Independence Day- Molly Kennedy

I remember the first time I saw Molly. I was sitting in room with live music when she walked to the front and sat at the piano to sing back up.  I was struck by her beauty, then by her confidence, then by her voice. This girl. I didn’t know where she came from or where she was going, but knew I wanted to be her friend.  We eventually met a few weeks later through mutual friends and it was purely quirky friendship from that moment on.  No I’m serious, we are really weird.

I preface all this in order to tell a story.  A story of how I’m realizing how truly impactful photography can be.

In the beginning of the month, I approached Molly to do a mini July 4 shoot. I had a couple ideas cooking in my brain and I needed a model.  I needed a Molly.  She was the only one I could think of who would be perfect for this.

Well thanks to Molly’s love for quality time and adventure, we woke up before the crack of dawn and drove out to the beach to catch these shots you see below.  Pity Molly- I made her do the weirdest poses and jump over seaweed like a million times. But man. Dang. Ya. This is what happened.  The light. The dress. The smile. It was all perfect.  But it was because Molly was who she is, and it was because she was in the photos.  After she saw the photos, I later received a note from her explaining a bit of her own story to me.

How many of you know that we as human beings can be our own worse critics.  We nitpick, we covets someone else’s features, we complain.  Things can go unplanned in our lives and we blame ourselves.  Girls, how many of us say, “I’m just not pretty enough” or “if only I would be different.”

Molly’s note thanked me, explaining how she had previously been feeling these things creep into her thinking.  But when she received the photos, she found herself returning to them repeatedly.  She expressed that there were a few particular photos where she just stared. “At first I felt so detached from them. Like I wasn’t looking at pictures of me.” As she kept returning to them, her perspective began to shift. “I began to see the core of who I am.”  That perspective being the truth. That the core of who she is- her identity- is good. Beautiful. Worthy.

I almost cried when I read it.  Anyone can see that Molly is gorgeous, but she herself needs to see and experience her own value and goodness.

How about you? What lies do you tell yourself in the mirror as you get ready for your day? What areas of your thinking need to be set right again?

If I can have one purpose or vision in my photographic career, it would be to show people their worth.  I think my slogan says it pretty well: “I show people the beauty they are living.”  My desire is not to have the best equipment or have the most clients.  I’ve become more intentional than that.  My dream is to show worth to people.  If that means that they change their self perspective while flipping through the photos, then that’s what it will look like.  But I think that this shoot has not only helped Molly. It’s helped me.

Live intentionally. Eliminate lies and speak the truth.  And for heaven’s sake, if you just can’t seem to believe them, invite me to do a shoot.  I’ll show you the beauty that everyone else gets to see when they look at you.  You might feel totally not put together but don’t you know? There is such true raw beauty in the mess.

And here is my beautiful friend in all her Independence Day glory. Dress by Anthropologie. Flower crown by Jarrett Atelier.  Beach and perfect day by God.

Edited Molly July Four-1 Edited Molly July Four-2 Edited Molly July Four-3 Molly July Four-14 Molly July Four-13 Molly July Four-16 Molly July Four-22 Molly July Four-25 Molly July Four-26 Molly July Four-27 Molly July Four-28 Molly July Four-30 Molly July Four-31 Molly July Four-35 Molly July Four-36 Molly July Four-40 Molly July Four-43

and some bloopers:

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Molly July Four

Independence Day- Molly Kennedy

Billelle

This past weekend one of my dearest friends got married to her best friend.  I cried all the tears and laughed all the laughs.  I also didn’t catch any of the sleeps.

Basically the weekend was like a forced friendship between eight girls.  But the beauty in it was that we were all linked to one amazing woman- Danielle- so we were pretty compliant.  Eager, actually.  And true to form, I found that Danielle has picked some amazing women to stand by her in life.

If I were to write about all the things Danielle means to me, I’d probably type until my fingers fall asleep so I’ll spare myself. I hate that painful prickly feeling.

Instead, I’d like to highlight a few things that come to mind.  First, something she has taught me is the beauty of imperfection.  This was monumental to me during college because I’ve always grown up with this ideal image of what I need to be.  What my life needs to look like.  Expectations not only put on myself by others, but mostly from myself.  I’ll never forget seeing her make mistakes during our time in school.  Each time she learned something valuable and crucial for her personal growth. I remember her talking about “embracing the messy” in our lives.  And it was in those moments where I realized I didn’t have to be perfect. I learned how to live life freely.  Free to be myself,  mess up sometimes, and take responsibility to clean up after.  If you know me, you’ll understand why this is such a big deal.  I’m kind of clumsy and crazy things happen to me all the time. I’m anything but perfect.

