welcome :: marcos

I met with Raquel and Matt originally while she was still pregnant. We got together at a small bakery / cafe on O'Donnell Square and got to know one another over cups of coffee and the intoxicating smell of sugar and fried dough resting in the air.

Can I just say? These two are absolutely precious (PRECIOUS). Their giddy smiles of anticipation for baby number one were incredibly sweet and contagious. We were originally planning on a maternity shoot, but it unfortunately fell through. So I was beyond delighted then when they contacted me two weeks after their little guy arrived - just in time for newborn photos for the holidays.

World, meet Marcos.

This little family literally brought a tear to my eye with their tenderness toward one another. I'm not always a sappy person - but to be fair: they sat in the crisp fall leaves as the sun was setting and casting a warm glow over their faces. They smiled at one another with their little boy bundled in their arms and just as I began to click photos, Matt leaned toward his bride, whispering "I love you so much" over and over.

I know. Tear jerker.

Thank you so much, Matt and Raquel, for allowing me to be a part of your first family photos. I'm truly honored!


Rachel + Brandon = A Garden State Carnival

Although we had been discussing it for months, I only first met with Rachel and Brandon to sit down and discuss details for their wedding photography about two weeks ago. Sitting in my living room and watching their excited smiles as they held hands and described their carnival themed nuptials was second in adorableness only to their actual wedding (which was, by the way, adorable).

They were adorable too. From the mustache adorned details everywhere, to sharing their first reveal of one another holding hands back to back under a large oak in her parents' back yard, to an incredibly moving foot washing ceremony during their vows, to playing carnival games at their cocktail hour, and finally to their gorgeous and romantic paper lantern send off after the reception. It was a perfect day through and through.

The beautiful couple is off to their honeymoon in Jamaica this morning and back to move down to Baltimore (new neighbors! Woohoo!) when they return. I'm excited to have them as neighbors and so glad that I was even a small part of their wonderfully sweet and special day.

Ceremony and reception at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, NJ; decorations and details by Pamela Nash, Deejay by Making Memories Productions, Bride's dress by Galina Signature for David's Bridal, Bride's shoes by Seychelles, Bride's hair and make-up by friends of the bride, flowers by (hooray for awesome) Shop-Rite - styled and details added by Pamela Nash.




ten fingers :: ten toes

I have known Amanda for quite some time. She is a welcome and much loved remnant from my days working political campaigns (which I did for quite some years before I decided to ditch partisan politics for pixels - say that three times fast).

We originally met back in 2001 on a gubernatorial race in New Jersey and were fast friends then. In 2004, we combined (extreme) efforts working with a grassroots campaign which took us seamlessly into another gubernatorial campaign. Long hours, late nights, endless miniature york peppermint patties, and lots and LOTS of volunteers to keep busy and happy - Amanda and I had each others' backs. We were there when the campaign was just the two of us in a small corner office in Jersey City that had drafty rattling windows and a less than ideal bathroom situation.

When we moved to larger and more luxurious offices in the suburbs, we no longer sat three feet from one another at rickety desks, but she was always just an intercom buzz away to grab coffee with, bemoan campaign woes with, or to spell check with. :)

Amanda comes from a big family, just like me, and when I left the political world to pursue more artistic ventures, we talked at least a half dozen times about me coming up to New Jersey to do family portraits with them. Time passed, Amanda got married, her younger siblings grew up and some even moved away to other far off places... and those photos never became a reality.

Then came a phone call last fall with the news that she was expecting the start of her own family come spring time. I immediately began the thought process of newborn photos for Amanda! And as fate would have it, little Francesca arrived exactly a week before I was due to be up in New Jersey for a cousin's wedding. Fate had family photos planned for quite some time - just not exactly in the way that we originally thought - and I couldn't be happier for it.

World, meet Francesca Luisa DePalma; she could not be any sweeter. What a perfect, alert, and lively little girl she already is - no surprise given the stock from which she comes! And yes, I counted - ten perfect little fingers, with ten perfect little toes to match.

