Archive for 'personal'

October 03, 2017

001six years ago, I shot an editorial session for my friend, andrea. she was opening her first salon, prim, in annapolis. we hadn’t known each other a very long time back then, but a sisterhood was born that day. she was going down a road that I had already traveled… starting a business is hard. even if you have all of the experience in the world, even if you’re the best in your field, even if you’ve dotted every I and crossed every possible T, you’ve put all of your hopes, dreams, and energy into this and when you open the doors to the public, there’s always that little voice in the back of your head questioning if you’re going to succeed. at least that was true for me and andrea. of course, she needn’t have worried ~ prim’s calendar was full from day one and their client list grew as their reputation surpassed the greatest of expectations. of course it did… my friend is pretty amazing. so it really didn’t come as a surprise when she contacted me earlier this year to share her exciting news ~ prim was growing and a new location was being planned in the heart of historic downtown easton. last friday was the big day and as her family, employees, clients, and friends gathered, andrea cut the ribbon and opened the door to this new chapter of her life. I am so proud of you and very happy for you and the prim family! I look so forward to what the future may bring xoxo

002 2a 2b 2c 2d 2e 2f 2g 2h 2i 2j 2k 2l 2m 2n 2o 2p 2q 2r 2s 2t 2u 2v 2w 2x 2y 2z 3 3a 3b

April 25, 2017

1a few short weeks before I photographed this, I visited my cousin, caitlin, and her newborn son, kie, at the hospital. we had a quick session to document this special time, but I knew that I would return to include big brother, gray… and the family pup, diesel (long but funny story there… :) ) when they were still at the hospital, gray wasn’t too sure what to make of this new person who everyone was coming to visit. but now at home, it was so lovely to see that he’s starting to figure out that he’s got a brother, a sidekick, a best friend… for life. I love all of you so much and am so happy and grateful to share this time with you xoxo

2 3 5 5a 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 IMG_2164aa

001since moving back to the shore, I have become increasingly close with my cousin, caitlin… I even wrote about it during her grey t-shirt session :)  she never ceases to inspire, delight, and impress me – and she can always get me laughing, regardless of what’s swirling around us. last week she became a mother for the second time and I knew that I wanted to document these first days – there will be a follow up session once they all get settled at home that will include her husband, jamie, their son, gray, and of course the family pup, diesel. but I wanted these early moments together to be saved forever. the day that I met her first child, gray, I wrote this for him and it’s just as applicable for kie – I love all of you so much!

‘dear Gray (and now Kie), I met you this morning and the first thing I noticed was just how perfect you are. the second thing was that your mom looks so different than she did 2 days ago.. in the most beautiful way. she is a mother and she is radiant. as the remaining representative of my small branch of your extensive family tree, I wanted to let you know a few things. first, you will be the most photographed child on the eastern shore. fact. also, as we get to know each other, I hope to share all I know about the family members who have come before: your great-uncle Paul’s kindness, your great-aunt Ethel’s grace and your cousin Cornelia’s strength. we are a big, beautiful, and kind of crazy family but we love each other with all of our hearts and are so happy that you’re finally here. welcome to the world little man.’  

001a 2 2a 3 4 4a 5 6 7 100

March 21, 2017

1as we drove to the park, I reached for her hand.. ‘I’m really happy that you asked me to do this.’ I said. ‘who else would I ask?’ she replied. a few months ago, elsie called me saying that she wanted a simple portrait… basic head and shoulders shot, nothing ‘fancy’. I was over the moon ~ if there was anyone that I wanted to capture, it was elsie. neither she or I are fans of having our photograph taken, so this was a dream come true and we chose an afternoon for the session. ‘of course you are the one to take it,’ she continued, ‘your mother took her first steps with me…’ I had heard the story a million times, but I never tired of it and during the ride she shared more memories, including a pretty hysterical moment about my parents that was new to me. the truth is, there really isn’t anything about my family that elsie doesn’t know. nicknamed ‘elchie’ by my mother when she was a toddler, elsie has always been there through every chapter of my life… big and small, happy and sad ~ in times of celebration and those of mourning. the first summer after my parent’s divorce, I came down to the shore to stay with my grandparents and she found me in my room, crying. I immediately stopped and pretended that I was fine. I was horrified and so embarrassed. she came and sat on my bed and told me that crying was the best way to clean the soul and that it was a good thing.. I was 8 years old, I was sad, and scared, and angry, and she made it okay for me to feel all of those things. she made my world safe. as I got older, she would giggle at my tween struggles whether it was ‘tragic’ puppy love or the panic of not finding the perfect outfit – but she would always listen and always help. the night before my grandfather’s funeral as she sat with me, my mother, and my grandmother around the kitchen table, it was her that shared stories that had all of us laughing between the tears. she knew how sick I was 15 years ago but stayed silent, prayed for me, and let me figure it out… but once I told her I had done something about it, it was the first and only time I ever saw her cry. when mom was diagnosed, she was the first person to the house and it was her kind eyes that I sought out before I walked down the aisle on my wedding day. I knew all of these things, obviously – but it wasn’t until I was editing these photographs that I felt the full weight of everything that elsie has meant to me. as we drove back to my house, she commented that it had been 10 years since my father’s passing and we both sat in the reality that they were all gone… then said she gave my hand a little squeeze and said ‘but you’ve got me.’ I love you

