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! 

American Baggage

I’m going to write about food and the effect it had on my body on a recent trip back to the United States for a little over a month after living in France.

What I want to say first and very clearly is that we need to stop associating being thin with being beautiful. What I have to say about weight gain or loss is not tied to one way being more visually appealing than another. I find women, including myself, beautiful at all different sizes. What I want is to have a real discussion about our bodies and the impact our environment, culture, and food have on it after I experienced a noticeable transformation in a relativity short amount of time with my own.

Any time your body goes through a transformation you have to ask yourself, “what caused this?” My health is something I must pay attention to because of my genetics. My grandfather died at 63 from a heart attack, my father had bypass surgery in his mid 40’s and my mother has had stints. It’s not for vanity but for a deep desire to live a long healthy life.

In France, I have been eating seasonally, for the most part locally sourced, non-packaged foods, rarely anything fried (because I make almost all my meals I hate cleaning up frying oil), and I drink the local wines. The cheese I buy is mostly unpasteurized, I have a fresh baked baguette almost every day and most of the food related stores in town are more representative of farm stands than supermarkets.

There is a strong connection in France between the seasons and what we eat. At my little grocer I arrived one day and noticed my favorite goat cheese was gone. I asked monsieur about it and he told me there would be no more cheese production from their specific producer until spring as they respect the annual cycle of the goats. I have learned the frustrations and joys of eating seasonally. What I wouldn’t give right now to bite into a juicy peach or make pesto sauce but by living without is not only is it better for our environment because things are not being shipped halfway around the world, but I have found it’s also better on my mental health.

The joy of the arrival of apricots to the market, picking warm cherries off the tree in the summer sun, the beautiful pumpkins in the autumn and the comfort of duck confit and potatoes in the winter ooooooo or onion soup. There is always something to look forward to, something to miss, and a respect for nature.

When I recently walked into a Whole Foods in the United States and I almost had a panic attack. There were just so many options, so much of everything. The huge piles of food, it was overwhelming, paralyzing and ultimately sad because I know much of it will be wasted. I stood and stared at a shelf of chapsticks as big as I was unable to choose because there were just simply too many choices. Not only choices but sizes and how much bigger the things were. The food, the fruits and vegetables were all just… bigger. It’s no wonder when you think about it that simply that I too would become bigger during my time there. We are a product of what we eat after all.

So my first question is this, why are the basic ingredients in America bigger? Are we manipulating our food? Our animals? Does America only buy bigger? Bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger burgers? And what is really the gain there? Is “supersized” really a plus?

The limitations I have in France actually make my life easier. It is supposed to be the opposite, having everything possible is supposed to make like better but it doesn’t for me. It’s just … too much. The paradox of choice. Too much noise in my head. Too much packaging screaming at me for attention.

Here is an example of how I make dinner in France: I walk to one of my grocers, look and see what vegetable looks the most amazing and I plan a meal around that. Tonight, I am roasting carrots because not only did the bushy, earthy bunches of carrots look amazing but they also had a rare purple carrot that just tickled me with excitement. My brain can wrap its head around that. My mental health is calm and satisfied.

I bring up mental health because it is so tied to physical health. When I am feeling anxious, I eat more comfort food, drink more alcohol. Being away from my work in France, which is my greatest passion, made me anxious. Being in the urban energy of L.A. and all the designer gloss and focus on money and looks made me anxious. Combine that with easy access 24 hours a day to fried food, savory tacos, chips, and cocktails and yeah… no wonder I gained some weight.

At one point in my journey across the US visiting Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend there were zero healthy food options, only processed fast food chains. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy fast food from time to time but when it’s the only option and I’ve had it three meals in a row I snap. I actually snapped at a guy and I know it had to do with my irritation with the food inside me making me feel sick. The last meal in that area I just gave up and had a margarita for dinner because I couldn’t eat anymore processed brown food. I was defeated and I felt heart broken as I looked around at the diners in the restaurant who also looked miserable and unhealthy and I just wished they had more options than food wrapped in a brightly colored logo.

