Tag Archives: photographer

Happy New Year!

The new year is here! While I understand it’s simply another Wednesday and nothing has truly changed since yesterday, it feels like a very transformative time; even more so that years past because of the changing of the decade. It’s time to transcend to the next version of ourselves. Today marks the pinnacle of a time of renewal. A time to affirm goals and envision our brightest future.

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For me, that future includes growing my client base as well as my family. (I’ll settle for a small dog or a small human, they will be equally loved.)

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It includes improving my work, challenging myself, and thinking outside the box more often. (I plan on doing lots of personal creative work this year!)

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It includes finding my ideal client and giving them exactly what they want as an artist. (POWER TO THE PEOPLE!)

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It also includes solidifying my personal relationships as well as professional ones and carving out paths that lead in positive directions I haven’t even figured out yet. (2020 includes a LOT of love and adventure!)

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As cheesy as it sounds, today is the first day of the rest of our lives! I strive to remember that this year and treated every waking moment with the respect and focus it deserves. Cheers to a ridiculous growth spurt in 2020!

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May Fourth

Today is a special day. Not for any reason big and popular or having to do with Carrie Fisher (though I have to admit, I think she’d approve of my day). No, dear friends… today is my dog’s birthday. And I am excited beyond comprehension to combine my love for my little moo-pig and my love for Star Wars into one amazingly fun first birthday shoot.

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FIRST, STORY TIME: If you’ve met my dog, you know the depth of her ridiculous personality and the extent to which she will embarrass me in order to shove herself between your legs for butt scratches. She’s a frikkin’ 85 pound hunk of true love and affection. She’s god-damn ridiculous.

Denis and I got Max last summer on a pure coincidental whim. We’d (I’d) been taking about getting a dog forever and we (I) finally found a little ad on Craigslist for puppies that were nearly 8 weeks old. The owner’s dog and their neighbors’ dog had accidentally gotten together and this was to be their first (and last) litter of puppies. Even Denis couldn’t resist the temptation after seeing all their smiling faces and waggy tails! We went o check them out and, after choosing one originally and then backtracking, we landed on Max.

We knew we wanted to name our dog Max and were a little surprised when we chose a girl, so our little pup went from Max to Maxine. She shook the entire car ride home, nestled in my lap, barely the size of a football. She was ADORABLE. Denis’s mom cried when we brought her home (it was so cute) and from that day on she was my fur baby for all time.

I’ve worked with other people’s kids and I grew up with many animals, but I’ve never loved anything as purely and deeply as I love Max. Now, I recognize (kind of) that it’s not comparable to having children (or so some people say), but I would honestly give an arm and a leg and the rest of me to her if it would make her smile her goofy little dog grin. When she runs down the hall when I get home and wags her entire body, not just her tail, every bit of stress from my day instantly evaporates. She is pure joy personified into one fuzzy lovable package. Sometimes it’s honestly too much. I don’t feel worthy of it because, as I’m sure you’re all aware, NONE OF US are worthy of dogs.

So, today is her birthday and I wanted to celebrate. I’ve shot a lot of cake smashes, tinsel towers, snuggle sessions, and family huggles but I am yet to shoot a Star Wars themed, partner duo, dog-and-person birthday adventure. Today with some good timing, a little luck, and a fabulous friend/assistant I was able to create a little bit of fantasy out of my fantastic reality with my little shmoo.

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The photos may not be award winning in nature, but our special friendship is forever captured. I love my four legged monster, my licky-doodle, the baby Chewy Wookie to my Han. Happy first birthday Max. I frikkin’ love ya.

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Amanda and Andrew {2017}

In honor of this gorgeous mama-to-be surpassing her due date by a FULL WEEK, I wanted to get this amazing snowy Tahoe maternity session up on the blog!

(It’ll give you something to read when you go into labor Amanda! lol)

Amanda and I met at a bridal show in Berkeley in February. I know her fiance through some other friends so when she bounded up to me belly first at the wedding show I knew exactly who she was and I was ecstatic to finally meet her in person! We talked a lot about what they wanted from their photos and ultimately decided that the one thing that HAD to have was snow. Luckily I was already Tahoe bound near the end of February so we made some plans and were off to the races shortly after!

After avoiding deadly driveway ice (which nearly took Andrew out in Stooge-worthy comedic glory) and three foot deep pockets in the snow (which I promptly sunk right into) we made it to a beautiful grove of trees to shoot.

