As you can see from this black and white photo, I never have a proper manicure – my hair has a mind of its own – and I much prefer to hide behind the camera, than be in front of it.
(I am truly my own worst client, and my hatred for having my photo taken makes me extremely empathic for, and gentle with, my actual clients!)
What you can’t see here is my smile: even when my big-ass camera is hiding my face entirely, I can’t help but have a huge, goofy grin across my face pretty much non-stop. Partly it’s because I love my job – because I’m having fun and I’m in a flow state – and partly because I’m beaming support and care out to my subjects.
I guess I think my clients can feel my smile, even when it’s hidden.
Because I deeply enjoy photographing folks. The goofy grin is real!
I don’t just want to move the people I’m photographing around like chess pieces, posing for perfection. I prefer natural gestures, resonant emotions, and realistically vibrant colors in my photography process. Real moments, created as naturally as possible.
After decades of photographing people, I know how to draw out even the most awkward subject, how to make the entire process painless (and even fun!), and how to capture amazing & true moments while getting my subject to trust me and relax into the shoot.
It’s important to me that everyone I photograph feels respected, honored, seen, and even loved, throughout the shooting process.
I want all of my work to look honest and real, while compelling the viewer to reflect on the beauty and truth in every person and scene. My goal is to capture the most beautiful version of reality, without prettying things up so much that you can’t recognize yourself.
I work throughout Wine Country and the Bay Area, and am passionate about capturing and sharing the beauty of Northern California – as well as traveling to new places, and finding commonality in peoples’ lives wherever I go.
Over the past 15+ years, my work has appeared in publications varying from Wine Spectator to Punk Planet, the Knot to the Onion, and countless other websites, blogs, and happy portrait clients’ walls. Take a look at my client list here!
I have more than 20 years of experience taking pictures of real people in natural light, with film and with digital gear.
I started out in photography over 20 years ago, listening to too-loud music in a poorly-ventilated homemade black and white film darkroom (in the tiny laundry room), and photographing my friends in bands just for fun (and for punk zines, 1999-era websites, record covers, music newspapers, and more).
Some things I love:
– my family
– reading endless books
– enjoying summer sunshine
– chocolate/ sugar/ any and all treats
– living in Sonoma County, exploring the the Bay Area, and traveling everywhere I can
– music!!! (so much music – from 90s rap & riot grrl to present day pop and indie music, and everything in between.)
– swimming (by which I mean floating lazily in any body of water)
– finding beautiful sunlight to photograph in (as well as creative ways of working with it when it’s not so beautiful), and watching for just the right moment to capture everything – light, gesture, scenery – coming together just so.
(By the way: it’s pronounced phonetically – “Jess-uh-min” – and I didn’t make it up; it’s a type of jasmine flower. If you’re from the South, you may have heard of Jessamine County, Kentucky, or have seen the Carolina Jessamine – South Carolina’s state flower. It’s an evergreen vine, with fragrant, “showy”, golden yellow flowers. I’m not from the South, but my grandfather grew up in Banks, Alabama, where you can (apparently) find jessamine trained over doorways and climbing up trees…)
I’d love to hear from you!
You can send me a message here, or to moc.s1568729761irrah1568729761nymas1568729761sej@j1568729761, or give me a ring at 707-235-8953.
psst – one more thing to know about me: I have a really big heart, I believe in a thing called love, and I often sign even professional emails “xo”