The Big Picture.

Oh, hi. I dropped off the face of the earth for a little while there, didn’t I? With this brutal weather we’ve been having in Rochester, you can’t blame me for hibernating a little, can you? I usually enjoy winter- in fact I far prefer it over the sticky humidity of summer- but I think we can all agree that this is a little much. I know I’m not alone in saying how much I’m looking forward to spring.

The truth is though, that the weather isn’t the only reason for my silence around these parts. 2014 turned out to be a year of extreme highs and lows. It was my first full year in business for myself- and it was a definite high. I was so lucky to work with some really wonderful clients, and produce work that I’m so proud of (and that my clients loved too!). I stretched myself and gained my sea legs in this new venture- this strange and wonderful business where I am my own boss. Running a small business is haaaaaard work (so hard!), but it is deeply satisfying work. I have so many shoots from 2014 that I plan to share with you over the next few months, while we wait for the ground to thaw.

Personally… well, 2014 threw me a big curve ball. One day in July, my husband, daughter and I decided to take a quick trip to visit my parents near Buffalo. Our plan was to visit with my Mom and Dad in the morning, put my daughter down for a nap, and then sneak away (just my husband and I!) to a new local brewery for a quick date. When we let my parents in on the plan, they exchanged a look with each other… and asked us to sit down. They needed to talk to us.

This didn’t sound good. Was I in trouble? Can I still get in trouble with my parents at 31?? My husband and I sat down on the couch, and he grabbed my hand. I had a pit in my stomach. When my father finally spoke, the pit only tightened.

He began to tell us that the previous weekend my Mom had been to the emergency room- she’d been having some strange health problems for awhile, nothing serious, nothing the doctors could quite put their finger on. It had all come to a head that weekend… and in the emergency room, the doctors thought they had finally figured it out. It looked like she probably had cancer. Lymphoma.

Needless to say, we did not go on our date that day.

I’ll skip ahead to the good part of my story- as I write this, it’s the end of February, and my mom has only one chemotherapy treatment left to complete. And her prognosis, thankfully, is very good. She was “lucky” (as lucky as a cancer patient can be) to get a very treatable form of cancer, one that normally has very good outcomes, and it was caught relatively early. All things we can be very thankful for. But man… cancer sucks. It sucks for the patient, it sucks for the patient’s family and friends… it just sucks.

When I’m upset or stressed, I tend to comfort myself with routine and order- throwing myself into everyday tasks like bookkeeping or filing or cooking or washing windows. Things I don’t have to think about- tasks that I can just accomplish, without much mental effort on my part. Great for all the little tasks that need to be done in a business, but not great for the big picture, creative stuff.

As I write this on a blustery February day, in the middle of a winter storm warning, my taxes are done and business papers are filed. I’m caught up on e-mails. My closets are (mostly) organized. Most importantly, my mom is getting better. And as the snow melts (it will melt at some point, right?) and the daylight stays a little longer each day, I hope to get back to the big picture- creating beautiful, intimate portraits of amazing people, and sharing them here. And making sure that 2015 is full of far, far more highs than lows.

More to come...

A big thank you to my dear friend Natalie Sinisgalli for driving out to the country to take some family photos for us this summer. Stay tuned for my thoughts about what it was like to be on the other side of the camera...

A big thank you to my dear friend Natalie Sinisgalli for driving out to the country to take some family photos for us this summer. Stay tuned for my thoughts about what it was like to be on the other side of the camera...