Posted on July 11, 2010
For this family, the baseball field is a second home. So it was a natural location for their portraits. We braved an impending storm, and a not-thrilled to be photographed ‘tween, and managed to squeeze a fun session into their busy as usual day. This group had such a great dynamic about them. They are a team unto themselves.
Posted on July 10, 2010
Honored in 2009 as an Outstanding Alumna of UNF, Jen is passionate about giving back even while she works tirelessly for her business and her family. What I love about Jen is that she is so positive, encouraging, optimistic and yet real. She acknowledges challenges yet looks for possibilities. I always enjoy talking with her and getting her perspective on art, business, family, and the intersection of the three. Jen reminds me that focusing on relationships is the key to surviving, and succeeding, in both business and personal life even during challenging times.
It was a joy to photograph Jen’s three beautiful kids. Each of them has a distinct personality which I hope I captured. We met at a friend’s riverfront condo which provided colorful, amazing backdrops to these equally colorful kiddos.
To find out more about R. Roberts Gallery:
Located in Historic Avondale
3606 St. Johns Avenue, Jacksonville FL, 32205
Posted on June 12, 2010
After many moves myself, I believe the title above is so true. I imagine military families would especially understand this. The crew of the USS Vicksburg were able to make it home just in time for Memorial Day. The G family were one of the many anxious to be reunited. Here are a few of the “befores”.
They arrive! Everyone has to strain to find each other, and then wait several exciting and torturous minutes while they go through safety and ceremonial procedures.
Finally, hugs and kisses for everyone.
Congratulations, G family. I hope your Memorial Day was wonderful, and that Father’s Day will be even better.
Posted on June 10, 2010
Be warned: this is a LONG one!
Between the beginning of summer and the near demise of my computer, I have let the blog sit idle lately. I thought it was worth backtracking a bit to share some of the images from one of the most amazing photographic opportunities I’ve had so far, capturing the birth of a child.
This was mama’s first baby. She was so sweet and concerned for all her visiting friends and family that she barely got any sleep for herself before the main event. I was a little worried for her. I kept thinking, “Sleep! This might be your last chance to get decent sleep for a long while.”
In addition to her husband, doctor, and great nurses, mama had a doula to guide and care for her.
I needn’t have worried. After finding the strength she needed to push for 3 HOURS, baby boy arrived with the sun.
I sometimes think that I overuse the word honor to describe how I feel about being invited into the homes and lives of my clients. In this case, I’m at a loss to think of better word. What an honor to be there, to be asked to capture this monumental moment in a family’s story. I’m still amazed.
Posted on May 18, 2010
I’ve been wanting for a while to start a series here on the blog that I was thinking I would call Women in Business, or Entrepreneurial Moms. But when I looked at the list of people I’d like to include, not everyone ever fit the title I had in mind. Some were working in non-profits, or at home. Some were not moms. Some were not women!
I’m not sure why, but I let the inability to think of a neat category for these people, along with being super busy, keep me from getting started. I finally decided to give this series a more equal-opportunity title: People I Admire. The criteria is simple and self explanatory. I think these are people that you should know about.
I’m not a person that believes in heroes. At least not in the “put this person on a pedestal until a flaw is revealed”, celebrity-worship sense. Up to this point in my life, if anyone ever asked who my heroes are, I had one simple answer. My mom. But, as I reflect on that, I realize it’s not because I think my mom is perfect or invincible. It is precisely because I know that she is all too human and I’ve been a intimate witness to what she has accomplished in spite of that. These days, wearing many hats as most of us are, I find myself looking all around for examples. I mean tangible examples, not just people in history or on television, of people around me who are juggling their roles with grace and getting great things done in the process.
With that definition in mind, I hope that through this series you and I will get to know some amazing people in our community, and the work they are doing. I hope that we can learn a little bit from them about both their motivations and challenges. I like to learn that admirable people have challenges, too, not so that they can be humbled and I can feel superior, but so that I can be encouraged and know that I can still do great things despite my many, many flaws.
If you know anyone in Jacksonville who should be included in this series, please put me in touch with them! In the meantime, I’ve got quite a list of great people in mind already.
So now, let me introduce you to the beautiful Melissa Johnson…
Melissa owns Yoga Ananda, a center for holistic wellness in Avondale. But that’s just one of her many hats. She is also wife to Jay Johnson, and co-owns another business with him, Aubrey Digital Home. Together, they are the proud parents of (almost) two year old Griffin. And in her spare time, she is moving into another new career as a doula.
Yoga Ananda started in 2006 primarily as a yoga studio. It quickly grew (literally, more than doubling in physical space), to include massage, accupunture and herbal medicine, reflexology, nutrition consulting, and so much more that is continually evolving.
Melissa wanted her own business in order to “create her own reality.” That started out meaning the freedom to set her own hours (no early wake up calls), but has grown to creating opportunities for herself and her family, forming relationships with amazing people she would not have met otherwise, and providing valuable services to the community. Through Yoga Ananda, she is teaching the community about alternative paths to wellness, and she is a part of the change she sees in the city she grew up in. “[Jacksonville] is opening up to a higher consciousness and the people are the driving force. Our clients (the people) are the main reason for our success and they have fed my soul more than any paycheck ever could!”