2 3 4 5 11aa elsie1

1this summer has been so special.. so many of my dearest friends have welcomed new additions into their families and when I was told of the arrival of baby indigo, I couldn’t have been happier. amanda and I have known each other for a long time. a relationship that began as co-workers has evolved into a friendship that I am so grateful for. a few years ago, when I learned that she was pregnant with her son orion, she was living in indiana at the time. fortunately, she came home to visit and we had time to photograph a maternity session. shortly after that, she and her family moved back to the eastern shore and I was so happy to have her back home. last fall, she modeled for me for an editorial shoot and it was then that she shared her happy news… ‘we have to get another maternity session on the books.’ she said with a smile. I put my camera down and hugged her tight, so excited for my friend. and what a session we had! it was early this summer.. and it was beautiful. we had grand plans for me to be there for the birth of her daughter, indigo, but babies enter this world on their time and unfortunately it didn’t work out. so on to plan b! I went to their home and had such a lovely afternoon with all of them. orion was clearly tickled with his new role as big brother… he doted on, tickled, and kissed his baby sister throughout the session. amanda and chris were as they always are.. happy, peaceful, and madly in love with each other, their family, and their life together. amanda, I am so very happy for all of you and am so grateful to have you as a cherished member of my tribe. love you!

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

December 29, 2015

1it’s hard to put into words how I feel about these photos. I look at them and I see so much history, so much change. it’s tangible proof of just how quickly life happens and how new beginnings blossom. I’ve known bryan for most of his life, ever since he was an infant. in fact, in many ways, he’s the closest thing to a little brother that I have. together we have experienced many of the ups and downs of life. his grandmother was one of my absolute favorite people on the planet and his parents have stood by my side through my best and worst times. bryan drove me to my wedding and was there for me talk/vent/cry to when my parents were sick. he is one of my constants and always has been. he and his wife melissa went to college together but it wasn’t until later that they reunited and knew that they were meant to be together ~ sealing it by taking their vows on the beaches of jamaica. they lived in DC during the early days of their marriage but moved down here on the shore and recently purchased a home in snow hill ~ in fact, they live so close that I can practically see their house from my office window. when I learned that they were expecting, all I could think of was how thrilled everyone would be by this happy news, I was over the moon! and when it was time for flynn’s first photos, I was so honored to photograph them. melissa and bryan are so clearly meant to parents – there is such an ease and comfort about them when they are with their son and their happiness is beautiful. I can’t wait to see the journey of this little man and all that he will become year after year. I love you all xoxo

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

December 23, 2015


it had been almost 14 years since the last time that I saw my dear friend stephanie.. and let me tell you, a lot has changed since then. back then, we were both living in boulder and working at a restaurant called the med. I had worked in many restaurants before then and had made a lot of friends, but there was something about the staff at the med that was different. we became family and some of my best friends to this day were made there. stephanie was no exception – from the first time we met, we clicked and spent many nights after shift discussing the ways of the world. I left colorado somewhat unexpectedly and lost touch with a few people along the way but then came facebook. by the time that stephanie and I became ‘friends’, she had moved to new england and was about to be engaged to a man named sean. soon after their wedding, they made the move to alexandria and although we had talked a few times about meeting up, it never worked out. then the news came… they were expecting! and once their beautiful son, lawrence arrived, plans began for a session.. and a reunion :) we had initially intended to shoot outside at a local park, but the winds were relentless and their apartment had tons of lovely light, so we stayed put. after hugging and chatting and hugging some more, I was introduced to her son. with his bright eyes and easy smile he had me from the get go – so adorable and so happy! I really loved getting to know sean too – my friend is a very special girl and she has found a perfect match with her husband ~ they were made for each other. once we started to wrap up, I didn’t want to go. it seemed that we only scratched surface of these past years.. so many events, both big and small. but as this little boy grows, I plan to document their family as much as I can. their story is such a happy one xoxo

