These are a few frames of a shoot I did on Little Barn Apothecary for Urban Outfitters blog -- you can find the full post on UO here. Joshua and Brad make their fresh, luxury artisan had, face, and body care products by hand in Atlanta, and have quickly found a following. Their balancing mist, made with aloe and rosewater, makes my skin bright and dewy, and their jasmine + ocean water texturizing spray gives my hair carefree waves and just the right amount of body. 

I've been a bit behind with sharing work and staying connected this summer, for a few reasons, but probably the biggest is that I've been feeling pretty quiet. I keep an arms-length relationship with social media, and I do that intentionally, because sometimes I want a break. I think that it is healthy for me. Even as I say that, I remember that everything else has continued at a consistent pace... the girls get older, prettier, and smarter every day, or maybe it just seems that way to me.  Piper turned 6 not too long ago. John and I have been dreaming about our next steps, work has been good. I've had some wonderful opportunities and there are even more on the horizon -- exciting things are planned This past month has been mostly consumed with finishing up final edits for Knack Book 2, pushing to finish up my editing schedule, shooting pottery for R. Wood Studio, working with USDA to shoot a campaign for Farm To School, booking up the remainder of my summer, gearing up to shoot for Apartment Therapy as a new tour contributor. We drove to Indiana to celebrate my grandmother's birthday and the 4th of July with family, and loved the cooler weather, the tall cornfields, the green grass and lush trees.  It has been a slow, restful summer... exactly what we needed. xo

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Authorpaige french

This is the house where my friend Chrissy Reed lives. She's a photographer, an artist, a carpenter, a gardener and chicken-raiser, a collector of beautiful things. She was kind enough to let me photograph her house again ( it's been almost three years ) for a position of sorts that I wanted to nail down. The love I have for her house is due to it's eclectic spirit, a small reflection of her spirit. She has a beautiful spirit. I love homes that reflect the heart of those that live in them, and am learning to appreciate that particular element over furniture that reflects a certain period of design, or some impersonal element... an impressive, pretty collection of books / publications. Something like that. I did not, unfortunately, have the opportunity to make a portrait of Chrissy this time.

'Man's continuity somehow comes through all the external things that constitute him... If the photographer is to have a chance of achieving a true reflection of a person's world--which is as much outside him as inside him--it is necessary that the subject of the portrait should be in a situation normal to him. We must respect the atmosphere which surrounds the human being, and integrate into the portrait the individual's habitat--for man, no less than  animals, has his habitat. Above all, the sitter must be made to forget about the camera and the photographer who is handling it.'     .Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1952

I feel as though I am at an interesting point with my work, in the sense that there were many things that I believed, three years ago or so, would be held in high regard in my life for the rest of my life, in my own mind, maybe even the minds of others. I don't really care for those things much anymore. It seems that the things I do care about now, that I fight for and desire, and work towards, are mostly unseen. They are either unseen because they involve matters of the heart, my heart and my family's individual hearts, or they are precious things that I don't care to lend out. They are worth too much to me to give away to make an impression. I think that is what I am trying to say; I am past the point of trying to make impressions, which is me admitting that yes, at many points, I believed the only way to progress in my work was to make good impressions, outside of simply just doing the work. I find myself now at a point where I want the work to reflect the things that do matter to me. Years ago, I didn't realize some of the things I see now. Things like -- after loss, grief, self-blaming and self-doubt, huge mistakes, struggling to accept forgiveness, struggling to forgive, and fighting real hard with the lie that nothing matters anyway;  after seeing gains and losses, money made and money gone, seen the blips of temporal success and surface-level acceptance and affection, then stared long and hard at what you really have to count on, what you really can stake your life on, and found that what actually matters has nothing to do with those things; in the midst of wondering if it was possible to be truly known yet not taken advantage of, if hope and love were worth risk, and finding that yes, more than worth risk, love chooses me, love does fight, love does hope, and hope does not disappoint; after letting all of those very heavy, but truthful and beautiful things wash over me, letting them change me, somehow everything superficial is sifted and doesn't hold it's appeal anymore. I would rather shape my life after the things that I know to be true. 

