My fourth session with this beautiful family as they celebrate their daughter's first birthday!Read More
Late summer evenings carry a romantic tone with them that make little activities feel like you are savoring something rich and sweet. This particular evening felt just like that. The warm day was still lingering but the air had a hint of a cool evening ahead. The light was fading but glowing down on us as we tried to capture a few moments with a just turned three year old who will soon become a big sister. How lucky will I be when there are two of these sweethearts to photograph?! But as it stands I feel blessed to have had this evening, these moments captured to remember the little girl who had a great deal to say about day with a smile and a pout that equally filled me with delight. Life is so simply beautiful sometimes.
Family birthday parties are always something that I have held close to my heart. I can close my eyes and see my grandparents and siblings standing around our blue dining room table singing to me happily in tones both off and on the correct scale. Everyone brought something to the party and everyone celebrated the special birthday person, whoever it was at the time. I was lucky to be part of this celebration of family as this little sweetness turned three! Happy birthday or as Nonna would say "Buon Compleanno!"
I adore the beach. I imagine some of the first people standing on the shore, looking out and wondering what was out past what they could see. On our honeymoon on Petit St Vincent we slept with the sound of waves crashing at the wall that formed the base of our cottage and I felt as though I was somehow in rhythm with the heartbeat of the planet. I know it sounds poetic and probably a bit crazy but it makes me happy. As we drove closer to the shore I could almost hear the waves speaking directly to me. The smell of sun block and the feel of salty hair. Sandcastles and wave jumping. If I lived there would I be as enamored or would I come to take it all for granted. My girls.... have visited a few beaches on the Adriatic, Caribbean, and the east coast. But this time I felt as though both of them were really able to absorb all that I find enthralling about the shore. How lucky I have been to have a summer with a few scheduled trips. I tried to catch what I could of this love through the lens and no other instrument could be more connected to my heart with stronger ties so hopefully this gives you a glimpse into the affair.
Anyone who has seen a bit of my personal work knows that two little sisters are my favorite subject matter. Being a mother of two little girls I love to engage other moms in conversations about the difference in their ages and personalities or any of the little secrets that we, as mother's of girls, are privy. So it comes as no surprise that I was happy to have been asked to photograph this beautiful family and spend a bit of time with these little ladies. There were too many cute ones for me to narrow it down but I tried...
When a photographer that I have had the pleasure of getting to know through her work on instagram and on Clickinmoms posted that her son Leo was diagnosed with leukemia last month my heart broke. It's really no surprise that someone that I have never personally met would have this impact on me. With each of her images she draws you into her world from her perspective. Megan Loek's ability to use light and to give you a glimpse into the world of three little boys with dreamy skin tones and timeless moments is a prime example of what photography can do as an art and why so many people follow her on social media. Here is a link to some of her work on her website... just see what I mean.
So for Leo we took part in a series of photos to show our support for him as he bravely battles this sickness and for his family. My girls were so taken with the shoot and with the story of Leo that my oldest worked for quite some time on a super hero scene set against a Pittsburgh backdrop. So from our hearts to a family far away. Super little girls for a super little guy.
~ xo Marisa
It's no surprise to anyone who follows my work or has met me that I take my job of raising two daughters very seriously. We hope that what we are doing is the recipe for women who are well rounded, well spoken, charismatic, polite and yet grounded. (to name a few.. ) and for now it's just a bit of wishes and hard work. This young woman is what we would hope from our girls... she's the whole thing. I was happy and honored to photograph her as she enters her last summer as a real high school student. The world is wide open and I think she knows exactly how to make her space and leave her mark.
Often times I leave sessions and think about the ways that I end up meeting with a client. There was a string of people connecting these parents to Snowflake and I was happy to meet this family and to have been able to book a date in June when I knew how hectic our schedule was this summer. Their gallery is filled with what I could call "favorites" but these are just a few.
The months before a wedding start with that one multifaceted question. For so many it's a question that in our hearts we have already answered. Of course this is the one person that will not only stand by us on one fancy day but for all of the beautiful days after that. It's that realization that fulfills us more than any other decision we've ever made. I felt happy just being with them on a beautiful night on the river in Pittsburgh.
Holding her for the first time I couldn't imagine anything past that very moment. She fit into my lap and everything that once felt impossible still felt just a bit like that but truth was that this new little life was now part of our reality and new roles were being born right at that very instant.
Now six years later we are at the end of kindergarten. Prior to being a mother I would have thought that a graduation before heading to first grade was just a bit much but now that I find myself here I see the appeal. Not so much for her, but for me... a warning shot across the bow.... wake up and take it all in because as annoying as all of the warnings were, things do fly.
I look at this portrait and I see all of the contraptions built, the questions asked, the dance moves practiced, and the extra snuggle requests at night. She is so much of what I hope she becomes and I say a silent prayer that I have what it takes to fertilize this growing woman.