1a 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 16 17 18 19 20

September 14, 2015


a few weeks ago, I posted my cousin caitlin’s grey t-shirt session. and while we have been wanting to photograph that session for over a year now, there was another reason we got together that day. 7 years ago, caitlin and jamie were married and to commemorate this occasion, caitlin wanted to do a session in her wedding dress as a surprise for him… and she was all in! laying down in the sand? yep! going in the ocean? alrighty! allll the way in?? indeed! I had the best time with her as we worked and laughed on the beaches of assateague. and now that their anniversary has passed, I am so happy to share some of the images from our session. I love you cousin and am so proud of you! xoxoxo

2 2a 2b 3 3a 3b 4 5 6 7 8 c-016 c-077

August 18, 2015


to say that I’ve known caitlin since she was born is accurate, but not necessarily true.. I’ve known of her. she is the first family member that I’ve photographed for the grey t-shirt project and she is my cousin – well she is my mother’s first cousin’s granddaughter… we’re third cousins? second? I can never figure that out. anyway.. I would see caitlin here and there during family functions when my mom and I would be down here on the shore for holidays or during the summer. in addition to being almost 20 years apart in age, we really had nothing in common. she was very active in school, athletics, and her church while I was this nomad of a hippie cousin who never really stayed put anywhere long enough to grow roots as she had done in her community. I was always very close to her grandfather, ray (we were both named after my great-grandfather), and in 2005 he and caitlin attended an auction where I noticed that she was eyeing all of the baking display dishes. after a casual inquiry, ray told me that as she was finishing up her hospitality management degree, she was really getting into baking. I thought that was pretty cool and that was that. about 6 months later, I opened a restaurant here in snow hill and after about 2 weeks of doing the desserts myself, I knew that my time needed to spent in the day to day operations and not in the kitchen. I thought of caitlin. what started out as a dessert here and there quickly turned into having caitlin as my off-premise pastry chef… and a real friendship, after decades of a family acquaintanceship, was born. every week, when she would bring in desserts, we talked and really got to know each other – we teased each other mercilessly, and laughed.. this chick can get me laughing like seldom few can. in february 2006, she was asked to go on a local television show to talk about the desserts that she was featuring at the restaurant for valentine’s day and the man who was to become her husband tuned in. it wasn’t too long after that caitlin excitedly informed me that jamie had proposed and she asked me to be her wedding photographer. in the years since, I have watched her suffer the loss of her grandfather with grace and maturity well beyond her years – he was one of the most important people in her world. I have watched her become a teacher who is so exceptional at what she does. and I have watched her become a mother to an adorable boy named gray. she was once someone I would see a handful of times every year and loved because she was my family, but now she is the closest thing to a little sister I have and I am so grateful to have her in my life.

2 3 4

May 15, 2015

001 over the years it’s become the norm to get a text from one of the vankirk sisters.. either it’s time for the annual holiday photos or they just want to have a session with me – which I love! in return, I have called on them several times when I’ve needed models or because we’ve gotten the random eastern shore snowstorm and I want to shoot. so when I received a text from payton last week saying that she needed some photos for her graduation announcement, I looked at my calendar and we set up a day. a little while later, it started to sink in… graduation announcements. she’s graduating – she’s going away to college – when did all of this happen? and I’ll admit it.. I got a little choked up. when I first met payton, it was during a session that her mother, kristen, had booked 5 years ago. payton and her sister lexie had been so much fun to work with that day but I had no idea that it was the beginning new friendships that would grow like ours have. for this session, payton met me at assateague on a beautiful morning and handed me a coffee that she had picked up for me on the way. silly and sentimental thoughts went through my head.. ‘she’s driving.’ of course she is! ‘she knows that I love coffee.’ who doesn’t know that about me? but I still couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that this young woman who was standing in front of me, showing me all of the outfits she had brought along, was the same little girl with braces that I had met on this same beach years ago. payton, you are so special – you are beautiful and kind and smart and funny and lovely and all around amazing. I am so grateful to have come to know you and call you my friend. I know that you are going to thrive in college and beyond. but when you’re home.. I’m secretly hoping that I’ll still get that random text… ‘do you have some time for some photos?’ I love you!!


1a 2 3 4 5 6 now

7 8 9 10 10a 11 12 13 14 5 years and counting… 200 201 202 203