Congratulations, Nick and Amanda! Can't wait to take family photos with you guys for years to come.


philadelphia is for lovers

Every now and again I get to shoot a wedding for someone who is more than just a client. It's a grand opportunity to turn my camera on those blessed souls that are so dear to my heart and capture some pretty tender moments that every now and again draw a tear to my eye. Ahhh... yes, I can be sappy sometimes. More so with each passing year (getting old kind of  has this unique way of softening a person - at least in my case it does).  

This past weekend, I drove up to my former city, Philadelphia, to celebrate with my wonderfully good friend Jessica as she tied the knot with her loving bestie, Mike. While I wasn't the official photographer (I was one of the bridesmaids), I had the honor of snapping photographs before the ceremony with Jess and also after during the dance party reception at Circle of Hope at Broad Street and Washington in South Philly.

What a blast we all had! Anticipation for the big day was so palpable as anyone who knows Jess well knows that it has been a day 34 years in the making as she has (most of the time) patiently waited for God to bring the perfect teammate into her life.

The day was perfect - sunny and warm with all the lovely details perfectly put together. From bright pink peony bouquets, to mint green painted toenails, to craft beer lovingly brewed by those close to the couple, and adorable rootbeer floats for dessert.

Jessica - you're lovely and fantastic. So glad that you have found a helpmeet in Mike and that God has brought the two of you together so perfectly. And also: thanks for the 80s dance party that followed; I've been missing that in my life.


Wedding Gown: Galina for David's Bridal. Hair: Plume, Girard Avenue in Philadelphia. Make-up: Amanda Pargas (NJ). Venue: Circle of Hope, Broad & Washington. DJ: Ian McGlynn (NJ).

Had to include this one of me and the Deejay (and good friend), Ian McGlynn!

flicker and fade

While I was recently in Lima, visiting family, I found that time went far too quickly. 10 days there is not a whole lot when you're trying to get in some much needed time with family. Sun, sand, and Peruvian food take up a good chunk of time. And then there's relaxing, or reading, or playing card games with family around my grandmother's huge dining room table. There are pisco tastings, and massage getting, and water balloon throwing (we got there too late for festival this year, but that didn't seem to stop the water balloons).

In between all this, however, I was really grateful to get the chance to do some family portraits for my cousin Roxana and her family. She is so dear to me and on a warm Sunday just before sunset, we met up on this very random and very rocky beach to make the best of whatever light was left.

I remember when Roxana was born. And I remember when she was first old enough on one of our regular visits to Lima to become not just my little cousin, but a friend to me. Her heart is so tender and sweet and her honesty has always meant so much to me. Her love for family just goes on forever. Her and I get along famously (as you can tell) and I guess it helps that we (almost) share the same birthday.

We had a blast being our usual sarcastic and weird selves and can I just say? These kids are adorable. Completely.

Love you, Rox - and so glad that you are my family.

I dream of Lima

And it's true - I sometimes do.

Early mornings here in Baltimore with the birds talking and the sun beating in through my window and turning certain rooms into a temporary solarium - I've daydreamed about Lima a lot. Trading Baltimore's pigeons for Lima's doves, the urban grit for desert sand.

Leading up to this year's travels to Lima, I've tried to capture the moments in my memory. The smells, the sounds, the warmth. Sitting in my "office" (and I put it in quotation marks because it has yet to really develop into a fully functional office space. It's more of a storage unit for deck furniture cushions that also happens to have desks and a printer), I've been leaving the door to the deck open so that I can feel the sunshine on my toes (despite the cold air) and hear the sounds of the city. It reminds me of being on the roof of my grandmother's home in Lima and hearing all the sounds of the surrounding homes, the doves, the whistles of the ice-cream man.
Problem is, there's a vast difference between Lima and pretending that Baltimore is Lima. So by the time March 7th rolled around, I was VERY ready to break free of Charm City for South America.  

All of the grandchildren (minus 2) with Mamita in front of the house. Yes, we're proudly wearing Family Reunion t-shirts. Don't judge. 

