Reflections on Motherhood

On January 3rd we celebrated Eloise’s 1st birthday which, to be honest, felt more like a celebration of surviving our first year as parents. My c-section scar has nearly faded by now as my body is finally returning to a state I recognize. It is as if time is slowly erasing the evidence we used to be one. I still breastfeed Eloise when she wakes in the morning and at her bedtime, very cognizant that these are the last remaining moments of her as a “baby”. How can something that goes so slowly also go by so fast?

As I reflect back on this first year I am astonished at all the changes I had a front row seat to witnessing of what it means to be human. The way we are when we enter the world, how we instinctually know how to survive it. If Eloise could remember one thing for herself from this past year, I would hope it would be the image of her parents heads squished together as close to her face as possible absorbing every detail of her. In the first few weeks I watched her eyes slowly open and turn from deep gray blue to the sky blue they are today. I watched her eyelashes come in followed by her first tooth… and another and so on. The Saturday when she had her first laugh was one of the highlights of my life. Kevin and Eloise and I wearing silly hats doing a silly dance all laughing hysterically. What fun it was when she started to taste her first foods and the joy we have now sharing meals as a family.


I spent almost the entirety of 2019 just being a mom, helping this tiny little dependent creature come into the world. I, in turn, transitioned into a mother. In the beginning it was terrifying. Every day. I grew tired of watching Youtube how-to videos. The learning curve of baby stuff was really not enjoyable for me. Not knowing what’s normal. What’s enough? What’s too much? And always, is she breathing!? We never set up a deadline of when I would go back to work. How could I possibly know something I’ve never experienced? In the end, Eloise started creché  (French nursery school) at month 11 and I gained my days back. I felt it was time when she had developed beyond simply being a baby to eating full meals and discovering the world around her with a vivacious curiosity. I felt she was healthy mentally, physically and emotionally and ready for her own autonomy. I think giving Eloise all of me in her first year of life was the greatest gift I could give and I hope it sets her out on the right path in life and I hope I created a bond between us to last her lifetime. I feel very, very fortunate to have been able to do that, time is our most valuable commodity is it not? 

Of the beauty, seeing Kevin transform into a father has brought so much love into my heart. He found patience and strength I never knew he had. There is a tenderness and protectiveness that had been there all along dormant waiting for her, but most of all, he makes her laugh everyday. He puts in so much energy to play and connect and care for her. He’s dropped work to run home when I’ve had “all hands on deck” explosive diapers and he has not judged me when pushed to the brink of insanity and exhaustion and needed a break. He is now the one that gets up with Eloise in the morning and changes her diaper and they go make coffee together so I can have 15 extra mins of sleep. He was there, a perfect partner, 100% committed and we are the happiest little family because of that. He is a great Dad and Eloise adores him.


It was so hard in the beginning with her and yet I long for those days. To hold a baby is to hold hope, purity, innocence, and pure love. I look back at photos of her then and I just can’t believe how tiny and helpless she was. I hope I held her long enough, strong enough, warm enough… I know I did but I hope she felt it too. If I could go back and give myself some advise it would be that it’s OK if she’s the only thing I do all day (and night, lol). I felt a responsibility to cook and clean and think about work even though my brain could not function. It was totally against my nature to just “sit around” holding a baby when I’ve spent my entire life being overly productive. I feared Kevin would think poorly of me at a time when my confidence in everything was already shaky. I put this pressure on myself and I wish I could have just said fuck it. Cuddling and nursing and diaper changes are all we are doing today and tomorrow and maybe for months and that’s enough. That’s enough. 

Motherhood has been its own journey of ups and downs. The ups are perhaps the essence of what life is truly about. Soul to soul overwhelming love. Joy that wants to explode out of my skin when I see her, when she laughs, when she rolled over for the firs time or clapped on her own merit in response to “good job!”. But also, exhaustion, identity crisis, relevance, body issues, loss of freedom, mourning my absence from photography which is my individual purpose and passion and fear of losing my creative vision. You can feel all of these things and still be madly in love with your baby. You can be completely frustrated you have no time or energy to create but also be so OBSESSED with your little one that you can’t tear yourself away. I just kept telling myself, I will have the rest of my life to make photographs but I will never have this day again with Ellie. Babies change so much overnight, I just had to make peace with pausing my life and saying, “OK, I’ll look forward to all the things I’ll create in the future but for now, she’s it.” I don’t want to miss a thing. I don’t want to regret not being there, not being present because we can’t do this over again for her. Looking back on the first year I know I made the right decision for myself. I miss endless days in the studio alone with my craft, I miss commercial projects that earn me living and give me the joy of collaboration but just like that, they are already back and my baby is off on her own adventures. 


I’m still not sure what the impact of transforming into a mother has had on me yet. I’m still too “in it” to process its effect or to see a difference in my work. There is a change in how I see the world, but how that translates I don’t know yet. Part of the approach to the 12 month portrait series was as a way for me to “see” us in a way that I could understand, in a way that is easiest for me to communicate- through the lens of photography. I simply wanted to see us change, together. I look at it now and I do see us. I see the discomfort in my body and in my soul in month one. I see Eloise’s defiance of being treated like a baby in month three. She would never let us hold her like a baby, she aways wanted to be UP. Standing up, sitting up, up up up. I see her personality begin to shine in month four along with my confidence in my abilities as a mother. I can see when it started to get fun, when our relationship became deeper, when I transitioned from proud strong nurturer to baby wrangler. But mostly, when I look at this photograph I see Eloise grow into her own, I see how time has taken two shaky humans trying to figure life out and turned them into an  “us”  and when I see where we are today, I know I’ve done my job. 