Truth be told, my work is just that -- work. I am so thankful for my work, for the places it has taken me, the people I've met, the moments I've experienced, the strength, perseverance, quickness it has taught me. But just as in the quote above, there are aspects in which this type of work invites me to come and lose the shadows, the fear, the stress, the sense of ownership over my life and my time. 

'For me, the camera is a sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to "give meaning" to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry--it is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression. One must always take photographs with the greatest respect for the subject and for oneself. To take photographs is to hold one's breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy. To take photographs means to recognize--simultaneously and within a fraction of a second--both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one's head, one's eye, and one's heart on the same axis. As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other forms of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one's originality. It is a way of life.'   .Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1976

If I were to make a list of things I would like to see come from this life-shaping time, it would be something similar to... build a darkroom, do studio work, begin sewing again. Release collections of prints and textile goods along a theme. Continue to work with my friends and collaborators whom I love and respect (Erin, Eve, Jodi). Think about getting my MFA and teaching somewhere.  Most obviously, most importantly, press into my family, be present with my husband. Make the main thing the main thing -- our time together and our home life. 

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These are just a few photographs of Spring Studio Day, hosted at the Brick House on May 9th.  We spent the morning and part of the afternoon together, wandering through the woods, gathering plants, leaving behind distractions and deadlines. Eve spoke about her work as a sculptor, installation artist, and stylist, and the prominence that a sense of place, but also permanence vs. impermanence, holds in her pieces. We learned about elements of composition, finding and using styling elements within one's close natural vicinity. Rinne taught us about the process and history of cyanotypes, originally termed light drawings, which is her preferred name for them. We used the plants, flowers, and seeds that we collected to make light drawings of our own, and while they were drying, I shared a bit about my work, what inspires and influences me, and the value of cultivating one's own voice as a photographer. We enjoyed Eve's lovingly made, delicious lunch outside on the patio. 

This was a very special and meaningful day for me, and I am still thinking through the experience. I gained insight into some aspects of my craft that I want to explore and grow in, and also aspects of my life that are out of balance right now. This day prompted me to think about what I want my life to look like in the future, as a wife, mother, artist, friend. I will write more about that when I am ready; right now it's still raw. Having the opportunity to work with both Rinne and Eve on the same project was such a gift to me. And having my mom there with me was so special, just before Mother's Day. It was so important to me to be able to take part together in making the cyanotypes, and her having them to take home. We were thankful for each woman that came; so many sweet people and so much enthusiasm! We parted ways with happy hearts. You can read thoughts from one of them, my friend, artist and painter Emily Jeffords here. I was a little bit swept up in the practical side of the day, and got some really beautiful photographs of our day. 

For those of you who missed this one, we will be hosting another at some point, and I look forward to giving even more the opportunity to join us! You can find more of Rinne's work here, and more of Eve's work here. Back soon with more wedding photographs, personal work / thoughts, and maybe a shoot with our entire family (including me, wow). 

 

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Most Mondays of the past year (2014) were spent traveling to Greenville, SC to shoot with Barb Blair of Knack Studios while she worked on her 2nd book. I feel very grateful to be included in that process, and I cannot wait to see the finished product. The title of the book is 'Furniture Makes The Room'; it does include some of the furniture techniques for which Barb is so celebrated, but includes beautiful styling and decor. The publisher is Chronicle Books, and it will be released early 2016.

Thankfully, I have a talented, small tribe of Greenville artist friends, and we keep up with each other's work, how our families are doing and growing, and opportunities to collaborate on projects. Most recently, Barb was invited to partner with Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte to create a campaign to introducing Waverly® Inspirations Chalk Paint. I was happy to be invited to photograph this, work with Barb and Rachel, and be able to share just a little taste of our work together. Julie Dodds ( Willow Florals ) directed floral design (not only for the book, but for this campaign as well), Jessica ( A Darling Day ) provided props and helped with styling, and my dear friend Angie popped in for a bit. She lent her hand in every aspect of the making of that book. Her talent transcends genres, but for this project, she served as second-hand stylist to Barb; their working relationship is symbiotic. The book, and this campaign, pictured above, (these are just a few snippets), are reminders to me of that time we spent together. Heart strings tied to each other. Moments where we realize we're working in harmony in an unexpected way. 

