Simply Catherine

I have an idea for a new project: Being Human.
Its premise is straightforward.
Business professionals are people, generally speaking.
They may have titles, roles, and responsibilities.
But who they are goes way beyond workplace ephemera.
And it’s not a carefully guarded secret, either.
You just have to ask the right questions.
So, meet Catherine, a communications professional.
A writer, musician, and, well, read on…

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When you grow up, what kind of person do you want to be?

I want to be that 80-year old or 90-year old who’s still riding her bicycle or running along the shoreline or hiking through redwoods as she gets older. She’s full of zest for life. She surrounds herself with people who love and inspire her. She’s radiant, humble, wise, and present — deeply present — to the hum and flow of each moment. She loves the world, in all its brokenness and heartache and still sees its glory shine through.

What is one question you would ask a fortune teller?

Am I going to be alright? Am I going to make it to 70 or 80 or 90 years old and still have my body parts working well and be cared for and surrounded in love? Am I going to be happy? Will I have done all or most of what was on my “bucket list?” Will I die a peaceful death and leave this place at least a little better than when I came in? Imagine how life could be lived if we knew that we were going to be alright no matter what. Nothing could stop us from pursuing our dreams.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Sitting in sunshine on a warm day, surrounded by giant trees or the ocean or some magical outdoor setting. The sun on my skin. The smell of the salt air or eucalyptus or thick earth surrounding me. Listening to ethereal music. Sipping a phenomenal cappuccino. And eating the most heavenly slice of pie. Mixed berry pie, with billowy whipped cream. There must be pie for it to be perfect happiness.

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Urban Chic

When I capture a candid expression like this…

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….and a heartfelt laugh like this…

bay area teen portrait photography dance graduation laugh

…and a bookishly hip shot like this….

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…all in the space of 23 minutes, well, I’m ridiculously happy as a result.
“There’s one thing a photograph must contain,” says Robert Frank.
“The humanity of the moment.”
For what it’s worth, I agree.
Thanks for visiting.

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate staff and event photography in the Bay Area.

Fields of Gold

Meaghan had a straightforward request.
Shoot my family, she said.
Not that kind, the other.
I chuckled to myself.
I admire a woman who’s direct.
To the point.
Like this.

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It’s a gorgeous image.
Matt wondered about his role in the affair.
How does the back of my head look, he asked.
Splendid, I said.
He almost certainly smiled.
But I got his point.
So we turned Matt round.
And then it happened.
A hush fell.
The trees glowed.
And Meaghan’s hair went electric.

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With chemistry like that,
Matt and Meaghan are bound to have kids, right?
Well, they do.
They’ve got two of them:
Logan and Lexie.
Lexie may be Logan’s little sister.
But she’s got big-time affection for him.
Just look at that reach!
What a handhold!

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Before long, Lexie put her generous athletic gifts to use.
She free soloed the center of the tree climbing universe in record time.

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After she safely descended,
We hung out in a field of green and gold.
And we—including, me—smiled for the beauty of it all.

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Thank you, Matt and Meaghan!
It was a joy and a privilege to photograph your family.

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

The Great Untried

Creativity is hard. Self-criticism is easy. And slumps are inevitable as a result.

To challenge this dynamic, I’m doing something different.

When I’m on a shoot—whether it’s corporate or family photography—I do the thing that comes easily and naturally to me. It yields predictable results in a style and aesthetic clients expect.

Like this image of an executive on Maiden Lane in the City, snapped a few weeks ago.

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After I’ve done the easy thing, I force myself to do the hard thing. Something I haven’t tried before. Something new. Different. This, for instance.

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Not bad. In fact, pretty good, all things considered.

You might be surprised to learn that I made the image outside. Just ten yards from the spot where I snapped the first image. Both were taken on Maiden Lane, bustling with colors, shapes, and motion.

Can I experiment, I asked my subject.

You bet, he said.

He sat in a chair in the middle of Maiden Lane at high noon.

I stopped down till ambient light went black on my camera sensor. Then I placed an off-camera flash directly in front of him. Next I slowly dialed up the flash power till his silhouette magically appeared, and I got my shot.

Will the client use the image on their company website? No, probably not. But it’s an arresting effect, which I can now produce in the future with confidence.

I eagerly await the next, great untried!

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

New Yorker Abroad

I’ve shared photos of this NY ballerina before. At the top of the year, we kicked off a half-day collaboration, working deliberately to achieve certain effects. Here are some of my favorite images from the collection, each introduced with a verbal cue only:

Atlas Slave

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s

teen family photography bay area santa clara university ballet ballerina san jose photographer

Color is Black and White

Curves and Lines

teen family photography bay area santa clara university ballet ballerina san jose photographer

Living Green Frame

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Life without Beautify is Empty

teen family photography bay area santa clara university ballet ballerina san jose photographer

William-Adolphe Bouguereau

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Determination

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Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed!

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

 

Dance Like Everybody’s Watching

Melody.
That’s her name.
It describes her laugh, too.
And her movement.
She’s a ballet dancer, after all.
And every ballet dancer needs a portrait.
Well, portraits—one is never enough.
Of course, they have to be worthy of a dancer’s art.
So while I played with light, Melody played with expressions.
Lots of them, endlessly inventive ones.
We made for a great collaboration.
I hope you enjoy.

Contact me for kids, teens, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area. 

Youngblood

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Call him Aaron.
He hails from the Midwest.
A young, ambitious IT professional,
He’s looking for a new kind of headshot.
We meet at Crema on The Alameda.
We talk about work and life.
There’s something different about him.
He’s polite in an old-fashioned way.
He tells me he’s not photogenic,
That he doesn’t like the way he looks in photographs.
Not only is he considerate, he’s likable, too.
Quiet and introspective,
He wants his portrait to have a cool-hip-creative vibe.
I tell him about an overpass with blue circles.
Something I’ve been eyeing for months.
He’s game.
We release the Birds
And fly through downtown San Jose.
As the sun reclines in the west,
The light is paradoxical under the overpass,
Both mottled and consistently even.
We don’t overthink it.
We hang out.
We shoot.

Contact me for corporate and family photography in the Bay Area.