This was without a doubt the hardest year of my life. I wish I had family nearby to help. I wish I owned a house that felt like our home. I wish I had saved more, planned more, read more. I guess no one is ever truly ready for a baby. We thought we were, but the transition is just still so shocking. To this day we are still discovering and saying “wow, life was so much easier before… but man we would never go back to life without Eloise”. As hard as it is, it’s so worth it. We all belong together, to each-other and as much as I will miss these days of having my baby, holding my baby, this purity of life is so beautiful to witness that I’m unable to fully express it into words yet, I do look forward to what comes next. I do think the best is yet to come and I do hope, most of all, this one year series will continue to grow into a lifetime.

She has painted our world into color with merely her existence… life means Eloise. 

This writing is not meant to be read as commentary on how one should or should not mother their children. I am speaking from my own experience and making the choices that were right for myself and my family. Every parent and every child is different and there are a million correct ways to raise a baby. I pass no judgement, I hope those of you reading this will as well. 

Favorite 1st Year Baby Things:

If you can afford a night nurse I would highly recommend that to get though the first weeks and then to help sleep train your baby. Some of my friends did that and it was great for them. If not, I highly recommend getting a SNOO which was what we did. We used this from week 6 to month 6 and LIVED for it. We even traveled with it everywhere we went. They also do a rental program to save on the cost.

♦ The Happy Sleeper– the book we used as a guide to sleep training with fantastic success. Eloise sleeps between 11-12 hours a night and it taught us how to train her and gave us confidence in what to do. 

Baby fashion brands and shops I love: Bon Point, Smallable, The Tot, Pepa & Co., Misha and PuffLa Coqueta, UPA, Goldness, Bébé Organic, Bunny Bogart, Wild Wawa, MIOU, Micaela Greg, Pink Chicken, Maisonette, Tartine et Chocolat, Soor Ploom, Love Shack Fancy, Tocoto Vintage, Luca & LucaJanie and Jack, FUB, Rylee + Cru, Noble Carriage, Atelier ChouxThe Little Tailor, Condor, Daniel & Sofia, The Beaufort Bonnet Company, Marie Chantal, Petite Plume, Anavini, Petit Bébé, Pixie Lily, Lullaby Set, Apolina, Donsje (shoes), Little Unicorn (especially love the hooded towels), BonTon (especially love the store in Paris), Briar Baby

♦ BABYZEN Yoyo + The best stroller. Light, folds up tiny, fits easily anywhere including small cafes and overhead on airplanes and it lasts! Goes from birth bassinet to toddler. Highly recommend the bag attachment, great for grocery shopping or when you’re out all day to throw things in. 

♦ Angel Cab– The most beautiful stroller! Some of my most fond memories from year one, especially in the first 6 months, was pushing Eloise around in this stroller. We called it her Rolls Royce! The most smooth, elegant thing, and unlike the other 99% of strollers, absolutely gorgeous to photograph. 

♦ Thule Urban Glide II– We started using a running stroller around 9 months. Kevin did a lot of research on this and spoke to a stroller running club in NYC and this is the model that came most recommended and we see why, we love it! Totally smooth, feels really safe, great storage, and the design is perfect for it’s function as far as hand placement, leg room. I can’t imagine a better running stroller. 

♦ Medela Freestyle Breast Pump– I was very happy with this breast pump kit. Easy to use, worked great, could carry it around with me, easy to clean. If it’s not working great for you, try a different size breast shield, once I switched to a smaller set than what came with the kit it worked MUCH better. We also bought storage bags to freeze excess milk and really, you have to buy the bustier so you don’t have to sit there holding the bottles. With the bustier you can be hands free and I would just attach the machine to my waistband so I could move about. However, I pumped a lot in the beginning to make sure I had enough milk because I was alone in this whole journey and had no idea if she was getting enough to eat, so by pumping I could see there was milk in there. Since I was never away from Eloise there really wasn’t a reason for me to pump unlike for women who go back to work at 6 weeks / 3 months and want the caretaker to bottle feed their baby breastmilk while away. Knowing what I know now I would not have pumped at all, ever. But again, I’ve never been apart from Eloise so I didn’t need the supply. 

♦ Nuna Pipa Lite– We have been really happy with this carseat (the 1st purchase was a disaster so we desperately bought this one).  However, if I could do it all over again, I would but the Nuna Exec which goes from birth to being a kid! I don’t know if this was available when we were looking or if we were just delirious and missed it but is so much better to just buy one and done than having to keep buying carseats as they grow. As far as car seats that clip into strollers, in my opinion, these are good in theory but Eloise is not one of those babies that enjoys a car seat. EVER. So that was never an option for us. 

♦ Baby Bjorn Mini– This was one of our most used, must loved items. Eloise loved it, especially when she was big enough to face out. She always wants to be upright and looking at the world. The slings never worked for her. This carrier was great quality, soft, easy to put on and felt safe. 

♦ Baby Bjorn Bouncerwith google eyes– Eloise preferred for me to always hold her but time to time she could chill in this bouncer while I made dinner.  

♦ Cocoonababy– This is what they used at the French maternity where I gave birth and what Eloise slept in while there. We got one for home and she would take naps in this in the day which worked out great and slept for some periods at night in the beginning. We only used it for the first couple of months but I loved it because she was strapped in and it’s designed to newborn baby bodies so it just felt very safe. We had some extra colorful sheets and a cover which is like a safe blanket. 

♦ Swaddles– I mostly used these for tossing over my shoulder breastfeeding in public though they came in handy a few times for emergency clean up situations. I think I really only needed two but would use those two for sure. 

♦ Baby Cream– You know, this is totally unnecessary but I can’t tell you how much joy it brought me to smell this scent every day and now have that scent, which is such a timeless European scent, remind me of baby Eloise. And actually, the bottles lasted for 8 or 9 months so not a terrible value. Eloise’s nursery smells of this scent and it is just so pleasant in the early mornings when it lingers (Kevin calls it aromatherapy). I didn’t start using it until she was a few months old as I wanted to make sure her skin wasn’t sensitive or she wasn’t sensitive to scents. I did not wear perfume or scented lotion either! When we did begin to experiment I did a patch test first to make sure everything was ok. 