My extended family lives in Lima and my first trip there was at the age of about 6 weeks and I've been going ever since - and I took it for granted for most of that time. It wasn't until I was in my twenties that I realized how fortunate I was to have traveled there a dozen or more times. When I was a child, it seemed that no one even knew where Peru was.
"Peru? Is that in Africa?" asked a Sunday School teacher (yes, an adult) in the weeks leading up to my trip in 1988.
Those sorts of questions and comments, over time and as Peru has become a safer travel destination, have transformed into "I have ALWAYS wanted to go there!" or "That's my dream trip!" or " Before I die, I want to see Machu Picchu." And then I glow and gush and smile as I realize that I'm a pretty damn lucky gal.  

I love visiting my family there - and for the first time in several years, my entire immediate family was going to have the opportunity to go. As we've gotten older finances, and work, and children, and mortgages, and all the responsibility that often comes with growing up has prevented us from being able to make the trip every year. There were 20 (!!) of us gringos traveling south this year; only two in diapers.

My grandmother's home - Mamita's house - has hosted us since I was born. My father grew up in that home. When it was built - some 60+ years ago now - it was the only house on that block and one of only three in the entire county. It is now surrounded on all sides by the bustling district of Miraflores in Lima. The house is like a large and never ending loop that brings you outside, then inside, and then outside again as you walk up and through it. The distinction between outdoor and in is almost unnoticeable and with 25 people in the house (9 of which were children under the age of 10), the noise and activity was as never ending as the home itself. Walking through the loop, each room brought a new scene and a new conversation - reminiscent of a Wes Anderson film (1970s nostalgia included - little red caps not).  

The next generation of goofballs to fall in love with Lima

My nieces and nephews learned to slide down the wide bannister just like we did when we were little and I'm sure my father and his siblings did when they were small. The bannister  - although made of concrete - is worn completely smooth from years of devious play on the stairs despite scoldings of how dangerous it is.
The ice-cream man, Chichi, blows his whistle from down the street and the sound echoes up through the house and courtyard sending everyone out to get a treat (and donate to Chichi's retirement fund. He loves us gringos).
My grandfather's old study is particularly special - old photos, old books, old certificates and diplomas guard the walls and try to hide the chips and cracks in the concrete - but fail. This is the first visit here since my grandfather passed away of stomach cancer last year.
Some places in the house still smell like him a little.

The home is huge and is becoming too much for Mamita to care for on her own. Odds are when we return next year that it will have been sold; possibly even leveled in favor of building another apartment building - they're becoming so popular in that area now.

Already making new memories - me and Chris at a Pisco tasting in Sarcay

I'd be lying if I said I didn't shed several tears for the loss. And those won't be the last either. I'm a sucker for nostalgia. I live for my memories. I'm sentimental - and I've got the clutter to prove it, much to my husband's chagrin. I'm not the only person in my family this way - I come from a long line of loud, passionate, sentimental people. And sharing some light tears and virtual smiles with my Tia Martha last night over Skype, we talked about exactly that: nostalgia, and memories, and the sentimental stuff that makes you all misty eyed. And I told her "Tia, change is good. Without it there would still just be you and your siblings living at Mamita's house. No grandchildren. No great-grandchildren."
And for once, I'm right.

The growing pains are going to be a bitch, but they're good for us. And when the time actually comes, we'll bid farewell to the home with lots and lots of passionate Latin tears. And it will suck. But the truth will remain that we've all made some pretty amazing, lovely, fun, crazy memories in that home - and those stories will far outlive any of us.

Shaena + Joe = A Philadelphia Story

Shaena + Joe = A Philadelphia Story

I had the pleasure of working with Shaena and Joe for the first time back in May of 2012. Meeting up with them at the Piazza at Schmidts in Philadelphia to grab a few beers and get to know one another a little bit before the big day. few hours later, we were all laughing and very much looking forward to shooting some lovely engagement photos around Philadelphia the following day - and eventually capturing their nuptials in September.

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stretch + release

stretch + release

"Yes, I'll be out in 10 minutes and regretting it for 10 years." I replied.
He was gracious enough to indulge my whim and after I set everything up, he clicked a series of about two dozen photos (all in quick succession) while yelling "work it!" from behind the camera.

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