MFA WORK

To create the distortion I am looking for I shot all of the images below with a 4×5 film pinhole camera. My discussion is the dangers of our mind once introduced to body image fear, that essentially remains in our mind.
With the mixture of mental illness, depression, and bad past experiences, it creates a terrible fear of ourselves and our bodies, which essentially leads us down the road to unhappiness in our body image.

This is socially constructed and promoted which makes it worse for those struggling. The fear is a nightmare.

Exciting News!

So I have been extremely busy with doing multiple engagement sessions, graduate program styled shoots and moving (which involves redecorating / and reconstruction areas of our new home) .. so needless to say, I have had limited time.

However, I awoke to this exciting announcement! I was chosen as the top photographer for the Editor’s choice awards for 2016 for Two Bright Lights. Since I have been published numerous times throughout 2015 I got in the top 5% range of artists to be published!

HUGE for me.
So THANK YOU, all that have allowed me to blast your photographs everywhere. I have some amazing models/brides/grooms/friends and family.

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Self Portrait 12/12

This month has been super refreshing. It is nice to actually have time to wake up – literally smell the coffee – do my tax information for my business, plan for the next few months for my personal work and business plan for next year, as well as focus on my next move for my art gallery in March, and my future work I will be making for the next few months.

It also is a small amount of relax that I can handle. I’m not good with.. not being busy. I really really have to have something to do – or I can just be in a bad mood… pretty fast.

Josh and I have been house hunting, and now we are in the process of purchasing a house! It’s pretty hard to adult so much.. especially when we both feel way in over our head. Mostly, because it is just a big purchase.
However, with this new home, I will have a bigger office, a bedroom, an extra room for all of my art supplies and crafting, and a guest bedroom.

On top of that we have an upstairs living room, as well as a downstairs living room – which will be made into mostly a home work out area, and an area that I can practice my gallery exhibitions on because it is such a large space –
In a nutshell – I’m super excited and super nervous.
Mostly excited.

This year has been super incredible. I can’t even begin to sum up my feelings.
Next year will be even more of a journey with my business.
I have the most incredible clients for next year – and I can’t wait to watch them all take their next step.

Thank you, for following.

Introduction to Meat Me.

This idea is all going to be faceless self portraits about women and our roles within society. We are there to be the “housewife” to lose our identity in marriage, but also are always fucking seen as the sex objects, the reproducers, the things that get used and forgotten. “I want a child” says the husband, not realizing all of the things we have to give up to do that. BUT my biggest thing I work for – is body image. the fact that in our eyes we WILL NEVER be good enough to ourselves… and honestly, i feel like a “piece of meat” when I’m around people who are just plain out nasty (like on the streets around people with no class that would fuck any thing), but all in all at home.. I just feel.. not.. pretty.. at all.

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Meet Teagan

Teagan has had to do a LOT of writing for me and my grad projects based on body image – so I spared her from answering the questions that I typically ask during these sessions.

Teagan is a strong, bold, individual who has embraced herself to the fullest. She has been a long term friend of mine – someone who stood by me at my own wedding, and someone I always will love.

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Figure out who you are, what you like, what you don’t like, and own it. Don’t compare yourself to others, don’t even for a second think you are not good enough – win your battles – because only you can decide your true outcome.

Meet Morgan

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What do you love about yourself?

This isn’t something I spend time thinking about, so this is really a challenging question. Honestly, I love my Personality. I feel like I’m a strong and independent woman, mostly easy going and can even be funny from time to time. I love the way I can make connections with people and kids.

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How do you overcome your demons?

My mom taught me awhile back that the mind is stronger than the matter at hand. I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, mind over matter helps me to calm back down. I apply this strategy to my demons and obstacles along the road. If God brought me to it, He will bring me through it and He wouldn’t place anything in front of me that I cannot handle. He has given me the best support system possible: a strong and loving mom, wise brother, and supportive fiancé.

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What is your greatest Passion?

I’m not sure if my passion can be looped into one category, so I will name them as they are: teaching and children. Teaching extends beyond the walls Of any classroom. Sure kids will learn core subject Material within class or even the basics of the game a court; but teaching goes deeper than that. It reaches farther. As an educator and a coach I aim to teach the little Humans I come into contact with about life and the importance of true friendships and family and that in this world we aren’t handed anything- we must earn it. Children are also my Passion-aside From teaching, coaching them has taken over my heart since I began doing it six years ago. There’s something magical about the way children see the world- I want to be more Like them and see beauty in all things, especially the Little things that I might otherwise take for Granted. I desire to make a positive Impact On as many people as I can while I’m here. My passion is to inspire.

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What gets you discouraged?

