i've decided to go full "crazy"


because we use crazy as a word to describe those we haven’t managed to reduce to categories yet. because i haven’t figured out how to put myself into a category, only how to reject them like shoes that don’t quite fit.

its not because i’m fascinating, or all that different, i just don’t fully agree with most stuff. and i have a lot of trouble making up my mind.

this is partly because my mind is unreliable. my feelings also, can’t fully be trusted. there are diagnoses for these things. medication too. none of it works or helps just the way one would hope.

not even knowing that i am not my thoughts, or my feelings. knowing and believing i am something more, something whole and unbroken here to help others despite what my mind argues—-not even that keeps me sane all of the time.

if you live trying to effectively manage mental/emotional wellness too, you might know what i’m talking about.

also? there isn’t actually a cure for being human. we don’t get to skip any part of it. trying to only makes us more sick.


what else is there to do but talk about it? to share with one another? to find the holes in the consistently unstable process where the humanity and the light pour through, so unexpectedly pure?

i will be using this blog to share photo work yes, but to also chronicle my experience embracing my humanity. it will get light. it will get dark. it will be every shade in between because that’s what we are, a full spectrum of so, so many beautiful-terrible things.

the only rule i ask of anyone who decides to read along is this:

don’t take me too seriously or too literally. this is all an experiment rooted in survival. i witness my process as an antidote to shame. if i don’t get whatever it is inside of me out, it gets heavy, so heavy i am unable to function. i need to function. i have three children i’m responsible for. i have a life i’m saying yes to, no matter the price. i don’t know why i am wired this way, but i have worked hard to make peace with it. i create to live. to “stay in the game.” i know how annoyingly dramatic that sounds, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

so, of what you find here, take the parts that might help, oh god, please, that is my prayer —that some part of it might help, but whatever doesn’t help? just leave it right here. its not so hard to do.

remember, everybody’s right. and everybody’s wrong. depending on what point in time you talk to them and about what. the endlessly contradicting books on a single shelf of any library prove that. what i write is never THE truth, it is simply my truth. one i’m sure i’ll blush about and be inclined to reverse at some point when i am more mature. like next week.

sometimes, i use words the way i use my cameras, imprecisely. i do this because i can’t always find the right words and i’m learning. i also do it in an attempt to approach meaning that doesn’t fit neat into the most basic category of all: the words themselves. my imprecision, which you are welcome to interpret as laziness, i do in my more self critical moments, comes most naturally to me. i hope that embracing my inherent flaws will turn those same flaws into doors leading beyond their limits to somewhere real. somewhere new.

i hope you’ll come with me.


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.


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