Big Flopsy– Around month 7 in pregnancy I was having discomfort sleeping and we bought a Big Flopsy from France’s version of “Buy Buy Baby” out of desperation and it has literally been my MVP. We call it my “snuggle slug” since I was always wrapped around it. I traveled around the world with it throughout my pregnancy, used it every single day and since Eloise was born, as a nursing pillow. When she was a baby I could prop her up on it, lay her down in it to nap and wrap around her as she learned how to sit up. It’s been so useful. The brand of mine is Red Castle which is popular in France but I know there are many similar items in the market that work just as well. 

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib- We have been really happy with this travel crib! Folds up small, easy to travel with, easy to set up and feels completely safe. It’s a great size and great quality. I couldn’t imagine a better travel crib. 

If you have thoughts, comments or something you would like to share, please do so on this instagram post! I would love to hear! 

Gift of Life

When it all goes wrong, in order to go just right…

I was one week late when my water broke and on New Year’s Eve at 11:58pm we called the maternity “Bonjour, my water broke, should we come in or wait?”… and with that we were on the dark, frosty country roads of Provence making the hour drive to Pertuis nervous and excited and filled with that sort of panic realization there is no turing back now. 

We spent most of the night in the examination room hooked up to monitors tracking very faint contractions, the baby’s heart beat, my blood pressure, my cervix, which is all very unpleasant but necessary to get a gauge of what was happening. At about 5 in the morning after I declined being induced to speed along the process, they sent us to our room to wait it out. And wait and wait and wait we did.

They gave me a 48 hour deadline to have the baby from when my water broke. I tried everything from birthing ball maneuvers and stretches to deep visualization meditation for hours and lots of raspberry leaf tea but still nothing. In fact, the faint contractions I was feeling eventually stopped. At four in the afternoon the Sage Femme, which translates to wise woman in French and is their version of a highly trained midwife, came in and said it was time.

We needed to start the induction process.

Of course I cried. Why didn’t my body work? I had prepared for months mentally and physically for a natural birth and I chose one of the best maternities in France for natural birthing. My dreams of floating in a warm bath during contractions were gone. My idea of Kevin wrapped around me on an upright birthing stool were being crushed. I had chosen a natural birth because it was most in line with how I live my life. I don’t even take headache medicine! Getting me to go to the doctor for anything is almost an impossible task and I was, up until this point, proud of myself for taking the vitamins and iron they told me to and doing all the lab work on time, even though I loathed every second of it. And now, my body would be pumped full of synthetic chemicals and my mind focused on the fear of more intense pain than I had prepared for. 

We negotiated and they started me out on a low drip to see if it would kick start labor. Hours began to go by with little progress. We played our music, the lights were off and we had the room filled with our faux candles (ok, not a fan of electronic candles in real life but in a hospital they were one of the best purchases EVER!). I had at this point five different cords streaming from my body to devices so I couldn’t get up and walk around or go to the toilet but I was grateful they let me bounce on the birthing ball instead of just lying on the bed which would have been sheer torture for me. Then the sage femme came in and said ok, we are past time, we have to move this along and turned the induction drip all the way up to high and it was as if the room when black and I was thrown against the wall! The pain knocked the life out of me and all I could get out of my mouth, doubled over in pain, was “GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL, GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL NOW, NOW!”  and just like that the doctor was in there and a team of nurses quickly making it happen with massive tears falling out of my eyes from the intensity. It took three people holding my hands for the doctor to be able to administer the epidural and at this point I felt as if my body didn’t even belong to me anymore. I didn’t recognize the sensations, I didn’t understand the forces and behavior I couldn’t control and at this point, to be honest, I was frightened. I had focused all my attention and research on how to have a natural birth I knew nothing about induction, epidurals, and what was later to come…

Once the epidural kicked in I melted into the table. I could relax. The induction machine was left on high and she gave me three hours to progress for a vaginal delivery. Every hour she would come in and check my cervix and for three hours in a row I stayed at 2cm. At 1:30 in the morning she took her gloves off and said, I’m sorry, I think we have to have a c-section. I laughed and said “why not, might as well experience every way to give birth possible.” “Can I still bring my cameras?” In that moment I had to let go of my ideals and just do what needed to be done for the health of the baby who, at this point, was not under distress. I woke Kevin up and said it’s time, right now. From this moment on I kind of just tried to give my body over to science and float my mind above it. It was incredible to watch everyone like a well choreographed ballet, move in perfect harmony through the process instantly. I looked at the female doctor who would be doing the procedure and I said, “just tell me what’s going to happen”. Kevin was changed into scrubs, I was transferred into the operating room and I’ll never forget the anesthesiologist leaning over me in the bright lights and saying in a thick French accent “looks like a movie set right?”, I’ll admit, that made me happy. 

Laying on the operating table, strapped down in the shape of a cross, I was shaking violently from the magnitude of the moment and gravity of fear for the two things that were happening. One, I was about to be sliced in half in a major surgery. (I personally consider a teeth cleaning a major medical procedure.) And two, we were about to meet our daughter. Was she ok? Would she be ok? Is there something wrong with her, her lungs, her ability to survive? This moment of the greatest anticipation of my life was here. They brought Kevin to me, told him not to look and had him hold my hand. We stared into each others eyes, mirror reflections of the same emotions. The same thoughts swirling in our heads. Will the surgery go as planned, will our baby be OK? How are our lives about to change forever.

It got weird fast.

The sensations of people pushing and moving your body parts around. At one moment I told Kevin it felt like a waterfall was coming out of me and splashing on the floor. A visualization now represented by the pool of red fabric in the lower left of this image. When I created the first half of this self portrait, 9 months pregnant on the left, the red fabric was the symbolism of the umbilical cord, the last thing that would connect bébé to me and what provided her with life for her first 9 months. I had no idea the pooling on the end would come to represent a story I had never even considered before. 


