Let There Be Light

After we lost Tristan, I was a mess. I was mad at myself and I had to do something about it. But where do you start? How do you make peace with yourself? How do you shake that feeling of failure? I started by picking up the pieces of my shattered faith and putting them back together. Then, I needed to make peace with my body and help it recover from the physical and emotional trauma it went through. So I went back to the gym. My plan was simple: go back to the gym, mind my business, and most of all try to be as invisible as possible.

And I met Kristan. From the first time I saw her, I was impressed and intimidated. I mean, the woman is strong physically and mentally. Plus during my first spin class, she was leading, she barely smiled. By the end of the class, I was in pain, struggling to catch my breath, and so frustrated because Kristan, just kicked my behind beyond what I was ready for. But, I think that’s what I needed, someone to push me hard and give me the motivation to heal.

A month later I was part of Kristan’s booth camp. I started to know her a little better but, still, I was intimidated and impress by her personality. A typical work out with her involved a pinch of sympathy and a lot of tough love. The rules are simple: 1) there is no getting away with excuses; 2) giving up is NEVER an option; 3) we always give 110%. Work out after workout, I was building my confidence back. Whenever I would fall, Kristan was there to lift me up. She probably didn’t realized it but, most of the time, when she was sharing her experiences, she gave me the courage to work through my own struggles.

So, when I had the opportunity to photograph Kristan and her beautiful family, I was thrilled. I planed the shoot, met her at her house to have an idea of the location where the shoot would take place.  Her backyard is very nice and surely provides tons of space and possibilities to capture beautiful moments.

The day of the shoot, I was ready but also nervous. It was the first time in weeks that I would photograph someone else other than my family. What I did not know was that this particular shoot was about to become one important learning experience. As a photographer, I know that I should be ready for unplanned turns of events. Especially when it comes to shooting with natural light. So far I’ve always been very lucky to shoot in good lighting condition.

I guess God decided otherwise. On that day, as far as natural light goes, it was a challenge for me. The sun was shining so bright creating a very harsh direct light and unwanted shadows. What happened? It was supposed to be an overcast day. I had never shot with such bright light. What about my settings? I started to panic. It seemed like the world was closing up on me and I was terrified; but there was no way I would let it show.

Kristan and her family were ready. She looked at me and said “You are the boss, just tell us what to do”. Oh Lord! The woman who tells me what to do every morning at booth camp, was telling me that I was in charge and was waiting for my instructions… I was the boss. My brain was racing, going through the fundamentals of how to set your camera depending on the lighting conditions. Despite the self-doubt growing in my brain and the frustration, I took a deep breath and began to take pictures. Quitting was not an option.

As I was digging in my mental photo manuals, I realized that the discomfort I was feeling was similar to the one I feel every morning when I am being pushed outside of my comfort zone during booth camp.  I had to treat this session like my morning booth camp and push myself further than usual. I had to pretend there was a Kristan like figure telling me: “don’t you dare give up”; “keep pushing, girl, you are almost there”; and my new favorite “you are stronger than you think”.  So I pushed over what I thought were my limits. And you know what? It worked.

The mind can sometimes become a double edge sword. It can be our best ally or our worst enemy. The more I was overthinking, the more I was forgetting that the technical issues I was facing were opportunities to grow and learn. Once I concentrate on the positive side, I was able to be Me and do my “job”.

This photo session with Kristan and her family taught me a few things: 1) Yes we are absolutely stronger than we think; 2) Things that we learn in one specific aspect of our life can be successfully applied to another; and 4) Problems serves us best when considered as opportunities to learn, grow, and improve.

Thank you Kristan for giving me an opportunity to improve my skills. And even though I’m still learning , I really appreciated your willingness to experiment and explore with me. You guys were awesome and in the end we got some beautiful, candid shots of your family 🙂 .

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Photography…. More than an image.

My father loved photography. I cannot recall a time, growing up, when he did not carry his camera around during our family outings. Photography, for him, was a way to document his work life and our family life. Back then, digital photography was unknown (at least to me) and after every sessions, we would wait patiently, anticipating the moment my father would come back home with the developed and printed photo that immortalized our adventures. We had, and still have, boxes full of photo albums, printed pictures, negatives photos, and slides (yes, I did write slides). Boxes filled with memories that I cherish dearly.

