Do I Photograph Weddings/Union Ceremonies/Vow Renewals/Other Lovey Things?

I've been getting more inquiries about lovey event photography, recently. Short answer: Yes, indeed., I do.

Longer answer: Before I began focusing on my photo-based artwork, I used to almost exclusively photograph weddings, with a tiny bit of portraits mixed in. I love seeing people unfold, getting lost in their best selves, playing, being all filled up with happy and lovey. But I'm kinda picky about what I photograph…and I tell you this for your benefit. It's not necessarily a "type" of person. It's more about what you're willing to share, and what you're hoping for that helps me decide if we're a great fit. If I don't think we are, I'll happily send you to someone who I think would light your photo dreams afire. 

I want us to "get" each other. I want to meet you before I photograph you. I want to know what makes you light up with laughter that makes your head lean back and look to the sky, or double over and send you into breathless, soundless, teary-eyed roars. I wanna know what makes you happy dance, and what makes you want to look at that special someone (or someones) in your life like they are the most amazing thing you've ever, ever, ever seen.

And so I also have been asked what a "typical wedding" might look like, if I was the documentarian. Here's what it might look like if you picked me for my artsy-ness, to be there for your ceremony and some formal-ish photos, and then set me loose to "do my thing".

Special thanks to The Bartees for letting me be their friend and storyteller.

And yep, I do photograph in color (I just turn my super favorites into Black and White):

Want me to photograph you and your love(s)? Here's my basic pricing info. Check it out, if you please. Then drop me a line. I photograph 5 weddings/big events per year. 

New Goodies!

Yesterday, I posted a Facebook teaser of some of the new glass bottle/vial jewelry I'll be premiering at the Seek the Light Expo, this coming weekend, in Akron, Ohio. I transferred a few of my favorite images onto glass…

And I also made a few more journals…and these cute wooden charms, too. 

I only made a handful of each (pretty much what you see in the pictures), just to test the Waters (haha). But if they sell well, I'll be making more for some other festivals I'll be vending in, this year (schedule soon to follow). 

I've also made a few new, smallish art pieces (of my rust heartbeat, tree wings, odd brick out, alien landing grass, and thawing forests) for this weekend, created mostly with some of the images I've posted on Instagram over the past few months-but I'm still painting/finishing those. More updates from the expo, this weekend. Or come see me in person! Free hugs. :) 

If you're interested in pricing info for any of the new goodies, please drop me an email

"Michelle can only be described as part pixie and part woodland sprite...

Our son, George, has special needs. He has tons of energy and a very short attention span. One of the things I was searching for in a family photographer was someone who 'gets it'. Someone who looks beyond the actions of a child to see into their heart. Someone who looks at both of our kids and captures the love they have for each other. What Michelle does is extraordinary. She isn't a photographer. She is an artist with a heart of gold and a vision that will take your breath away."-Cathy Cunningham 

I've been looking back through images of the Cunningham Family that I've helped to create (their free spirits and fire for life make the images complete), and I can't help but get emotional. For the past 5 years, I've been one of the luckiest gals in the world, to get the opportunity to know these kiddos, their parents, their fur babies. I've been to their home, we've played in the park, and they have such a big place in my heart. And as much as I'm completely moved by Cathy's words…to me, loving them is like breathing. Check out some of my favorite pictures of the Cunningham Family from the past 5 years. I think you'll see that if my pictures have heart, it's because of what's being shared in front of me. 

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Aren't they pretty much the greatest?! So much love for this family.

When I'm photographing people, we have a conversation. We play, we run, we laugh, and we go on adventures, together. I create images the way I do because we're on the same level-and I see you as you are, all human and awesome. I see you the way the people that love you see you, as your best self, alive, happy and perfectly you.  


Coming up this week:

This coming Friday is National Good Samaritan Day. I'll have a post to share on that, later this week. But in the meantime, I hope you're living somewhere where you can get out and enjoy this awesome weather. That's what we're getting ready to do!

I can be your family/people photographer, too, if you'd likeDrop me an email to get on my Spring schedule (now that the weather is changing, schedules start to fill up, pretty quickly) for relaxed, interactive portraits and/or a documentary/storytelling session.

