How is your heart?

I have been struggling lately with the realization that, as much as I try not to, I have glamorized being busy.  It is just  so gosh darn rewarding to answer how are you with that deep sigh that says oh there is just so much going on! 

I don't know when I started relating how busy I am to how successful I am, but somewhere in there it happened.  Each time I book a wedding, I am completely flooded with joy.  But shortly after I'll find myself thinking its still not enough and setting a higher goal to fill up my calendar more.  

 And I can't help but notice that it is not just me.  We are all running around frantically, smiling, and telling each other how busy we are.    But something is missing in that conversation. 

This year I will have the opportunity to be an intimate part of 15 couple's most beautiful celebration.  Moments so precious and fleeting and beautiful, and they have asked me to be witness and tell that story.  But how am I going to be open to hearing their story if I don't take the time to slow down and listen?  

I recently READ, that in Muslim cultures, to ask how are you doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh?  How is your haal?  

How is your heart?

Instead of just wanting the common answers (oh I am fine, oh I have been busy) it is an invite.  To share in the lost art of slow conversation.  One without an agenda, and without a need to fill every silence.  A space for honest and soulful conversation.  One where you drop the need to constantly be productive, constantly pushing forward, and instead embrace the inefficiencies of being human.  

To say to someone, I am not too busy for you.  

I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.
— Omid Safi "The Disease of Being Busy"
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Heart

"You put your hand on your heart and feel it beating and decide if what you wrote feels true."  - Amy Poehler, Yes Please

Recently, I changed the ABOUT section of my website.

Because I realized something.  

I was trying to convince each of you that I am the right photographer for you, and you should hire me to make pretty pictures right away!  But the reality is, I may not be right for you.  I may be too emotional, I may want to be too close.  Maybe my images capture too much of what is imperfect and personal, like those wriggles you have on the corner of your eyes as you smile, or the way your chin looks when you throw your head back to laugh.  Maybe you don't want to be bothered with all of that.  You just want to pose, and look pretty, and call it good.  I get it.  As soon as I am in front of a camera I am immediately aware, and "acting natural" seems impossible to do.  

But at the end of the day, this is what I am pulled to create.  To me, the imperfect details are what makes life real, and beautiful and good.   I want to place  my hand on my heart and see if what I created feels true

I was recently reminded of this fact when I came across my very first critiqued photo assignment (over six years old).  As I brushed off the dust and looked at these images I realized something. 

First, I have always been fearless.  I was in Photography 101, and while everyone else was turning in pictures of bowls of fruit, for my first assignment I turned in nude portraits!  

But even more so, these photos are a reminder.  That before I ever thought of doing wedding photography, before I had taken a bunch of classes, when I simply wanted to be creating photographs and there was no one I was comparing myself to, this is what I felt called to create.  I wanted to get in close and capture something honest, and emotional, and true. 

I love that these images still speak to what I want to create today.  I don't want a bunch of studio lights, or to force people into unnatural poses.  I simply want to provide SPACE.  To be fully present.  To breath, and pause, and take it all in.  To live WHOLEHEARTEDLY.  

And then to have that moment, that slice of your real life, to hold onto.  

So that, you too, can have something to dust off, re-live, and still feel that it is so beautifully and authentically you.  

This is me, and this is what I have to give. 

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River Reflections

In a world that seems to be screaming, shouting,

you have got to be loud to get what you want.  

Then quick, chase after it, for everything is surely fleeting...

Instead I choose stillness.

To simply listen.

& in that place of silence, I feel all the things that tug on my heart, like the steady pull of a river current.  

I am so incredibly thankful for these images by Michelle Gardella.  For her incredible talent and cracked open heart that allows her to see the world the way she does.

I also have so much gratitude for the community of women that helped me go to Connecticut and your beautiful words of love and support.  Light pours out of each and every one of you!

I went to the river to share my story.   But turns out I wasn't there to talk, I was there to listen.  & it is through these images that my own self is being revealed to me.  Today while looking at these images I thought;

she has a sort of quiet power, doesn't she.   

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