Special thanks to BarbHandmade Charlotte for bringing me on boardWaverly and parent company Plaid for featuring this collaboration. You can view current posts by Barb here, the full tutorial here, and Rachel Faucett's descriptive here

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Last weekend I travelled to Nashville to photograph the wedding of Emily and Julian. I realize that many photographers photograph weddings and then rave and gush about how wonderful, magical, perfect, amazing, 'best ever' every single wedding they shoot is, but my thoughts on this couple and their wedding day are rarely spoken by me, and heartfelt. 

Emily knew she wanted me to shoot her wedding, and I found that to be pretty awesome, because she is a gifted photographer. I had seen her work before but had not met her while we were living in Athens simultaneously. I met both of them when they came to town for a show --  Julian is the drummer for The Whigs.  Julian is a talented musician, and a pretty laid-back, self-assured guy, well-spoken and intelligent. Emily has a light within; she radiates. Bliss and a tiny bit of sass, kind of. So meeting them last year, and then spending their wedding day with them, was a gift. They're beautiful people and they're even more beautiful together. I loved meeting their family of friends, and many of those people still reside here in Athens. Goodness all around. 

From the time I got to their house to the time I left that evening, everything was super chill, and I had the sense that there was excitement, joy, and people ready to celebrate. Their ceremony had everyone in tears, was so clearly precious to both of them. These are just a handful of picks from the first part of our time together. The excitement of a bride getting ready for her wedding is so beautiful.  I'll be sharing more from this wedding in portions. And yeah, that's Waylon Jenning's '62 Cadillac Fleetwood.

Also, if you haven't seen this, Rinne Allen, Eve Nettles and I are hosting a Spring Studio Day on May 9th, out in the country just between Athens and Crawford. We'll be at The Brick House from 9 am to 1 pm, as Eve, Rinne and I share about our process and spend time creating together. Seats are limited to twelve, and there are still a handful left if you'd like to join us. This will be a lovely retreat from the bustle of daily life, a day spent immersed in nature and learning to make art in new ways. To reserve your seat, please click 'studio day' at the top of this page... or click here.  I would be thrilled to spend this time with my readers and friends. xx

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I had the opportunity to shoot the work of a seamstress that I admire and respect, Shawna Lea Maranville, based in Athens, GA. She sells her work at Community, also located in Athens. She uses repurposed, recycled fabrics to craft modern garments. We shot at Stan Mullins' art studio situated just before the railroad tracks on Pulaski. Avery Draut and Emily Braden modeled (respectively, pictured last). Hair was beautifully done by Shane McBride and Allie Miller of Washington Square Studios , and makeup was the work of Jana Vlaciky of Eliana Cosmetics. Rhys May provided that perfectly edgy, feminine jewelry.

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I had the opportunity to photograph five female musicians who are based here in Athens for Urban Outfitter's blog. You can see the full post here, including interviews by Mercedes Bleth. These talented women are, respectively, Ruby Kendrick, Thayer Sarrano, Erin Notarthomas, Kristine Leschper, and Erin Lovett. Urban is opening a store in town, and is also a sponsor of the Slingshot Festival, which is happening right now. I had an amazing experience working with each of these women. They were welcoming, kind, intelligent, I could go on... but I realized (again) how much I enjoy photographing artists and musicians in their spaces. It's some of my favorite work. I am also thankful that these women allowed me to photograph them. It's an intimate thing, I think, to give another person permission to take your picture. The process of making a portrait can bring up insecurities, fears, but also courage, and vulnerability. It is a process that involves trust, and I am humbled that people trust me enough to give me space in their lives this way. It's an honor and a privilege. So -- thank you, ladies, for letting me be part of this, and also to Urban Outfitters, for supporting these musicians and bringing me on board to be part of the project.   

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Eve and I spent a beautiful, shade-lit spring day in studio. Trimming and packing prints, setting up the cutting table. Hanging one of our nettles + french 3' x 2' prints on the wall, to see them in our spaces and breath life into our work. They provide hope for future projects. I so much appreciate our work together. We will be releasing new works soon, so please stay in the loop! Visit nettlesandfrench.com and send us an email : nettlesandfrench@gmail.com . 

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 In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.

