Welcome...

This is my favorite quote I always forget. And while I have seen it before, I saw it today and started trembling. Then the tears came. 

This quote always catches me off guard, but it's especially moving when you've had a hard year, isn't it? When your year has been full of no-s and tears and waiting. 

I embraced this quote at the beginning of 2016, and my year WAS full of things that have never been. It was full of infertility diagnoses, failed IUIs, an unplanned-for photography business -- things I had never before experienced. Good and bad. The old cliche of blessings in disguise. 

But I am learning to embrace it. To be open to what the Things That Have Never Been are teaching me, and they're teaching me a lot. 

I'm hoping that my Things That Have Never Been in 2017 are more blessings and less disguise, but like my nephew with his Target bag wings, I'm jumping full force into what this year holds for me. I hope you join me -- and thank you -- for standing with me in 2016. 

Let it Snow -- Personal Projects that is

Winter is officially here. It's negative degrees outside and I've had my first of many winter flat tires (thank you Scion tC!) 

With winter comes a bit of a lull for many photographers, and I'm excited to tackle a few personal projects that will grow my photography and editing skills for the next busy season.

Twin Cities Refugees: A Day in the Life

This project is near and dear to my heart. I first pursued journalism as a means to tell the stories of refugees. And when I got to do it, it made my heart sing. One of the reasons I left journalism is because I didn't see a path to that kind of storytelling where I was at. Now, I have the freedom to do what I want. There has been a lot of vitriol and misunderstanding of refugees lately. It breaks my heart. The refugee community in the Twin Cities is vibrant. From Hmong to Somali to the fastest growing group, the Karen, this is a beautiful and diverse place to live. 

Yet. 

Last year a Muslim woman was attacked at an Applebee's for speaking Swahili to the friends at her table. Racial slurs have been sprayed with graffiti in high school bathrooms. Innocent people have been told with hatred to "go back home" and that they don't belong here. But they do belong.

This winter, I am focusing my energy on a photo essay project to capture the very normal yet beautiful daily lives of refugees. Sort of a "Celebrities! They're just like us!" but for refugees. And I can't wait. 

The Photography Conversation Project

I'm also applying to participate in this project for photographers with the talented Rachel Cathleen Photography. You pair up and have an ongoing conversation through photos alone. I hope to be accepted because this will challenge me in my photography and in how I communicate in general! 

"Read This if you Want to Take Great Photographs"

I'm reading this book by Henry Carroll as a way to expand my education past the two semesters in digital storytelling I took in grad school. He covers composition, light, exposure and lenses. It all sounds very basic, but he goes into quite a bit of depth in an easy to understand way. He also peppered the book with photos from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Dorothea Lange.