the perfectly imperfect: a close out to a month

i rolled my sleeves up last night and finally dug into all my nashville pictures. i have so much to share. i loved those 4 days. i miss those places and friends and baked goods.

when i saw this one  i stopped. still. i usually roll through the editing process really quickly, but this image made me stop. still.

it has that transportive element i am always trying to find in my work. it’s not focused or clean, but i think it’s those imperfections that make it perfect, to me, at least.

even now i am transfixed, but something. ;)

september was GREAT month; i feel accomplished at its close. just a quick reminder that today is the last day to book the anniversary sale. i think there was a tiny bit of confusion: you only need the booking fee of $100 to book the special. pay that now and then the remainder the week we shoot. the $100 will book the sale for you! then you have a year to use it! today is your last chance! the savings are so incredible! take advantage!! email if you have any questions!!

also wanted to get my holiday sessions on your radar. i will be offering holiday sessions in old orange, california on november 19th from 9am-1pm. sessions will be 20 minutes each and you will get your favorite 2 images on disk, (perfect for your holiday needs) for $180.00 plus tax. (additional images or otherwise can be purchased according to my a la carte pricing. please email if you would like to reserve a spot for a mini session; i would love to meet you!

in the meantime i hope your last day of september feels accomplished! happy fall!! kj

never without you

“if you live to be a hundred, i want to live to be a hundred minus one day so i would never have to live without you.” –winnie the pooh

jess, chris, and bro, thank you for sharing some time with me; i hope i never have to live without you either. ;)


don’t forget there is a week left to book the anniversary sale!! jump on it! it’s time to make some memories with the people you want to live to see 100 with. ;)

goals for the weekend

may you laugh really hard this weekend. the kind of laugh that makes you almost cry. the kind of laugh where you double over in hysterics.

and then may you find some really incredible light. the kind that kisses your face when you stare directly at it. the kind that makes you look like a charlie’s angel when you put your back to it. and may whomever is staring at you fall madly, deeply, in love.

goals for the weekend: laugh. hard. look like a charlie’s angel. fall in love or re-fall in love.

go get ‘em tigers!! happy weekend, y’all!!! let me know how all the goals go!! ;)

nashville nightcap

i meant to post this last night. hence the nightcap title. not sure what you drink mid-morning. for me it would be a nashville diet coke or a nashville glass of water, maybe a nashville protein shake? none of those sound nearly as good as a nashville nightcap. ;) whatever you are drinking right now may it only be enhanced by the sneak peek  you are about to see.

i get incredibly attached to things and people. the attachment usually happens quickly and then i feel like i add new things and people to my list of healthy habits. i get incredibly homesick for my new attachments when i don’t see them regularly. it’s odd. i feel a sudden fulfillment and then an immediate void when i have to leave or they do. this is how i am feeling now about nashville and all of my experiences there. i loved it so much. not sure what’s not to love: down-home hospitality, fried food in any genre, great fashion, accents i could listen to all day, and good kind-hearted people who legitimately are interested in me.

i miss my friend kellie. miss the laughs and empathy we have for one another. i miss her kind heart and sincerity. so glad we were able to spend a day together doing two things we love: shooting and discovering the perfect baked good!!


she and i got out on an adventure friday. we found some great finds:

i bought a pair of red cowboy boots. similar to these. these were the other option. they were $350. my friend julie says you should only buy boots that expensive if plan to sleep in them or if they are made of extinct ostrich. i went for a less expensive pair made from goat.

i am homesick for the fried food, and currently back on the detox, but while away it’s compulsory to eat fried food, especially while in the south. you just have too. you must. or you are ostracized and shunned, and i just couldn’t have that happen to me while away, so i indulged in the most incredible things ever: fried green tomatoes and fried pickles!!!

i miss the textures, local color, and sounds of nashville. i miss courtney, a former student. it was so good to see her and catch up on her latest! she made me smile, like she always did, and she made me homesick for my days in the classroom!!

i miss these two. i only met them on saturday but feel that we have been friends for a lifetime. the kind of friends that have lunch on a regular basis and meet up for a quick treat or chat whenever our schedules allow. i love it when strangers feel like kin. jordana and trent are those people to me. i also loved how willing they were to make themselves vulnerable to us and to share their relationship so wholeheartedly with three strangers. i am in love with the images we shot; i can’t wait for you to see more!!

