This past fall was the second year that I had the opportunity to work with the Good Food Collective on the Fancy Farmers portrait project. The Good Food Collective is a fantastic organization that brings local food from dozens of local growers and producers to the Rochester community.  Of all the things I enjoy photographing,  food, farms, and farmers are right up there at the top of the list.  It was a complete honor to get to visit nearly all of the many farms, creameries, and shops that contribute to the GFC’s CSA and get just a glimpse at the noble work that they do- i find it so inspiring to experience the love of land, nourishment, and honest work through the eyes and roughened hands of those whose efforts put the food on our tables. Take a look at these lovely folks and check out their websites to learn more about them if you get a chance. (Also, here’s the link to the first year’s portraits)

“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.”
Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food

Fraser’s Garlic Farm, Churchville, NY

Interbrook Farm, Interlaken NY

Growing Family Farm, Parma, NY

Clearview Farm, Palmyra, NY

Thorpes Organic Family Farm, East Aurora, NY

Small World Food, Rochester, NY

Raindance Harvest, Williamson, NY

Crosswinds Creamery, Ovid, NY

HoneyHill Farm, Livonia, NY

Fisher Hill Farm, Canandaiguia, NY

Bean Hill Farm, Groveland, NY

Hurd Orchards, Holley, NY

Joe Bean Coffee Roasters, Rochester NY

First Light Farm & Creamery, East Bethany, NY

Eat Me Ice Cream, Rochester NY

Sweet Grass Meats, Naples, NY

The Piggery, Ithaca, NY

Muranda Cheese, Waterloo, NY

The Good Food Collective, Williamson, NY

Jenna & Pasquale

It was a great joy to do an engagement shoot with one of my very, very dearest friends last month. Jenna is one of the most beautiful and amazing women I’ve ever known, and it was such a delight to finally get to meet her wonderful fiancee Pasquale. They met while both living in Ithaca, and specifically, they met while both waiting at a local tire shop- so naturally, we decided to start the photo shoot there, as well as at the gas station across the street that they walked to together that first day. I loved the quirkiness of this location, and balanced with the beauty of Cass Park where we spent the second half of the shoot, it all suited them perfectly. The whole day was a lot of fun and so special.  I’m very excited to see the way my talented and lovely friend Hannah Betts captures their wedding day in September, as I’ve got the honor of being a bridesmaid in the wedding!


Thunder Baby

It was a total honor to spend the evening of the fourth of July taking photographs with my dear friends Rachel & Matt. They’re expecting their first baby basically any day now, and Rachel is one of the most radiantly gorgeous pregnant mamas I have ever seen. I’ve enjoyed photographing their band for a few years now, so it was a real treat to get to do something so personal and sweet with them. We went to Corbett’s Glen for the shoot, where I had somehow never been- its amazing! It made for a really magical and very memorable way to first experience such a lovely place. Can’t wait to meet their little one.

As sometimes seems to happen, I’ve jumped right from February to July without any updates over here.  The spring was chock full of gardening and kids and plays and general insanity, and now we’ve hit summer- which for me is a double (triple? quadruple?) whammy of running a garden/multiple youth programs, and wedding season- in terms of both photographing a whole bunch and helping to plan, for Beth’s wedding coming up in the fall. Phew!

So I thought I’d post a few photos from the first wedding of this year, back at the beginning of June. It was truly an honor to photograph  Charles & Christina’s lovely, elegant wedding. It happened to take place on Cape Cod in Falmouth, MA, and everything came together to be picture-perfect in just about every way- hard to go wrong with a beach wedding with perfect weather, birds of paradise and calla lilies galore, the most beautiful venue I’ve EVER seen, and a good-looking couple, eh?

When the time came in mid January to begin thinking about how to contribute to the collaborative Girls vs. Boys show at the Yards, I couldn’t have been more bereft of inspiration. In the midst of heartache and a real whammy of a case of winter blues, it was hard to imagine creating anything; plus, the fact that it came right on the heels of the end of the Continental Breakfasts show was a bit daunting. (“More long hours at the Yards??!” At least no sticky tack was required, this time.)

