The Monica Identity

When Monica contacted me about doing a portrait session, I was so happy. Monica, a dear family friend, is undergoing treatment for Breast Cancer and she wanted to get portraits done to document this part of her life.

I have known Monica for years and years, but it would be fair to say that I have never really known Monica. The Monica I knew was an extremely nice person, always in a great mood, always positive, and ever smiling. She was the type of person who looked you in the eye when you were speaking and listened. I mean, really listened with a genuine caring. It was a refreshing trait that one doesn't find often in this world of Blackberrys and iPhones.

However I don't think that I truly got to know Monica until I saw her for the first time since she was diagnosed and had begun treatment. When I walked in to her lovely Santa Clarita home she was wearing a beautiful silk scarf in place of her long thick black hair. She welcomed me in with a warm smile and a big hug. We had lunch and we chatted a bit about our lives, her treatment and my photography. And then we started our session.

She spoke openly about how difficult it was to say goodbye to her hair. It was after-all, her identity, she admitted. I think for most of us, hair does play a larger role in our lives than we care to acknowledge. Actually I fully confess that my hair dictates my day. A good hair day, I'm happy. A bad hair day, I'm not. But what about a no hair day?

In an effort to understand what Monica was going through I sought out stories from women who had lost their hair as a result of chemo. I found one blog post entitled Hair I.D. that resonated with me.

"When I lost my hair the second time I thought it would be harder, like a visual set back that said the cancer is not gone. But as the treatment got started again I almost couldn’t wait to shave my head! I needed to see that bald head as a visual reminder that it was time to reach within and pull out the true characteristics of my identity, those that make me a lean, mean, cancer fightin machine... having a mop of red hair or cute wig was not on the “things you must have to fight cancer” list."

This is what Monica has done. She has reached within herself to find those facets of her character that will be important in getting her through this next phase of her life. And guess what... She didn't have to reach that far. Her identity was stronger than she believed.

So... Who is the Monica I know now? She is an extremely nice person, always in a great mood, always positive, and ever smiling. She is the type of person who looks you in the eye when you are speaking and listens. Really listens -- because she cares. She is wonderful that way.

If I were to guess which items Monica has on her "things you must have to fight cancer" list, I would say that they were family, friends, strength, faith, perseverance, a love for life and a great sense of humor. I had such a great day with her, my mother and my aunt and I couldn't wait to upload these photos.

Enjoy!!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

*****

In this set of photos Monica is wearing a prayer shawl knitted by Deborah Lewis of All Saints Church. It serves as a constant reminder that she has many people in her court right now and its beautiful!! Some people are so incredibly talented!


Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

*****

For the second part of our shoot I told her to throw on a sexy dress and some heels. We were gonna bring sexy back!


Photobucket

*****

Saying goodbye to the scarf. This is her in the middle of saying "Enough! I don't need this."


Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

*****

Love this smile!!


Photobucket


I know that inner beauty is just as important if not more so than outer beauty, but alas my camera does not. ;)

So THANK YOU Monica for being so beautiful inside and out!!

Make Love Happen - Michele and Andrew

I met Michele and Andrew on a brisk early Saturday morning at Dock Street in Annapolis for their engagement shoot. I love Annapolis... such a beautiful waterfront city with cute little store fronts, colonial buildings and brick streets. Michele and Andrew were so great to work with. Michele was a little nervous in front of the camera at first but Andrew completely put her at ease with his funny faces and jokes. Hey wait a minute!! That's my job!

Its always the ones who are most nervous going in to the shoot who end up surprising me, in a good way. Is it all a ruse Michele? This "I loathe photos of myself" schtick?

Michele has the kind of smile that lights up a room and lucky for me it grows ever brighter with Andrew around. Made for some pretty amazing pictures.

Here are some highlights from our day together! Hope you enjoy this session as much as I do!


Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

*****

Saw this painting in the window and had to snap a pic! Made me laugh.

Photobucket

*****

Isn't she gorgeous?!


Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

*****

If you like my work please follow me on Twitter or Facebook and feel free to email me any time! I would love to hear from you. :)

Cupid Says... - Breanne and Jason Engaged!

Breanne and Jason first met virtually online via OkCupid. According to OkCupid's highly scientific algorithm they were a 96% match. They began a semi long distance relationship -- she lives in New Jersey and he lives in Pennsylvania -- and after a short 3 month courtship they decided that they didn't need to wait any longer to know they were right for each other. Looks like OkCupid's got some 'splaining to do cause after spending some time with them and their two lovely daughters, I'm thinking that percentage definitely should have been higher.

We met at the beautiful Peace Valley Park in New Britain, PA. As a Southern California native I never cared much for "seasons" unless those seasons were summer and whatever in-between summer and spring is called. But when I arrived at the park I was giddy with excitement. The colors were so beautiful and the weather was perfect. I am officially in love with Fall.

Here is Part I to Breanne and Jason's engagement session. Part II will include their adorable girls but for now I wanted it to be all about them!

Congratulations Breanne and Jason!!

***
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

*****

And then the sun came out to play!


Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

*****

If you like my work please follow me on Twitter or Facebook and feel free to email me any time! I would love to hear from you. :)

Blogging tips