I asked Kevin to talk about something, anything, other than what was happening. I wanted out of my body. I wanted my brain to go far far away. He told me he’d take me to Geneva for really good sushi and get me a massage at the Four Seasons. We could take bébé for a walk around the lake as a new little family. I dove into the dream and held on to the image of the three of us like a warm beam of sunlight on my face… and then with tunnel vision fixated on Kevin’s eyes we both heard her first cries and our eyes went blurry with tears. I kept asking, is she ok, is she ok?… she’s “Parfait!”. They brought her around to me and put us cheek to cheek. I’ll never forget her warmth, the delicate little sound of her cry, the way she breathed in air in her first moments of life. Our energy is connected yet we’re meeting face to face for the first time. I can’t look at the photograph Kevin took without crying, every sensation purely raw with emotion; love, relief, joy, excitement, wonder, gratefulness. I have never felt pure instant love like that in my life. That moment changed me forever. 

They took her away with Kevin to do skin on skin bonding while they pieced me back together. Lying there on the operating table alone was difficult but it was over quickly and I was being wheeled down the hall to my new little family. We spent the next three hours alone just the three of us, cuddling, talking, nursing, kissing, and just being in that moment. It was extraordinary. 

Après birth.

Kevin and I were both worried about how I would emotionally feel about how our birth ended up playing out. Would I be depressed because I wasn’t a woman who could give birth naturally? Would I feel like a failure, like I hurt our baby with chemicals? Would I feel like my body betrayed me? Here is what I know now: I don’t feel any less a woman because I had an incredibly medically controlled unnatural birth. In fact; the courage you must muster for both moments comes from the same place. I feel just as empowered having made it through, just as proud as if I had been able to have a home birth. What really matters is a healthy baby and maman.

A few days after the birth and things began to settle down, our main sage femme told us her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice and looped around her shoulder and arm which is possibly why she couldn’t begin her decent on her own in the world and if she had, could have ended in a lack of oxygen to her brain which might have caused brain damage or worse. When we found this out, our experience turned into a miracle, turned into a gratefulness that we live in a medically advanced era to be sitting here as we are today, all OK.

I look at this double portrait which started with a piece of raw, red fabric of symbolism and now see how significant the umbilical cord played in our story, giving life, almost losing it, and cutting her free into my arms. 

The best advice I can give from my experience is to have a plan and prepare but be ready for anything. If anything comes, it’s ok to ask for a moment to process it. To let go of expectations in order to adapt and in the end reach the same goal of new life. Also, surround yourself with a team of women to support you. I want to think my friends Claire, Erica, Annie and my Doula here in France for being in constant contact with me throughout this process, and not telling me what to do or say but just making each moment ok and less scary. The support was invaluable. For example, Erica told me “every birth is a natural birth!” which helped me accept what was happening. Claire said in her own experience “the 2nd best thing to happen to me in 2018 was an epidural.” which made me not feel like a weak failure in that moment screaming for one. Annie said “you can only plan so much, sometimes stuff just happens. It’s all good, you just want a healthy baby.” … and that is what we got. 

This is our birth story on January 3, 2019 at 2:09am when we welcomed our daughter into the world. 


The end to a new beginning…

Looking back over my New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 I am proud of how many goals I accomplished, and I do think writing it out helps us to achieve. One thing, however, was missing from my list for 2018… Have a baby. I did not start this year with that in mind. In fact, she was a birthday wish in March when it just felt right. I also never wanted to put the pressure on myself by setting it as a firm spoken goal to get pregnant. I’ve always sort of considered it as something that would or would not happen as it was supposed to, which is very much my approach to how I live now and a fantastic way to keep stress low. 

So here I am, 9 months pregnant looking forward to 2019 not only as a new year and a new beginning but a whole new life! I expect a great adjustment period and I’m prepared to give it the time it needs to settle. I already long for my work, the mental track I follow to deeper creations, which I was on before derailing to feed another human growing inside me. My goals this year have less to do with professional accomplishments and more to do with redefining my place in the world as a mother and co-parenting partner while still nurturing myself as an independent creator. 


As I write out my New Year’s resolutions in no particular order I wish you all the success in yours on this new year….


  1. Have a baby.
  2. Be present. Single handedly one of the best life changes I have adapted to since moving to Provence has been the ability to be totally present. Though I have mastered being present in a way that is beneficial to my body of work and personal well being, I have yet to experience applying it toward another human being. I must make sure to be present for bébé, for every moment, and be open to letting that experience guide me in a new way. 
  3. Learn French. 
  4. Make Macarons successfully
  5. Find a bigger space to live (while keeping the current space as a dedicated photo studio).
  6. Continue to work with more French brands, expanding my knowledge on all things French
  7. Renew the French visa without so many difficulties this year and/or transition the visa into an artist visa for France.
  8. Allow myself the freedom for my personal work to develop in new unexplored directions influenced by the experience of becoming a mother. 
  9. Experiment freely! 
  10. Write more 
  11. Finish the book on my life and work in Provence (!!!)
  12. Experiment more with the process of foraging flowers, silica flower drying, then pressing to ultimately start making flower art designs specifically for my body of work in France
  13. Figure out a better flower pressing method for larger florals 
  14. Continue to share photography tutorials
  15. Continue to build an open conversation for creatives on my Instagram platform 
  16. Write a guide to Provence! 
  17. Open an online store to sell my print editions 
  18. Workouts! Starting with country walks with bébé, to the yoga and barre classes I can now drive to now that we have a car and when I’m ready, to begin running again. 
  19. Do not let stuff accumulate. Something that terrifies me about babies.
  20. Raise our child the way that is right for us
  21. Allow myself to be a mother but know that I am not only defined by this one thing. I am still me, and when I am ready I can be both. 
  22. Drive to Italy
  23. Take a cooking workshop in Italy!
  24. Take the ferry to Corsica
  25. Explore the English countryside  
  26. Take bébé to visit the Loire Valley in the spring and stay in a fabulous Chateau
  27. Eat at Noma 
  28. Visit San Sebastián, Spain
  29. Share more real life candid moments
  30. Shoot more film of raw unedited life
  31. Use the car as a tool to explore more of France and dig deeper into my photographic work, observations on life in Provence and foraging for subjects in still lives  
  32. Learn how to make baby food
  33. Make more videos 
  34. Make the perfect broth 
  35. Figure out French daycare system (crèche)
  36. Give myself time to adjust to being a mom and enjoy every second of her before pressuring myself to start producing work
  37. Build a darkroom 
  38. Continue my design collaborations with new inspiration based on my ability to now get out and explore more of the countryside
  39. Keep the car clean (meaning free of stuff inside as well)
  40. Consider creating abstract works that blend the story of Provence with memories, textures, and light without being literal scenes with the intention to print large scale. 
  41. Turn my journal into an artistic time capsule with Polaroid transfers, pressed flower arrangements and my thoughts hand written out
  42. Draw more
  43. Learn Calligraphy 
  44. Take the Belmond from Paris to Venice
  45. Save for a family home