we had a small shoot with them in the am and then when the light was just right we met up for a stylized shoot in the incredible fields (i miss those two) of franklin, tennessee. the shoot was stylized by the talented and effervescent amy lynn larwig. i am already missing the emails she would send in regards to the shoot. she is sunshine, personified. if you are in the nashville area and need any styling needs, amy is your go to. she will make you feel like family in less than 2 seconds.

just a few for now from the poet and the muse:

i also miss a friend i have been admiring for months now. we finally got to meet in person; she was so textured and interesting to me that i felt an immediate loss when we had to say goodbye!! nicole is the author of the photographer diaries. you must read and keep up with her, her work, and many other creatives there! she was charming! true to all things southern. ;)

and, i’m getting a little emotional even right now, but i miss the two incredibly talented and inspiring photographers and now friends, that i went to that rad city to meet in the first place!! i feel so homesick for my new friends! we made immediate connections on so many levels: photography, family, teaching, relationships, diet coke…the list goes on! i miss you both! thank you, from my heart, for having me, for the experience, and for touching my life with your spirits and talents!! so happy to have met!!

you must check out and add chesley and rebecca to your google readers. they are true artists and i am so happy they are my friends!!

to all y’all, i miss you! you are my new habits and i just can’t quit you!!! (that sounds like the making a great country song…:))

thank you again, for having me!! more from my trip soon…love to y’all!! xoxox kj


the clock turned the day; it’s officially her birthday.

while the beauty slept i snuck into her room to breath in her last few moments of being two.

she is just three, but it’s going so fast. too fast. jaren broke down her crib while i was away last week. probably best. i get attached to those kinds of things. and the memories soaked into them.

i put my face next to hers tonight and whispered, “you are beautiful, and smart, and so so special.” and she is. and we love her.

jaren came in to my office tonight and sat down, “we have good kids.”

“yes, we do. they are a total gift in our life.”


we stopped talking, i started to feel a bit of a cry coming on, a happy one, a grateful one. we both felt a profound sense of gratitude for the little bodies sleeping in the rooms next door. for the protective and sensitive big brother whose conscious is tangible, and for the opinionated and determined little sis whose personality is larger than her little frame.

apparently 3 is the new 16. or at least that’s what she thinks. ;) hopefully the scooter will suffice instead of a new car! ;)

today is YOUR day larkee. all the surprises await you, love! we are excited to be able to celebrate YOU! we love you, doll face!! xoxo mom, dad, and gun

a fighting chance

ask anyone. they’ll tell you. i have a very low pain threshold. pain could easily be one of my greatest fears. as a perfect illustration to how afraid i am of it, i got both epidurals i have ever had at 1.5 centimeters. and that’s the truth. basically, i’m a wuss. however, i can honestly say that as scared as i was to birth my children their “birth” days were the the two best days of my life. i would live them over and over again if it meant i could feel the incredible joy i felt on those days.

i can’t imagine the pain that would come with the worry if a baby was born too early.

way too early.

i got an email a few weeks ago from a very brave mother.

“I need your help. Our second daughter entered this world prematurely ( almost 4 months too soon). After 107 days in the hospital, we just brought her home 3 weeks ago. Her immune system is very compromised so we have to stay home. Is there anyway you can come out to our house very soon and take some pics. I was not going to do anything too big but she is a true miracle and I want to capture her in every way possible. Although she is 4 months old, she is technically only 3 weeks old but growing sooo fast.”