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This is the work of my dear friend and collaborator, Eve Nettles. Her mind is an endless well of newness, of art, of beauty, and her art is filled with thoughtful intent and evidence of brilliance. She uses some of the most unassuming media (drywall, papier-mâché, wall paper, fibers and fabrics) to infer meaning through sculpture. The pieces above are part of a body of work entitled 'Lodging Coerced'. She used paper pulp, molded into into the corners of her current home, to give voice to that phenomenon which is essentially the emotional, human connection we build into the spaces we inhabit. Heart strings are somehow tied to places and homes, and we carry those with us, for the rest of our life, though we do not carry the dwellings themselves. 

This is more than just a commentary on the importance of a childhood home or the room I gave birth to my oldest daughter in, though those are such meaningful, emotional places for me...  over the course of our brief time knowing one another, Eve and I have talked, grown close, told each other our stories, shared our burdens, and seen such surprising gifts come from our time spent together as collaborators and sisters, not only in work but heart. Themes have begun to emulsify and we are aware of the hurts we tenderly share, and one thing that we seem to continually come back to is this lifelong struggle between longing for permanence and experiencing impermanence. Along with that, though, is also the longing for change, for new growth and life, and yet finding one's self, at times, unable to change. These are deep threads that weave throughout the tapestry not only of my and Eve's life, but it seems, so many of those I have come to know in the course of my life.  And I think this is an element of Eve's work that I deeply respect. It is not only beautiful, but it carries so much weight, so much truth. 

She is one of so many friends that I am blessed to have in my life, who are creative, generous yet humble with their wisdom, sources of hope and the reality that tomorrow is always a new day, there is more beauty to be taken in, more exploring to be done, more growing and more grace. These people remind me that though the struggle of literally just getting through today is real, I am surrounded by and get to enjoy the company of friends who share their life with me.  Eve, like so many others, brings light into my life. I hope you enjoy these pieces that she graciously allowed me to photograph, both on gallery display, and in an open field, in the middle of winter, eldest daughter with us, exploring the landscape and feeling like little girls again. We left with rosy cheeks, flower and branch souvenirs, and photographs that will be part of our next offering of prints. If you have not yet had a chance to visit the site where we share our collaborative work, take some time to visit Nettles + French, and consider purchasing some of this beautiful work for your own space.  Perhaps it will be one thing you can bring along with you as you journey from place to place, and will remind you of your own heartstrings. 

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I was invited to photograph Wildwood Revival, an eclectic community of inspired artists and like-minded folk brought together by one common thread: music. These are some of the pictures I took while I was there. This is the festival's second year, and although I didn't attend the first, I fell completely in love with the second. Everything about it was intimate and tailored -- the setting was beautiful, with a welcoming invitation to camp out both nights, before and after the music started, lingering into the night after the music ended, sharing a bonfire and sharing a meal. This happened to be a date night for John and I, and it felt like we were experiencing something magical; we were both so excited to be there. There were families with bundled up little ones, artists selling their work, friendly people, an eggie trailer transformed into a photo booth, local beer and food, and obviously, incredible music (to see this year's lineup, visit their site). The sun setting over the pastures, seeing the tents and teepees dotting the fields, and the smoke rising from a few fires, all of it was incredibly beautiful. Jessie and his wife Wendy host the festival on their property. They invite the artists who perform, they recruit sponsors, promote the event, and pour tons of energy into making it happen. I am so glad that they do. I am so glad that this exists. If you haven't made it out yet, be on the lookout for the next event. With all of the things I love about Athens, it was an adventure to get just a little ways out of town and enjoy music, food, beer, and fall weather with some lovely folks in the country.

And friends, I am proud to announce the initial offering of prints from Nettles and French, which you can view and purchase on our site, nettlesandfrench.com. They come in a range of sizes and are priced perfectly for holiday gift-giving. I can't say enough about how pleased I am with the quality of our canvases, printed by our friends at Dapper Ink. The clarity, color, and texture are so delicate and perfectly compliment the aesthetic of our work. If you live in Athens, you're invited stop by the Shotgun House (543 Pulaski Street) tomorrow between 5 and 9 pm for a holiday market. I'll be there selling our prints, along with some other incredible artists selling their work. We'll have treats and perhaps a little wine. I would love to see you there, and show you what Eve and I have been working on. There is something special about holding the prints in your hand. The next step for Nettles and French, besides continuing our work when Eve returns from France, is to set up a newsletter through which we can easily share our upcoming events. We plan to have openings for each of the releases, and we look forward to sharing those evenings with you. I will be sure to share that link when it is available.

