There are just over three weeks left in 2011. Three. 3. Yeah I know- how is that possible? Well, all time-space theorizing aside, that means I have three weeks to share with you some of my favorite work from the year, before closing the proverbial books and starting fresh for 2012.

Personally, 2011 was both awesome and challenging. That is pretty much how daily life is when you're running a business and raising a 2 year old. Seriously nonstop adventure. Artistically, I feel I have grown this year, and allowed myself to try new things and be stretched. That has been amazing, and has resulted in some of my favorite work ever.

If you follow me here or on Facebook or Twitter, you probably remember this artist session with my beautiful friend Mary. Sometime around April, I decided to act on this idea I'd had to make sessions with artists a new part of my business. Creative types- the writers and musicians, painters and dreamers- are some of my favorite people on earth. I love their depth and unique against-the-grain-ness, their quirky personalities and willingness to think outside the box. I also feel that artists (including myself) tend to struggle with being business-minded about our art, and yet in order to make a living from it, we have to force ourselves to learn. Marketing is a very visual thing these days, and I wanted to provide really special sessions for creative pros that highlight what they do and who they are, with images they can use to promote themselves.

So, back to this Spring. Mary had recently returned to Florida from spending a year in Tanzania (awesome, no?). We hadn't seen one another for about four years- since graduating from college in 2007, so since we were in the same town again we met at a local hippie coffee joint to catch up. I told her about wanting to shoot artists, and she was totally willing to get in front of my lens. And let me tell you, this lady is an artist. She is a truly gifted actor, an eloquent writer, has a keen photographic eye... and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if she has at least five other creative talents I don't know about.

We met on this cool rocky beach one evening, and spent a couple hours having a seriously great time. It was a really refreshing shoot- just fun and free, and I feel like the images capture her. She wrote me a note- during the session actually, in my little Moleskine notebook- and in it she said, "Thank you for making me feel real." That one sentence has been such an incredibly powerful gift to me. It continuously inspires me to truly see each person I photograph. To make people feel real, beautiful, seen... that is worth striving for. It puts into words what I have always wanted to do in my work. Not just using film or pixels to capture what they look like, but telling a visual story of who they are. So thank you so much, Mary, for your words, your spirit, this session, and your friendship (and let's go for coffee soon, hmm?).

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