I feel like the fast food chains are an amazing testament to human survival. We can produce so much food so our species will never starve while the hidden cost is stripping complete communities and income groups of important culture. My grandmother, who only went out to eat once a week, would make my favorite soup from her childhood, potato soup and cornbread, which came from the depression era when there wasn’t a lot of options on the farm she grew up on. It’s basically boiled potatoes with some milk and I loved it. But would she have cooked as much if it were cheaper and easier to eat off the 99¢ menu when she herself was a child? And if fast food were the norm for areas of poverty in 1930’s America, would my grandmother, who never had weight issues, have had health issues related to weight? Would my priceless memories of time together in her garden and her kitchen be erased into a soulless bottom dollar of some CEO’s pocketbook?

People always talk about coming to Europe and eating all the bread, cheese and pasta and not gaining weight, or in some cases even losing weight. I eat all those things here in France every single week. Is the key to health as simple as real ingredients? There must also be a difference in the way food is produced or raised between the two counties. Why are those things associated with being “fat” in America but not in Europe? In Europe there is no association with indulgence and these dishes.

So my body had a transformation. I wanted to talk about this because I didn’t like the way I felt. I felt sick. I felt clogged mentally and physically. My skin was a disaster! Broken out and irritated. Again, please separate the notion of beauty from health. I am not saying I look better or worse, I am merely talking about how I felt. And it’s not that I wasn’t working out. I was actually working out harder in the states than in France because I had access to Barre classes and Core Power Yoga, etc.

However, I don’t have a car in France so I walk a lot more in addition to running most days a week. I love walking places, it opens up time for discovery, connects you to the day and to feel the seasons. How the smells in the air change, the way the light moves, the rolling waves of nature. I know being in a car or using Uber played a role with my experience in the States. I just started feeling like a rat in a cage on a wheel. You want to have a good time, eat and drink all this fun food, ok but now you had too many chips? Buy this workout class to feel better. Ok, so you worked out now treat yourself! ARRGGG!!!

So maybe the solution is in shopping at the farmer’s market as much as possible in the U.S. but have you noticed how much more expensive food at the farmer’s market is? In France, food doesn’t feel as commercialized or commoditized and it certainly isn’t expensive. On my very first trip to the big Saturday market I was used to American prices and I kept trying to pay for things with 20’s until I realized how inexpensive everything was. I don’t think you should have to be wealthy to be able to eat well. We should all have access to organic food and humanely raised animal products as some sort of basic standard. I don’t think that should only be available to the elite and it is feeling more and more that way. I think it would be a mental struggle of control I personally would lose. Telling myself to not eat everything on my plate, to not have cocktails, to go to the movies and not buy snacks. Ugh, I would hate that! That’s not freedom to me.

I don’t want this whole thing to come off as France is so much better than the US. Look, America is an experiment in the greatest achievements possible for man and governance. I think it’s incredible that you can pretty much get anything you want, anytime you want in the United States. Look at how far humanity has come! And when I lived in New York City, I didn’t know any other way. Cars on demand, 24-hour organic grocery store at the end of my block, Seamless delivery, the best restaurants in the world, more of anything you could ever dream of. But I wasn’t happy. I had to work so hard to make so much money to buy what I thought I needed until I learned a new way. A way that is just simpler. A way that I don’t have to try to control my food choices or intake because my body is yoyo-ing. I can just live here and I feel good mentally and physically.

I’ve been back in France for a week now. When I first looked at myself in the mirror I was shocked at how visibly different I appeared in the same space. I love my curves and softness and I love food, but this didn’t feel good. I didn’t feel like me and the visage looking back at me I didn’t recognize.

Photographing myself in the self portrait above was a way to try to understand it, for me to process out visually what I was feeling internally. I hope we can have an open dialog about food, cultures, and what makes us feel the healthiest. For me, buying inexpensive ingredients daily from small businesses or from farmers, cooking at home (even foods Americans consider “indulgent”) I feel better mentally and physically.

This is by no means an article on how to lose weight the French way. The French don’t “diet”. They don’t have to, why? What is the difference in our foods? There are a lot of reasons why I moved to France but it wasn’t until now that I realized food was also a part of it…. America was making me sick.

I invite you to share your thoughts or experiences on my Instagram here.

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


My Year in Provence

This is a hard post to write. I have such a flood of emotions looking back, reflecting on what I have learned, how I have grown, and what I have loved. You can not recap a year’s experience without ending it with what is next? To be honest, I don’t know. Sure, I thought I would come to spend a year in Provence and answer all the questions for myself about my life, about who I am and what I want. I can certainly answer now some of these things but other aspects have grown even more confusing. I loved things I never thought I could love like living in the country. I learned things about myself I never knew. For example, I am an introvert which finally explains why I hate talking on the phone, why people who are upset or angry give me anxiety attacks, why I feel so exhausted after social events, and most importantly, why I work so much better alone. So where does that take me next when I come back to the United States? 