In the meantime, our little family is getting excited to share Christmas and spend time together. My sister just gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Anne Marie, and I traveled to meet her this past weekend. I also got to travel on to Asheville and spend a couple of days with some amazing women; I value them so much. My heart is full and thankful. One last thing -- we started an Instagram account for N + F -- @nettlesandfrench. We'll be sharing new work, behind the scenes photographs, pop-up shops and more. I hope that you'll have a chance to see the new site and follow along with us on Instagram.  xo

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Nettles and French is a project emerging out of Athens, Georgia. A story between sculptor and photographer. 

www.nettlesandfrench.com

These photographs offer a glimpse into a new direction of work between Eve Nettles and I. We're excited to share this project; some of the photographs will be shown on our site, nettlesandfrench.com, along with writing about our process, what we're working on, etc. The content on our site gives voice to what we're doing -- the narrative behind and between the release of prints, which is our primary focus: releasing a limited number of prints, for short periods of time. These prints are physical, tactile proof to points of evolution as we collaborate and work together. To begin, we have a group of four photographs, and we will provide more detail on the sizes available, how many are offered of each, and where they can be purchased.  We'll be making those announcements via my personal Instagram, Eve's Instagram (@evenettles), our website, and also @nettlesandfrench. Additionally -- we have an opening planned here in Athens in early December; guests will be able to view the pieces in person, and have the opportunity to purchase one of the prints available only at the opening.  So I suppose this is the soft introduction, but we look forward to what will come. Early December; stay tuned!

 

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This man pictured above is a brilliant artist, husband, father, and kind soul. I had the privilege of meeting David Hale a few years ago, shortly after I relocated to Athens from Portland, Oregon. He did a beautiful cover up of a tattoo on my foot, and since then I have followed his work as it exploded across the internet and the world. He's a special kind of person; the popularity hasn't seemed to affect him, other than making the choice to literally stop taking appointments and instead using a newsletter system with Gratitude Designs -- prospective clients can pick from them to enter the lottery. He chooses one client for each design, and the design will never be used on anyone other than that client. He uses a donation system when accepting payment and donates a percentage of each tattoo and art sale to hand-picked charities. Included with his newsletter, every letter, are words of thankfulness, gratitude, connectedness to the natural world, thoughtful self-examination, and hope. He welcomed me into the studio and I spent some time with him and his apprentice, Evan Morgan, and he tattooed a beautiful swallow on my right shoulder. You can see the drawing of it taped to his lamp, the third photograph from the bottom. Read more about David's work at davidhale.org and his tattoo studio, Love Hawk Studio, at lovehawk.com, where you can also sign up for his newsletter.  

This tattoo carries so much significance for me. It's a reminder of the softening of my heart and the strengthening of my soul. This came after a very difficult time; actually, almost fourteen years of difficulty, with a three or four year rest that passed shortly after the move to Athens. I feel, in many ways, that I am entering into rest and abundance. I wrote about why my first three years in Athens were difficult in Issue A of Alphabet Family Journal, and the title of the piece is Abundance. Interestingly, and fittingly, the editors chose this title for my four page spread containing 500 words and a handful of photographs, showing a gathering with my friends. In one photograph, Larken, as a baby, is being held by Zelda, who would eventually introduce me to John, my husband. The hard exterior, defensive spirit, and basically survival-mode mentality that I carried as a single mother has given way to hope, joy, and, there seems to be no better way to say this, softening. 

I've written a bit about taking a new direction with my work, and while the studio concept is on hold for a time, I have been building something new and fresh, along with a lovely friend and artist, Eve Nettles. Every Thursday we meet, discuss different visual movements, gather materials, and begin. She composes and designs, I photograph. This work has brought me so much joy, and a feeling of satisfaction -- beauty created and unfolding as we work. We are in the process of building our website, where you'll be able to see each series of installations photographed, and also purchase as prints. Eve is participating in a gallery opening this Friday evening, and I'll be present with my camera to photograph some of her work on display. We'll also be handing out a few small prints with information hand written on the back, including the name of this project and our site's address. If you live in the Athens area, please join these artists in the Plaza & Bridge galleries of UGA's Lamar Dodd school of art. For those that are interested but won't be able to attend the event, I'll post a few of our pieces and more information on my site's journal sometime next week. So many aspects of this work reflect the softness that I mentioned above. 