I’m the kind of Person who likes to see results quickly. Instant gratification kind of thing. If I’m Working hard at something, whatever it may be, and the desired results aren’t happening semi-quick; I will get discouraged and have that inner battle of giving up Or pushing forward.

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Self Portrait 11/12

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My life has been a pretty exciting adventure this year.
I know I keep repeating that this year has been the greatest year, but it really has been.
The opportunities that have been presented to me have been incredible, as well as things like getting married, traveling, and shooting my first wedding in California – it’s been a solid year.

Being in Grad school is a breath of fresh air in itself.
I forgot what it was to make true and well done conceptual work – and I have missed it so much.

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My next self portrait may be a bit strange for some people – because it will be purely conceptual. Everything on my personal website/fashion website is going to be reflecting my upcoming grad school projects – so it may be a bit bizarre for the common public to view, but to those who are working conceptual – they may understand it.

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Self Portrait 10/12

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Growth

This month was insane and incredible.
I got married to the love of my life – my high school sweetheart, and then went to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. It was incredible. I have never seen something so beautiful.

Married life is weird. It doesn’t feel different at all. Everyday is the same, but the woman kind of… loses her identity? I mean, literally, yes. My name is soon to be legally changed, and my clients have to learn me by a new name. A part of me dislikes it, a part of me likes it, it’s a complicated feeling.

These last two months have been so busy I forget to breathe sometimes.. and the next two weeks will be like that as well. I hate to say I am looking forward to December, but I am.
Grad school, teaching, photographing weddings and sessions, and working at Kendall is a bit much, but I love it all.

Any ways. Here are some pretty photos.

Self Portrait 09/12

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Flawed. We try to hide the things that we think are flaws.
Scared to show our true selves.
But what is so flawed about us?
Or is it just the sickness in our mind caused by society.

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That’s what life is about right now.

I went back to school the end of last month, this time, Grad School. I didn’t even realize all of the blessings that would fall into my lap – but here they are.
I was offered a part time job at GVSU teaching black and white film.
I started my Grad school journey that allowed me to open back up that conceptual side of thinking.
The kind of thought that literally gets lost and lonely when you don’t practice it.

It’s easy to create beautiful images of happy brides and well dressed grooms – it’s hard to create something so conceptually beautiful with something not as glamorous.

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I am still continuing my Shine Bright series, although my heart has been tugged on in a different way- that is causing me to go in a deeper and much different direction.
See, even if these girls have been tampered with society, they are all in fact, beautiful.

Whether they believe it or not. The responses from the project alone has shown me that I need to dig deeper at this issue.
I am alllll about inspiring others – but I know I can do it better.

I have had a major thing with shadows lately. The way they create new figures in the image.
Therefore, a lot of my work has been revolving around shadows – especially my personal work.

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I love weddings, I still have 7 more after I get married myself (seriously, less than two weeks… so nuts), but it’s nice to be back in the mindset of conceptual imagery making. I’ve missed it. Thinking about what things actually mean. Thinking about why particular spots in a photograph are actually in focused, and deciphering meaning.
Unfortunately I think our society has lost its sense of deciphering what a photograph is actually telling us, and instead we’re oohing and awhing over colors and contrast of something that is sending the wrong information technically. It’s nice to see both sides, but sometimes I wish people would dig a little deeper into a photograph instead of being in love with a photograph where an elbow is in focus instead of the facial expressions of the subject.

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Meet Chelsie

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What do you love about yourself?

I love a lot about myself which I never thought I did until asked this question. I LOVE MY LIFE. My family says to me all the time that I’m living the “good life” and they’re right. I have an amazing boyfriend of seven years and together we’ve raised Charlie, our seven year old Boxer mix. We go on adventures and kayak on a regular basis. You can definitely say my life is never dull. I love how I was raised and the morals I have, and I love the impact I have on others. Whether you realize it or not, everything you do has an impact and I believe for the most part the impact I have on others is positive.

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What Gets You Discouraged?

I get discouraged by many things but a big one lately has been my severe case of eczema. I’ve suffered with this since the age of five so I’m used to it by now and taking care of it has just become part of my daily routine. It is part of me and who I am. Lately  it’s been so bad that I can’t just put it on the back burner and the realization that it is never going to go away brings me down.

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How do you overcome your Demons?

I overcome my demons with space and time. As bad as it sounds, instead of confronting my problems, I tend to avoid them all together  and they just work themselves out. I’ve found out that time heals most things and that what’s meant to be will always find a way.

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 What is your Greatest Passion?

My greatest passion is caring for people…and not just any person, but those who surround me and whom I love. My friends and family are a big part of me and when they’re happy, I’m happy. I will go out of my way to help them out or buy them a gift that I just know they will love. People tell me all the time that I am too nice to others and that nobody would ever do that for me but it’s because I want to. I am a people pleaser and expect nothing back in return. Oh and I absolutely LOVE hosting holiday parties! Ever since Tom and I bought our house it’s kind of my thing 😉

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You are who you are. Never let someone take that away from you.