107 days in the hospital with a baby the size of a dinner roll sounds painful to me, on every level possible. baby natalie was so little when she was born her tiny hand fit through her daddy’s wedding ring. the doctors gave baby a 30% chance of survival. how do you interpret that as a parent? how does that in any way translate to the language of your heart?

compliments of the family’s memories, a few snapshots from the hospital:

this little family took it a day at a time. they relied on the knowledge of their nurses and doctors,family and friends, and a power much greater than themselves. the spirit inside that tiny body was much stronger than her delicate frame. she’s got the heart of a lion. 30% change swiftly and before long she grew, developed, and was, with much celebration released from the hospital and allowed to go home! the road ahead is still a bit precarious, but the most significant fear is behind them.

natalie is home. safe and sound. healthy and adorably happy.

i have been thinking about this little family since i closed the door and walked away from their session. natalie is a breathing miracle. she, they, will never consider life and its gift the same way again.

so glad you are a part of this world natalie; happy you will be here for a long long time!!!

nobody, NOBODY, loves you like your mom. a mother’s heart, it just feels so much.

natalie was also welcomed by a big sister who won’t remember much of this time, but will always know her sister is a special gift to their family. just as she is!

both children are so loved:

i don’t think there will ever be a moment when atia and karl hold their newest baby and don’t consider everything they endured for those 107 days. i don’t think there will ever be a moment when they don’t feel a profound sense of gratitude for her life.

thank you for sharing this time in your life with me. i was humbled and inspired by the fighting spirit in ALL of you!!! thank you for reminding me to consider life, differently. much love to you all!!! i’m excited to watch your most recent miracle grow and grow!!


cash, it’s hopeless. you can anticipate being kissed like this for the next 60.5 years of your life. get used to it bro.

i adore this image.

more from a family i want to kiss like this every time i see them soon…

jess, chris and nash, i mean CASH, thanks for spending some time with me!! excited for more!!! xoxo kj

{elevate} a fine art photography exploration: project 1

a few weeks ago i got an email from my colleague and friend gina oh. she told me she and nichole van were spear-heading a fine art project which consisted of 15 photographers. she asked me if i wanted to join. essentially the task at hand was to create something, i felt, was fine art each month, post it to my blog with an explanation of how the art was created or why i, as the artist, feel it is art, and then link to the other members in the group. easy enough right?

i hesitated.

i was totally and completely honored to have even been a consideration to rub shoulders with such incredible creatives, but sometimes it is safer if i just work and create quietly behind the doors of my office or with my closest confidences on my own personal projects. it takes nerve to get your “art” out there next to other art that you feel is way better than your own art. i have a hunch you might understand how i feel. i am in the business of being inspired, not intimidated. i constantly seek elevation and flee from intimidation!! i know myself too well, too. i don’t like to put myself in situations where i question my abilities or vision. i told gina i needed to mull it over. i spoke with a few of my friends about it, and shared my feelings with jaren. everyone told me i was crazy if i didn’t take advantage of this opportunity for the sheer reason alone that it will provide a PUSH!!! a push outside of my boundaries. i emailed back to gina that i was in and have felt giddy excitement since!! since then my head and many of my conversations have been focused on the definition of art, it’s subjectivity, and how i see art personally. it has already made me think on a higher level and that’s the way i love to view and experience this world!!

nichole van wrote the following as an intro to our exploration:

“I love art. It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I grew up thinking of myself as Anne of Green Gables where I had to turn the whole world into something romantic. I longed to be the Lady of Shalot floating to her doom down the river, pining in her unrequited love for Lancelot. I ached for rustling silk dresses with puffed sleeves and thick hair to my knees. I wanted a world that was removed from the mundane simplicity of everyday life.

But of course, life comes in and we grow up and move on. There isn’t enough time in the day to even shower, much less indulge in artistic flights of fancy. We have children, get a job and acquire debts. We cheer soccer games and kiss booboos and wash that same cup for the thousandth time. We forget the past and become “adults.”

And then one day, we pick up a camera. And take that first shot.

And all that youthful longing comes rushing back—it’s as if we have been drowning all these years and someone finally pulled us back to the surface. Color comes back to the world, color that we had never noticed was missing.

Coming up for that first gasp of air is exhilarating. For me, I couldn’t get enough of photography. It consumed me as I was suddenly able to express everything inside, all this longing that had been pushed aside for so many years. I would stay up nearly all night working on a new project or a fun idea. I would read everything and had a huge list of photographic concepts I wanted to try out.

But of course, again, life comes in. We want to share our newfound gift and now there are photography debts to be paid too. So we leave that list of concepts and turn our passion into our job. It’s fun and rewarding and exhilarating in a different way. But appointments and editing and deadlines leave little room for personal expression.

