Golden light across dad and daughter as he holds her close with eyes closed.

“…no single emotion describes my work. In fact I hope to honor the reality that leaning into all of the emotions – joy, wonder, love, awe, even sadness – is what eventually brings us peace.”

One thing that business educators always agree on is the “one-liner.” A single sentence that at once answers two basic questions: What do you do? And what sets you apart?

I have taken classes and sought out mentorships and completed thought exercises and still never managed to come up with a palatable one-liner. I finally dismissed it as something that the big brands need but a family photographer does not. “I do too many things to sum up in a sentence. Besides, I’m an artist, and words can’t describe my art.” If you are rolling your eyes at my naivete, I can’t blame you.

So why were these questions floating around in my head while I floated around in the ocean on my surfboard on a rainy winter morning? Because it actually does matter.

It matters to me because it is important to have a grounding truth, a gravitational center point for my art. It matters to you because it permeates every aspect of working with me – communication, the session experience, and the feeling of the photos I deliver.

I guess I have been unconsciously trying on different versions for years. Words like easygoing, honest, joyful, and even unpretentious have made an appearance. They all fit, but they were lacking.

This morning I thought of something new, something that materialized out of the deep calm of a windless, grey morning in the Pacific Ocean. Something that I’m going to try on right now for the first time, and that I think might stick.

I photograph people in a way that shows them at peace in their lives.

I gravitate towards scenes and images in which people or families look relaxed and present, honest and comfortable. I am always watching for moments and compositions that show a connection to the environment. It explains why telling everyone to look at the camera never makes for my favorite images.

It also means that no single emotion describes my work. In fact, I hope to honor the reality that leaning into all of the emotions – joy, wonder, love, awe, even sadness – is what eventually brings us peace.

Mom tenderly kisses newborn's head while standing in a foggy forest.

Let’s keep things honest – I am not at peace all of the time. I do not make these pictures because they always express what I feel, but instead what I aspire towards feeling. You might say that being at peace is my life goal, and my photography is part of that pursuit.

If this resonates, I encourage you to look at my longer, documentary style family sessions. These are our chance to slow down and notice the little things that tell the story of a family who wants nothing more than to be at peace.

Thanks for being here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *