Sunday, April 29, 2012

Erin & Brent: Baby's Coming!

There's something so special about having someone you grew up with ask you to do maternity photographs for them, when they're five weeks away from giving birth. Especially if that someone was like a big sister to you growing up. Erin and Brent, I can't wait for baby Ben to arrive. Yesterday's shoot was way too fun, and with him around I'm sure the next one will be even better. These are only a small selection of the shots. I'll leave the parents-to-be to enjoy them privately.

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." - Elizabeth Stone

All shots taken in and around Fernie, BC. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sam & Emmett: engagement shoot

"You know you're in love when you can't fall sleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." - Dr. Seuss 

Today I had the pleasure of doing an engagement shoot with an old high school friend, who is getting married in May. I drove to Cranbrook and we made our way to a nearby park, the dry grass from last summer still blowing in the wind. It was a fun outdoor shoot, with great lighting, a slight breeze, and some fun colourful backdrops to choose from. But shooting people who love one another is easy. Thanks Sam and Emmett for a great first shoot! Can't wait for the wedding.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Challenge Day

Today, as a part of my work--but also as a part of what I feel is important--I attended what is called Challenge Day. The program, meant to provide youth with the opportunity to feel love, connection and change within and outside of their schools, runs from morning to mid-afternoon and (as I was forewarned) is packed thick with emotion.

I arrived early as an adult volunteer and wasn't sure what to expect. Hesitant and distant teenagers, who would be embarrassed to open up and be themselves in a large group? Reluctant youth scrambling for the nearest exit? I was quickly proven wrong.

The students in this group were astounding--all participated in different games and activities designed to build a sense of trust among the group, and all, at some point throughout the day, opened up to their peers about the struggles they face in their lives. Some have witnessed abuse, others have lost a loved one, many have felt alone at some point. All are courageous, and all are inspiring.

For myself, it was a test of endurance, how long could I hold out my emotions before letting what I feel and what I think completely engulf me. It didn't take long. Before I knew it I was crying with the others, embracing my fellow peers and divulging into my own balloon of worries and insecurities. It turns out that there are things in my life, too, that are at times difficult to maintain and compose. And it felt good, to cry about those things.

This program blew me away and left me feeling empowered and hopeful. That youth who struggle with family, friends, self-esteem, have some sort of outlet for their emotion and that--given the right support--will grow to feel loved, proud of who they have become.

Challenge Day's vision: that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved and celebrated.

We need to give more love. Every day. We need to hug and support and encourage those in our lives, even when we feel they don't need it.

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Dumbledore

visit for more info.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Antigua, Guatemala

We visited 15 cities during our three-month backpacking trip, and still Antigua was my favourite. Colonial, cobbled streets, fresh and vibrant colourful buildings and incredible cathedrals; if there had to be a Central American city Antigua would be it.

Landslide in the mountains of Guatemala.
We arrived here after moving around for days between Mexico, Tikal and Semuc Champey in the middle of October. On our way here we encountered a landslide, which haulted our trip for more than three hours along a crowded highway, where indigenous and Guatemalan people alike stood in amazement at the chunks of earth that had fallen over the road. After switching buses and walking through property, where we were charged a toll of $1Q (about 25 cents), we gladly settled into a hostel for two nights before moving in with a local Guatemalan family. Anna Maria, a short and stout Guatemalan woman who has lived in Antigua her entire life, was our homestay mother for a week while we studied Spanish at a local school.

Our homestay mother, Anna Maria.
Day after day we would get up to a nice warm-milk breakfast, with scrambled eggs and toast that Anna Maria had prepared for us before heading off to our morning classes. We studied and then returned for lunch before continuing on in the afternoon. Not only was this a great way to learn Spanish, but it was also a great way to get to know the people of Guatemala. Proud and enduring, the women of this country showed me more tolerance and acceptance than I've ever known women to face. With no option to leave the country, single mothers who's husbands have abandoned them raise children with such vigour, it makes our North American opportunities seem petty. Rosario, my Spanish teacher, told me of her struggle to raise two boys in Antigua, and she befriended me quickly. Anna Maria's family was so welcoming that at the end of our week-long stay, I didn't want to say goodbye.

The archway, classic Antigua crafts and a little girl with her bunny rabbit.
The women, and the people in Guatemala, are proud and strong. They endure a corrupt government and police force and still find time for family dinners, laughter. They welcome two Canadian strangers into their home without the least bit of hesitation.

Learning at our Spanish school,
with our teachers.
We toured the city and visited tiny shops, markets filled with Guatemalan quilts and toys, and indulged in banana splits night after night at a local ice cream shop. It was such a fun time to relax and see the city, which is surrounded by volcanoes. Thought to be the 'protectors' of Antigua, the volcanoes save the city and its inhabitants from peril and natural disaster while other cities often struggle from floods during the rainy season. That, and it's such an incredible sight that it's nearly impossible not to summit one of the surrounding volcanoes. Which we did, and of which the story is soon to come.

As I sat on the rooftop of my school one day, I looked out to the volcanoes that surround the city and noticed one was erupting smoke. The sun was shining, the teal-green walls of the school shone bright in the daylight, and it dawned on me that I absolutely love Guatemala.

The cobbled streets of Antigua, with the Antigua Cathedral and
the Patrimonio Archway in the centre of the city, with Volcan Agua
in the background.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...