Are you unplugging, tonight?

Sundown tonight begins the National Day of Unplugging. I decided to unplug tonight, for fun, and to devote face time to my family. I didn't realize how uneasy the buildup to the commitment would make me, or how used to being hyper-connected to my phone and computer I seem to be. I plan on unplugging fully, for 24 hours, but if I don't, I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Right now I'm almost stunned at how nervous tonight is making me…and I'm at the very least, moved by this realization. 

If the idea of turning off your phone sends you into cold sweats (as it does me), here are a few ideas to keep you engaged (should you choose to accept):

-Update your Bucket List/Wish List for Livin'. Each year, Jay and I make a new list of alll the things we want to do-from learning to cook certain foods, to drinking more water, to singing lessons, chasing a tornado or a great white shark, road trips, house cleaning or repairs, and the biggies like launching a new business, traveling to Fiji, going skydiving…and then every year, we schedule at least half of those goals into my planner…and consider them dates-set in stone, including breaking down mini steps like calling for tickets, reserving hotels, or printing out checklists/recipes/getting ingredients, etc.. It can be a fun way to dream together, and learn a little more about each other goals. 

-Get Outside. We got a ton of snow, over the past day or so. So we grabbed a bunch of flat surfaces and made a game out of which thing would make the best sled (for the record-none of them!). We had fun with the experiment, and then went on a "pretty tree hunt" and had a snowball fight. And during this adventure, I realized Parker (my daughter) says "girls" exactly the same way Tori Amos does when she sings "These Precious Things". And I added that to my list of things I love about my little. 

-Check out some of these lists I've pinned:

For small doses of unplugging, check out "How to Unplug at Dinner"

A simple top ten for you and your kiddos, click here

Don't want to go outside? Here's a list for "Snow Day Activities for your Kiddos".

Want more kiddo play ideas than you can shake a stick at? Go here

Just you and your significant other/best friend? Stuff for you, too (also good ideas for date nights).

Since I've begun making this post, I can feel some of the edge fading away, knowing I won't be sitting on my hands, geeing about having "nothing to do". I feel more prepared and ready to really enjoy the potential. I think we'll make a fort tonight, and maybe play some games, read some books, cook together…if you're planning on unplugging, I'd love to know what you're going to do-or after sundown tomorrow, hop back on here and tell me what you did! 

Unplug to Connect, and Take Good Notes

I'm happy about this coming weekend. It sounds kind of confusing to explain, but this Friday-Saturday (sundown to sundown) is The National Day of Unplugging. It's "A modern spin on the ancient notion of a day of rest". So, you unplug your computers, phones, devices and stuff, and just talk to live people, interact, hold hands, eat together, laugh, hug. In person. 

I like the idea of committing to  interpersonal focus for 24 full hours, to do activities that we can't necessarily find online, on our devices, and be "forced" to connect with the people around us. To use all 5 of our senses and take livin' in. Some of my favorite memories were the simplest things-walks with my mom and sister, sewing and making art with my mom, puzzle and game nights, cooking, playing dress up, laying in the grass, watching the clouds, the stars…laughing...

I've been reading some stories recently, about how people think there's more to the "problem" that escaping technology for a day, just to return back to it, "tomorrow". I get that. I'm not endorsing unplugging as an escape route, and then all is fixed. 

This day is a tricky concept for me, because sometimes I think I need to be reached, to reach out myself, and to be connected. To take a day to avoid technology even seems almost negligent in today's tech age. But as I find myself being asked repeatedly by my 3 year old (or my husband or pup) to please play with her (them), when I'm "just sending one more message" and then "just checking one more", I have to wonder if maybe I'm a little out of balance. Do I really need to be that tapped in, all of the time?

So for that, I like this idea. I like that, maybe by making a conscious decision to focus on the people I love, in-person, with no plans on checking my onlines or my connects, and only talking, playing and listening, maybe it will stoke the fire I already have for my family and friends, reminding me just how much I love being able to share the gifts of full attention and time.


