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"a camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera."

I have been thinking a lot about the role I play as a photographer and what responsibility I have to myself, my clients and my community. I think it's vital as an artist to stay true to yourself and what it is YOU want to explore in the world. It's easy to get caught up in the latest trends in the industry, what you think you SHOULD be doing as a (fill in the blank) photographer/artist...all of these things keep you from being authentic and really focusing on what matters to you. This is especially challenging if you are running your own business because the lines can easily be blurred between making money and needing to make authentic art.

I am reading Dorothea Lange's biography and am inspired by her life and career, one that was full of passion and political action. I deeply believe in fighting for what you think is right in this world and have decided recently to become more active in all areas of my life and challenge everyone else to re-examine and do the same.

I photograph a lot of weddings, as anyone who follows my work knows. Overall I love photographing weddings for many reasons, but one thing that I think more people really need to focus on is making their wedding PERSONAL. Time and time again I talk with people who end up doing things that they think they "should" do or things they may not even think through only because it's the mold that they are all given for what "a wedding is." I have been fortunate enough to have many clients who are making their weddings personal and unique. For example, a couple who is getting married on a farm in Wisconsin this Fall is going against the grain. When I asked them more about why they chose that location and the style, they both said that they wanted it to be personal. They didn't want a million attendants and 3 flower girls and 2 ring bearers and a big hall that didn't feel like THEM. Her father owns this farm and her aunt and uncle live up the hill where the ceremony will take place, so they have a personal connection to the land. She has also been frustrated with the monetary commitment it takes to be a bridesmaid in traditional weddings and did not want her friends to have to do that for her. They both want everyone to come and enjoy the day and celebrate with them. I think it's essential to talk through your wedding with your person and check in along the way to be sure you aren't straying too far from what matters at the end of the day-the relationship the two of you have and the people in your lives who support you. Do you love records? Then have a dj who spins all vinyl at your reception. Do you love bicycling? Then ride your bikes to the reception or use your bikes as decorations. Do you love gardening? Then use some flowers from your garden or seeds and tools as centerpieces. Get creative and keep it personal!