Gardens of Possibilities – Design with Nature

Over ten years ago I met one of my first independent photography and graphic design clients, Donna Bone, designer and owner of Design with Nature, a design/ build landscape company. A business, at the time, with no visual marketing materials, I was hired to photograph their gardens to develop a portfolio and an advertising campaign. Fast forward to today…we have photographed over thirty clients gardens, with more to come.

These have been some of my favorite shoots – quiet, but vibrantly alive. Waking before the sunrise on cold Spring mornings to be on location at a private residence, always enlivens me. Feeling the first rays of the light come over the Sangre de Cristo mountains, or capturing the sun through the rain or before it settles behind thunder clouds in the middle of Summer inevitably makes me think of how lucky I am to be able to work in beauty. I would show up with my camera searching for the design intention, the unique color combinations, the spirit and character of the plants and place, only to be amazed, seduced, and enraptured by the glory of the moment, the magic of nature and designer working together.

What makes a lasting relationship between me as a visual artist and a client? Shared values top the list. Donna and I have a love of art and design, color and form, gesture and light. Also, we are in continual awe of nature, and have an authentic admiration for each others work. Another thing I love about working with Design with Nature, is the value of the tangible – a photographic print, like a flower, is something to behold. While many of the images I shoot remain in digital form for the Design with Nature website, we have taken many images off the computer to be seen as prints. We have created a large-format fine-art printed portfolio book, wall portraits, a Year after Year engagement calendar, leave behind postcards and brochures, magazine ads and fine-art cards and gift books for clients. With these beautiful marketing materials, Design with Nature no longer has to seek out new clients, new clients find Design with Nature.

Currently, we are reviewing the image library that’s been created and thinking about a new website that better represents Donna’s current direction, a coffee table book, and note cards – all likely to launch next year. It’s been such a pleasure to maintain a creative collaboration with Design with Nature over the years. The work continues to deepen and inspire. Thank you so much to Donna Bone and Design with Nature for reminding me of the power and pleasure of a single image, and the pure delight of spending time in the backyard.

While I love motion, still photography is my foundation and very much alive in my work and my offering to businesses and nonprofits.

As we venture into the dark and cold of winter, resting, rekindling, may we continue to relish the art of a moment and awaken when the first buds burst forth from the tree, or green shoots rise from the snow in Spring. With gratitude.

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Sat Nam Fest

Birthdays are important to me. It’s a celebration of life and a recognition that we come into the world at a certain time, maybe for a certain purpose. This year was a special treat because I was asked to shoot Sat Nam Fest East in Waynesville, Pennsylvania to help create a promotional video and commercial for Spirit Voyage and Prana Projects. I flew out on my birthday and spent the start of my new year in an amazing community of Kundalini Yoga and sacred mantra music. The energy was palpable – people connecting deeply to their truth, their heart. While most of what I shot was video, I shot a few stills as well to share.

So grateful to be able to connect with and capture what is alive in us all through photography and video.
My spirit is full of wonder!

The next festival happens in Joshua Tree, California, April 17 – 20th, 2014. Check out the website here.

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VERVE Gallery of Photography | Artist Video Series

I moved to Santa Fe thirteen years ago when I was hired by the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. (The workshops are likely responsible for many photographer’s relocation to, or at least their passing through, Santa Fe). One of the many things I learned at the Workshops was how a group of individuals can come together at the same location and return with completely different images.

As a photographer and documentary storyteller, focusing mainly on assignment work, I remain immensely curious in how fine-art photographers’ find and communicate with their muse. They are not commissioned, assigned, told what to photograph and for what purpose and by what deadlines. They have to look within themselves, and develop a relationship – a dialog between the internal and external worlds – to find and produce their work. I am so grateful to the pursuit of art, and I honor the artist and those that support them because the images (sculptures, paintings, textiles) they show, the ideas and messages they convey, touch something deep within, and somehow remind me of the mystery, beauty, and curiosities of life.

VERVE Gallery of Photography, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represents 41 photographers, 40 of which are still alive and working, almost daily. These artists are producing the best of every genre of contemporary fine art photography, and VERVE is making the connection between the artists’ work and collectors and patrons.