It was shocking when I first arrived. Nothing seemed to be possible, from getting boxes delivered to buying food on a Sunday… or any time after 7pm. I missed all the things about New York I took for granted. 24/7 Uber service for instance. There is ONE Uber guy and he lives and hour from my little town. I am ecstatic when my train pulls into Avignon and he’s on the clock. I missed laundry service. The last time I took a linen shirt to be pressed they estimated a turn around time of two weeks… lol. So I got used to wrinkles. I missed Seamless, something which I never even think about now. The pleasure I derive in cooking is to the point of therapy. The access to organic, AFFORDABLE, locally farmed ingredients here puts the US to a great shame. I will never forget my first trip to the farmer’s market. Alone with only a handful of French words, I was terrified. I paid for everything with 20’s because I didn’t understand the amounts, and I was used to New York City farmer’s market prices, until I discovered how incredibly inexpensive everything was. Then I walked into the wine shop and my jaw really hit the ground. When it is not market day in my town or one of the surround villages, I have four bio (organic) grocers I can walk to. I know their names, what is happening in their life, who is having a baby and who is in the hospital. I am, for once, part of a community and I feel physically part of the earth here. 

I learned to live a life with less noise. My days in Provence are filled mostly with cooking, cleaning, and making photographs and those are the days when I am most happy. I found freedom. Above everything I learned, I discovered true freedom. Freedom exists beyond the ability to choose where you live or what you believe. I found freedom in my art and expression. I found freedom from money. Of course, we all need money to survive but they don’t worship it here in France and it’s amazing how much your stress levels dissolve when that’s not the goal to life. I’m really into being free from plastics and logos and that has brought down the noise in my life in the best way. I loved the freedom from a culture that tells woman how we are supposed to look. I loved being free from what society tells me I should be doing like having children and a corporate job so I have health insurance. I loved the freedom from ‘stuff’. I never had to walk outside my door and be reminded of all the ‘stuff’ I don’t have that I supposedly need to in order to be valuable. The value comes from within – in my mind, in my soul and if I can create something of meaning. I wish I had more time to work on these ideas. Time, I have come to find out, is the most valuable thing we have. 

To quote the French philosopher Albert Camus who lived in Lourmarin not far from me, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” 

Of course, these are just some of the many thoughts and experiences I have garnered in my year here. I slowed down on sharing (blogging) to take the time to be present and experience. I imagine when I return to the US I will begin editing and posting so many of the stories I have filled up 5 hard drives with. There is so much to sift through and my heart has been on a roller coaster. This week has been especially though as I try to figure out where I belong in the world and what value I have for an American culture. 

I created a self portrait to mark the year anniversary as part of my #ProvenceSelfPortraitSeries inspired by Jan van Eyck’s “The Arnolfini Portrait“. This is a great short video on the piece from one of my favorite YouTube art channels. I loved that this was a “painting of everyday life” as much of my personal work here in Provence has been a celebration of the day to day things. What is in bloom, what is in season, what bug crawls into the window, how the light is today.

Beyond that, I wanted to explain some of the personal symbolism I added into this photographic rendition that pertains to my own experience at this year mark. First, there is meaning in the absences. The absence of furniture is symbolic of feeling unsettled, homeless. I brought in chairs, tables, daybeds and pushed them back out. I feel at home in Provence in my soul, yet I do not have a home. I left the shadow of the table with a bowl of pears cast along the left edge to show there is life that happens in this space. I planned to bring in a newly born kitten from town as I love all the cats that roam my village and have earned their trust but then I felt the absence of the pet represented my life more. As many of you know who follow me on Instagram stories, I DREAM of having pets. Both women wear green gowns by Loup Charmant (left & right) in green, green being a symbol of hope. My hope that this path I am on will lead me to where I belong. The hope that I can do something with this work I have created in Provence. The woman on the right holds her gown close to her chest, representing holding everything dear to me I have learned in Provence. The only real valuable thing I can take with me when I go. Her slippers are on because it is time for her to leave. She looks back, sorrowfully to the woman on the left, sometimes I feel my heart being ripped out when I think about having to leave this place. Originally, I had taken a photographic plate with tear stained cheeks but felt the expression was enough on its own. The woman on the left is turned to be ‘looking back’, reflecting on her time in Provence. Her slippers are off and she is barefoot to represent feeling at home here. She gestures with her hand in the way of a ‘blessing’, feelings blessed from this time in France. Though they are married together, in the sense as one, their hands rest together open, vulnerable of being torn apart. The inscription on the wall is my signature and dated for my one year. Hanging above them in an antique mirror which I borrowed from a shop in town, hides a third self portrait. The real me, the photographer. I stand in my men’s linen suit with my camera on the tripod. You can see a discarded green dress on the table, my phone in the bottom left which I use to create these self portraits as a remote control to my camera. I am standing in the kitchen which is pretty much where I always am while at home either working or cooking. You can see the large French doors that over look my garden and her ripened fig tree. 

