portland alternative realtors

I have a few favorite people in my life, and one of them owns a thriving and innovative business called Portland Alternative Realtors. She asked me to come to Portland to photograph her team and some of their clients for their new advertising campaign, so of course I eagerly booked my ticket! This is a real estate company that is bringing a truly refreshing approach to selling homes. They have successfully avoided the showy, shallow, salesman types, and instead selected a diverse group of down-to-earth people who have the ability to look beyond what is expected and find really unique properties for really unique people.

I love that we managed to pull off the impossible and bring together these busy and smart phone dependent realtors to take some profile shots and group pictures for their website. Then we travelled all over the sunshine filled town to photograph some of their clients in their fitting spaces. I was so inspired to see all of the different ways that people live and follow their passions, and it seems like Portland is a place where people actually take the time to not only develop their passions, but enjoy them too. I have to admit that after 3 days of perfect weather in Portland I was just about ready to convince my family to uproot everything, change states and buy a new house near the farmer’s market and a few restaurants….for real.

This may look like a pretty random collection of images, but imagine them with taglines like these:

* When living 3000 miles away from your grandchildren is no longer acceptable.

* When your Friday night pub crawls have turned into Saturday morning play dates.

* When your storage space is cramping your shoe collection’s style.

* When your books have earned a room of one’s own




family portrait session at cowell’s | santa cruz photographer

A husband who makes every effort and arrangement to grant his wife’s birthday wish is the sweetest, but a husband who has a super-hot wife who cares for their three angelic kids with her calm and kind ways is the luckiest….so I guess these two are even. Dad scheduled this family portrait session on Mom’s actual birthday, (right before the party that was happening at their house that afternoon) and chose the brand new sand bar beach at Cowell’s for the location. I drove by the spot earlier in the day and was a little worried to discover that there was no beach, only waves crashing against the cliff. When I went back only a few hours later the little beach had appeared, along with the crowds of surfers and families eager to experience the novelty. We explored around and found cliffs covered in algae, a kid-sized cave, beautiful boulders and mounds of seaweed. I had so much fun getting to know each of the personalities within the family, and the whole time I couldn’t help but be inspired by the grace of these two parents, the beauty of their kids and the amazing obedience of their dog. They definitely made having three kids look far easier then I imagined. Getting all three to look at the camera and smile, however…not so easy. Sending out a big Happy Birthday to Chelsea! Wishing you a wonderful new year filled with good times and many more beach days (oh, and a daughter who completely overcomes her fear of the beach! )


dad & daughter | portrait session | santa cruz photographer

I have to say that I love a Dad who keeps his daughter home from school on a Friday just so that they can hang out together, (I hope I’m not ruining any alibis ) a Dad who wants to remember each stage of his daughter’s childhood by doing annual portraits together, a Dad who builds the things that his daughter designs and launches a business together called Sugarline because her middle name is Sugar, but mostly I love a Dad who simply adores his daughter.

I am a self proclaimed post-a-holic, and so I’m going to do my best to resist the urge to post about 100 images form this single portrait session. There were so many great moments, expressions and acrobatics documented that I find it really challenging to be selective. I think that I get extra snap-happy whenever I sense a depth of connection between the people I am photographing, and this father and daughter are so beautifully close and comfortable together that I never noticed the time nor the frames flying by until the raindrops started falling. I could tell that they just truly enjoyed each other’s company…and of course I loved being around them too.


midtown montessori | portrait of a preschool | santa cruz photographer

I know that we should always try to live in the present, but there are some days that I’d honestly rather be back in the carefree days of preschool, especially if that school happens to be Midtown Montessori in Santa Cruz. My daughter has been attending this amazing school for about 6 months now and I had the privilege of spending a few mornings hanging out with the kids to capture their educational environment for the school’s advertising and website re-design. These kids definitely have it good, really good; a fully certified ‘green’ school, amazing educational activities, organic snacks, an organic garden, and the most friendly, loving and beautiful teachers that a child could wish for. I love the Montessori approach for allowing each child the freedom to develop as an individual, as they focus on their unique interests. You would think there would be pure chaos with that many kids having that much freedom, but I was amazed to discover a classroom filled with a sense of order and effort, as each child seemed engrossed in their work. The teachers manage to give each child a lot of one on one attention, and they include them in all of the activities from cooking lunch to cleaning up. I think I’m going to have to bring a few Montessori principles back home…starting with putting the kids in charge of the doing the dinner dishes. Thank you Midtown Montessori for opening your world to me and reminding me how awesome it is to be a preschooler.


a new beginning | surviving breast cancer | bay area photographer

New Year’s Day is such a powerful time of the year; a time for reflection and change, as we attempt to evolve ourselves into happier and healthier beings. I went for a run on New Year’s Eve and as I reflected on my own life I intuitively knew that I wanted this portrait session to be my first post of 2010. I took these photos back in November with this brave and beautiful woman who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I was so moved and inspired by her spirit and strength that I asked her if she would agree to share these intimate images and her story, in her own words, for this blog. I am so honored that she said yes, and so thankful that she somehow read my mind and sent me these words (without any further encouragement) on the first day of 2010.

‘I came to Carlie for something a little out of her usual scope of work. I had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and was facing the removal of my right breast in the following week, fertility challenges, chemotherapy, information overload and complex uncertainties. In the midst of all the chaos that had flooded my life in the first couple weeks after my diagnosis, I realized that I had a new tenderness toward my body. As time went on, I wanted to capture myself at this point in time, and throughout the journey as well. However, I couldn’t put my finger on what it was I wanted to capture: physicality? sexuality? spirit? strength? happiness? normality? I was afraid if I tried myself, I might miss it, whatever it was. I’ve admired Carlie’s work for some time now, her ability to capture the essence of a moment so beautifully. I wrote to her, explained myself as best I could and before I knew it, we’d scheduled a session. She was so honest and engaged and I am so grateful for her talents. I face this new year with as much courage as I do optimism: this is a year of serious work for me with the pay-off down the road of being cancer-free. I look at these pictures when I need to remember who I am. I look at them to draw strength from myself when I can’t seem to find it in my own skin. It’s there, captured in these images, by one amazing Carlie Statsky. Thank you, Carlie. Happy New Year, everybody.’


the brians | family portrait session | bay area photographer

I have known this beautiful mama since the 7th grade. She is a such a loyal and dear friend and I feel so honored that she has chosen me to photograph her wedding, her pregnancies, her first born and her now her complete family. We met at Pigeon Point Lighthouse on the California coast, and had so much fun just hanging out together in the salty and brisk morning air. I don’t think I have ever photographed a young boy who is as sweet and as good a listener as her son, and her daughter has grown up into the cutest and most curious little toddler already. Seeing them all reminds me of how quickly time passes, and I love photography for helping to slow things down a little by freezing a few fleeting moments.