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Amanda was worried about how she looked, like a lot of nearly-new-mom’s with bodies they don’t feel quite at home in, but I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful model if I tried. She was calm and relaxed, enough so that she let me snap some subtle sexy shots between outfits in the 28 degree chill. She was an absolute rockstar! All the while Andrew (a photographer, by the way) was looking at the back of my camera “ooh-in” and “ahh-ing” over my captures of his wifey in all her motherly glory. I could not have dreamt up a more perfect shoot!

 

 

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Of course, not every photo turns out the way you want it, but this series of images from an attempted hair flip added an extra layer of hilarity and joy to their photos.

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In the end, the sun went down right behind this big beautiful pine tree and soon after this popsicle frozen mama bear was whisked away by dad to the warmth of their Tahoe cabin for some relaxation after an incredible shoot.

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Congratulations to Amanda and Andrew, I can’t wait to meet Calliope! Cheers! ❤

Molly and Matt {2016}

It’s a tale as old as time… boy meets girl, girl captures boy in a web of Disney infused romance, boy realizes he’s the prince to her princess, proposal, party, Party, PARTY!

Molly and Matt are some of the sweetest and most genuine people I’ve ever met. I don’t think I ever saw Molly without a smile on her face, and it wasn’t just for photos. Obviously their day was filled with a LOT of laughter and joy!

The Croatian American Cultural Center made a perfect back drop for their colorful Fall wedding. Pops of yellow and purple accented Molly’s fiery red hair and elegant stark white gown. Matt and his crew rocked some awesome checkered Vans to match, tying everything together in a cohesive and relaxed bow. Cute chalkboard signs and an INCREDIBLE do-it-yourself ribbon backdrop showed them down the aisle (led by her amazing FLOWER-GRANDMA!) where they tied the knot in front of rows full of friends and family. A kiss, a first dance, and a cake cutting later and it was onto a rockin’ party with TONS of dancing and of course, (not just a few) shots. I’m so lucky these two goobers chose me to be their photographer and I’m happy to say that they aren’t just clients anymore, but wonderful friends. 🙂

CHEERS FOR A HAPPY AND LOVING FUTURE TOGETHER, MATT AND MOLLY!

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Huge shoutout to my amazing second shooter Felice from Felice Russell Photography for all her wonderful photos! Wedding planning provided by Design Atelier.

To Be Woman – Part 3

As time goes on and I continue this project I feel an ever stronger urger to continue sharing stories of women who fight and overcome. There is so much strength that comes from listening to others. Stories that feel so personal to the teller sometimes make a profound impact on the most unlikely listener. Stories preserve our past and help us create a stronger, smarter, kinder future. As we push forward into uncertain waters, I hope we can all take the time to listen and share with one another in the hopes of creating a more connected and respectful world.

Please view the previous installments of the project here:

To Be Woman

To Be Woman: Part 2

If you’re interested in becoming a part of this project and sharing your story, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally HERE.

MARIAH C.

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To be a woman is to be mocked by the man behind the counter at Calumet Photographic:

He made fun of me, laughing at me, telling me I was “mixing two alcohols” by purchasing film chemistry & cf cards.

I shall not be moved by sexism

To be a woman is to be sexually harassed by the man who owns the photo studio down the street:

He put his hands all over my shoulders, neck, stomach, back, while he told me he treats photography as sexual foreplay & only photographs women he wants to fuck; then he asked to photograph me.

I shall not be moved by patriarchy

To be a woman is to be abashed by the promoter who puts on Erotic Art Events:

He asked me to lie & advertise false sales, I was to only bring in female models for “the patrons delight”, no male models, then he ran his hand down my thigh, & patted my ass.

I shall not be moved by chauvinism

To be a woman is to promote the idea that my work is amazing, phenomenal & groundbreaking though, when the exact same work is presented by a man, it is be merely mediocre.

I shall not be moved when Forbes states that my photography profession is “ruled” by women.

Women only represent 50% in number & average less than 17K annually.

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To be a woman is to break the glass ceiling, only to be sliced open as is shatters.

JENNIFER C.

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I have been called River Diva. I have been called Last Chance Hollywood Cuddlenick. I have been called bitch and every other demeaning name under the sun. I have been told I don’t belong on the river, never mind that I have achieved numerous certifications and have many years of experience. I will never be hired at certain companies in Canada, Switzerland and Italy, all for the single reason that they don’t hire women. I have heard the disappointment in a customer’s voice when they realize they “have gotten the girl guide.” I prove them wrong every single time. However, I shouldn’t have to. Me being a female guide isn’t the problem. The outdated notion of what a woman “should be” or “can do” is the problem. I am exactly where I should be – doing what I love. I have been called Adventure Barbie, but make no mistake, I am no Barbie Doll.

