A Day with Amor in Mexico

In 1997 I went on my first week-long trip to build houses in Mexico with Amor and have continued working with them in some capacity ever since. Bruce, (seen below in creepy clown wielding truck) along with a core group of adults, played a major part in changing my life some 17 years ago and are still leading trips to this day.

In 2001 I even went so far as to spend a summer across the border, working alongside groups, living in a tent with such 5 star amenities as cold bucket showers, outhouses, and cots (sans pillow-top comfort). Ironically, living in the dirt with 12 of my peers for 3 months was one of the best summers of my life.

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Since then, I’ve worked with Amor as a volunteer, a staff member, and most recently, a photographer. The thing that gets me every time is the way I see families being empowered with the tools to thrive in their communities (most importantly, a hand up, not a handout). To me, a roof that doesn’t leak, a solid foundation, and doors and windows that seal properly are a right. Thousands of families just a few miles south of me don’t have that luxury. A family receiving a home for the first time might mean they don’t have to worry about constant house repairs and can put that money toward schooling or medical bills, other “amenities” I take for granted. Or it might mean they don’t get wet every time it rains, or freeze when winter comes. To see the full scope of how Amor serves the local communities Mexico, the U.S. and South Africa, you can read more here.

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FRANCESCA + SEAN at UCSD

A few weeks ago I received a magical email that told me this couple found me purely through a search of the Google. No referrals, just a “we want to hire you because we like your work”. After getting to know Francesca and Sean, I couldn’t be happier that the powers of the internet brought us together! We met early on a Sunday morning on the quiet campus of UCSD, celebrating their one year wedding anniversary with a photo shoot. A main goal of the morning was to recreate one of their wedding photos, which they will recreate every anniversary in the years to come. Such a great idea, I might steal it myself!

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Children’s Hospital Mural

I’ve had the privilege of doing a number of shoots for Rady Children’s Hospital over the past few years. Each time I feel like I’ve been handed a gift as I am able to step into the intimate parts of these family’s stories, even if for just a brief moment. I can’t fathom the depth of emotion a family walking through these doors is experiencing, but the one thing I notice over and over again is the profound care they receive here. I’ve witnessed it in waiting rooms, surgeries, clinics, hallways, and exam rooms: nurses, doctors, and administration staff giving so much support to its village that I get a little choked up even writing about it.

When I originally took the image to be used for the mural project, I had no idea what the final product would entail. They ended up recreating my image using badge ID photos from every staff and volunteer who works for Rady’s, portraying the model of “it takes a village” or in the case of this image: everyone’s a part of the big picture. It’s humbling to see your work blown up to larger than life proportions, and even more so in an environment such as Children’s. We’re hoping to replace the mural with a new image next spring so check back!

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Yola + Cachaulo Engagment

A few sneak peeks right before the wedding . . .

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SAN DIEGO FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT

A fun little family shoot with friends on a weekday morning; it doesn’t get much better than this. Side note: should you find yourself in need of a kicka$$ florist, these two will fit the bill. Not only do they produce cute children, they also create perfect flowers for any occasion. HIRE THEM: Flowers ‘a la Carte!

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KIM + VISHAL WEDDING

Kim and Vishal. I keep just wanting to follow that with the sentiment, “these two”, in a sort of knowing tone that a friend with an inside secret would use. We had our first meetup over Skype, which was fitting after hearing their story. Kim and Vishal met over a music website in the same way that some of my most cherished friends and I met over a photography website. I don’t know that this sort of thing happens any more, which is why I love it. Like Match.com before dating websites existed. This wedding was so fun to shoot, and you have to make sure you’ve seen the craziness of their photobooth pictures here. Thanks again to my trusty sidekick, Colleen, for helping me capture the day AND get all the fun film images from Kim’s Holga at the end of this post!

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RANDOM ACTS OF CUTENESS

This guy. Eat your heart out, ladies (or he may do it for you).

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PETERSON WEDDING

KIM + VISHAL WEDDING PHOTOBOOTH

A few sneak peeks at the photobooth . . .

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New Albums!

I’m so excited for these new beauties. Now customers have the option for an economical album that doesn’t sacrifice aesthetic value, to show of weddings, family shoots, the new baby, everything! Each album has different color options for the fabric cover and a customized wrapped dust jacket. Even better: pages are 100% post-consumer recycled and all albums are made locally in the USA. Contact me for pricing info!

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Anza Borrego.