Our family has been finding our way through a very busy time with regards to John's and my work, but through all of this we have found comfort in the company of dear friends and have loved seeing those friendships deepen and grow. We have been enjoying the girls so much; they're both so sweet and hilarious. With regard to work, the deadline for many months spent investing in Barb Blair's second book is nearing.  Though there is pressure and so much to be done, the entire experiencing of working with Barb and the other members of our team, Angie, Jessica, and Julie, has been wonderful and enriching. I can't wait to see that book in print; the publisher is Chronicle and it will be out in early 2015. I don't think I am allowed to say anything other than that. You can read more about Barb and what she does at knackstudios.com.  I have learned so much from watching her balance work and family life, while constantly supporting those around her and having a light-hearted spirit. She is truly a wise woman and I am honored to be her photographer for this book. I have only a handful of weddings left, and have some other smaller projects in process, but overall I see the light of more rest, less stress, more time together at the end of the tunnel. It has been really encouraging to see my work featured in some major places recently: Domino, The Huffington Post, and Minted, thanks to my sweet friend Emily Jeffords, and Bon Appétit (here and here) and in a German book about knives called Messer by publisher Tuebner, thanks to my people Bloodroot Blades, who are some of my favorite human beings. Their work continues to gain recognition and much like David Hale, the popularity hasn't changed them in any way. It has been so good to watch them grow and receive well-deserved exposure. 

Back soon with more information on my work with Eve and also a handful of pieces to view.

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I first met Raven when she modeled for a look book that I was photographing, and we had such a connection in that relationship. She has a rare, natural grace in front of the camera; I think this simply comes from who she is. We became friends that day, and stayed in touch through social media. I saw that she was painting again and had a space in the Redux Studios in Charleston, SC. We met there one late summer morning; she arrived riding her bike with flowers from the farmer's market, wearing a dip-dyed caftan with milk maid braids and lace up boots, and lots of jewelry. So perfectly Raven. 

We spent some time shooting in her studio, talking about her background in art and how she has grown as an artist. Her work continues to gain recognition (her show with Billy Reid opens tomorrow, October 2nd, at the corner of King and Queen in Charleston), and she continues to explore new mediums and concepts. Later we stopped at a coffee shop a few blocks down and talked... about life, and how beautiful but broken it can be at the same time. We talked about the richness of having creative women in your life, and how much we have to learn and share with/from each other.  We lingered and conversed, sometimes quietly and sometimes laughing loudly with childlike abandon. In that light-soaked room, I felt like I had been given one of those moments where you are able to really see that life is a gift -- with all the difficulty, all the struggle, all the pain and sorrow -- yet it truly is a gift. Those struggles and sorrows shape us and give us depth, texture, compassion, and strength... they make us who we are. And moments like this one, often unexpected, can make us appreciate life, the entire scope of what we experience. And these kind of moments make us grow as well. They make us rich. These moments give each of us the opportunity to extend the understanding and empathy we gain from our pain in this precious exchange that friendship is. 

I have more to share soon in my series on artists, and the next is an equally grace-filled, kind soul -- David Hale. I also have been working with an artist and friend, Eve Nettles, on a project that I plan to pour much of my time and energy into. I am absolutely in love with what we are working on; it has opened my eyes to so many possibilities with our combined efforts. Very excited to launch that project when the time is right. Our hopes for the Schoolhouse won't be possible, unfortunately, but we are still looking for a studio and plan to continue finding ways to work together as a family in the meantime. Thank you for reading friends; back soon. 

