This project has been an ongoing series in my work for awhile now.  It has been part of my life work before I even knew it.  When I started doing this as a young, naive, adult woman…long before any client knew who I was….back when I asked the busboy at the restaurant I bartended at for his girlfriend’s number to ask her to model for me for my first photo session….not even sure why I was shooting what I was ….I didn’t know what I wanted…I just kept looking for that thing that made me feel inspired when I shot it.  Over time, seeing the pattern in my choices and subjects, the patterns in their movement, and locations I picked, I realized I had been creating this documentation of the stages of becoming a woman.  The common denominator was to show their strength and beauty from whatever stage of life they were standing in.  It was formalized into a gallery show over the last year for the invitational group photography exhibit at the Cannon Beach Arts Association, and then most recently submitted into the LensCulture Exposure competition.  Although in those instances, there was a limit to the number of pieces in a series that could be selected, there are in fact many more pieces to this project.  I will try to keep showing them from time to time here.

 

These images focus on the powerful and mysterious journey from girl-hood all the way to wise old woman.  The rites of passage as we move from a tiny beautiful child through the confusing changes of our adolescence, the vulnerable twists and turns of owning our sexuality, our role in relationships, the challenges and strength found in adulthood, and the arrival of wisdom in our later years.  Different cultures, different backgrounds, but we all share a common understanding of moving through these phases of our lives. I feel there are defining identities that emerge to shape our feminine journey, and we move in and out of them as gracefully and confidently as we know how.  

Featured in this show are Spanish, American, Italian, African, Native American, Portuguese, and Greek girls and women.  They are different, and they are the same. All are beautifully fully present in their journey of becoming a woman. 

 

I’ve been making photographs for awhile now, travelling to different areas of the world, finding inspirations. In the beginning of my photography journey, I started in black and white film, falling in love with the work of my heros in photography; Henri-Cartier- Bresson, Walker Evans, Richard Avedon, Mary Ellen Mark, Bruce Weber, Herb Ritts, Peter Lindbergh, Helmut Newton to name a few. No matter what part of the world I go, it seems there is a thread of amazing soulful humanity in the people I have met and photographed, from all walks of life.  Pin itPin itPin itPin itPin itPin itPin itPin itPin itPin itPin it

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meet Jamie Savva…. I first met Jamie in a yoga class i was teaching…we immediately clicked.  Jamie is a yoga teacher herself with a powerful way, an infectious smile, and electric energy.  5 minutes in the room with her and you just feel better…she’s got it goin on in the inspiration department, which is one reason why her yoga students love her.  This yogina is real, down to earth, an amazing listener, and a force of nature when she sets her mind to doing something.  She’s also a good sport….I made her climb all over these crazy rocks for this photo session…which if you’ve ever tried to do yoga on hard, rocky surfaces, you might know what I mean…not too comfy….but just look at how smooth and effortless she makes it look.   I like the way her body shapes echo the shapes of nature.  Thanks Jamie, for letting me photograph your amazingness….my powerful, beautiful friend.

 

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It felt good to help someone this week.   My clients from 10 years ago were robbed.  I got the call from Alana a few days ago.  Her voice was shaking in the voicemail she left me, and I could feel her sadness and loss.   I photographed their wedding 10 years ago, she was calling to tell me someone had broken into their home and taken everything while they were away, including her only copy on disc of her wedding images.  She wanted to know if there was a chance I still had the images. Gulp…10 years is a long time….I was worried I may not still have them.  When we spoke, she mentioned that her personal belongings were stolen including her special jewelry handed down from her grandmother that she wore on her wedding day, her wedding ring and other intimate items, and the only images she had of those items were in her wedding photos.  As a professional photographer, sometimes its easy to get caught up in running a business… making deadlines, juggling the artistic, the technical, scheduling, social media…whatever the task du jour is….but this is different.  When she called me, I remembered why I got into this in the first place…that I’m creating very personal captures of moments in time.  Sometimes I see photographers advertise slogans like “memories that last a lifetime” …and not to sound cliche….but I guess its really true.. and when your memories are corrupted by someone who breaks into your home and takes them from you, that’s got to be very painful.  I’ve experienced something similar.   I don’t always hold onto client work after this many years, and it would’ve been easier to dismiss and say that I don’t….but we are all humans going through life together, and for me I have to try and do the right thing and help,  so I began the search….and after days of digging through hard drives, and boxes of discs from back ups I had made over the years.  I found their wedding images, and they are back home where they belong.   She wrote me today to say she cried when she saw them.   All I can say is in this stressed out crazy world, its good to take a moment, make the extra effort and help someone by bringing joy to a dark time.  In my mind, true human nature is good and it can be clouded  by all the layers of things we put on top of it.  Its great for me to be reminded why I do what I do.  Thank you Alana and Eric, and glad your photos found their way back home!