But I’m still that hopelessly romantic girl. And I still have a list of creative ideas a mile long that I would love to complete. Henri Matisse stated, “An artist is an explorer.” I often feel like that, though perhaps it’s just a journey of self-exploration, understanding myself a little more. So I decided to take a little time each month to explore photography as an art form, to elevate my understanding of both art and myself, and allow that deeply artistic side of myself a chance to spread her wings.

So I banded together with a handful of other photographers to create a blog project focused on exploring the fine art side of photography. Each month, we will post a photo or series of images focused on art and photography. There are no rules. Just post what comes from the heart and allow the inner artist a chance to explore and fly.

So welcome to “{elevate} a fine art photography exploration.”

the second monday of each month we will be posting our explorations in fine art. join us! we would love to have you follow us on the journey. there is a link at the bottom of each post, it will take you to 15 different blogs that have all been working on the same goal: elevating our minds and translating it to our craft.

the challange came to me during an ultra busy time. i have ideas, but want to execute them well. from the posts on our facebook page it was evident i wasn’t alone; many of us asked it if was appropriate to lead out with something we had previously shot that we felt was in the fine art arena.

in honor of the pending fall, and all things chilling i’m going to revisit one of my favorite shoots. ever.

my girlfriend katrina and i had a vision: we wanted to haunt a house; we wanted to make the living dead.

we brainstormed, studied ideas, and the more we talked the more scared we became by our own goal. it gave me chills just talking to her about it.

after the shoot i knew i was on to something really good when my son snuggled next to me while i was editing my ghosts and he told me he was “scared” of what he was seeing, that it was going to give him “bad dreams” and that i needed to “shut the lid of my ‘puter” so he wouldn’t be scared anymore. from then on he and i have had numerous discussion about spirits, hauntings, etc. no matter what he will not believe me when i try and explain that the images were of real people; i was not literally shooting ghosts. i made them up, conjured them! i knew i was really on to something when i sneak peeked the ghosts and the commentary i was receiving was that everyone was “freaked-out!”

fine art makes you feel something.

it’s not always the beautiful emotions of love, kindred, peace, or solitude.

sometimes fine art makes you feel fear, trepidation, worry, unease and in the case of the ghosts, an overwhelming sense of the heebie jeebies.

if you have seen these before, may they resend chills. if you are new to the ghost experience, be spooked, be very spooked!

the ghosts started with a strong base in hair, make up and wardrobing. we wanted it mystical yet errily intriguing. katrina had found a link previous for a mac make up line that had been discontinued. when she showed me, i knew it was the direction i wanted us to go. the magic with the ghosts really started there. they became true ghosts later with post processing. right after their initial posting along with the emails of how scared everyone was the follow-up question: how did i do it. :) i smiled at the scared part knowing i had achieved a goal: to make people feel something, and then shared that the images consist of two pictures. it’s the exact same image i just did certain things to one image and not to others. you could shoot the room empty then haunt it and shoot again, but i needed them to be dead on (ha!! pun not intended, but totally timely and perfect!! ;)) so i just used the same image, worked on one level and then pulled it through the other picture.

i hope they make you consider: what’s out there…

i do believe in ghosts. i think their world and ours, is, well, the same. mull that over for a bit. ;)

katrina and i are currently working on the 2nd annual ghost shoot. same location, totally new hauntings. mark oct 19th on the calendar if you would like to attend the ghost shoot sidekick! details to register will follow soon. ;)

in the meantime click on the following link to see more fine art. wendy vonsosen is such a beautiful talent; i know you will be inspired by her art!! the journey will take you through 15 different blogs, 15 different visions, and 15 different ways to elevate the mind!! enjoy the journey!

may you push yourself too, to consider the fine art in your life!!!

the heroine’s journey: a happy ending to the tale

you’ve all met kelley. several times actually. you helped give her some strength when she was trudging through a difficult moment in her life. remember the story? remember when your heart ached for her and you wanted to do anything to help her feel peace, to know she would be ok? i do. i remember wanting my friend to feel so loved, so protected, so understood and so safe. i remember praying that her heart would heal and that someday, it would find love, again.

i got an email several months ago telling me those prayers had been answered: she was going to be a bride again.

i don’t think i stopped smiling for days! i know i got emotional a time or two on their wedding day, because i was so happy.

so happy that our heroine’s tale started a new chapter filled with all of the things she needed. so happy i was able to be a part of their celebration!! it was filled with so much joy that even now i am getting emotional considering it all!!

the week of the wedding kelley and i spoke to visit about the details. after our call she sent me an email. her tone was so sincere, so perfect that i felt it best to quote her here. she shares everything that needs to be shared and does it so eloquently!!