Monet’s Garden

What a wonderful, wild experience it is to walk inside a painting and to see the world through the eyes of an artist. An early morning train from Paris, a walk through a quiet French town, and then you arrive into the pallet of Monet‘s mind. 

“My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.”- Claude Monet

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” -Claude Monet

New Year, New Birth

2017 was by far the best year of my life. This is a surprising statement for me to make considering where I was at this very point a year ago. Having uprooted my life abruptly to move to Provence only a few months prior and still just in the very beginning stages of that journey, I was lost. I was still tired from New York, I still had so much American programming I needed to break free from, I was still needing the winter to rest or rather disappear for a while. Then the spring came and with her I blossomed in my work and in my soul. I can look back now and see through the shifting light of day, the shift in myself and my photographs. Surprising turns, new awareness, presence and inspiration in the everyday. I fell in love with photography all over again. It has been and will always be what I most want to do every day when I wake up but more so now than ever.

Today, January 1st, 2018, I re-read my resolutions from last year and felt proud of the work I put toward them. I love living with less, wasting less. Seeing the emotion, awareness to time, romanticism, thought, and painterly quality come through my work as I outlined for myself gives me a sense of pride and empowerment that I can create what I dream of. I did make a home for what feels like the first time in my life because I’m actually living my life now as defined by me which is as simple as cooking meals and making fires. I built the world I wanted to live in and that is a real accomplishment. I’m proud of myself. I thank you all who are reading this and for being there in spirit with me. 

I don’t really know where all of this leads and that’s ok. I don’t always want to know the weather report, sometimes it’s nice to just wake up and discover it’s snowing or find yourself lost in the early morning fog… it’s how I ensure each day is full of life’s simple magic. 

As I write out my New Year’s resolutions in no particular order I wish you all the success in yours on this new day of a new year….

  1. Continue seasonal Provence still lives series 
  2. Greater foraging for my photographs
  3. Find and incorporate more nature to grow stories through a local taxidermist, working with more bugs and personally shaping them and finding French flower growers (farms) to source from
  4. Learn more French *cries*
  5. Even greater carbon conscience diet, less red meat, as locally grown as possible
  6. Discover more independent French brands to support
  7. Find more French artists to collaborate with
  8. Continue to develop my self portrait series with greater storytelling
  9. Share info on artists I follow and admire on Instagram (via stories)
  10. Collaborate with more fashion designers 
  11. Begin flowers, fruits and coups series 
  12. Continue to develop glass plate series 
  13. Save for a chateau 
  14. Experience more French cultural events (ex: Jazz festival, Paris white dinner)
  15. Experience Max Richter’s Sleep 
  16. Go to the Paris Ballet 
  17. Complete Cinemagraph goddess art series in Paris 
  18. Experiment with printing, learn about archival museum quality digital printing options, what they each look like and start experiencing my work in the physical world. Let living with photographs influence the next stage of growth and development 
  19. Accept new photographic art challenges through private commissions outside the digital space 
  20. Learn something new everyday
  21. Continue to focus on community growth via instagram to have more shared conversations on photography 
  22. One photography tutorial a week (saved now to my Instagram highlights!! Yay!!)
  23. Create a short film that represents what life in Provence is truly about. How it feels. Capture this moment in time.
  24. Experience Italy
  25. Experience a nude beach in the south of France and or coast of Spain
  26. Visit a Mediterranean island
  27. Figure out a better direct communication system than Instagram’s DM
  28. Have a book published on my Provence work (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DREAMS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  29. Design and have created clothing to wear in Provence and costumes for my photographs *note, I would like to be able to sew these myself but I’d need to take classes again and I think maybe too much to bite off for 2018’s goals*
  30. Put together my Spotify playlists to share
  31. Greater pictorialism in my work 
  32. Read MORE photography books! (and share what I learn)
  33. Continue to detach further from society norms and cultural standards, live freely 
  34. Become more fearless in my work and photographic experimentation. It’s ok if people don’t like some of my pictures, trust in the process and growth. The value is not in likes but in how much of life I can explore and express. I need to feel safe and free to go further. I can’t let other’s view of the world effect my own expression or experience of it. 
  35. Consider creating photography workshops (design what that would look like)
  36. Continue to learn experiment with cooking and new recipes 
  37. Update a new organization system for inspiration, ideas, goals, notes and thoughts 
  38. Capture raw un-styled everyday life completely free from the “perfection” we are shown daily as what life is supposed to look like. (Inspiration, Annie Leibovitz early years work exhibition I viewed in Arles, France last summer)
  39. Work on creating stronger portraits of people I admire. Create ONE image of someone that says something than multiple quick shots that all together tell a story.
  40. Find gallery representation 
  41. Put together a gallery show 
  42. Make my photographs more like poetry 
  43. Stop and write when the words come 
  44. Consider renting a separate workspace in Provence
  45. Focus my writing to comment on the day to day of life
  46. Extend my photographs greater into the universal human experience 
  47. Travel slowly 
  48. Further illustrate emotional life experiences into pictorial photographs 
  49. Run 2-3 miles every day (or other workout)
  50. Figure out my French visa situation and find a way to make it longer term 
  51. GET A DOG