A few moving pictures from our camping trip. Since I was mostly the one behind the camera, this basically looks like Jesse did all the work. Fact: I participated in at least half the set up. And hiking. And beer drinking post hiking. [Press play then pause to let the video load a bit for optimal playback.]

Brother and Sister.

Only one white backdrop could handle all this cuteness, and yes, this was mostly supposed to be a newborn shoot. Ha!
As seen here previously.

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BALBOA PARK PHOTO SHOOT

I love finding new spaces in familiar parts of town. Balboa Park has its standards, but if you hike far enough toward a canyon, you’ll find some new backdrops. I’m not sure what it says about me that I get my best pictures in back alleys and forgotten canyons . . .

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HALF OFF PHOTOBOOTH!

Uncork your finest champagne, dust off your piñatas, and put on your fancy pants! For the first three people to book the photobooth in 2013 [now accepting better names for “the photobooth”] I’m offering a 50% discount! 50% off you say? Yes, that’s HALF OFF, or 2 out of 4, or $500 off. Whether you’re booking a wedding, event, or simply want to set up an awesome photobooth in your garage [weird, but I’ll take it], the first three bookings will save $500 on a photobooth booking. Contact me for more information for your upcoming event!

STYLE ME PRETTY: FEATURED WEDDING

I’m so happy to share that the great folks at Style Me Pretty are featuring Corinne and Andrew’s Cape Cod wedding today on their blog! This wedding was a dream come true to shoot  . . . a weekend on the Cape in Massachusetts, in a beautiful setting with the most fun East Coasters around. After the current events in Boston, this wedding is a true testament to the spirit of its people: boisterous, full of life (I think there was a combined 24 hours of dancing), a long-standing appreciation for good food, and as one of the few non-family members at the estate, I felt like family the second I stepped onto the property.

Thanks to the great people of Style Me Pretty, and especially Corinne, Andrew and family. I’m so honored to have taken part in your special weekend.

 

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KRIS’ DIRTY THIRTY BIRTHDAY

California Western School of Law

I’ve been fortunate to do a number of shoots over the years with Cal Western, and this last one was definitely a favorite. Just a few of us on the bay with our toes in the sand on one of the most lovely evenings of the year. Here are a couple from the shoot and the final ad they produced for the Law School. [Final ad image © California Western School of Law]

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LITTLE ITALY ENGAGEMENT SESSION

This sunset engagement session in Little Italy was 10,000 times more fun than Sir Winston (Annie and Luigi’s pug) is letting on in these pictures. I. LOVE. THIS. DOG. And let’s not forget the amazing people in front of the camera. I say it over and over again, but I am beyond lucky that I get to do this stuff for a living.

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CUYAMACA

San Diego’s version of nature . . . and my husband in it.

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Uganda, Africa

Five and a half years ago, with the generous support of friends, family, and even a few strangers, I was able to travel halfway around the globe to Uganda, Africa. After the trip, stunted by a PC that processed images at a speed fit for floppy disks, it took me months to get around to dealing with the images. Since then, they’ve been sitting in the archives of a bygone Flickr account and collecting dust on an old hard drive, so I thought I’d re-unveil some of my faves . . .

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My role on this particular trip was to put together a photography class that could be taught as a one-off, or spread out over a few days in the local villages. I encountered so many humanitarian individuals pre-trip, willing to donate cameras, film, batteries, photo paper, printers, ink, money, and lesson plans. The giving and support, some from complete strangers, was a good reminder that an overwhelming amount of good can come from people with a common aspiration.

Now with that said, the fact that I was in charge of this whole photography shindig at that time is a bit laughable to me, because my knowledge of said field in 2007 was a bit . . . lacking. However, when the task at hand involves teaching kids how to compose and take a picture with an automatic camera, the pieces tend to fit together easily. Add that with the fact that some of these classes included hundreds of kids, most of whom had never seen a camera and some, I might add, a white person. The novelty of both won out over the finer details of picture-taking. Also, there is something inexplicably magical about giving a person a printed image that they have taken or giving someone the first picture they have ever seen of themselves.

Mostly this trip afforded me the chance to be with a people who provided so much beauty to a place that holds a history of so much pain and devastation. In 2007, the aftermath of a 20+ year civil war was barely into its “after” stages. Part of our group worked alongside local Ugandan counselors who were aiding in the healing process for children who had experienced the atrocities of this war. The stories I heard were so horrific that if I focused simply on what HAD happened, it would be easy to get lost in the awfulness of it all. Fortunately, as I hope these images portray, I was able to witness tenderness and a reawakening to real childhood and future as Uganda works to rebuild itself.

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