Travis Peery.  What a guy.  An amazing singer/musician with so much talent, but you would never know upon meeting him. He’s humble and has this wonderful way of making you feel important and somehow you know that he truly believes that.  He’s interested in who YOU are and what YOU have to say.

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One day we were sitting on the couch, drinking a beer and he asked me if I would work with him to create the artwork for his band’s upcoming album. I didn’t think twice about it.  He then proceeded to make me one of his famous Moscow mules (with candied ginger of course) and I proceeded to write ridiculous notes on his typewriter (it’s a thing).travis_peerytravis_peery

Fast forward a few weeks, we were driving all around LA scouting locations and stopping for cocktails here and there.  We really focused on areas that meant something to Travis because ultimately, he wanted to pay homage to LA, which is where he spent the last two years writing his newest album.  After all the cocktails, all the laughs and all the long talks about what this album means to him, we finally decided on his Silverlake apartment (the best bachelor pad that ever lived), Echo Park and Downtown.  The shoot turned out to be one of the most meaningful projects I’ve worked on this year and it felt so good shooting in my hometown.travis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peery

If there’s anything I’ve learned about friendship over the years it’s this. Surround yourself with people who challenge you, make you laugh and teach you not only about yourself, but how to be better.  I think above all else, friends should lift you up. That’s what Travis does for me. He lifts me up and that’s something I can always count on.  I’m proud of him, proud to call him my friend and proud of the photos we made together.travis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peerytravis_peery

// P.S  You can check out the band’s website HERE!  Word to the wise, go to one of his next shows.  You won’t regret it.

Cheers to friendship :)

 

I took a trip to Italy four years ago and one of the beautiful sayings they have there is “la bellezza di non fare nulla,” the beauty of doing nothing.  It’s something that has stayed with me because it’s so simple, so true and so necessary.  Somehow, our culture in the states celebrates working endlessly and filling our time with countless to-dos as a wonderful thing.  Why?  I’ve never understood why non stop days seven days a week is always celebrated.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I pour over images daily with pleasure, but I don’t want it to ever take over my life completely.  It doesn’t define me.  It is a part of me.

 

I think we often forget how important it is to regroup and just be still with ourselves, to be alone, to be quiet even if that means sitting next to someone you love and just be.

We can’t be 100% in everything if we want balance in our lives.  That goes for our careers.  That goes for our relationships.  Love.  Family.

 

I want to live the most balanced life possible and that to me means napping (gasp!), cooking for people I love, taking editing breaks (even though I love it) or watching that girly movie on my couch for the fifteenth time with no guilt.  It can also mean driving out of the city with friends and purposely leaving my camera at home (no guilt).  

 

What does it mean to you? 

 

*Photos (taken on my iPhone ) from my recent trip to Mexico with two of my best friends.  We sipped moscow mules, took naps, danced, watched dolphins swim in the ocean and enjoyed each others company.  Doing nothing never felt so good.
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This is a (not so short) story of a gem of a man named, Matt.  He has a passion for music, the outdoors, good food and whiskey.  He often graces strangers (and his friends) with his sweet, sweet dance moves and never fails to impress with his skills in the kitchen and from behind the bar (old fashions – oh yeah).  However, amongst his many passions, one surpasses them all.  She is a beautiful goddess named, Elyse.

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Even after two years of dating, falling in love and moving to Oakland to be with her, Matt knew from the beginning that there would never be anyone else.  So, the plan for proposing to Elyse began.  I would fly in from LA to spend the 4th with them and say I had a shoot that Sunday, July 5th, 2015.  This is not uncommon since I stay with them often due to my travel schedule (and also because I miss them so much and can’t stay away).

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Sunday came.  The DAY had arrived.  Per usual, Elyse made us breakfast and a couple neighbors stopped by to join us.  I kept glancing over at Matt to see if he looked nervous and miraculously he looked calm just like any other day.  I mean, impressive doesn’t even cut it.  After the neighbors left I stayed in my pajamas (because I like to stay in them as long as possible – duh) and Matt and Elyse began packing for a couple days away in Petaluma to celebrate “Elyse’s belated birthday.”  Since I wouldn’t be leaving until 4pm to pick up my rental car for my “shoot,”  I helped Elyse get ready and kept her distracted so Matt could pack for their trip (including hiding the ring).

Elyse jumped in the shower and immediately Matt and I checked in with one another.  He admitted he was getting a little nervous and I assured him it was all going to work out perfectly.  “I got you.”

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They left.  I napped.  I packed.  The door rang.  It was 4pm and time to set everything in place.

I opened the door to find Eddie waiting for me.  We smiled at each other excited for what was about to happen. We jumped in the car and the hour long drive began.  We caught up on life and talked about how crazy it was that Matt was about to be engaged.  After a few wrong turns, lost reception and sweaty palms, we arrived.  As we pulled into the driveway, there stood the most magical tree house, including the most ridiculously charming wooden swing you ever did see.

