Instagram Contest Win | Seattle Street Photography

Originally meant to post on August 13th, 2014….

I’m writing this late, and I’ve had an emotional evening so maybe it’s not utterly the best time to write anything anywhere BUT I’m going to blow my horn for a moment. And in a moment…

I am at the end of Day 2 of being in the studio audience at creativeLIVE for Family Photography: Modern Storytelling with Kirsten Lewis (who I will have to say more about soon) and I have to say it has been an amazing course. Exploring the art and business of documentary-style family photography and learning from the best there is, from Kirsten Lewis has really got my ‘creative cogs’ turning. For some time now I have wanted to do sessions that are more lifestyle and documentary than posed, including ‘End of Days’ sessions for companion animals, and for families with pets included. This current course totally bookends the other Creative Live course I took part in, ‘Animal Photography with Rachael Hale McKenna’, along with my extensive pet photography work, and the style of shooting is just me. I’m at a crossroads with my business and so much more so I’m excited.
But my big deal today was winning 1st PLACE in the creativeLIVE Instagram challenge contest for Day 1 and I am thrilled. Stoked. Honored.
The challenge was this: Make a portrait of a stranger. You must take the time to talk to them, connect with them. Get to know them and share their story. This is to challenge your fear and reinforce how just taking the time to connect will gain you access and trust. Don’t forget about finding good light.
Well here’s the story and photo I posted. I received such overwhelmingly great feedback on Facebook and Instagram about it that I am genuinely touched and honored. Please feel free to leave any comments and feedback here – it’s utterly inspiring to hear from people!

I feel like I hit #kirstenoncreativelive1 contest gold this evening. When I heard we had a CL Instagram challenge: great. When I saw that it was to introduce myself to a stranger to get their portrait and ask them their story: yikes. I’ve always wanted to do such a thing but honestly never had the gumption. But I couldn’t have been happier that I did. While at the farmers market with my boy, eating freshly-made quesadillas and ice cream, this street musician with a kind face and one of those boots on for a hurt foot, played his guitar, and I finally got myself up to talk to him. Within seconds of me talking, he asked if I’m English (which I am), immediately recognizing my accent and from then on he couldn’t hold himself back on sharing his story. In his own muddled English/American accent, he told me his name is Joel Fleming, “but really I’m a ‘Davis’, of Welsh descent”, and he turns 60 this year. His military father had moved their family to England when he was a teenager and he spent the early 70’s there, a time that impacted him greatly. He told me fond tales of going to the summer solstice festival at Stonehenge with his friends. About meeting numerous musicians he admired (still to this day) at concerts. About hanging out at Hyde Park in London, and calling into a radio station and getting to say hello to John Lennon. He talked with fondness about the country that I love and miss myself, and how desperately he wishes he could visit again and find a way to stay there. Joel wanted a portrait of himself holding his new Stetson hat that he had saved $230 for, something he was obviously proud of. He showed me where in his jacket he’d hide his money so it wouldn’t fall out and also explained to my inquiring son about why he had the protective boot on: he’d had the tip of his big toe removed because of diabetes. He bared so much of himself to me with his stories, his openness, and probably spoke for half an hour or so. I don’t know if he’s homeless and I’m not sure that it matters, but I feel like many pass people like Joel by and never give a second thought to that person. He just wanted to share and for that I’m grateful.

I hope you enjoyed this post, the workshop (if you saw it) and I am excited to see where my new inspiration leads me. I’ll be back on here soon!

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Photo Session Blog: Spidey in Seattle

I thought I’d post a wee kiddie session that was fun and colorful that I did just recently…

To raise some funds for my Walk MS efforts (the walk is in a week!!), I have been offering mini sessions. I think this was our first truly warm and sunny Spring Day here in Seattle; if you’re from here, you know that means while we have clear skies and sun, it could well be  just in the 60’s, and suddenly everyone and their grandmother is out in shorts and T-shirts, and busting out the SPF.

For some 4 year-old’s pics, we went over to Queen Anne to Bhy Kracke Park (yes, really), where there’s a small playground with a path that leads up to another area where you have insane views of Seattle – from Lake Union to downtown to the Space Needle and West of that. That’s quite the panorama. Our Spiderman did some wall-balancing with the skyline behind him, and then we went to Wallingford for some wicked bunny mural shots (appropriately it was Easter Sunday) by Archie McPhee. It’s just about the coolest store ever, where you can find everything from unicorn masks to yodeling pickles and toupee tattoos. Sadly the holiday meant it was closed but I at least didn’t have to drag my son in there (he’s always worried that the freaky Halloween decorations will still be everywhere) or have to drag him out (because there are way too many sweets and plastic toys to tempt him with).

I’m still fundraising for the walk, so if you do want to stop by my fundraising page and sponsor my TENTH year of doing it, please do!! Raising money for the National MS Society is a super important cause for me, and every dollar helps; my story and why I keep on doing the walk is all on my page. I truly appreciate the support.

Must go and edit baby photos; hoping to do cat photos next week! Busy and tired but must keep on…

xo ~ K

“A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower.” ~ Kin Hubbard

Seattle 'Queen Anne" photo

Body-Painted Cyclists, Oh My! Solstice 2012 | Seattle Street Photography

**(Warning for some folks who may easily offend: semi-nudity and silly outfits in today’s photo, but it is as seen by thousands of Seattlies every year in broad daylight!)**

This is a quick one because I really need to get back to my hundreds of Solstice Parade photos! I need to whittle it down to about 100 from about 8 times that…

Every year, Fremont (Seattle’s own ‘Center of the Universe’) hosts the most fun, crazy, and utterly amazing parade to usher in the Summer Solstice (otherwise known as Seattle’s summer that won’t start until after July 4th…). It starts with a huge amount of mostly naked bicyclists with beautifully and/or imaginatively-painted bodies – think Care Bears alongside Batman – whizzing down the main street accompanied by lots of laughs, cheers and some confused/amazed child faces, and an insane amount of photo-taking. Then there’s the ‘real’ parade of wacky and themed floats and marching bands, but it’s not the usual parade fare that many other cities see. Seattle is unique and colorful and soon I will post some photos so that everyone can see what I’m talking about.

Since the bicycle ride involves a lot of non-clothing, I will get a Flickr set linked up in case anyone wants to see that without being shocked by it here (in spite of the warning!). It’s all done in good fun and I love the open and accepting spirit that it’s all done in. Now if only Seattle would hurry up and get some warm weather so we can at least abandon some of our clothing…

This is one of my favorite photos that I took at last year’s Solstice Parade  Crossing fingers for sun soon!

xo ~ K

Not all the Greek runners in the original Olympics were totally naked. Some wore shoes. – Mark Twain

Kung Hei Fat Choi! | Seattle Street Photography

I enjoyed the sights and sounds (and smells!) down in the International District today as everyone rang in the Lunar New Year of the Dragon. Going down there to see the Lion Dances, hear the firecrackers, watch martial arts displays, and buy cream buns at Uwajimaya, brings back many memories for me as a kid growing up in Hong Kong. Plus I love all the people watching. It was a chilly grey day and it tried to rain, but throngs of people showed up, along with hundreds of cameras and cell phones to take photos; it’s hard to get a shot without an arm in the way holding up an iPhone. I am betting that the Mayan calendar hoopla  and Nostradamus are wrong and that the Year of the Dragon will be the auspicious year that is predicted, one of transformation and improvement. Unless a comet hitting the earth IS the improvement! I wish I could have taken more photos today but here are a few to share.

xo ~ K

Experience is the only prophecy of wise men. ~ Alphonse de Lamartine