Do you know Jacked Kitchen? If you don't, get acquainted! Amy Biedenharn, the home chef behind the food blog, is also one of my favorite people! I know Amy from competing way back when on the gymnastics team at Illinois State. In college Amy was obviously a way better cook than I could ever dream, even for college standards. Over the years, Amy has honed her culinary approach and strives to make home cooking attainable even for the most kitchen-challenged [me]!
With every season comes change - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Over the last 9 years I have built a photo practice I'm deeply proud of. It has connected me with amazing people and stories. It brought so much joy and pure satisfaction capturing these stories and being able to document life's many milestones.
Earlier this year, I took a big leap and relocated from Chicago to Oahu. The decision was indeed a long time coming as Hawaii has always been a place near and dear to my heart. I firmly believe in our own accountability to create the change we want to see. To put out the kind of energy we want to get back. To chase dreams, take risks, and be unafraid of our own passion and drive for more.
What was supposed to be a 15 minute introductory call to discuss options for installing her new floor, turned into discussion about love for travel, and Cambodia, turned into sharing noodles, and turned into the unity of Courtney and Justin.
February 19 was unequivocally ‘them’. From the classic old Hollywood glam style to the cherry branch tucked into Justin’s boutonniere to a first dance to My Funny Valentine by Chet Baker to a wedding cake made of cheese, this date was the ultimate celebration of these two individuals. Surrounded by immediate family and friends at A New Leaf, Courtney and Justin committed their vows to each other.
Hear from them what made the day extra special.
It’s the middle of winter and I’m warming up thinking about this late summer September wedding. The glow of that golden hour light is much welcome on a winter day like today.
Julie and Ben opted out of a first look and took a more traditional approach in seeing each other walking down the aisle. While Ben and his groomsmen took time to get ready at the Hyatt in Lombard, Julie and her bridesmaids prepped at Julie’s home she grew up in. On the way to the church, we walked down the back alley to Park Ridge Presbyterian Church just a couple blocks away. This was special for Julie because growing up, she and her family would walk this same route on Sundays to church.
Easter Island. This is a bucket list destination. It’s in the middle of nowhere, about 4.5 hours west of Santiago in the middle of the Pacific ocean. We landed and I was pleasantly surprised with deplaning procedure on LAN air. Because this airport only houses one flight to and from Santiago, you exit from the tarmac. They open BOTH ends of the plane to expedite this process. This makes so much sense and sounds so simple, but blew my mind. Upon deplaning, my senses immediately took me back to Hilo, Hawaii. The sights. The smells. It was so familiar.
Santiago was the first of three legs of the South American adventure. After a long day of travel from Chicago to Santiago via Panama City, we finally checked in to the W Santiago.
We had only one full day to explore Santiago. We started walking and found a park with a path that lead to San Cristobal Hill. We saw a long line and didn’t know what it was for. It was the line for the cable car ride to the top of the hill. Nah, we thought, line's are stupid. We walked the 45 minutes up to the top. It was hot and dusty, but seeing temple and statue was incredible. The temple was modeled after a Roman basilica and built in 1921. German sculptor, Peter Horn, constructed the images and two sculptures in the gardens.
2016 was year of amazing growth, closeness, emotion, and overall life fullness. From newborns to new marriages and Chicago to Oahu, photography took me to new places, familiar places and amazing hearts. I went through periods of self doubt, questioning my work and its ability to continually push further. I was inspired by so many artists' creativity. I was inspired by the faith of so many of the brides and grooms celebrating their commitment. I worked on sharing my love for photography and helping others take better photos. Here's a glimpse into some of my favorite moments from 2016. 2017 is going to be written in the salt and starts. And I'm looking forward to everyday the new year brings.
The first snow flurries floated down on Chicago and inside I got to meet little Naya, just a couple weeks new. What I love about photography is being able to story-tell through visuals. Telling an authentic story and documenting these milestones as time capsules. For newborn photography, this is especially true. There are so many different styles of baby portraits, but to me, capturing the strongest stories, the most authentic stories, means being a fly on the wall and letting the story unfold itself. Watching two new parents interact with each other and a newborn. Witnessing the quite moments and the real moments. These are the moments that happen in a flash and slip by in an instant. I'm here to freeze that story forever in your family journal.