To Be Woman: Part 2

This is the second installment of the TO BE WOMAN photo project and blog series. It aims to focus in on women’s lives and women’s stories in an attempt to bring us closer together through honesty, empathy, and understanding. This week since the Women’s March has been unfailingly frightening, but I’m filled with a defiant and nagging sense of hope over the thought that there are so many people out there willing to stand up and fight for the rights that we all desperately deserve. Women of the world will not be forced into silence; we will not take demeaning and dehumanizing actions lying down. Together, we will fight.

Please read a full description of the project and view the first three incredible women HERE.

If you are interested in becoming a part of this project (and I would absolutely LOVE that), please contact me via email at katherineelysephotography@gmail.com.

Enjoy.

#women #woman #femenism #respect #thefutureisfemale #femenistfuture #fucktrump

SARAH B.

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I will not be deterred by anyone else who seeks to define my worth.

“I love this new world. I no longer have to be politically correct,” Christopher von Keyserling, longtime member of the city council in Greenwich, Connecticut, allegedly said before he grabbed his female coworker’s genitals on December 8, 2016. Thankfully, there was a security video that caught it on tape, or it could have very well been ‘his word against hers’ as he warned her, and his threat that no one would believe her could have very well unfolded. His lawyer defended his actions as “playful” and “too trivial to be considered anything of significance.”

When I think of myself in this woman’s position, I am mortified. When I think of my little sister in her position, however, or in any position where she is being treated as a body that does not deserve equal respect as a human, I am beyond devastated. I am utterly heartbroken. I am sick to the core of my being.

More importantly though, when I think of her being treated this way, I am livid. I am possibly angrier than I have ever felt. I am ready to fight to the death to protect her, to protect her rights, to protect her happiness.

It’s honestly harder for me to apply this heartbreak and anger to myself, because when I think of myself, I think of the many criticisms and insecurities I have collected about myself over the years that would make me less than worthy of that response. And I don’t think that’s an accident: I think people can prey on others, and male identities can prey on female identities, when there is vulnerability from a lack of self esteem and self worth.

I’m not just talking about patriarchal societies which seek to use and control women, I’m also talking about capitalism itself and how it feeds on and grows from people’s insecurities, males and females alike. Fear will sell products like nothing else. It will also sell ideas.

At some point in the past few years I decided I don’t want to buy the ideas. I don’t want to be submissive or docile or self-compromising or disgusted by myself. I don’t want to buy the idea that I am only useful for sexual or child-productive means. I don’t want to buy the idea that my life has to be anything other than what I feel is right.

As for my body, which I once starved almost to death out of fear of rejection or disapproval by others… I don’t buy the idea that I should be ashamed of my body, for being too fat or too thin, or too sexual or not sexy enough, or imperfect or not photogenic, or alive and farting and growing hair. This body is my story, down to every wrinkle and scar. My story has been glorious. And no one can take that away.

And it will never again be given away because of a culture or a president that says I need approval or validation from men, or from anyone else. This is my vow. When I summon love for myself, exactly as I am, right here, right now, no amount of intimidation or insult can touch me. When I know my own worth, I can get angry for myself too.

And so my fight begins here, with my own perspective on these things I spent so much of my life hiding from and being humiliated by; realizing that it is always in my power to see the beauty of my own story:

My breasts are slightly different sizes= options! Who doesn’t like options?

The roll on my belly= proudly earned talisman from my recovery from my eating disorder!

The scar on my face= I can tell little kids I’m a pirate! Pirates are adventurous and exciting!

The acne scars on my butt= my own unique constellations!

Hair under my arms= I have more important priorities!

Hair on my legs= excellent warmth for my winter backpacking in Europe

Bunions/incredibly ugly feet- I can’t believe I was a real ballerina for a while.

Nipples visible through my shirt: not trying to be sexy, not trying to be offensive, just trying to be comfortable

Bring it on.

JUN S.

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I shall not be moved by racism.

By definition, racism is defined as “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.” The definition has blended into a fluid part of everyday life in the United States. Let me ask you this: Do you laugh when a group of Chinese-Americans laugh at selfie sticks and say, “That’s so asian!”. Do you curse at a poor driver and comment, “Stupid asian drivers…”.

With the results of the recent election, I’ve noticed friend groups becoming significantly more polarized. Two conversations rotate amongst the groups: (1.) Laughter at the “white people” and mocking their “white privilege”, while naming me as “white-washed” therefore assuming I should be able to talk sense into them; (2.) Outrage at the minorities and stereotyping them as a cult.

