Memphis Artist | Kara Rodgers | Tennessee Portrait Photographer

Kara Rodgers. There are so many reasons why I wanted to photograph this woman. She was the first person I remember truly meeting at Fellowship Memphis, my current church. We were running across a street headed to a summer party last year. Cars were speeding around us, while I heard her say “I’m kara, whats your name?” It was so exciting to make a friend before I even walked in that door.

Then at a friend’s birthday jam party, Kara stood up to sing. We were all taken away as she sang from her soul.I wanted to capture Kara. Kara with all of her joy, soul, and creativity. Her dancing, singing, and expressing the incredible woman that she is! I have a passion to capture people who have never been in front of a professional camera. The experience of shattering any expectation they did have is just so much fun. I pulled out my speaker, and we jammed and danced for an hour or two downtown. I hope I captured at least a fraction of her radiance and authenticity.

Learning to Celebrate Alone | Small Business Owner

 

I’ve learned and I’m learning in my own journey the leading pitfalls and leading strengths of my “success.”

When an incredible email comes or I mark a massive milestone in my work and company, I usually find myself alone.  And as I’m growing into that, I’ve learned to celebrate instead of pity myself.

Tavi Gevinson answered the question, “What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting or running your business?” – “What would otherwise have been free time, like after school or post graduation. But this is what I wanted to do with my free time, so it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, just non traditional.”

It’s not that no one chose to spend time with me to celebrate. My work day is simply alone- I don’t have coworkers, I’m not married, and my roommates work most days out of home. (It has its benefits, TRUST me.) I think that’s been the biggest growing point. Feeling comfortable dancing alone in my room. Learning to call and text friends when something big is happening so I don’t sit there mourning that I have no one to be with. And when no one answers those texts, I’m pulling out my journal and writing what I would say to a coworker or best friend. Sometimes I go get myself a great coffee. Sometimes I let myself “off work” an hour early, and other times I don’t have time to stop- I just keep going- smiling alone!

On the day I launched my website, I dressed up, left my work at home, and headed to a favorite spot to get myself lunch. I was on cloud 9. But it’s taken so much to get there. I’m a socialite and networker by nature. People feed me, conversation energizes me, but I chose this. I chose to spend my evenings and nights editing and blogging in high school, I chose to not go to college, I chose to make this my full time job. If you also chose to work alone, in pursuit of your passions, and God blessed you with a way to have that as your job, celebrate. Plan your own parties. Learn to sit alone reading your book. Learn what makes you spring out of bed in the morning. Learn what lets you enjoy the solitude. If I can, trust me, you can. And I’m still learning. I get lost sometimes in the morning. Lost in self doubt, in purpose, and in lack of energy. Some days I’m overwhelmed with loneliness. I long to be surrounded by other people working hard with the same goals. I’ll find myself envious of those who get to pass the buck up when it’s out of their expertise or above their pay grade while I sit googling for hours. But I’m learning. I’m learning to take care of myself, to love my job through the amazing and the rough. To not beat myself down when I  have to spend the day working on taxes of website hackers instead of what’s on my actual to do list.

It’s awesome. It’s hard. Please don’t forget to celebrate. Have fun. It sounds crazy, but I think I forgot about fun. Of course I’ve had fun in the last couple years, but I don’t think I freed myself to, and I am learning because I also plan out everything else in my life, I have to plan for fun. You carry your story and your company’s story. Just cause no one else’s offered to host it, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t a party. Either let go of how “untraditional” you are, or be dragged along into your own story not having fun.  Surround yourself with friends and people that will celebrate when you give them the thumbs up.  Involve the people who ask you to!  Because TRULY, I don’t do all the work. You can ask my best friends… they usually get texts 5x a week asking for advice. I’m usually spending a couple hours a week bouncing ideas off my sister and best friend. Last week my friend came over and added the last touch to a flat-lay for a giveaway. They are all a part of this. They ground me and allow me to test ideas, ask advice, and cry about failures. My parents have walked this journey right by me. They were there when I decided each step, and have guided in every way they can.

Surround yourself with people who will celebrate with you, but don’t expect them to know when to celebrate if you don’t tell them. It’s good to learn how to ask to go get drinks, it’s okay to take yourself to lunch. Get comfortable with your “alone.” When you sit alone sipping that cup of coffee, you are having a date with the CEO, the Founder, the Intern, the Editor, and the creative behind an awesome business. That’s pretty cool.