“We met online on an LDS dating website and met in person a few weeks later. Right away, we noticed many points of compatibility between us. We had the same energy level, the same sensibilities. We clicked. We got each other. We’d shared similar life experiences. We saw the world in the same way. Our level of spiritual commitment was the same.

From the beginning, our relationship has always felt familiar and easy. I had dated a lot since my divorce, and so I had a lot of points of comparison. It didn’t take either one of us very long to figure out that this was it, that we wanted to build a life together.

Tom is smart and informed and well-spoken. More importantly, he is kind and gentle and emotionally available and loving. Most importantly, he cherishes me and is committed to caring for my children the same way I care for his.

We have been filled with so much peace and gratitude in the days leading up to the wedding. We feel strongly that God has played a part in bringing us together at this time in our lives and we are SO THANKFUL.”

to my friend, i am so happy for you. congratulations a thousand times over!! may this new chapter in your life fill volumes, epistles, epics!!!!

we all waited patiently outside the draper ut temple, our breath held each time the door opened. her exit was going to be exquisite, regal, stately.

georgia and grant were especially excited to see their mom. this is a day grant with probably remember. georgia will be reminded of how sweet she was:

it was one of those moments, hard to explain. we say it all the time, but this time it really happened, i couldn’t breath or think for that matter for a second in time. i fumbled remembering how to work my camera.

she was resplendent, everything a bride should be on her wedding day.

her babies, like the rest of us, were so happy to see the bride:

and after that i couldn’t help it! i’m surprised i could see; i was just so happy there was no other emotion to prove it!!

he does love her. so much. and she is so complimentary of him.

their reception was held at millcreek inn, nestled in a gorgeous utah canyon. the party details were perfectly understated yet refined and sophisticated, just like kelley.

i adored the cake made by salt cake city:

the lemon/citrus theme was so fresh (pun intended); i loved it!!

their mailbox was a great detail. next to it were cards addressed to the couple with boston cityscapes (the couple is making their new home there. kelley deserves boston!! it deserves her!! ;))

LOVED THIS!! yours and mine=ours!!

tom is loved. and it makes all of kelley’s friends’ hearts happy to know that she is too, and that someone is taking care of her the way she deserves to be taken care of. her heart is safe again, and that’s good.

she was the quintessential bride. breathtaking on every level.

few kelley details:

i adore this next image. put it on a 16×20 canvas please.

the look of these next couple was the feeling i had all day: complete and utter calming happiness:

mingled with true and genuine emotion:


just so pretty:

l knew in my heart that kelley would find love again. i knew it would happen quickly. i also knew she was deserving of true love.

i am so glad she and tom found each other:

and i LOVE the new family they have made.

not that she couldn’t have done it alone, or that she wasn’t a phenomenal mother before, but i am glad she has an extra set of hands and a listening ear at the end of the day now to help just a bit when being a parent gets tricky!

kelley, tom, and family, may you always feel as blessed as you did on this day. may you always be present for each other. may your hearts continue to grow with love and gratitude that you have each other in your lives.

from my heart, thank you for letting me be a part of this day; i was so grateful. congratulations!! i love you all very much.

and now we turn the page, and wait for the rest of the story to be written.

kelley and tom’s wedding day vendors:

dress: Alta Moda Bridal

(kelley wore vera wang.)

hair/makeup: Stephanie Brinkerhoff

venue: millcreek inn

cake: Salt Cake City

flowers: Summer Jensen Chatwin

invitations: Voila! Press

shoes: TJ Maxx

hairpins: (Vintage Valley Girl)

family portrait: (Nat Smith Illustration)

AND a big thank you to brooke bakken for being my sidekick for the day; i loved every bit of it!!! wish you were my neighbor. can you imagine the fun we’d have?


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