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Authorpaige french

I recently had the opportunity to teach a photography and styling class at TREEHOUSE. kid & craft to a wonderful group of girls ages ten - fourteen. We had so much fun learning about the elements of exposure, how to shoot in manual on a DSLR, and concepts such as depth of field and color and composition. We learned about some iconic photographers and watched just a bit of the BBC documentary on Vivian Maier. The last day we spent practicing food styling with props generously provided by Mimi Maumus of home.made catering and beautiful pottery by R. Wood Studio Ceramics. I took these photographs and a few more at the end of our last day. This was such an energizing experience for me; obviously, Treehouse itself is a beautiful space to teach from and is filled with inspiration, and it was also interesting to work with girls in that age range, especially as I thought about Piper and Larken and what they will be like as they grow older. Each one of the students was so special and I loved seeing them learn, and sensing when a concept really clicked. It was awesome to hear how familiar they were with the exposure choices they were making toward the end of the camp. You can see more of these photographs at theseedandplate.com

So I left with a bit of a cliffhanger in my last journal entry, and I didn't do that for dramatic effect, but instead wanted everything to be finalized before sharing news. Here goes: John and I have acquired a beautiful studio space, the Schoolhouse, just outside of town (maybe five miles from downtown Athens?) with a rich creative history. It's a beautiful, white, one-room schoolhouse (as the name suggests) with a tin roof and wood floors, walls, and ceiling. We are so excited for this studio... right now, our initial plans (beyond just having a beautiful space to work and play in that isn't home) include dinners, small shows, workshops, art openings, pop-up shops, recording space, and many more things. There is still much to be done with branding, promoting, designing and building the site, but thus far the response among friends and those who we partner with has been incredibly enthusiastic and supportive. We envision a beautiful space with rustic wood as the backdrop, but modernist white and neutral furnishings, vintage rugs, and beautiful floral and greenery arrangements. We plan to host our first dinner in the fall. I will be sharing the details of how we are progressing here on my journal as well as on instagram, but for now, we are in the stage of dreams and hard work.  We also plan to use the space for The Seed and Plate events, classes, workshops.  Of all the beautiful things we have envisioned, John and I are most excited about doing this together as a family. 

Piper started kindergarten this past week, lost her first tooth just days before, and Larken talks non-stop with a killer sense of humor. The girls are growing up so beautifully with personalities that constantly keep me engaged and enthralled. Their amazing little minds bring me more and more joy everyday. And they love each other so much; one of my favorite things is seeing them play together, hold hands, and hug each other. Larken tends to be the mischievous antagonist in their relationship, while Piper has come to thoroughly enjoy the role of older sister. They are very close. We are all growing closer, everyday, despite fatigue and all of the brokenness within  and around us, and add to that all of the work John and I both have. I know I have written this over and over but it remains true: I am so hopeful for the season that lies ahead. And I very much appreciate the one we are in now, even with everything that is hard. I am so thankful for the love that we have and share. And for the chance to work together more with John! Wonderful things. I look forward to sharing more when I can.

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Authorpaige french

Last Thursday I spent a day shooting interiors with a local designer, and even though it was a long day of good work, I knew that I needed to go out to a farm in Winterville to take some photographs for a Seed and Plate piece. John and I talked and decided to make this farm visit a family trip, feed the girls supper on the way.  

Driving out to Winterville is a familiar route to John, particularly, but to me as well -- it's the drive that he took every morning and every night to come see me and spend time with the girls while we were dating. He lived on a farm in Winterville with a close friend, and we visited him there a couple of times, but we spent most of our time together at my house because it was home for the girls. This was a nostalgic drive for us... we talked about how far we've come even in these four months that we've been married, the mix of emotions that he felt on that drive from town to the farm -- ranging from sadness and loneliness, feeling a lack of purpose before we met, to the excitement and hope for something real and true after meeting me, to the love that was growing between us, and the four of us, and then the hope of marriage and being a family for the rest of our lives. 

As we got closer to his old house we realized that this was exactly where the map was taking us and we laughed. I never mentioned the address to him before typing it into my phone, I just saw that it was on the same road and didn't think anything further about it. We pulled into the driveway, got the girls out and went inside to meet Meg and Gus. It was so good to be back in that house and on that farm, remembering the whole scope of our story and how beautiful it really is. 

Meg and Gus run a meat co-op called Community. I'll post a link to the Seed and Plate piece when it is ready so that you can learn more about what they do. They were a joy to meet and so welcoming. It seems like they live a simple life, the kind that I dream about sometimes. 