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That’s where it would happen.

That swing would be where he would get down on one knee.

That is where he would tell Elyse he knew from their very first kiss she was the one for him.

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Eddie left to hide that oh so familiar Saturn he drives and I hid in the trees with my camera.  I payed no attention to the spiders crawling around me or the beetles staring at me from the rocks below my feet (I totally payed attention).  My heart raced as I waited for Matt and Elyse to arrive.  It was quiet and all I could here was the wind blowing.  Suddenly, there they were.  I watched them get out of the car and start walking towards the house.  I took a deep breath and stood sideways against the tree (sniper style), careful not to give myself away.  When they were far enough in the distance, I exhaled and got into position to capture what would be one of the most special moments in my friend’s life.

Just like we had discussed countless times, I saw everything come to fruition and it was incredible to watch.  Matt held Elyse’s hand and walked her to the swing.  My heart kept racing, nervous that I was making too much noise with every crunching step.  I could hear her giggle from a distance, but that quickly faded as they got further and further away.  What happened next was over in a second and to be honest, I kind of blacked out so I’m not really sure how these photos exist.
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Elyse sat down on the swing and pushed herself off the ground.  Matt stood behind her as he took the ring out of his pocket.  He then walked around the swing to face Elyse.  Her feet touched the ground and everything stood still.  He got down on one knee and there was a moment of silence.  Suddenly, there was a scream then laughter then crying.  Success :)

I could see Matt was looking for me so I stepped out of the brush and began walking towards them.  Elyse pretty much went into official shock.  We hugged, we cried, then we hugged some more.  It was the most beautiful day.

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———

I will never be able to explain what if feels like to watch something so personal and so intimate.  When I was hiding in those trees and everything was still quiet, I kept thinking what an honor it was for Matt to put all his trust in me like that.  What a beautiful thing to do for the person you love.  They will have these images forever and I’m so happy it was me that got to share in that moment with them.  Just the three of us in the middle of a field with the trees, the swing and the wind.

The end.

My friends and I thought it would be great to spend the 4th of July sailing in San Francisco and watch the fireworks from the boat.  It all sounded so romantic and fun, but alas, we all found out I don’t have sea legs so I spent the day dizzy and extremely nauseous.  Has this ever happened to you??  It’s pretty awful and I don’t think I’ll be sailing again any time soon, ha.  I guess what I want to say is thank God for good friends.  They managed to still have a good time despite constantly checking in on me, bringing me water, avoiding the high current as much as possible and helping me in ways I don’t even want to get into…I’ll spare you the details ;)

Annnnywayyyy…I snapped a few photos when the day started (you know, before my world got fuzzy) so I thought I would share.  I’m also excited to share a fresh new look here very soon so stay with me, k?  Here’s to good friends and a better 4th next year.

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We all know travel changes you. It makes you better and reminds you of all the things you want to do with your life and for yourself.  You walk the streets of a new city and take in all the people and how their every day culture is a little different than yours (so much different?). You are able to put into perspective what really matters (yes, wifi and hot water always matters, but that’s neither here nor there). Perhaps you figure out what you think does matter.a day in seattle
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I’ve been traveling a lot this year, especially to Seattle and its quickly becoming very special to me. I’m usually there alone, wandering around exploring, sipping coffee (God bless coffee), stopping for a glass of wine (God bless wine) and of course, shooting. It’s almost as if the city is my friend I go visit every month. I sit at coffee shops and watch families go by with strollers and couples kiss across the street. I often visit the beach, which is always so crazy to me because there the beach is made of rocks, rather than sand like LA. People bonfire all day long there and I can hear music in the distance.  There are sail boats in the ocean and I wonder if they’re having as lovely a day as I am. Are they thinking the same thing about me?  I sip more coffee and think about home and write down all the new things I want to accomplish (the list keeps getting bigger…).
a day in seattleseattle photographyI grab dinner at some adorable quaint restaurant as I’m waited on by the sweetest person alive.  So typical in Seattle –  adorable restaurants and nice people.  Then I meet my clients as the sun sets. We laugh and get to know each other better.  I ask them if they’re willing to run across train tracks and climb up to the freeway pass so I can get the shot and they say yes without hesitation. They want to get wild with me and play and have an adventure and that’s when I know they’re my people.a day in seattlea day in seattlea day in seattlea day in seattlea day in seattle

We say goodbye and hug four times (because once just isn’t enough. Am I right?!) and I head back to my hotel, exhausted and happy.

The next morning I head to the airport a bit nostalgic, but inspired from my weekend. I think about how being an artist can be challenging, even lonely sometimes, but when I get home and face plant on my bed fulfilled with new images, new faces and new goals, I just want to eat a bowl of ice cream in my underwear and say…life is good.

And then I do.

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  • Nicole - I freaking LOVE this post!! Your adventures sound sublime, friend.ReplyCancel