It’s actually what you do after you make a mistake that counts.  We all fail.  We all screw up. And that’s ok.

Something else I drew from Danielle was how she holds on to her values.  She doesn’t take them lightly. Time after time I have been in awe of how she lives out her faith and loyalty to the ones she loves. I’ve watched her waver over decisions and I’ve seen her hold fast to the things that she knows and believes. She chooses according to what makes her a better person. I’ve watched as she moved hundreds of miles away to cultivate her relationship with Bill. I’ve listened to her speak words of life over me during some of my lowest moments. She’s not afraid of doing difficult things. I love that about her.

So here’s a bit of the weekend. I hope it gives a glimpse of the camaraderie that unraveled.  It was so good to make new friends and travel with older ones.  Travel does my heart good.  billelle-95 billelle-96 billelle-98

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Billelle

Galentine’s Day

“This friendship is from heaven,” was received to my phone yesterday after delivering the photos to Chelsea.  And I couldn’t agree more.  Our mini photo shoots serve both of us well, offering her documentation for her blog and me a chance to get creative and stretch in areas where I wouldn’t normally have a chance. It doesn’t hurt that Chelsea is a total natural in front of the camera, and she’s one of the cutest humans on the planet. She puts the “gal” in Galentine.  Check her fashion blog out here: http://www.belleinblack.com/ 

So here’s to good friends, National Love Day, and to all things pink, precious, and puppy.

I can’t believe I just wrote that last sentence.  I’m going to have to go climb a tree or eat dirt to recuperate. #tomboyforlife

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Happy Galentine’s Day. From,

Yours truly.

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Galentine’s Day

One Heck of a Year

I’m an avid believer in looking ahead, setting goals, and dreaming big for the next season. But there is great value in turning your head and taking a look back from where you just came. That’s what January is for- taking a look back in reflection, and planning for what is to come.  In light of starting a new business and watching the highlights of 2014 flash by my mind’s eye, I am overcome with great hope.  I am encouraged.  I may not have a lot of money.  I may wake up some mornings, completely overwhelmed by where I am compared to my ideals.  I may come face to face with my inadequacies and glaring weaknesses. And boy have I wanted to throw in the towel.  Oh that soggy, nappy, dank old towel. But I’m excited. I think back to how unhappy I was with my job a year ago.  I find myself dreaming and hoping more than I ever have in my life.  I never knew you could be so low on money and still be so inspired. There’s something to chasing after passions inside one’s heart.  There’s something to coming nose to nose with the realization, “if I fail, I fail,” and continuing to move forward with hope.  I want to be able to say, “at least I tried.” At least I gave it everything I had.

All that to say, 2014 was a year where I quit my serving job and pursued a career in something I had been doing part time for years. Something I love. Along the way, I have been blessed by friends and random strangers who have given me their full support.  Random friends have taken time to just call me from across the country and encourage me in what they are seeing me do.  Some have called simply to brain storm and dream with me.  And to think that they do it selflessly.  Simply because they love me and believe in me. So, to my friends who have gone out of their way to care for both my heart and my craft, I raise my proverbial glass to you. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for you.  That’s right, I wouldn’t be sitting here at my table with my unkempt hair, frumpy sweater, and a grumbling stomach if it hadn’t been for your belief that I’m going somewhere.

Though I’m skeptical of the high amounts of traffic that this blog conducts and my doubts of whether they will actually ever see this, I want to honor the people who have purposely gone out of their way to encourage me in my creativity this year.  For the sake of naming, here are some names that stick out in my memory.

Molly, Jordyn, Kendra, Taylore, Amelia, Chalee and Tony, Bethany, Myca, Bill and Danielle, Harrison, Melinda, Chelsea, Shell, David, Lem and Jess, Leah, Bethany and Adam, Renae and Addam, Seth and Angie, Mindi, and Mike and Mabel- I would have totally talked myself into photo hatred (hating your work) and complete self doubt if it wouldn’t have been for your words and giving me opportunities to grow creatively.  Love you all!

So, in commemoration of all the events,  people and lives, here are some of my favorite moments in review.  Here’s to a new year! Here’s to chasing your dreams.  #cheers

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One Heck of a Year

A Glance

I can’t believe it’s only been a little over a year since I picked up my camera in pursuit of something more serious than just haphazardly pointing and shooting.  Here is a recap of some of my favorites from the last while. It’s so important to look back from where you came.  And then to look forward.  I’m excited to see what’s to come.Image

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A Glance