I will be here a bit longer. I have some more personal work I need to do before I go and a few professional jobs on the table. So there is some time to ponder what happens next…

My Favorite Beauty Products

Years ago I committed to wearing as little makeup as possible and with that came an obsession with great beauty products. I do think beauty starts from within, how you feel about yourself, the joy you have inside you, your confidence. Then let’s be really honest, what you eat and drink and your genetics play a large role. When I take a break from alcohol my skin just becomes instantly more glowy. The rest is just making the best with what you’ve got. These are the beauty products I swear by after years of trying everything from fancy expensive miracle creams, to french beauty brands, all natural remedies, beauty press trips, and getting the real dirt from beauty editors who know all. This is what I buy… and sometimes cry when I run out of.

The Face Products I swear by

Vintner’s Daughter – I think of this as taking your daily vitimens for your face. Made from the world’s most nutrient rich botanicals and essential oils it’s a face serum / oil that leaves you healthy, glowy and not like an oil slick. I found the scent to be quite strong, just FYI, but in a good floral way.

Crème de la Mer – La Mer’s classic moisturizing cream has a cult following for a reason. I have very sensitive skin, very rosey cheeks, and this is the absolute best for balancing my face. A little goes a long way, it’s very thick and creamy, so one jar will last a while which is good because the price tag is brutal. But like my mother always said, it’s cheaper than plastic surgery. 

Binu Binu Hibiscus Cleansing Balm– I actually use this specifically for removing eye makeup. It’s so soft and nourishing it is better than any dedicated makeup remover I’ve ever tried and make from natural goodness! 

Shiva Rose Pearl Milk Cleanser– I love oil based cleansers after years of stripping my skin and agitating it. Why I’m loyal to Shiva’s is because of the subtile natural exfoliant which I like to think are just millions of tiny pearls. This cleanser leaves your face feeling softened and hydrated after washing. 

Algenist Algae Brightening Mask– I do face masks a few times a week and always on Sunday, this mask is hands down my favorite. I’ve been a fan for years now, leaves my skin balanced and glowy. 

May Lindstrom Botanical Facial Mist– A pure luxury item but I think of this as therapy in a bottle. When I spray this jasmine garden mist on my face every morning and evening I am instantly transported to a magical garden, I call it my Monet’s Garden spray, and it really, truly makes me feel joy and inspiration every time in my soul. 

French Girl Organics Rose Lip Polish– I keep this little jar in the shower and use it every time to scrub my lips into plump softness. Smells SO good. 

Aerin Rose Lip Conditioner- Another product I’ve bought time and time again because it is both a lip conditioner and has a very subtle natural pink hue I like to just wear as lip stick too. 

I am always trying new products for example, I love the oils from Buly 1803 but not loyal yet to one particular variety. I always try something new each time I visit their shop in Paris.  I also try different facial mists that I apply repeatedly throughout the day in summer and winter to stay hydrated. Since it’s for maintenance, it does not need to be as luxurious as May’s. The one I use most often is Mario Badescu facial spray and at a whopping $7 the price is right for mass consumption.


The makeup kit for a minimalist

Chantecaille Liquid Lumiere- An anti-aging face illuminator I SWEAR by. I only use it on the bridge of my nose, cheek bones, bow of up lip but that’s how I get those crazy highlights in my #ProvenceSelfPortraitSeries on my face. 

