So let me start off by clarifying that this new personal series is centered around self-portraits, not selfies. The former is taken with a professional camera, requiring forethought and a thorough knowledge of photography, whereas the latter just requires a cell phone from approximately 2005 or later :).
Self-portraits can be such a stretching exercise! I ALWAYS learn from them, even if it’s as simple as a family photo out on the beach. I was looking for a photographic challenge for this year, and in a desire to create more personal work that doesn’t necessarily need to match my existing body of work, the Self-Portrait series was born! One new self-portrait a month for a year.
We have a tradition in our house of taking a few self-portraits during the first real snow of winter! Our first one was all the way back in 2010, a few weeks after I’d purchased my first “big deal” camera and photographed my first wedding (as a third shooter!). We were still in college, newly engaged, and when Matt happened to be down visiting when a snowstorm hit, he let me persuade him to take a few quick photos in the snow. I still love that photo so much!
This past January when the snow started falling, we ran outside for our traditional photo. But then a couple hours later, when the snow was still coming down, I decided to go out again- this time by myself. We lost my Granny last April after a stage 4 cancer diagnosis, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go down to Roanoke every three weeks or so to be there with her and help my Pawpaw out around the house. I remember sitting with Granny last February in their living room up in the mountains of Virginia when she looked out the window and said “I’d have loved to see snow one more time.” It was a sweet but sober moment- we knew she didn’t have much longer, that as the cancer grew, her time was coming to a close.
But then sure enough, they got not one, but TWO big snows on the mountain- it felt like a kiss from heaven, meant just for my Granny! Just a few weeks after the last flakes melted, she went home to be with Jesus.
I’ve always loved stepping outside in the midst of a snowstorm to simply listen– there’s this soft whisper as the snowflakes hit the ground that brings me so much peace. Our first snow of the year came in mid-January, and for as long as it fell, my thoughts were of her. So I donned my Hunter boots and a warm pair of gloves and took a walk along the trail near our house with my quilt to keep me warm. I just wanted that moment for me, to be out in the snow, to hear the whisper of those falling frozen flakes, to wrap myself in layers of fabric that were lovingly pieced together, painstakingly hand-quilted by her.
I knew this one would look quite different than the first- we had a trip to Getaway scheduled, and I wanted to shoot my next portrait in the panoramic window of the cabin! Truthfully, this portrait took two attempts- one on our first night, and another on our second night. I really wanted to shoot during “blue hour,” to get the contrasting warm, yellow light inside the cabin with the cooler tones of the fading evening sky.
This photo is so different than my usual body of work, which I am 100% ok with because the very point of this portrait series is to push me to create beyond my go-to comfort zone!
Our time at Getaway was so rich. We did some big dreaming and vision casting for what the next few years will look like for AGP, but then we also took time to rest. Reading, writing, long morning quiet times, dinners made on the fire pit. It was restful and invigorating all at the same time, and I can’t wait to go back!
And one more, just for fun! I felt like this one was a little too easy, which is why it didn’t make the final cut as THE February edition! I can’t get enough of that gorgeous robe by my dear friend Katherine Bignon.