Meet Katie

 

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What do you love about yourself?

I loved to be loved for being goofy and laughing too much. I wouldn’t want to live any other way. Instead of the way I look on the outside, I have learned to love and embrace who I am on the inside. Even all the weird awkwardness that comes along with it.

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What gets you discouraged?

When things don’t go the way I plan.
The anxiety that comes with trying to have everything a certain way and perfect.

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How do you over come your demons?

The peace God gives me that lets me know that everything is alright.
His love takes away the anxiety I have during the bad times and helps me focus on all of the good things in life. I also try not taking life too seriously all of the time.
Laughing and loving my friends and family always makes me feel encouraged.

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What is your Greatest Passion?

My greatest passions are my career of dental hygiene and also mission work. I would love someday to be able to combine the two and help people all over the world. I also love to make people laugh and bring happiness to their life.

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Self Portrait 08/12

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This year has been an incredible journey.
I have been absolutely blessed.
You know those years, or months, that go by, and you question everything – you don’t know who you are exactly – you aren’t happy – and you feel like nothing is going the way you want? I was in that rut for awhile – but then something happened.
It got better.
Your life is shaped by the attitude you take it. You could have a really awesome life and a bad attitude and it changes everything.
Now this year, or the last two I should say, I have taken life by the handles and pursued everything I wanted.
I got engaged to the man I have loved for eight years, I decided to further my education in grad school, I pushed my business even further than I thought I could this year, I was offered a part time teaching job at GVSU, and made decisions I didn’t think I was ready for.
Josh and I have such a strong and great relationship. We’ve worked hard at it, and it has paid off.
This man, I tell ya, is everything I have hoped for.
But not just my future husband amazes me- my family – my friends.. they all are so incredible.

Last weekend was my “bridal shower,” which really was just a party, which really ended up being a co-ed bachelor and bachelorette party.

It was basically a preview of my eco-friendly, giving back to local vendors wedding.
I probably get annoying when I talk about my life, because I just never thought it could be this… good.

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This week Josh and I bought a car, I was offered a teaching job, I have been booking weddings and shoots left and right, and I have been offered opportunities to travel with and for clients, which I never even thought about doing.
In this business, you can make friends clients, do what they need, or you can be stuck in the mindset of business and only business. I choose friendships and relations over that every time.
Each bride and groom become friends… and I think makes a difference in their experience.

I guess the moral of the story is when the going gets hard – hold on.
These last two years have been amazing for me. Sure, we have our bumps in the road here and there, but as you get older, the size of the bumps are easier to tolerate, and the ones that seemed so big, aren’t actually that big.
Josh and I have now been engaged for about a year, and it has been one of the most enjoyable, easiest years I have ever lived.

I’m so excited for the future – and what it holds for me and my dedication and commitment to both pursuing my dreams and Josh.

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Meet Erika9

What do you Love about Yourself

Despite the love lost that has happened in my life, I always keep my heart open and welcoming. I love that I love everyone for their own quarks and imperfections. I love that “first impressions” are not essential for me, I believe everyone deserves multiple chances to prove who they are.

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What gets you Discouraged

Not following through with the plan or even with your dreams. anything is possible in this world, why give up? I become discouraged when someone I care for stops believing in themselves. It saddens my heart.

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How do you Overcome your Demons

Loud singing, wild dancing, and a jam that is irresistible. I just let go, breathe, and shake it off. Life is too short to hide in the shadows from something. You just need to face it and not let it phase you.

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What is your Greatest Passion:

Giving. I have quite the passion for giving. I love when I can help. Whether it be advice, my time, material items, or whatever else. I am a giver, definitely not a taker.

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Meet Nicole

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What do you love about yourself.

My desire for adventure. Chasing adrenaline keeps life interesting and I never know where the next road will take me. Even though change can be scary I’ve learned to embrace it because I’m somehow always right where I need to be.

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What gets you discouraged.

Time, as silly as that sounds. I never feel as though there are enough hours in the day, or maybe my lack of effectively using them haha. That is definitely where most of my stress comes from.

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How do you overcome your demons.

Some kind of exercise with really loud music. Bike ride, running, climbing, anything along those lines. It makes me feel like I’m physically moving away from my problems and the music clears my head.

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What is your greatest passion.

Honestly living life. I crave the highs and lows that come with the everyday experience of just being alive. Which I guess sort of leads back to the adventure thing. I just have this crazy desire to meet everyone, and see everything, and go everywhere. Life was meant to be lived you know.

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