“In the currents of life, in action’s storm,
I float and I wave
With billowy motion!
Birth and the grave
A limitless ocean,
A constant weaving
With Change still rife,
A restless heaving,
A glowing life-
This time’s whirring loom unceasing I ply,
and weave the life-garmet if deity.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust

My Home in Provence

Nestled among the vineyards of Provence I live in a humble apartment that was once part of a wealthy family’s mansion, located in a small valley town called Apt, in the heart of the Luberon. The town was built by the Romans and their fingerprints are still visible as part of everyday life. I live here, more than I’ve truly lived anywhere, and above all, I create with the life I’ve found:

(#MyEverydayProvenceObjects // #MyProvenceSelfPortraitSeries)

This approach to living caught the attention of Sophie Peyrard who interviewed me for Grazia. Being that it’s in French I have no idea what it says but that remains to be true for how I’ve been getting by in France this past year anyway. I talk about my home, the incredible hand painted plaster ceiling of a royal wedding crest I wake up under each morning. The evening fires that are a constant in the autumn and winter. My terrace and garden that is a daily reminder of the passage of time. Then, and perhaps most importantly, my Provencal kitchen and heart of life here. I told her about how much I love my bike rides on the Calavon bike trail away from cars and noise while leading you through vineyards, orchards, lavender fields and amazing historic sites such as Pont Julien, a 2,000 year old Roman bridge.

I shared with their readers some of my favorite spots I’ve discovered in the South of France for those of you who want to visit this place and taste the life of Provence. This includes Villa La Coste, Lac D’Esparron, La Chassagnette, La Bastide de Marie, my daily bakery Boulangerie au Pierrot Blanc, my favorite French antique shop La Maison D’Inés, and of course, the Saturday morning market of Apt

Here are some of the images from the feature along with the interview for those of you lucky enough to read French for a small glimpse into #My_So_Called_French_Life

Floral dress by fountain by Zimmerman with Loeffler Randall rope sandals // Blue dress in the vineyard by Vika Gazinskaya (no longer available) with hat by Jacquemus (no longer available) // Wrap dress in the kitchen by Christy Dawn // Dress on the terrace by TEIJA as well as the dress by the fireplace // Dress with bike in vineyard by SEA


A. Lange & Söhne

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Making of a short film

Recently we created a video for A. Lange & Söhne, a German watchmaker founded in 1845, for the 2017 launch of the Lange 1 in white gold and Lange 1 Moon Phase in white and rose gold. I thought I would explain to you the creative concept behind the final video so you can see the thought behind just beautiful moving visuals of their stunning timepieces. When we work on brand projects such as this, we spend weeks in a creative think tank before ever picking up a camera. Every detail is pre-planned and every aspect of the video serves a purpose with meaning, even if it’s not meant to be obvious.

Creating the concept

We wanted to draw a comparison between the craftsmanship and artistry of both photography and watchmaking by creating something both very technical and sentimental in our story telling. By studying the dial design and movement of the timepieces, we were inspired to explore the themes around human connection and our ability to traverse time and space, reach around the world in a split second, be as simple as the air we share, or as complex as a physical touch. The written words of one man from a century ago can reach another today and affect the choices he makes. We wanted to explore these connections as invisible threads of cause and effect, known as the butterfly effect, in a series of four themes of human connection: Air, energy & light, communication, and touch. As visual storytellers, we decided to not tell the story of human connection through a linear fashion but rather as ticking moments in the cinematic frames of our lives, beating in time and weaving together the fabric of life.

Split second moments

By using a special cinema camera called the Phantom we were able to stretch mere flashes of moments of time to many seconds, giving the feel of a photograph that has opened up.


We capture a man who is driving out of the city, the speed of the car creating wind that whips around a woman stepping out of a vehicle on her way to a meeting that ultimately blows through an office window whipping the papers out of a man’s hands. The air that touches us all, moving in masses of pressure dancing through the millennia.

Energy & Light

Energy & Light captured through three times of day starting with a man who looks up in the sky and blocks the midday sun from his eyes while the same afternoon light falls through horizontal blinds across a woman in her office while another man creates light in the early evening by turning on a lamp. While we each experience these phases of light in a day, this also represents man’s progress through time from first only experiencing the natural light to then shaping it to ultimately, creating light from energy.


Communication also captures how we can be connected through time in past and present. The written word of man read today through modern means shown as a businessman on his iPad. The forms of communication we use now that extend beyond words as we become an image based society shown through the moment a female photographer raises her camera to capture a photograph which will be shared through another means of communication.


And finally, touch. Touch is one of the strongest way we shape our experiences with the short time we have in life. A shot setting the time on the watch is a representation of this theme. A woman, strapping on her watch is saying she is a conscience participant in the time she has to touch people’s lives. And perhaps, the most human of all touches, between two people, as a man reaches to guide a woman’s back through a doorway and be perhaps the touch that changes the course of their lives.

Connecting the Themes

Time is of course a visual thing you can see through the movements on a timepiece such as these by A. Lange & Söhne, but, it can also transcend mere mathematical moments of our day. I think in this video we try to show how connected we all are, not just in our modern world through technology but through the history of time together. 

About A. Lange & Söhne Timepieces

With uncompromising quality, each and every timepiece separates A. Lange & Söhne from other watchmakers around the globe. They do not distinguish between a sophisticated complication and a classic three-hand watch in terms of precision and dedication to detail and every Lange timepiece is endowed with an in-house designed manufactory caliber and equipped with a precious case made of gold or platinum. The three watches you see in the video above include the Lange 1 Moon Phase in white gold which prominently features the astronomical “moon phase” complication. The Lange 1 in white gold which has world-renowned recognition to the asymmetric dial design and prominent outsize date. The outsize date was actually inspired by the five-minute clock in the Dresden Semper Opera House. Lastly, the Lange 1 Moon Phase in rose gold features an elegantly guilloched, argenté colored dial with two golden moons.