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  • PaulaMay 6, 2019 - 2:15 pm

    What a beautiful story. There are more kind people than cruel people. Thanks for showing the beauty and kindness!ReplyCancel

What do you get when you have two fire-fighters madly in love?  Hot wedding photos!  Seriously digging the energy and vibe of these two.   What we have here are two incredibly strong, fearless, and passionate, cool, caring, and giving individuals joining forces into one powerful union.   Needless to say photographing them was ah-maz-ing for me.  It rained a little during their searing nuptuals, but it might’ve been for the best….something had to keep their blaze under control….and yes we finished the session with a “fireman’s carry”.   Someone get a fire extinguisher! okay….enough of the cheesy fire lingo….Here are some highlights from the Katia Hadj-Hamou and Josh Minor wedding.

 

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Photo session: Helen Sharp, knitwear designer and creator of The Knitting School, Seattle WA.

Introducing Helen Sharp, machine knitting champion.  Not only does she design and make amazing, beautiful pieces of knitwear, (I proudly wear some), she teaches machine knitting to students from far and wide at the school she created….The Knitting School.   I’m deeply inspired when I come across people who can make beautiful things directly from their soul….using their hands, or their hearts.  Helen is one of those people.  In spending time with her, I quickly gather that quality is one of the most important elements in her world, and that’s exactly how she approaches her knitting, using only the best yarn, machines, and methods to bring her creations to life.  Combining this with her strong desire to teach others this trade, her dream has become a reality with The Knitting School, which has just celebrated its 10 year anniversary.   Photos below.

A little background on Helen…She grew up in Newcastle and Nottingham UK. Her father was an artist so she was always busy drawing and painting as a kid. When art school came around, she was advised by an instructor to check out a new BA at Nottingham Trent University focused on machine knitting / knitwear design. She explains “I loved the look of all the crazy machines and rooms full of colorful yarn and took the 4 year program”. 

Her first job was in Milan, Italy working for a designer sketching all day.  She worked in factories in England and Scotland during the ‘80’s honing her skills in machine knitting. After doing a couple of collections of knitwear, and with a full page spread in British Vogue under her belt, she was asked to teach at several universities.

She moved to Seattle in 1989, working as a designer for a few companies before starting her own swatch design service, (a business that supplies the garment industry with sweater designs in knitted fabric form).  She ran that company for 18 years selling to J Crew, Ralph Lauren, Gap, Michael Kors before she felt it was time to stop, and then she started The Knitting School. 

Today, her students are completely varied in their backgrounds- whether they work in the industry currently, are looking to start their own business, or want to further their skills for personal enjoyment, they come from all states and countries and continually impress her with their tenacity for this tricky subject.  She also appreciates the close relationships she develops with many of them.  In addition, companies have heard about Helen and her talent for teaching knitwear excellence, and have sent teams of employees for her expert tutelage…. including Nike, Chacos, REI, Nordstrom, ExOfficio, Tommy Hilfiger, Torrid, Stitch Fix….to name a few.  For a couple years, she was flying to San Francisco weekly to teach at the Academy of Art’s knitwear program, while offering classes at her own school.  Currently she is solely dedicated to students at her own Knitting School and continues to evolve the program, offering short intensive classes in both hands-on machine knitting, and machine knitting technology, making her school one of the most unique in the world.  

In doing this photo session with Helen, I could see the childlike curiosity and passion in her eyes I imagine she had when she first saw all the crazy knitting machines and colorful yarn as a student herself.  I specifically loved photographing her amazing old giant book which contains hand drawn patterns, actual pieces of her knitting designs from over the years, and possibly some magical potion recipes.

“I am a designer to my core! But I am surprised to find that my passion for manifesting my own ideas has been effortlessly transferred to enabling others to manifest theirs.” – Helen Sharp

Hats off to you Ms. Helen Sharp, for having the courage, drive, determination, skill, and heart to not only make your own dreams a reality, but to make the world a better place by helping others achieve theirs as well.

to learn more about Helen and The Knitting School:

follow on instagram: @theknittingschool

sign up for her newsletter (its awesome! I don’t even knit, and I totally dig reading it!): www.theknittingschool.com

 

This is Helen…

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she turns this…..

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through this process…..

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into something like this!

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This is where all the magic happens!…and where her students learn machine knitting

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…and this is her general attitude about things….

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…some shots of Helen at work on her machines…

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…she uses the most beautiful materials to create her work…

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…This is Helen’s amazing book…years worth of her work and ideas…

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….her inspiration board….

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more odds and ends of inspiration….

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….lots of interesting and creative things in her studio….don’t eat the doughnut and sushi pin cushions

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….oh and here’s what’s in the trash can…

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an amazing woman making amazing things and teaching others how to be amazing through machine knitting

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