“As for me, I see both the beauty and the dark side of things; the loveliness of cornfields and full sails, but the ruin as well. And I see them at the same time, at once ecstatic at the beauty of things, and chary of that ecstasy. The Japanese have a phrase for this dual perception: mono no aware. It means ‘beauty tinged with sadness,’ for there cannot be any real beauty without the indolic whiff of decay. For me, living is the same thing as dying, and loving is the same thing as losing, and this does not make me a madwoman; I believe it can make me better at living, and better at loving, and, just possibly, better at seeing.” – Sally Mann
In April of this coming year BP will have been alive for three whole years. My life was changed so completely that spring day in 2014 that I picked up a camera and photographed my first BP images. 2012 and 2013 were the years that brought me to my knees. They broke me in ways I didn’t know were possible. I wasn’t sure I would ever find my way out of the sadness that consumed me. 2014 changed everything for me. BP saved my life and I know that in the deepest parts of my soul.
2014 and 2015 were the first two years of BP and my business grew so fast, so incredibly fast. If those years were about the climb, 2016 was about stepping back and appreciating where the climb had gotten me. After two whirlwind years of shooting almost every day, I wanted 2016 to be different.
We spent most of the year in a secluded cabin in the woods of Tennessee, creating and making an effort every day to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Although we stopped marketing BP and attempted to work less and practice a slower living lifestyle, ironically BP actually grew beyond my wildest dreams on it’s own.
In 2016 we seamlessly moved BP from Tennessee to Colorado, transitioned from primarily portraits to primarily weddings, taught four photography workshops and countless mentoring sessions, landed the full cover image of an U.S. Weekly issue with a feature spread inside as well as being featured by dozens of other news outlets and magazines, and were given the opportunity to start traveling all over the country and world to photograph weddings and portraits.
2016 also brought me one of the craziest adventures (tragedies?) I’ve ever experienced. I broke my left foot during the busiest wedding season of the year and shot all of my fall weddings and portraits walking on one foot and my knee inside of a knee crutch. That was just fucking awful.
In 2017 some of the places we’ll be traveling to shoot include Australia, New Zealand, Italy, the Bahamas, California, New York City, Chicago, and more. I have BP weddings booked all the way into the end of 2018! It’s wild that less than three years ago BP didn’t even exist. And now here I am, living a fulfilling and passionate life solely on the income from my art. Being brave enough to tell the universe you’re going to do what you want with your life is incredibly scary. Almost every day I become overwhelmed with the sheer bravery it takes to believe in yourself enough to live off of your artwork.
Although it’s scary, it’s honestly the greatest gift you could ever imagine. I remember when I first started shooting, I did it solely because I wanted to. I refused to take anyone’s money for months. I created images as my art, as my passion. I was humble. I was intentional. I had no idea what a family session even was. I had no clue you could make a career as a photographer. There were so many small things I did when I first started on this journey and every year I teach others what those small decisions are that lead to big successes.
When I found my way to BP, I realized early on in my photography journey that my worst tragedies in life had made me a wiser person and an individual rich in compassion, as well as had given me an understanding that beauty in life is only made more beautiful by it’s fringe edges where it touches tragedy and everything ugly in this world. My whole life I have been insecure about the fact that I am a sensitive, emotional, deeply feeling person. But now those soft edges of who I am make me an artist with a vision, with a connection to the work that I do and the people that I photograph.
One of my greatest experiences in life has been the connections I have made with some of my clients. I have cried with my clients, laughed with them, been with them through the happiest and even the most stressful of times. Every one of them, some more than others, has been a thread in my tapestry of human connection and understanding. BP is more than just a job to me. It’s my heart and my soul and it has made me not only a better person, but the person I know I was meant to be.
So if you’re reading this and there’s something you’re passionate about but you’re afraid to pursue it, I want you to know you can achieve every goal and dream you have for yourself. It will never stop being scary but it will always be worth it. I believe in you! Go make 2017 your bitch!
Below are some of my favorite images from 2016, in chronological order from when they were taken. The first images were taken in January of 2016 and the last were taken in December of 2016. Enjoy!