Bronzer- I actually use Tata Harper‘s Very Bronzing Contour which I LOVE but they are not going to make it anymore and so I can’t link and I’m spiraling into despair of it. I need a good natural, creamy recommendation!  

Chantecaille Faux Clis Mascara– From the description it sounds like whoa but it’s actually the most lovely, natural, elongating but light mascara I’ve ever tried and it smells like roses so… duh. I think I’m going on 3 years exclusive with this. 

Olio E Osso No. 3 Crimson– For my cheeks and lips! Natural, easy, two for one and lasts forever. This is the color closest to my natural cheek blush tone, goes on light. 

Lips- I have been wearing this duo for years, I can’t count how many times I’ve had to reply on instagram what my lipstick is. I start with a base of NARS Cruella which is thick and matte then give a top swipe of MAC Lady Danger which is a really bright orangey red but layered over the deeper NARS base makes a nice classic warm tone. 

Concealer / foundation- I don’t cover my face in foundation but if I’m really going for a polished put together look I’ll do a little bit of very light coverage under my eyes, on any redness I might have at that moment. I’m currently using Clarins BB Skin Detox Fluid but I’m not particularly loyal to it. It’s just light and easy.  

I also use an eyebrow pencil but i’m not particular about a brand or style yet. I just buy whatever whenever I run out until I find something life changing. I’m currently using one by Laura Mercier

The hair strategy

I say strategy because I think the success of my hair has more to do with my technique than products. First of all, I do not use styling products. I use a shampoo and conditioner and then a dry shampoo in-between washings. 

As far as products I’m currently using System Professional personalized haircare after an amazing detailed hair analysis experience. It is a hydrating shampoo and conditioner. For dry shampoo I am using Furterer which has been great. I just found it at my local French pharmacy. I’ve also used Dry Bar’s dry shampoo many times. This is what I want to try next when I am back stateside. 

I wash my hair once, sometimes twice a week. I like to keep a natural balance of my own oils, I like having messy dirty french hair. When I do wash it I let it airdry. Heat is the enemy for healthy hair. Considering I am growing out my hair for my portrait series, it’s about to my belly button, this has been a big game changer in keeping it healthy. I mean, I do miss a good blow out. For those of you who have followed me since my New York days, you know what I mean.

Sylvain le Hen hair pin– This has replaced all other hair tools for me. I use this every single day and even sleep with my hair pinned up with it. After I clean my hair and it’s about dry I’ll wrap it into a low bun and pin it with this. When I wake up the next morning I have soft natural waves. This is also what I use to pin my hair back when I’m working and for chic buns, it’s just the best!

Once a week I will curl my hair using a 1inch ceramic curling iron to make waves ( like this with fresh clean hair, like this with week old dirty hair). I have been using the same one for over a decade! I got it when I was an assistant to the photo editor of a fashion magazine straight out of college and the beauty department had one of their “cleaning out the closet sales” for the editors. The logo has been worn off but it’s seriously the best and I would die if I lost it. I only have to curl it once a week because during the day when I’m working and overnight when I’m sleeping I twirl my hair into a low bun and it maintains the curl this way. 

For the Body

Buly 1803 dry body oil in Damask Rose – As many of you know I am OBSESSED with this product. I use it everyday, sometimes twice a day, and always, always, always to get that highlight in my self portraits. I love it so much I bought three last time I was in Paris to be sure not to run out before my next trip. 

Montale Deep Rose– I currently have six different brands of rose perfume in my vanity! I find one, I buy it, I try it for a few weeks before I make a decision. However, the best rose scent in the world in my opinion is by Montale. Made in Grasse, France it is powerful and true. It’s better for a city scent because it’s strong enough, I actually wear something else in Provence more subtle but this has been my go to for years and will continue to be my favorite scent in the world for roses. The brand actually has many rose scented perfumes with subtle differences so it’s worth a visit to their shop in Paris. *NOTE, I hate with a passion the bottle design, it’s so insulting to the scenes and does not at all match the loveliness of what’s inside which is why I never instagram it sadly. So just look past that. 

Rose de Damas Buly 1803 Perfume– This is my Provence scent. It’s a water-based perfume so you can wear it in your hair, on your clothes and skin without worry of drying them out or stains. It’s a softer, more powered rose scent and is incredibly sensual. 

This is everything I love and use daily. It would be wonderful to hear about your favorite products you are really loyal to and return to again and again!