This year, VERVE celebrates ten years in the business. They are devoted to photography, and their artists. And, in an effort to teach, inspire, and bring attention to their collection, VERVE Gallery of Photography and StoryPortrait Media are collaborating on a series of artist videos. This has given me the unique honor and privilege to ask and explore the classic questions – How photographer’s find their inspiration, drive, what their techniques are, and how their passions, play and questions, lead to images and portfolios that hang on gallery walls and inspire thought and conversation.

We currently have created videos for eight artists: Brigitte Carnochan, Michael Crouser, Cy DeCosse and Keith Taylor, Joy Goldkind, Jennifer Schlesinger, Maggie Taylor, Stephen Strom, and Nevada Wier with more to come. Each video shares the lifetime of work created, and dives into their process and in the case of Carnochan, DeCosse and Schlesinger, their homes and darkrooms.

Watch the VERVE artist series on my website, or by clicking on the image below.

The current exhibition at VERVE features Nevada Wier, Janet Russek, and Alan Pearlman
The opening is Friday, September 27th, 5 – 7pm at VERVE Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe
Book signing on Saturday, September 28th, 2 – 4pm

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Santa Fe Living Treasures Summer 2013

Twice a year, I get to sit down with the Living Treasures committee to read personal, heart-felt letters, rich articles, extensive resumes and sort through archival photos from an amazing pool of Santa Fe Living Treasure nominees. Typically, by secret ballot, the three honorees are voted into the Living Treasures community almost unanimously – they just rise to the surface, and leave us all glowing with a renewed belief in humanity. A life devoted to the public good is such an amazing thing to celebrate and come together for in gratitude.

This summer we honored Consuelo Hernandez, Dave Warren and Judge Patricio M. Serna. And, with another selection meeting on the calendar today, there with more Treasures honored in the Fall. Join us October 27th, at the next public event.

Consuelo “Connie” Hernandez
If you’ve ever been to Santa Fe, you’ve surely passed by and hopefully gone in, the Old Santa Fe Trail Gift Shop. It is filled with religious folk art, and something, undoubtedly, just for you. Connie will find that perfect something for you and also share story after story of miracles, answered prayers, healings, and transformations that she has experienced and witnessed. She is a believer and that energy pulsates and uplifts generation after generation. She keeps the faith and stories alive by caring for and teaching traditions.

Dave Warren is a historian, professor and community history organizer. Personally, I love that last title, a community history organizer. Dave has worked tirelessly with his own Native American communities to record oral traditions so that they might write their own tribal histories, instead of having others do it for them.

Patricio M. Serna went from “poor little country boy to Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. What some people just shrug off as words and folly, Serna took to heart, “With positive focus, determination and self-confidence, you can be anything you want”. And, what grace and kindness he showed as I received a personal tour of the NM Supreme Court chambers.

How am I contributing to my community, committing to my hearts’ path? How am I honoring those who are? Well, the Santa Fe Living Treasures is a great model, one that is a joy to be a part of.

Please visit the Santa Fe Living Treasures website for more information.

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Client Feature: Anna LaBenz Photography

Late last November I drove due west to Flagstaff, Arizona and arrived around sunset to the smile and colorful, light-filled studio space of Anna LaBenz Photography on the old Route 66. Anna’s life is seeped in family and art. Bringing those two passions together, she brings a unique talent and sensitivity to her wedding and portrait photography clients. I had the honor of spending two days with her, watching and capturing how she works, and talking about the inspiration behind her work for this promotional video for her website.

What I admired about her work, from start to finish, is the internal spark that carries through – from the creative ideas that bubble up as she prepares for a shoot, to the interaction with the kids, families and couples while photographing, to the joy and excitement of the edit as images pop up on the computer screen to the final delivery of a beautiful art piece to her client. Her work is infused with joy, beauty and the preciousness of the present moment.

To learn more about Anna LaBenz or hire her as your portrait photographer, visit her website.

Anna is also the founder of the JLB Project, a group that offers assistance with grief counseling, online resources and financial assistance for those who are grieving the loss of their baby.

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