Why am I “white-washed”.

Why am I the buffer.

Just let me be me.

Gia is one of my closest friends. She is Italian-American and we have known each other for 15+ years. And guess what? She makes her own dumplings from scratch and I make her grandmother’s lasagna once a month. We inspire each other to move through this barrier of racism and grow stronger. Nothing can break our friendship.

Racism will not move us. Don’t let it move you.

SARAH A.

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I will not be deterred by my own fear.

2016 was an interesting year for me personally, and on a wide spectrum, from very happy to very sad. It was the year that I finally allowed myself the freedom to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression. It was the year that I finally gave myself enough forgiveness to admit that both of those things are real diseases, real demons, and not weakness or my own defects. It was when I decided that love, actually, had to be the thing that won in my own life so that I can be happy and the best version of myself.

It sounds a bit self-indulgent, but none of that has been easy.

There have been days where I’ve cried in the bathroom at work, so no one would see me, because I could offer no real explanation for why there were tears. There were nights when I could not sleep, because I could not escape my racing thoughts. There were days when I was too paralyzed with fear to leave my house to visit friends.

But the one thing I’ve learned again and again through all of this, is that I cannot be afraid. I cannot fear my own thoughts when they are cloudy. I cannot fear being honest, out in the world, about who I am, how I feel, or what I believe.

With a new president coming into office, one who, to say the very least about it, does not share any of my ideals, is terrifying. But I’ve already decided that fear can’t be the victor in my own life, and so I will not back down from the challenges that this new version of America poses. Just as I will not back down from fighting my own battles with mental health. I will not let fear, in any capacity, dominate my life. And I will fight for what I now know is the most important thing: love.

KIM H.

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I will not be deterred by hopelessness.

When I peer into the past, I see a family that had no choice but to be resilient. My father taught me strength, my mother taught me patience, and my brother taught me to stand up for what is right, even if you cannot physically stand. Thinking about the current moment we find ourselves in, it’s so easy to drift towards thoughts of fear and defeat, to the point of paralysis. But my family raised a strong, educated, and compassionate woman, so I cannot lose hope. We were made for these times.

We are alive in a moment in which we feel the impacts of climate change, and have the last opportunity to stop irreparable damage. We already have the tools needed to build a sustainable and just future. I close my eyes and can see that future so clearly.

The Haudenosaunee, my ancestors, believe in living and working for the benefit of the seventh generation into the future. Colonialists (also my ancestors) tried to wipe them out seven generations ago. We are the seventh generation. We were made for these times.

So I shall not be moved, because of those that came before me, those that raised me, and those who will come seven generations after me.

Ken and Jessica {2016}

As we roll into 2017 I am so excited about all the fun and modern weddings I’m going to be shooting this year. I just love personalized cocktails, live bands, sweeping landscapes, and (obviously) couples who are sweet, playful, and deeply in love. For the next few months, I’m going to be taking a look back at some of my 2016 weddings to provide you with inspiration, excitement, and tons of joy!

First up is Jessica and Ken. I was lucky enough to do both their engagement and their wedding photos and I’ve got to say, they are one darn good looking couple! With them both being SF city people, they decided to bring their amazing (and fluffy!) dog Microwave out to Marin for some crisp Spring photos with views of the Golden Gate and the gorgeous ocean playing in the background.

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Their second look took on a more formal style and juxtaposed really nicely with the old run down army barracks we played around in. Touches of graffiti and lots of robust age and personality gave their shoot a lot of unique flare!

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After months of anticipation, I finally got to shoot their big day! Their wedding was held at Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, CA. A beautifully clear and sunny day awaited them both as they readied themselves to walk down the aisle.

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In order to spare themselves the heavy tears in front of friends and family, Ken and Jessica opted for a first look. (I love the look on the groom’s face before he sees his bride for the first time!)

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After passing around some tissues, we headed off to take their bridal portraits. These two are so in love, I was absolutely giddy over how sweet they were!

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After couples photos, it was onward to the ceremony site! Their set up needed no embellishment with flowers or arbors, being furnished instead by views of the gorgeous bucolic valley behind them.

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Once wed, it was on to a cozy cocktail hour on the deck followed by formal dances, cake cutting, speeches, and a TON of rowdy dancing inside!

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I had such a wonderful time working with and getting to know Ken and Jessica over the past year. There was so much love and joy between the two of them, it was honestly one of the classiest yet relaxed events I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Humongous hugs to these two for a lifetime of sassyness and happiness!

**Massive thanks to my assistant James from A Moment to Remember Photography for all of his help!***