To all mothers, may we have what it takes to be a catalyst but not a driver. To be a teacher but not a dictator. To love but not smother their spark.
She calls certain things by their name in languages more romantic than ours. Like many of the girls' mysteries, I love to hear which words will remain this way and which she will opt to change. We hatched butterflies at home after my older daughter did this in school. It was fantastic to hear the terminology from her as she described to us the process that was taking shape before our eyes. All of it enthralled even my husband and me, from tiny caterpillars, to small cocoons, and then the hatching! From the beginning they knew that we would only keep them a few days before we would release them to live their short lives in the wild. It surprised me how at peace they were with the release, never once asking to keep these beauties caged. These papillon were painted ladies. Their paper like wings were camouflaged brown and grey on one side and a beautiful orange when flapped open. It helped me bring up the conversations about existence of species in the wild and about beauty. So much of a person's beauty comes from within; sometimes not as easily seen with our eyes. So when you meet people, when you look at yourself, use all of your senses to make up your minds about the beauty before you.
When I found out that she was pregnant I was so happy that my heart filled with joy and then to find out that there was not one little baby on its way but two!! I was giddy with excitement. Without a single reservation in my mind I saw these two beautiful people as parents. So much talent and love to share that it just seemed right that they would bring a sweet twosome into the world. Now nearly eighteen months since I first photographed them in their swaddle blankets they are off and running! Such different personalities and yet so very connected. I love that in the family picture they are looking right at one another. I can't help but wonder how their friendship will bloom through the years. I feel blessed to have had this time to reconnect!
I remember the waiting process for my first child… the buildup of being pregnant and the anticipation of all that was unknown. I could wash and fold socks, arrange a nursery, and read any book about what it was going to be like. But to be honest, I don’t know if any of that made us more ready for how our life was about to transform.
In those first weeks life seemed different. It truly was beautiful but raw and strange. How are any of us to really comprehend things that are yet to happen? It seems that one must be baptized by experience to really have the best vantage point.
I take on a select number of newborn projects each year and this little nugget of cuteness is one of the stories I will cement into what is becoming a breakout year for Snowflake. We had everything in order for him to come this May. Do you remember his parents just a few months ago? She was in her long dark blue wind-blown dress and he the ever adoring husband. We thought we had many weeks to wait and then much to everyone’s surprise they were graced with their son weeks ahead of schedule.
I spent a beautiful morning with the three of them in their new home. We captured a few moments for they are fleeting… these days with interrupted sleep, warm baby breath on our necks, and blurry eyes trying to take it all in. You would never know any sleep deprivation by this beautiful new mom and dad. Welcome to the world little guy!
When we made the date for this session a few months back I crossed my fingers! We planned for a possibility of still having a winter theme because March, as you know, can be quite finicky in western PA. Much to my delight the weather was in the high sixties and the day was beautiful!
These three were perfect clients and this little guy is going to break a few hearts it seems with his contagious smile!
I must say that when I went to Gene's shoe shop to have things fixed I always walked out thinking about how unique he is and what a talent he has that is seemingly not practiced much these days. There is a long list of things he repaired for me. He fixed a book bag that I used to get my Masters degree, a pair of black leather shoes that my new puppy schnauzer had found appetizing, a camera strap from the seventies that my father had given to me, and so many other random things that I just couldn't bare getting rid of because I knew they just needed a little love.
I knew that time was moving on and I kept thinking about how much I would miss his help when he decided to retire. This year he decided to do just that. He said that being a shoe maker came about because the shoe maker who taught him needed help and paid him a bit more than the job he had at the time. This turn of events proved fortunate for all who benefited from his craft through the years. I had always wanted to photograph him and with the installation I put together this past fall I finally had a good reason to ask.
I wish my schedule had provided me the opportunity to participate in the wonderful arts night in New Kensington this past Friday. I know which series of pictures I would have liked to have shared.
For all of those practicing an art so needed, for Gene who doesn't know me by name but has impacted my world, I thank you.
As the years have moved on in this business I have had the ability to move from staged portraits to a more journalistic or lifestyle approach with many of my clients. Recently I was contacted by a family that I have had the pleasure of shooting their pregnancy and then fresh from the hospital newborn portraits. They called me to book a session for their now five month old baby girl and her great grandmother. I was excited that we were able to book a session in the short time available for it to happen.
I must say that this woman was a portrait of class and her love for her great granddaughter was exactly what I hoped to document. I held back from sharing more but I should tell you that I left the session feeling full and happy.
From my lens to your eyes.
After a crazy fall schedule I always look forward to our annual day of short sessions for a small group of clients and a few repeat clients who book their holiday sessions far in advance. For the short sessions we brew hot cocoa, bring baked goods and music, and mingle with a mix of old and new faces. For my other holiday sessions we normally have wishes for snow but hopes for an absence of rain. All together it makes for a sweet way to end the year. A small taste to enjoy. Happy Holidays!