You can find out more on A. Lange & Söhne’s website here.

August Still Life

I was in a bit of a creative block today.

I have so many things I want to photograph and create that at times I find it overwhelming. On top of that, when I do create work that I feel really satisfied with I have this moment of pride and joy and then the terror of oh God, what am I going to do next? To take a photograph is one aspect of photography, to make a photograph is another. Making a photograph, a process I have been sharing in more and more detail on my Instagram stories, requires a harmony of light, technical knowledge, talent and what feels like a billion…painful…gut wrenching decisions. Sometimes when I’m starting out my day setting up the camera I can feel paralyzed with the daunting amount of decisions that are ahead. Internal monolog: “What’s the theme today, what do I want to communicate, what prop do I want to use, what do I have lying around, what is missing, what does it need, where should the shadows fall, which lens, which aperture, should their be one petal…two… five… ten?… maybe turned a hair to the left, no get rid of them all. God, what I did yesterday was so much better. Did I just peak?…” For example.

A few times the past few months I’ve given in and continued my series on the history of Versailles in an attempt to bury my head in a pillow. But most days I just take a deep breathe and try to quiet my mind down to one thing. Just start with one thing. That’s my best advice for anyone stuck with where to begin, with what to photograph. I have found that once I get my camera set up, choose that one thing (today I started with plums) the wheels start turning and one thing leads to another, as it does in life, and voila! You are on the move making the decisions that were so crippling moments before. The one thing doesn’t have to be a prop either, or subject matter, you can start with just say a lens. I’m going to shoot with my macro lens. You make that first decision and then that leads to the next and so on. Other times I have just started with a spot of beautiful light raking across the floor, well the floor was dirty so I covered it, then I found something I had lying around that could play in the light and I was off to the races.

This still life started with plums and ended with a concept around an Autumn harvest, a sort of chaotic cornucopia which is a pretty accurate representation of where my mind was today. I raided my fruit bowls, tore apart my bouquets and foraged for more figs from the garden. Then, in one of the ways photography can truly become magical, a bee flew in the windows and landed right in my still life and I was once again, satisfied. 

Provence Pre-Autumn Still Life


For the first time in what feels like forever, the air in Provence was cool again. But a different kind of cool, an autumnal coolness. That kind of light crisp air that feels flirtatious. Ever since mid-June, the afternoons in in the South of France have been thick. The world moves slowly. It has to or you will die. The light is so bright I call it a blinding white and everything is bleached out to the point where all the colors that make this region so painterly are gone until the evening brings sweet relief.

But today was different. I awoke to a chill. I drank my coffee in bed under the covers. I ran my morning errands, buying a baguette, some fresh eggs, these vintage glass treasures, the farmer’s daily delivery of seasonal fruits (plums today), in a linen blazer and scarf. But that light today… that French light was back. Angular and golden. No more darting from shady spot to shady spot, wondering why after two applications of deodorant it still seems as if you are wearing none at all, and being exhausted just from being … alive. It leaves you in a dizzying summer haze.

I walked around town and felt the cool air on my cheeks. It’s amazing how just the change in weather can make your soul feel so many things. Today felt like new beginnings. I felt hopeful. The same way I felt last autumn when I arrived in France with so much to discover. The same way I felt when I first arrived in the autumn to New York City so many years ago. The way a perfume can take you back to a memory, that is what autumn’s air does to me. It takes me back to the excitement of new and all the possibilities are as endless as my dreams.  Most of all though, I felt hopeful. 

This still life is a representation of the cusp of summer and fall. The last of the summer fruits that have hit the markets, sun ripened plums in dusty hues of green, yellow and blushing berry. The leaves that will one day soon begin to turn. The white light becoming golden. The end of the nocturnal summer parties spilling way to what nature will bring tomorrow in the never-ending cycle that is the greatest gift of Provence. 

Old School Photography


Perhaps the most meaningful personal shoot of the year comes every December. We sit down and talk about what the year meant and how to capture that in a photograph. How to express where we were at that time. I shoot the annual Ann Street Studio holiday card photograph in the same format each year, on a 4×5 film camera with black and white Ilford film.

This year’s image crossed continents twice from start to finish. It begins in France, taken in the afternoon light of Provence with flowers I bought at my little town’s Saturday farmer’s market. After I framed the flowers just so, I used two magazines to manipulate and block the natural light of part of the background and on some of the arrangement while the shutter stayed opened for 30seconds. I shot somewhere around 15 plates with variations on lighting and exposures then packed them up and brought the sheets of film back to New York with me to be hand processed at LTI.

As always, I took the processed film and contact sheets to my favorite darkroom lab in Boston which I pilgrimage to every winter and spent two days hand printing the set of 200 on Ilford warm tone fiber base paper.

I brought the final 200 back to France with me and spent days by the window light addressing each one, some with added personal notes, to be mailed out all over the world. It is a long process but one that brings me great joy in a digital age. To give someone a physical object you made with your heart, soul and abilities is like having a small piece of me in your home. The sense of pride I feel when people send me photos of the image framed in their home makes me feel grateful that I am a photographer. However, for the most part I don’t know what people do with them. I like to imagine someone using one as a bookmark to later discover again years from now. I like to fantasize a child or grandchild will come across one decades from now in an old box and feel a connection to me or at least to who I once was. They don’t have to know me personally but I hope they know my work.

Holiday_Card_2016_005Holiday_Card_2016_002 Continue reading “Old School Photography”

When Pigs Fly…


When I first started my journey to France I got a new piece of jewelry, something that represents my approach to life. It was a signet ring by Retrouvai, a modern heirloom designer based in L.A., with a flying pig engraved in gold in the middle.