I have been gone quite a bit these days, away from my family, traveling for weddings... some not too far away from home, some a good ways away. I have been missing my family. I have been weighed down with the stress of wedding season. I have been thinking about what I really want out of my work, and the preciousness of these early years in my girl's life, and of one day wanting to have another baby. I have been tired of the constant digital camera or screen in front of my eyes. I love my work, I will always be a photographer, I could never stop, I just know that I don't want to pursue a career in photography at the expense of my family and marriage. Maybe later, when the girls are older, I don't know.

So we have been dreaming and planning. There are some new things on the horizon for us, which are being carefully considered and thought through, but for now I can say that I am beginning a new chapter... one that involves staying closer to home, building into the Athens creative community, partnering with other artists and musicians and such, and bringing the girls along with me so that my work isn't something that separates me from them, but is an adventure for all of us. John will of course be my other half in this, and we are both fighting for a more holistic approach to our work and life. A simpler life. So we're hopeful, and ready for more time together, more time working with other creatives, more time letting the girls explore and create.  Can't wait.

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Authorpaige french

I had the opportunity to visit Erin McIntosh in her studio some weeks ago, and had a wonderful experience meeting her and learning about her artwork and process. She is a a sweet, kind soul, and obviously her work is incredible. One of my favorite aspects about meeting and photographing artists who work in other mediums (than photography) is talking with them about their lives, how they maintain balance (or try to), what motivates them creatively, things they have learned through their successes and failures, and the challenges of being your own brand, in a sense. In particular, Erin and I spoke about balance. She just returned from Italy where she spent three months teaching, and also is an art instructor at various campuses in and around Athens. It was very encouraging for me personally to hear her persecutive about how busy seasons come and go, and it reminded me that this season that find myself in will pass. 

You can find more about Erin and see her work on her website, erinmcintosh.com. Erin is represented by Gregg Irby and OAC Gallery. She was recently featured on Artsy Forager and is currently included in an exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia (see here). If you live in Athens, you can see her work at an exhibition at Hotel Indigo, which will be up through June. 

I have a few more artists to feature coming up soon.  I love seeing how this project has grown from an idea that I had over a year ago into something very beautiful -- it has brought friendship, creativity and more art into my life. I am so thankful to be able to use the medium of photography to share these experiences. Back soon. 

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Authorpaige french
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Trouvé Volume 01 has been a beautiful journey... watching it grow from vision to completion, with steps in between, and then holding an actual magazine in my hands that I took part in making a reality. I am thankful to everyone who was involved in making this magazine, especially Amanda Marko . Please visit trouvemag.com to purchase a copy, and see my press/print section to see her beautiful layouts that include my work. Also, Michelle Armas, thank you again for letting me into your life. 

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Authorpaige french

Spring is here where I live, in Georgia, and everything is green. After a long weekend of being apart -- traveling and shooting for a wedding -- we had some time to be together as a family with friends; it was badly needed. Wedding season is picking up which means more time away from my girls and my beautiful husband. But this particular Saturday, I drove through the mountains in Appalachia and saw beauty. I listened to Redbird's Moonshiner, and Drunk Lullaby, and Ithaca.  It made me want to go camping. It made me want to back to Oregon, just for a bit, to visit friends and remember. More than that, it made me love the South and everything about where we are, exactly right now, with all the good and bad. My girls are growing and I feel really good about where they're being raised. We live in a very special place called The Hill; it is this hidden, idyllic, green and beautiful parcel of land a few miles from downtown Athens. The people who live here are almost like a family. We gather with them from time to time and it is always special... I am looking forward to more of that this summer, and new growing friendships, and old friendships that continue bringing joy and community to our lives. I am thankful for these moments of rest and being together. 

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Authorpaige french

I have been spending a good bit of time at Barb Blair's shop, Knack Studios in Greenville, SC. She is working on her second book with Chronicle Books and I have the privilege of being her photographer for the project. I am absolutely thrilled about all the aspects of our work together -- she is a wonderful, vibrant woman that I respect and admire and learn from, and we get to shoot her beautiful work in a beautiful space. These are just a few shots I took during free moments during our shoot yesterday. You can purchase her first book, Furniture Makeovers, here.

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Authorpaige french