Join the conversation on Instagram on this post

Paris in the Winter


As the skies wept, I walked and walked…

whisperings from the streets of Paris talk. 

Through the viewfinder framed a city of soul

a place of wonder, a world to behold.

With precision I took what I came to see…

the gifts she has given to a girl like me.

I am the Victory, I am the love

I am all that Paris can be to someone. 

-Thoughts from a birthday in Paris

{Paris in the Fall: 2016 || 2015 || 2014 || 2013 || 2012}

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.

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.

My New Year’s Resolutions


I think this picture kind of sums up 2016. I haven’t spent much time reflecting back, only looking forward. Defining how I will shape 2017 and what I hope to achieve from it. My personal New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 I’m making public here to have a place I can come back to and remind myself of the goals. And you know, if you say it out loud you’re more likely to accomplish it.


Above self-portrait inspired by Milio BURQUIN’s painting, La buveuse d’absinthe taken in my home in France in Rouje shirt with a traditional French Pastis in hand.


  1. Put stronger ideas, meaning and emotion into my photographs.
  2. Take fewer photographs to make more impactful ones.
  3. Study the light of Provence. Break it down into a scientific equation.
  4. Add the passage of time into my photographs through movements like in a symphony.
  5. Shoot more 4×5 film
  6. Make photographs more like paintings.
  7. Get a dog. IT’S TIME.
  8. Build a darkroom.
  9. Move to California.
  10. Work on empathy.
  11. Define the purpose of my photographs.
  12. Define myself and style as a photographer and apply it to everything, not just my personal work.
  13. Make commitments.
  14. Set new professional goals.
  15. Create one photography tutorial a week on social media to share my knowledge and continue to build a community over our shared passion.
  16. Create one film noir short on social media based around a 24 hour story once a week.
  17. Shoot more ballerinas.
  18. Shoot more flowers.
  19. Stop wasting. Wasting food, wasting money, wasting products.
  20. Live with less.
  21. Shoot more for others.
  22. Make a home.
  23. Save money for real vacations, not work vacations.
  24. Finish the new photography portfolio site.
  25. Finish the Cinemagraphs site.
  26. Create Cinemagraphs for art, not commerce.
  27. Do something good for my body’s health everyday through physical activity.
  28. Stop drinking all together.  Drink less 😉
  29. Find a way to create more romanticism in my work.
  30. Build the world I want to live in, not the one others want for me.
  31. Learn to be more comfortable sharing my life.

“If to live is to express the emotions of life, then to create art is to express the life of emotions.” -Edward Weston, Group f.64

A Photographer’s Gift Guide


I love photography. I love giving and receiving the gifts of photography and what freedoms those items serve to create, to be inspired, to think about photographs in a more meaningful way. These tools, ever changing, are an important part of being a photographer, professional or hobbyist. While I haven’t come anywhere close to owning every photography book or testing every camera I can share with you what I personally have loved and think would be great for anyone interested in the art of capturing life.


Sony a7RII: Perfectly small, amazing quality, this is my go-to travel camera. Because you can connect the camera to the app on your phone you can instantly upload photos to put onto instagram or as I have been doing for these self portraits, using it as a remote shutter release. These are the accessories I love to use with it:

Impossible I-1 Analog Instant Camera: As a huge lover of photography dating back pre-digital era I am always keeping up with my vintage film and polaroid cameras, a dying tool I try to preserve in my arsenal of gear and knowledge. I was thrilled with Impossible released a new version of an old instant polaroid camera so modernized you can control and shoot with in from an app on your phone… as you can tell I’m a fan of remote shooting. The photos this camera creates are soft, dreamy and otherworldly and fit right into my vision of the world.

*FYI, giving away TWO of these later this week! Follow on instagram for the announcement!*


Canon 5D series: I have been shooting with the Canon 5D series for around 7 years and it has honestly been the best professional camera experience I’ve had. I’ve used this camera to shoot ad campaigns, fashion editorials, images for brand Zines and brand lookbooks, all my NYFW coverage, brand travel stories and so many other … pretty… little… things.