A few month ago, while I was going through the boxes again, I could not help but notice that we had only a few pictures where we were all facing the camera for a posed family portrait.  Among hundreds of pictures, I think less than a quarter are posed portraits, while the majority are from everyday moments frozen in time.  Our family pictures involved a lot of laughing, playing, dancing, and interacting. Those pictures still have the power to transfer the emotions of that particular moment to me.

My father was very good at capturing the emotion and feelings of his subjects. There is one particular photo where I am facing the camera for what was supposed to be a nice formal portrait that would be displayed in our home. The day that photograph was taken, my siblings and I were very mad because we did not get our wish of going to the swimming pool; so we decided to boycott the photoshoot by displaying our discontent.  Obviously, it did not work as we still had our picture taken.

Today when I look at that picture, I laugh every time. I looked bad. But what I like about that picture is that it reminds me, every single time, the feelings and emotions of that moment. I relive that day, I can visualize the amused expression of my father while he was taking the picture.  For me the picture of the little angry version of me tells the story of that day. It is a powerful feeling that makes me happy and allow me to reconnect, even for just a moment, with some cherished memories.

I believe photographs are more than frozen images. They are a way to tell a story, to convey emotions and feelings, and, most of all, to relive a particular moment important to us. They are a representation of someone’s personality, what they love, how they feel, and how they connect and interact.

For every image I capture, whether it is of my children and family, or of clients, my goal is to tell a story and capture a moment that will make me, or my clients, feel the same way I feel when I look at the picture of little mad me. Photography gives me the ability to enjoy everyday moments.  And if those moments ever slip my mind, all I have to do is look at my photos and relive it all over again. I want a photograph to be an opportunity to pause and enjoy our time as a family or as individuals. This feeling of happiness, I want my family, friends, and clients to share it when looking at their photographs.


You can see more of my work here, and don’t be shy to let me know what you think by sending me a note. It is OK if you don’t 🙂 .  You can also see what working with me involves by clicking here. In the meantime, keep enjoying every moment of your days.



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Dear Tristan – A Letter to My Little Angel

Dear Tristan,

The day I learned you were no longer with us must have been one of the saddest day of my life. I can still remember how exited I was to see you again. I could not wait to visit with you, to see how well you were doing, and how well you were growing. Then I saw you. It seemed like you were peacefully laying in my womb. I smiled. But something was not right. You were not talking to me. I kept thinking that maybe you were shy that day and just did not feel like talking. I was waiting for a sign, a little waive from you. But nothing. You were just laying; your body was still in my womb but your soul was gone.

The doctor said you were gone for a little while already. You left us without a noise. And the worse part was that I could not help but thinking that I let you down. I did not take good care of you. And because of me you would not be able to meet your family. I laid on the bed that day hoping that when I would wake up you would wake up with me. You would talk to me and let me know you were fine and still with us.

I knew I had to be strong and take care of your brother and sister, but I did not know how. Every single day, when I was still carrying a peace of you in me, God gave me the strength to keep moving. He told me you were OK and happy. I had to believe it because I knew in my heart it was true. I just could not let you go.
The day we finally said our goodbyes was tough. I still was not ready to let you go. That is when you finally talked to me. You whispered to my heart and told me:

“I am fine Mama. I will be fine, you can let me go. I am at peace and happy with God, Grandpa Tryphon, and Uncle Steve. It is not your fault, and please do not blame yourself. Take care of my father and my brother and my sister. I love you Mama, and thank you for all the care you gave me”.

I opened my eyes and for the first time n days I felt I would be fine. We would be fine. Each day you are giving me the motivation I need to keep moving when I feel down.
My prayer to God is that your journey to Him may bring us life in every aspect of our lives. We love you Tristan. I love you and always will. I am sorry for wishing I could just forget you like we forget about a bad dream. Today, I do not wish to forget you. I do not want to. You are a part of me, you are part of the family. You are ours. And you will always be remembered as such.

One of your “Tantine” sent me this poem she found for you:

How very softly you tiptoed into our world.
Almost silently, only a moment you stayed
But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our heart.

Welcome to the family Tristan. I love you.

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