*Now, this may sound counteractive, but as part of this coming weekend, I'd love to be there to document one family's/person's day of unplugging/connecting, to make an actual, tangible record of how you connect with the people around you, so you can continue to remember what it feels like to be fully present and connected. I have plans with my family all night on Friday, and Saturday afternoon…but I can be all yours on Saturday morning, for up to 4 hours, from 8am to noon-ish. I'd bring my camera to document the way you love, create, interact and enjoy the sweet life you have, and then I'll make a really cool documentary, printed book about your morning/story, printed by Artifact Uprising  (the people who are "Inspired by the Disappearing Beauty of the Tangible")-So good. All for 250 down, 225, two weeks later (when the album design is sent off to print). And I'll give you the edited files, too, plus a digital copy of your album design (in addition to the printed copy of the album). Just one family/person/story. Just this Saturday (at this special price). Will it be you? 

Drop me an email.


And in the meantime, if you're not sure what this might look like, here's a recent documentary I did for the Tanner Family. I got to be there for their weekly family brunch, and I loved every waking minute of it: 

Group Show at Artsbridge, opening this Sunday

Tomorrow I'll be helping to install artwork from a group of local artists, for Artsbridge's Independent: Artists of the MOV show. These two pieces of mine will be part of the show, that will open on Sunday, February 1st (at 3pm), and be on display for about a month. Stop by this coming Sunday to meet a bunch of local, talented artists, and see what we're up to. 

For more information on the show, hop over here: http://www.facebook.com/events/787032041345649/

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Solo Show at Washington State (of Marietta, OH

Get ready for an onslaught of new work, favorite past work, experiments, and works in progress. It's a lot.

Transfers on canvas, wood, metal and glass, experiments with painting, printing, showcasing, and a tiny archive of old mono prints from my college days.

Check any of these out at the Washington State Evergreen Arts & Humanities Series, in Marietta, OH. On display now through mid-May.

Artist's reception on Saturday, April 11th. Arts & Sciences Building, 2nd Floor.

A Favorite Experiment

A short while ago, a pretty great person asked if I ever transferred images to metal. I hadn't had much experience with that, yet…but I really loved the idea. She wanted to transfer some images I'd taken of her family, and fuse them onto sheet metal. How awesome! So I went right out and bought a stack of sheet metal…

And I was hooked. The way the metal and texture shines through the image, there's nothing quite like it, with any other process I've tried, so far. This inspired me to make a coupla more pieces with my remaining scrap, for my newly installed solo show:

The show is now ready to see, and will be on display (at Washington State of Marietta, OH, through the Evergreen Arts& Humanities Series) until May…and there will be an artist's reception and talk/Q&A on Saturday, April 11th. Stop by any time between now and then, and/or come by in April to say "hello". 

In the meantime, I'll be posting more show details and images of my work…though I humbly think it's better to see them in person. 

 

For so long...

"For so long I have found very little in everyday life that sparks a fire in me, very little grabs my attention and makes me do a double take..  But the photos you did for us do.."

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This is why I love to photograph families.

20 Things

So my friend Shuva (http://www.shuvarahim.com) shared her "20 Questions" blogging post with me, and wanted me to do the same. As much as I love a good back story, I figured it might be fun to give a bit more of my own…and give my blog the kickstart it is looking for, for the new year. Thanks, Shuva!

Question 1: How tall are you?

I used to think I was 5'6", for a long time. But as I get older, I've come to realize I'm somewhere around 5'5".

Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?

I'm usually pretty good at making most anyone feel comfortable. And I'm pretty great at packing a car and/or space, Tetris-style.

Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?

I can't really share a pet peeve, since I'm just easing back into blogging again, myself. I don't feel I have the right. 

Question 4: What’s your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?

Elitism

Question 5: What’s your favorite song?

Incredibly tough question, for me. Today, I'll go with "Run", by Snow Patrol, especially this version Yep. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q09-wMUNpc8  That one gets me.

Question 6: What’s your favorite Etsy/online shop that isn’t yours?

Amazon.

Question 7: What’s your favorite way to spend your free time when you’re alone?

Reading, taking photo hikes, staring at art, journaling, listening to vinyl, driving, grocery shopping (I love my alone time). 