I started out with the Canon 5D Mark II and now shoot with the Mark III. They recently released the Mark IV which I myself have my eye on. Did you know, we created our first Cineamgraph with the Canon 5D Mark II because of it’s capability of also capturing high quality video! These are the accessories I love to use with it:



Gitzo Tripods: I’m 100% loyal to Gitzo tripods. I’ve been using them since college, I believe they are the best. For travel and in Provence I have been using the Gitzo GT0532 Mountaineer Tripod which is perfect size to carry around easily, fits into my duffel for travel, and is light weight while still insanely sturdy. On the head I use a Gitzo Series 3 GH3780QD Center Ball Head which is absolutely my favorite way to shoot on a tripod. Back at the studio we use a Gitzo Series 5 Systematic 3 Section Long Tripod. This is a very heavy duty piece of gear and holds our bigger cameras such as the Red Epic, Pentax 645z and my large format film cameras typically with a Manfrotto 502 fluid head.

MYDigitalSSD 512GB: Super tiny, super fast and affordable SSD hard drive for location shooting.

LaCie Rugged Mini 2TB drive: Our go-to higher capacity drive, great for backups. Also comes in 1TB and 4TB.

iCloth Screen Cleaning Wipes: Your camera screen gets smudged, your phone has fingerprints all over it. Keep a few of these in your camera bag for a quick clean up.


Camera Straps

Photojojo Handy Dandy Hand Strap: I’ve had this one strap for years on my Canon. I love it because it’s padded and sturdy for a camera of this size. It’s so warn in now from all we’ve been through the leather has turned a beautiful patina and at $40 you can’t beat it. *see above camera and strap on far right in the top image*

Gordy’s Camera Straps: This is what I have attached on my Sony a7RII. More delicate, minimal, lighter but still solid leather quality, I’m absolutely loving it. And, they are made to order so you can decide what color leather and stitching matches your personality best. Oh did I mention, they start at $18!

Wood & Faulk Neck Strap:  Another strap I’ve had for years, this is the only neck strap I use. I like the extra width for the pressure on your neck or shoulder while maintaining a nice simplicity of design. The leather has worn beautifully, something that will last forever. Comes in tan, dark brown, and natural.

Camera Bags

Billingham 550: If you were to buy one camera bag for your entire life this would be the one. This is my camera bag, this will always be my camera bag and though it’s a splurge it’s also forever.

ONA: Made in New York City, this is a more fashionable approach than your traditional camera bag. From cool backpacks to women’s handbags, they keep your style intact and your gear safe.

Pelican Case: This is for when I mean serious business. There is nothing cool or chic about the way this case looks but when I’m traveling on a big job, carrying a lot of valuable gear, it’s typically too heavy for a shoulder bag and I wanted everything to be as secure as possible. I like that I can roll this through airports, it can stack with luggage and I can put a lock on it for security. It also doubles as a great apple box on location when you need to stand on something to give you a little more height!

Sachtler SC306 Camera backpack: Our backpack for video gear. It’s big, but not big enough that it weighs a ton when full. It fits in overhead compartments on airplanes, has a slim pocket for a laptop and enough room for all the camera bodies and lenses you need. It also stands upright which is a lot more useful than you might imagine.

Photography Books

At Work by Annie Leibovitz: An amazing behind the scenes account by one of the most famous photographers of our time on her career, photoshoots and how some of her most famous images came to light.

Peter Lindbergh: A Different Vision on Fashion Photography: One of my favorite photographers, this book is a beautiful collection of four decades of some of the most iconic fashion photographs in history in his signature black and white. I also love Untitled 116 and Images of Women.

Blood Sweat and Tears by Bruce Weber: An amazing retrospective of one of the greatest American fashion photographers of all time with his beautifully candid and so Americana imagery. The perfect coffee table book that keeps you inspired time after time.

Tim Walker: Story Teller: For those who see the world as a magical place… this is the picture book to end all. For those young creatives with imagination just starting out, Tim Walker Pictures, offers a glimpse into the artistic process.

Herb Ritts: L.A. Style: Some of the most beautiful black and white photographs of fashion, nudes and celebrities the world has ever seen by L.A. photographer Herb Ritts famous for his striking simplicity and powerful natural light imagery. The Golden Hour is a more intimate look into the journey of the photographer himself.

Passage: A Work Record by Irving Penn: One of my all time favorite photography books, this covers all aspects of Irving Penn’s work from fashion to portraits, to his iconic still lives you see hanging on museum walls.