Emily + Brian | Memphis Engagement Session

Probably one of the coolest and intense learning curves of 2017 for me was to stand by my best friend as she fell in love. I’m writing this before getting ready for the day, because mascara does not pair well with puffy eyes and tears. Emily has been a dear friend for a long time, but she has become one of my best friends in the last 16 months. As Brian came into her life, I was so excited. It felt different than so many relationships I have watched start with many friends. There was a sense of intentionality on both sides. I watched Em be pruned by the Lord through these seasons of raw emotions and growing pains.

Honestly, the biggest thing that made this so special for me to watch was that I was there. present. invited. She didn’t disappear on me. It’s hard not to. The Lord was so gracious to us, as he gave us countless days and weekends to work together. Road trips happen often since we second shoot for each other. I just love looking back and seeing so many milestones in their relationship paralleling with long conversations on the road and pillow talk in cabins and hotels. It’s weird seeing it all happen before your eyes. The “ohmygosh this guy is sitting with me at a coffee shop reading just to be with me!” to “if he asked me now, i would say yes.” to “i can’t believe we are getting married in just a few months!” I’m honored to have walked this path with you, Em. I’m honored to call Brian a friend I trust and love. He has loved her in ways I simply cannot, others simply cannot. For all who know Em, she’s an independent little go-getter. “She may be small, but she is fierce” about sums her up. It’s pure fun to see someone take care of Em, and her to take care of him. Meal prepping, sharing dates, and learning so much about how to love well.

I’m honored to call her a best friend. Honored to stand by her in this season. She has never ceased to show me such generosity, service, and love. I am looking forward to every chance I get to anchor her and Brian on their wedding day. To watch her step into a white dress, to squeal with her all freakin’ day, to see her join hands with Brian, to capture them laugh, kiss, and love all day, and to dance the night away with our friends and families. The Lord is so good. All I can say over and over again is that I am honored. <3 I’m so proud of these two. They have had tough conversations, been held to so much accountability, pursued the Lord and each other with such devoted energy. I cannot wait to see them fall in love all over again and just relish every moment in marriage. We had so much fun on what felt like the coldest day in Memphis (little did we know…) We explored Broad Avenue, Cleveland Street Flea Market, and around Crosstown Concourse. After scrolling down, you and I will both agree that Brian and Em are some of the best looking people of Memphis, and best dressed. I just love all the energy and laughter they bring everywhere they go.

To the future Mr + Mrs Holmes

Em

 

 

Crosstown Concourse | Memphis Photographer | Senior: Molly

Where do you go when its raining and you have the sweetest senior portraits to take? Welp, I joined the Memphis photographers, and headed to Crosstown Concourse. This place has been called a “vertical urban village.” It has multiple atriums that reach to the sky, each floor occupied by organizations, businesses, and apartments. There is a sense of constant movement as the main floor has a coffee shop, a juice bar, and many restaurants. Within Crosstown, is Crosstown Arts. They have incredible art exhibits all surrounding a vibrant grand staircase.

Now, enough about the building, lets chat about the beautiful girl. Molly Stelling. We go back, big time. Our parents were dear friends years before children came into the picture. Molly and I are the younger ones of the pack. I grew up coming to Memphis every other summer, looking forward to running up and down their huge carpeted steps, chasing through the trees in their backyard, playing polly pockets, and who knows what else. She sent me an adorable memory last week (haha, see below). She found all these books we made over summers. We designed, tinkered, and created our little hearts away. Really, Mols, you have been such a friend. I’m so so so proud of you. High school is just plain hard. Learning yourself, gaining confidence, facing real-life challenges, and building a community is hard. I am so excited to see where the Lord is taking you, and how he will use you in this new chapter. I’m praying zeal, faith, and endurance over you. May He reveal himself in more ways then one. I hope we never stop being friends and reminiscing about our hysterical adventures as children.

Go take the world, my dear. <3 He has us in His plans. No matter how dark, how alone, how rough it can get, we know our victory is in Him. We know His strength and glory. <3 Never be a stranger.

 

Bozwell + Lily | Memphis Maker + Pop-Up Shop

My friend Ben launched his brand Bozwell + Lily in early 2017. He is a passionate guy, driven by creative community and grit. I’m glad to have people like him here, with vision for Memphis to embrace the makers and creators. He’s created such a beautiful collection of items for the brand. I’m loving the pieces he keeps adding; it’s so evident Ben puts so much thought into each item.

He spent time this month designing, opening, and running the Brick and Mortar pop-up shop in Downtown, Memphis. Read more about it from Ben’s perspective: http://www.bozwellandlily.com/new-blog/2017/10/15/friends-and-family-email

Wishing I could have spent more time sipping Lowfi’s freakin’ incredible coffee, and chillin’ with Ben and Memphis’s best people. Check out a few shots I got of Bozwell + Lily’s great setup.

 

Proud of you, Ben. Keep killin’ it. Memphis is soaking it up!