One of the things I hope to learn through this series is how people successfully manage family, work and community. How the three can compliment each other, rather than compete as they often do. Melissa credits her mother, husband, and son for making her work possible, more meaningful and yet also helping her to keep a good perspective on how much and how efficiently she works.
When I have dedicated time parameters to family and business it helps focus my energy to be my best at one or the other during that time. So because I have family balance I have work balance and can try to be present for both at that time. And Griffin just makes me a better person all the way around…he teaches me patience and how to let things go and that really helps in my business life. My husband also with his support of everything I do encourages my success. He really makes me think that I can do it all and lets me know that I am doing a good job.
And when asked what is the most pivotal element that allows her to juggle both family and business, she cited her mother, a recently retired business owner herself, without a doubt. Her mom set the example of entrepreneurship, and now plays a large role in caring for her son while Melissa and Jay are attending to their businesses.
Finally, I asked Melissa for advice for me and others like me who struggle to balance it all. Here is what she had to say and what I’ve been giving a lot of thought to over the last few days.
Set parameters and stick to them. Dedicate time to the business and uninterrupted time (even if it’s a couple of hours at a time) to family. Make sleep a priority. The work will still be there. Be okay with letting things go…so what if the dishes or floors aren’t clean that week or maybe you have to cancel a meeting to be with the family. Go easy on yourself. Give yourself permission to not be perfect all the time. If it doesn’t seem worth all of the balance efforts and if you don’t enjoy it in your soul – reconsider!
Thank you so much, Melissa, for your insight and friendship!
For more information about Yoga Ananda and Melissa’s Doula Practice here is all the pertinent info:
Yoga Ananda: A Center for Yoga and Wellness
4154 Herschel Street, 32210
Check out more of my headshot work at http://jacksonville-headshots.com/
Posted on May 4, 2010
First a little business…
ATLANTA DATES: I will be available for sessions in and around Atlanta from June 14 to 18, and again from July 5 to 11. Call or message me if you are interested in discussing or reserving a time slot!
MOTHER’S DAY is THIS Sunday. Do you have a present yet? Gift certificates are available in any denomination and can used towards session fees, or prints (for future or past sessions).
This grandmother called me a few weeks ago in anticipation of her daughter’s visit and her two grandchildren being together at her Ponte Vedra home. I’m always thrilled to get to photograph not just one, but several branches of a family’s tree. Lots of family means lots of pictures, here are a few of my favorites.
Posted on April 20, 2010
I’ve mentioned several times how much I treasure grandparents, and especially how grateful I am that my girls get to have such a sweet relationship with theirs. Here is a series of shots I captured of VC with my mom, whom she calls Lola, hanging out in the shade on our last visit. I loved them so much I thought they deserved their own post, and probably a special place on the walls of my home.
I enthusiastically encourage families to consider doing family sessions that include multiple generations, or where it’s specifically grandparents with grandchildren. Mother’s Day is coming up, and a gift certificate would be a wonderful gift for moms or grandmothers. The photos that result will be treasures for generations to come! Consider this, too, if you have out of town family coming to visit this summer. Gift certificates can be purchased in any denomination.
Even if you don’t have me come over to take them, or until you do, grab your camera and take a few of your own pictures. Not only the ones in front of the mantle with the kids in your or your parents’ laps. The moments where your favorite people are enjoying and loving one another are, in my opinion, so much more meaningful.
Posted on April 13, 2010
Lately I’ve been working mostly with families with boys. It’s made me realize that if I ever were to have a son, there would be whole new learning curve to endure, but also a lot of fun to be had. This guy was quite the charmer. Did not need a second to warm up. In fact, he was less than thrilled when Mom and Dad wanted to get in on his shots.
Love this father-son moment. I must say that it’s not uncommon for dads to be the most reluctant member of the family when it comes to picture time. It’s amazing how the kids relax when Dad lets his guard down. And I guarantee that Mom will be so happy to get this shot.
He took the old “watch closely and my big lens will wink at you” trick very seriously.
What a cutie.
Posted on April 11, 2010
“Barcada” is a word in tagalog (Filipino) that means “a group of friends,” but for me, and the barcada that I was fortunate to grow up with, it means family. The family you see here is a special part of that larger group.
One of the reasons I love to photograph multiple and older generations of family is that respect for the eldest members is something that was ingrained in me. Lolo A was a great buddy of my own grandfather. All of my grandparents have been gone for several years now. I so wish that I had been able to spend more time with all of them, done a little better job of being appreciative and respectful (youth is my poor excuse), and that I could have captured some portraits like these for my family.
Posted on April 9, 2010
Miss M was only 12 days old when I had the honor of photographing her and her family. Mom was a classmate of mine way back, and it was wonderful to meet her sweet family and get a glimpse of the charming life she has built.
Let’s not forget about big sister. Check out these eyes.