not going to lie, i miss it.

some of my last and fav images with a family i adore. 

i'm selling everything i learned about photography and finding my creative voice in my downloadable workshop teethkiss. its $200 from now until the end of may. then i'll be taking it off the market as i focus on other projects. i'd get it now by clicking below, cuz its really really really good.

http://www.yanpalmer.com/teethkiss/

not really a family photo shoot

i want to share a set of images with you that i don't consider a family photo shoot so much as i consider it a collaboration with a group of souls, and another artist i respect.

several years ago, i got a strange last minute addition to a workshop i was teaching in seattle.  jonya wrote to me and apologized for signing up so late, she had to check the weather you see, to know if it would be cool enough for her to attend. her body reacted in a not normal way to warmer temperatures, and she wouldn't be able to learn very well if the temperature shot over 70. i told her not to worry and that  i was glad it worked out for her to come. 

Odd, i thought. Fun, i thought.

as soon as she came in the room, i watched the woman with the ghosty skin, and the long dark hair. despite the oddness of her first impression, her demeanor was more normal than i expected, she was funny, and warm (though not in body temp of course). but her photo work held that bit of strangeness i first felt from her, a desire to explore more ethereal and in between spaces in the work she made. i liked it. i liked her a lot. fast forward a year or so later when she hired me to do her family photos, and i drove up to the most amazing portland oregon home i'd ever seen. i'd find out it was an original of some famous architect who's name escapes me now, and who she'd brush over, never one to flaunt. i played along as if it was no big deal to live in a space that felt like real life magic---shared with a husband who showed signs of a black comedy streak, and two children who seemed to be made more of spirit than they were of flesh and bones.

you can see that session here: http://www.yanpalmer.com/blog/cx71q1uuuaq6jyk95elm9nkz6r7d4o

i was so happy when a year or more after that shoot, she asked me to do her family photos again, this time a collaboration in her favorite place, sauvie island. it was less than 70 degrees outside. maybe even less than 60. but near and in the water was where she was meant to be. these are the photos we made. 

if you are similarly interested in collaborating on a photo shoot  to make something together (this something can include your family or loved ones or not),  please know that i consider this very different than doing family photos as you will very much have to show up with your soul and your creative input---reach out yan@yanpalmer.com. This will be a commissioned work, and i will be very selective about projects i take on.  but there will be no basis for selection other than resonance for the time and space we happen to be both in, and whether or not that could lend to making something that feels right together.

The Farewell Tour Part II

on my very last shoot of 2017, after shooting 11 sessions in one week, i dropped my camera on my foot. it broke both my toe and my camera. i think it was the universe saying, "no, really, you are DONE." all of the following images were taking during that week in california. xx

AN OPEN LETTER OF THANKS TO MY CLIENTS

i couldn't feel how hot the shower actually was because a thought had come and taken me away. photographs are reference numbers for a life. When we can't remember what it was to be living, we find a picture, and ask the face of ourself we see smiling there. What did it feel like? Who was I? What did it mean then? What does it mean now?

 

The other night i was kidnapped again, not by my own thoughts but by the icloud. Almost 50,000 photos within access. All i needed was to press my curious fingers against the glass thin device in my palm. I thought I could know myself. my thumbs moved fast. 

 

It didn't work. instead of the pictures helping me remember they seemed only to shed light on how much i'd forgot. I could not build a bridge between the face in my hand and the face on my kneck. who are you? how did you get here? i asked the pictures of my skin, my shorter hair, my body--the same basic shape in various sizes. One photo was of my son in his kindergarten classroom a year ago. He had a hair cut i couldn't find in any of the memories in my head. I truly thought he'd always been the snarly tangled blond boy i kissed goodnight. But his fingernail sized self smiled at me with hair short and textured, insisting this was not so. i guess his hair grew particularly fast. Fast enough i never even noticed.

 

Which brings me back to the thought in the shower. Actually, lets skip ahead to the thoughts that came as i was toweling myself dry. Thats when i realuzed I do not meet myself when i look at photos of myself and my family. I meet myself when i look at the photos of your family. The photos i made "profesionally," for the last ten years. In the hug you are giving your son, i see how nervous i was that day. how the only thing that made my nervousness crest and recede was the love you gave each other, spilling out like a spring in front of my lens. In response, my own love rose. i wore my skin with more ease--my expressions finally fit comfortably on my face. 

 

When i look at the red dress you were wearing for our session, i remember also what i wore.  how comfortable or uncomfortable i felt chasing your toddler between the hallway and his bedroom, eventually out into the green back yard. When i see you laying with your daughter on her hammock, i feel again the tears i kept as a secret in my eyes.  It had been the anniversary of a marriage i'd left and though i knew i would never have the same simple family sweetness, i felt better in my heart knowing it could exist for anyone, for you.

 

I see the picture of your  four year old, twirling in a golden australian afternoon, her body disappearing into a glob of light, as if she and the sun are one and the same. And i remember how far away i felt at that precise moment. From freedom, from family, from a life that made any sense. And yet, there i was, camera in hand with access to transcendence right in front of me. The need to understand suddenly leapt over by the simple ability to feel. I learned i could  still feel good when my own life looked bad. 

 

Is it wholly self absorbed when i tell you i could go through every picture i took of your family, one by one, and tell you the lesson that moment taught me about me? Probably. Still the need to express thanks presses at all my boundaries. the ones i've drawn up tight around myself that say I am no longer accepting family photography clients. Maybe true gratitude is how one learns to say goodbye.

True gratitue, endless moon pools of it,  is what  i have for each and every one of you.  I took your money and your photos, we know that part. But i took your heart wisdom too. i made a little duplicate copy that i zipped up with my shot film into my pink fanny pack. I held it up to the light later, just as i'd study a negative, and i saw better how to live, how to be a mom, how to be me. Thank you Thank you Thank you.

 

Now my family album, my history of self, is not just  my photos but yours. What an incredibly thickly bound story we have told together...Stacks and stacks of selves i hope shine for years to come. 

(THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF POSTS THAT SHARE THE WORK FROM MY FINAL SHOOTS THIS FALL).