But I knew I wanted to be a part of it- whats more therapeutic, after all, than the act of creation, especially in collaboration with a team of super amazing ladies? When the themes of the ship, the dollhouse, and the cabin in the woods, as they pertained to being an imaginative little girl in a big and magical world, were finalized, an idea finally began to take shape.

For the last three years, my dear friend Jenna has lived in a little house just outside of Ithaca that is, for all intents and purposes, a magical cabin in the woods. Its only a five minute drive from the town, but when you reach the end of the narrow, thickly tree-lined driveway, at the edge of a big field leading to a big forest, its easy to feel like you are deep in the woods, miles from anywhere.  It is one of the most beautiful places I know,  and has become my getaway, a sort of safehaven away from home. Just about anyone who knows me well knows that my instinct when I’m hurting is to skip town as soon as possible.  Whenever I’ve gone through something trying / heartbreaking during the last three years, Jenna has been gracious enough to open her home to me, and spending time there with her has been the perfect antidote every time.

And so this was the inspiration for my piece of the show: the story of a magical cabin in the woods, where a broken-hearted little girl, dreaming of a new place far away, could find rest and peace and strength.

I’ve had this gigantic, completely incredible ledger, circa roughly the early 1900′s, for the last four years. I think its easily the most astonishing item that I own. It must be twenty pounds at least, with a gorgeous old cover and beautiful marbling on the page edges. It was found, completely blank, in the garbage by friends of mine- so mystifying! I’ve tried to figure out what to do with it- a friend and I had the idea to start a childrens book in it years ago, but that came and went; since then, its just sort of sat around the house, blowing the mind of anyone who had the chance to see it. It seemed on many levels like the perfect place to begin with this story, and became the base into which the story was written and built.

I spent a good amount of time going through allll of the photos I’ve taken during my sojourns at Jenna’s house- there were hundreds, spanning all the seasons. The ones I selected were arranged, interspersed with text, to tell the story, on the open pages of the book, which were built out with cardboard. I worked on the story portion in a frenzy of paper-ripping and glueing at home for days, and when the book finally came to the Yards (which was itself no small physical feat) , to be incorporated in with the rest of the show, it provided me my first opportunity ever to work on really creating an installation. This was a new challenge for me: though an avid appreciator of installation-based exhibits, I tend to work pretty two-dimensionally.  It was a lot of fun to think about how to make the book feel like part of the fairy-tale-esque world it represented, and I was pretty happy with the cardboard trees, stumps, and cattails that wound up rounding out its little environment.

The end result was an extremely personal, autobiographical tale; I seem to always work this way when it comes to big projects or shows. The timing was fitting: having been just on the downswing of a sad, heartachey time, it was a pretty honest assessment of where i was at right then. It is always a little daunting to share something of that emotional caliber with the world at large, but there’s something very freeing about it as well.

The most special part of the whole thing, though, was being able to share it with Jenna. She’s a busy lady and I was unsure whether she’d be able to make the trip up to see it- and was sooo happy when she did. Jenna’s friendship has been an anchor in my life since I’ve known her. While her home has been the haven to which I’ve run, it is her listening ear and understanding and general ability to completely get everything that I share with her that makes that little cabin in the woods the special spot that it is. As she said, its her story in there as much as it is mine.  We’ve both been through our fair share of major life ups and downs over these last few years, and the story in the big book is about seeing the scuffs in the road through to the other side; using quiet as a tool for healing; finding the place ultimately within yourself that brings freedom from whatever ails you. Being able to share those sorts of experiences with a friend like Jenna makes the whole road much easier to walk. I am grateful to have had the chance to do this whole thing when I did, and its been really nice to hear that others have been able to relate to it one way or another.  After all, who doesn’t have those times when you just need to run away to the woods?