Question 8: What’s your favorite junk food?

My mama's no-bakes.

Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?

Yep. A pug-chihuahua mix, 9 year old pup named Maximus. We got him for two main reasons: 1) He's awesome. And 2) The gal who owned him said "You don't want that one-he has a severe underbite and terrible markings. He has no future in breeding". So of course, I wanted him all the more.

Question 10: What are your number one favorite nonfiction and fiction books?

Non-fiction: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown or The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin/ Fiction: I don't read much Fictionnot sure if this counts, but Finding your Way in a Wild New World by Martha Beck was pretty good. 

Question 11: What’s your favorite beauty product or tool?

Burt's Bees tinted lip balm.

Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?

Geez…I probably get embarrassed more than I realize…but it's hard to really fluster me. Jay (my husband) and I went to a comedy club recently, and (surprisingly) were the couple who'd been married the longest. So the comedian wanted to know our secret…and I was tongue tied. I honestly didn't have a blanket answer for happiness…and my stubborn self didn't want to give her anything from our marriage that could be downplayed or made into a joke. So I stayed silent and agreed with her suggestion (I think it was to make sure you wash your butt, or something like that). It was embarrassing because I struggled between wanting to say something funny, and realizing she'd found a weak spot…wanting to protect my marriage over a good joke. 

Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Fentiman's Rose Lemonade. Mmmmmm

Question 14: What’s your favorite movie?

It just might be Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. I wanted to say something pretty or thoughtful, but man…I love that movie. I also really enjoyed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?

Total artist nerd. No regrets. 

Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

San Diego for the weather, New Orleans for the attitude, Australia for the people, London for the culture…but I also love the ocean, and living right where I am. 

Question 17: PC or Mac?

Mac. 

Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?

So Jay and I share this tiny stuffed bear that says "I love you" on its belly….we hide it places for each other. And I saw it this morning when I woke up. It always makes me smile. But I have to say, last summer, I was very distant. I was fully absorbed in my work, not able to see far outside of it…and one day, while falling asleep in bed in the dark, Jay said to me: "I've been thinking a lot about my future…about what that brings…and all I know is, I want you in it". It's truly the most romantic thing anyone's ever said to me. 

Question 19: Favorite celebrity?

Adrien Brody. 

Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want be best friends with?

Seth Godin. He's honestly the smartest business mind I've ever encountered…and he has a soft place in his heart for creatives. His blog is the only one I subscribe to. I met him last January, and I don't get starstruck…but I did. 

20 things about this picture: 1) My hair has never looked better (we woke up at 4am that day to trek out to the desert for sunrise) 2) This is Shuva, she's awesome 3) This was taken last October at the Integratron Sound Bath in Joshua Tree Desert, CA 4) I kept calling it different transformer names, because I couldn't remember the same of it. 5) The Sound Bath was pretty amazing. 6) Sorry about this shot, Florence. 7) That's Stephanie Tanner, on the edge of the frame (not from Full House-she confirmed this). 8) That's the back of Gabe McClintock's head. 9) I met Gabe, that day. 10) He and I hiked around Joshua Tree together. I like him. 11) The Integratron grounds are filled with art made from "trash". 12) The Sound Bath was built on one of the 3 strongest magnetic poles in the country. 13) It's also one of the most acoustically resonant structures in the whole world. 14) We experienced the Sound Bath with a combination of drums, bowls, and chanting from our friend Nacho Arimany (a wickedly talented musician). 15) When you stand in the center of the Integratron, and make the slightest of sounds, it echoes and fills the whole space. 16) I want to go back. 17) This is where I photographed the Mary Statue in the cacti. 18) It's also where people leave small gifts in a bowl, on the main floor of the Integratron…neat to look at/though…and there's a platform outside where people made stacked stone sculptures, that I loved, and made me think of a friend back home. 19) I hadn't eaten that day and was getting hungry…but I decided to sit on a large rock and rest under the huge sky for a bit…and this gal named Kat, who I'd just met the day before, felt compelled to walk up to me and offer me some trail mix she'd brought with her. She told me she got the feeling I was hungry. 20) I see this picture, and I think I could have hugged you closer, Shuva.