Hold Still by Sally Mann: An intimate dive into the personal history and life of photographer Sally Mann and how that plays out into her esteemed body of work in this interesting memoir.

Edward Weston: 125 Photographs: Containing some of the most striking nudes and still lives in the history of photography, this book is a timeless tribute to the quiet vision of a master photographer.

Imogen Cunningham 1883 – 1976: One of the most prominent women in the history of photography and a pioneer of photography in her own right, this book is a beautiful collection of her most striking photographs from portraiture to flowers.

On Photography by Susan Sontag: A marriage of ideals between the history of photography and what was happening culturally in America in the 1970s that still hits poignant moments relevant to today’s digital society.

Above self portrait taken at my home in Provence with a few of my favorite cameras wearing Of A Kind Permanent Collection and Retrouvai Heirloom Signet Ring in an image inspired by a Francesco Furini painting.

On Learning French…


One of the first questions everyone asked me when I told them I was going to France for an extended stay was, “Do you speak French?” My reply: “Non.”

When I was growing up in Texas and it came time to learn a second language I declared I would be taking French, to which my parent’s reply was “no, you’re taking Spanish. You live in Texas, after all.” But in my mind, I wasn’t going to stay in Texas and wherever that life was taking me I was sure it would have much to do with Paris. I lost that battle and I regret not fighting back harder for what I wanted now, while reflecting back from a small French village where 90% of the population only speaks the local vernacular.

I took private lessons (if you are in NYC and want my tutor’s info, email me. He was fabulous!) before arriving which was barely enough to make me appear to be not a total idiot. Perhaps the most important thing he taught me was Je suis désolée… I am sorry. I think a lot of people would be terrified to live in a country where they can’t communicate but this sort of thing doesn’t bother me, it’s part of it. It’s part of the opening yourself up to new experiences and putting yourself in unfamiliar situations to test your character on how to survive each day and make it the best it can be.

When I arrived at my little apartment in the south there was an old stack of books on the fireplace mantel, faded from the sunlight streaming in the window on those gloriously quiet afternoons and dusty from years of idle use. Sitting there, just the size of my palm, was an old french language handbook from the late 1960’s. I sat in the sunlight that afternoon practicing the unchanged phrases of French culture and wondering as I felt the texture of the old thin paper between my fingers, what wary travelers had held this book in their hands and fumbled through the phrases as I am today. I imagine them filled with hope that each line of expression will unlock another door in my journey through this foreign land. Where did this book, stuffed into a back pocket, take them and who will possess it after me? What is it that brings us all here, to France, weaving an invisible thread between us?

I have for most of my life been an incredibly social person. My mother always called me a social butterfly. Living in a place with no one to talk to was a release of an invisible social responsibility I had given myself. I don’t know anyone and I can’t really know anyone. There are no parties to go to, no friends to call upon to meet up for drinks. I can’t check in with the neighbors or commit myself to random photoshoots.

It was a relief.

Taking socializing off the table opened up so much time for myself to focus on other things, and to think about photography. It was in a sense a freedom from obligation and made me feel invisible. When you are invisible you are free from the definition you have created for yourself, or has been created for you, and can become a truer form of what you are destined to be.

As the days have turned into weeks people have begun to recognize my face around town. I keep a pretty set routine. I go to the patisserie first thing each day for my baguette. Then to the café for my cafe créme. I buy my cheese at the market from the same man and my eggs from this adorable older couple. Then this marvelous thing started to happen. They each started trying to teach me words. Always with an expression of amusement they say it slowly to me, I repeat it back to them, they say it again back to me. I try to remember it the next time we meet. In these moments I feel what a 2 year old child must. My cheese monger taught me plus and minus, my little vegetable grocer taught me rosemary, the woman at the fromagerie taught me Bon Dimanche (Good Sunday), which is used around town starting Saturday afternoons. This past weekend the organic grocer emptied out my coin purse onto the counter and sat their teaching me how to count change in French. Connecting with another human though their kindness and patience of sharing their knowledge with me has been one of the most generous gifts I’ve received.

I can’t believe I could have possibly lived my life without ever knowing these human experiences, the freedom from myself and the beauty of kindness in others to want to help you learn and participate in this shared life with all walk through together.  Though for the most part I have no idea what these people in my little village are saying to me, I feel more a sense of community with them through their kindness toward me than I have ever felt before and the opening up of my brain as it makes room for new words.