Monday, December 26, 2011


Tara and I went out on photo adventures on Mondays this past semester, because she had projects to complete for her film class, and because I will use any excuse to take photos. My favorite place to run to when the light gets slanty and golden is the swamp that surrounds the lowlands by the river, out where the city runs out and everything is vast and still.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

what did you say that for?

I have spent a lot of days alone. I have tried not to think. But last night, I stared at the ceiling in the darkness instead of sleeping and let all the thoughts out.

 I used to be good at talking about things, but now I'm not so sure.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

quiet places

I would sleep in the sun forever like a cat if I could sleep at all.

I am a little obsessed with photographing quiet places.

Monday, December 5, 2011

a quiet afternoon with you

My friends Victoria and Vance have been dating for two years. I photographed them at three months, and then again this weekend, when they allowed me to spend the afternoon with them at Victoria's house.

This series is about the quiet, comfortable side of relationships. It's a picture of young domesticity.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

the meaning of photography in my life

For a feature in an online magazine, I was asked to tell what photography means to me. So here it is:

I am a theatre major, and as such, I am taught to see the world in stage pictures and in my contribution to the work as a whole. Life is an ensemble piece. That is what photography is to me. It’s my contribution to this slice of the world that I am living in, through portraits of my friends, self-portraits that articulate the character of me, and film photographs that lend depth to the quiet moments of my life. Theatre is ephemeral; it is over as soon as it is performed. But photography is something I can keep forever, frozen exactly the same way as the moment in which I saw it.

driving away with windows down

Tara is taking a film photography class, and we went out to work on a project. She had to shoot medium format, so I shot medium format, too. And 35 mm, which is what these are.

Friday, November 25, 2011

lost in neighborhoods of civilization

I love exploring the tiny town that I live in. It's so easy to get caught up in the world of university, but Karleigh and I went out and found the pieces of real life that surround us.

Monday, November 21, 2011

like death warmed over

This is a horrible self portrait that did not turn out like I wanted, and still I am posting it, because this picture is what mono feels like.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

i remain treasured

Donielle and I went to the top of the mountain in our hometown. We had a picnic and talked about and to Jesus. We had never gone up here together, but now that we live in a different city, we met over break to go here and remember when we were young and think about how next year, we will still be together in a city without mountains.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

to learn the tree tops' song

My grandparents took me on a drive through the mountains to Tennessee over fall break. It snowed once we crossed the border, and I huddled in the backseat under an ugly kitty blanket and listened to stories they've told me a dozen times before. When I think that I may not have more moments like this with them, driving around corners of the country, it scares me. When I leave, these will probably be my favorite memories. I know that I rarely talk about my family on here (or anywhere, ever), but the small bits of family I have are buried in my heart deeper than almost anything. I'm scared to leave them.

The first two pictures are of their house in the mountains. The last one is an overlay of Donielle from two days later, on top of another mountain.

Monday, November 7, 2011

more than a reflection

I got into self portraiture around the same time that I got my first dslr camera in 2009. At first, I explored self portraiture because I had a lack of models and was better at portraits than any other type of photography, but as time went on, I began to realize that self portraiture was a way for me to put myself into the scenes of my choice and exhibit my own story using my body and that scene.

I am a theatre major at university. I spend my school days collaborating with others and my nights in rehearsals, endeavoring to communicate with people as a character. I have to be conscious of my fingertips and feet and elbows and spine, the way I walk as a character, where I am spacially, what my face is saying, in short, everything that I use in self portraiture. When I do a self portrait, I am the designer, director, and actress. I combine aspects of what I have learned as a student of theatre with the art of photography, and the end result is my self portraiture.

I don't just go out randomly to take pictures of my beautiful face. When I take a self portrait, it isn't an attempt to feed my narcissism. I do self portraiture to convey something specific. Every portrait that I take has a purpose behind it. My digital self portraits are more refined than my film portraits, but I love film self portraits because of the raw honesty. What you see in these self portraits is the moment as it was - my posture, my hair, my face, where I was, what I was really feeling. It hasn't been manipulated. It's real.

It's easy to get away from reality when you're an actress. You live so much of your time in a character's head, or trying to figure out what is in their head, that you find yourself playing the character of yourself when you are away from the stage. Or at least, I did. I found that I was rarely completely honest with my friends and family. So I started an honesty project in which it was just me and my camera, and I endeavored to find honesty in moments of my life. When I felt like I was getting better at achieving that, I moved on to photographing honest portraits of my family and friends.

Self portraits are both an expression of who I am and what I feel (or sometimes, a character and their world) and a glimpse into the real dimensions of my world. They have taught me a lot about what it means to be me.

That is why I take self portraits. That is why I risk being called vain and narcissistic. That is why I wade into rivers in November or climb to the tops of mountains with a tripod or turn on my camera on the days I feel ugly and desperate.

If you don't take self portraits, I challenge to try. Try to photograph who you really are and what you want to be. See if it changes a small aspect of your life.

And if it doesn't, you'll still have photographs to show the you who tried.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Strong Holds

I've had a hard semester. I've been getting closer to God, yielding more, making more concrete plans, and a part of that is going through trials, both trials of temptation and trials of refining. Friends are being taken away. Circumstances aren't happening the way I'd like. But Karleigh and Donielle have been so strong for me. When I've had hard times, they've been there to hug me. When we've been having good times, they've been there for laughing, for walks, and one Friday, they both cried on me at the same time.

I'm so lucky to have them.