I love signet rings with their classic monograms so this was a bit of a departure but the symbolism of the flying pig to “embody strength to overcome life’s greatest obstacles” was exactly the reminder I wanted to give myself to be strong on my new journey in a far off land with a foreign language I did not speak, I was in a town I’d never been and was living in an apartment I’d never seen before, in the middle of nowhere. Fast forward five months and everything worked out.

It wasn’t always easy.

I have cried from frustration, fear, exhaustion, confusion but now I’ve grasped the swing of things. I’m a better person. I’ve learned so much about myself and grown immensely by doing something so completely different than the life I had created in New York. I am stronger. I’m a better photographer, I’m an inspired artist. But perhaps more important than any of it, I took the courage to live one of my dreams.

When you test what you can do you realize that anything is possible. The limits we create in our mind are just that, creations of the mind. Every time I slide this ring on or off or catch glimpses of it reflecting the light I think about that line engraved on the inside, nestled against my skin, a message that is one of the things I most believe about how to live a fulfilling life… “Anything is Possible.”

“A wise man once said anything is possible when you stop believing it is impossible.”

More stories from my life in Provence here.

Winter in Provence

Life fell into a quiet pace. In the mornings I count the bell tolls while the angular winter light rakes across the crumpled bed covers. In the evenings the cry of the starlings marks 6pm as they dance to their symphony in the sky.

fireplace-provence-cinemagraph-615The distant sound of a person’s footsteps on the quiet ancient streets, the soft ambience of rain outside my aged glass window plane. Most days nothing is happening. The stores have closed for the season, the visitors have gone home to Paris and on many of the restaurants old signs hang saying closed until April.

I go for long walks between the towns, the vista dotted with chimney stacks dancing with smoke. A dusty blue haze settles in before each sunset, a faint reminder of richer blues skies ahead.

It’s better than I imagined, the quiet after years of thriving on noise. Life noise, street noise, work noise. Manhattan just seems to constantly hummm. I used to be afraid of silence but now I find myself in it and it is there in the void where I can paint all the worlds I dream of.

As I work in the short hours of afternoon light I watch as it scans with each passing minute through the room I photograph in. It always seems to start with such gusto and by the time it reaches the last corner before slipping away it slows to a linger like taking that last sip of champagne.

The nights are illuminated by roaring fires and home cooked meals. For years I cursed the winter, I never knew it could actually be so warm. I watch the trees and the vines and the rosebushes rest… and I rest… because with spring awaits new wonders to discover .

Drinking Wine in Provence


I remember when I first moved to New York in 2003 the sticker shock I had over the cost of food and drinks. A poor college student, underage, I didn’t drink back then and even if I did, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. It took a long time in my late twenties to finally accept the fact that cocktails can cost $18 apiece and a good bottle of wine at dinner will be half of the bill if not more. When I cooked at home, on average, the cost of wine for dinner was between $20 to $30 a bottle.

Then I moved to France.

I’ll never forget the first time I walked into the wine shop here and looked at the prices. The average cost for a locally produced bottle of wine was under $10. And we are talking very good wine. Standing there confused I was having the inverted sticker shock sensation I once felt in New York. I must have looked completely bewildered, staring at the shelves of bottles motionless. One of the shop keepers asked me if I needed help and after fumbling shyly through in French “I’m sorry I don’t speak French, do you speak English?” we started a dialog which has continued to this day to enrich my knowledge slowing unlocking the French wine regions one bottle at a time.

We started first with what I was making for dinner, honey and herb roasted pork loin. You do not have to know anything about wine but you do have to know what you’re eating. The French are experts on pairing wines to flavors and I find this to be the best way to start a conversation and begin to make sense of a wine region.

It’s very funny being in a place so different from home. In Provence, and one of the reasons I love it so much here, there is a matter of fact approach to wine making. It’s not overly glamorized, commercialized, hyped, locked away behind gilded gates and sold to you in an expensive package. The goal is not to get rich, the goal is to make good wine for your community.

Wine is treated as a right, not a privilege. We all have the right to good wine.

Driving from village to village in the Luberon is a beautiful tango between small winding roads and blankets of vineyards tangled with life. In a word, it’s breathtaking. It’s a symbolic view of the cycle of life. If Napa Valley is a beautiful woman with her coiffed hair and makeup dripping in diamonds and high heels, Provence is her tomboy sister with striking natural beauty, long wild hair barefoot in the dirt draped in a linen dress. The locals here talk about the region’s vineyards and what years yielded the best wines. I visited one vineyard at the footsteps of Bonnieux on a recommendation to buy a bottle of theirs from a specific year. The French woman who helped me was quite unapologetic while she informed me they were sold out. That’s just the way it is. There will be more good years.

Perhaps my favorite moment from last autumn’s harvest was the sight of an old farmer happily bobbing along driving his tractor through the middle of town pulling a large bed overflowing with grape clusters. I assume he was en route to our town’s CSA winery where the local farmers can bring their grapes to be mixed together and made into wine. It is here where you can buy bottles of wine for around $3! An American I had met some years ago that once lived in Provence told me “they pump wine like gas down there” which at the time I thought was a metaphor but found, it is actually true! It is here at the CSA where you can watch people come in with their large empty plastic jugs and just like a gas pump, fill-er-up. No fills, just good table wine made from the community. (I’ve snapchatted / Instagram storied this)

It’s been a fun and interesting experience and I can tell you one thing… it’s going to be very hard to go back to New York prices after this.

Wearing in portrait above:

Monogrammed (check cuff!) “Husband Shirt” by Misha Nonoo, vintage vest from my favorite vintage store on earth Melet Merchantile, linen scarf from Merci-Merci Paris, leather boots by Lucchese Boots, IWC Portofino Watch, “The Perfect Vintage Jean” by Madewell and red lips are a mix of Nars Cruella and a top swipe of MAC’s Lady Danger.