I'm shaking less reading this... Because if you're opening this page, it's because you wanted to.. Not because I dropped some link in a Facebook group and begged for a few comments... This isn't 2016.. or was it 18...?

Let's Get Real Honest.

I scared the hell out of my family, my friends, my followers and myself. Almost two years ago, I had a stroke four days after my birthday. People know how hard that day was for me. I was in the middle of the most terrifying year of my life. I'd moved to a house I couldn't afford, was working four jobs, was hardly eating because I was touring cities at the speed of light, I'd had an experience in New York literally no one would believe. And then poof. Months of my life were gone. Years. Things I could do so naturally, I couldn't anymore. I clung desperately to my art, pushing my feet into the ground and begging God, the universe, the internet.. Everything not to take me yet. Sure, I'd missed a chance to see Mac Miller, my hero play live again but also.. Let me hug my brother one last time. I didn't even get a picture with my pen pal. Who the f_%#?! would deliver all those photos? Spoiler Alert: Me, fresh out of the hospital.

I only grew worse over time. I mean, my clients were my primary focus. Literally, their photos meant more to me than myself. Ding. Encouragements to kill myself. Ping. Friends, "Dude, where are you. Are you okay?" Knock knock. "What the hell are you doing in this empty house?"

I was recovering. In the house I grew up in. The house I saw my trauma in. The house I nearly died in a hundred times. But therapy had taught me to let go of that? I had to believe I was someone. God, I prayed. I suffered deeply. Gaining my weight back was hard, learning to talk again was even harder, not breaking down crying every time I couldn't take anything on was painful. As for the following, the clients, the support.. It was gone. I was nobody.

It was liberating.

I Saw What Made Me Fall in Love With Photography All over Again.

Gizelle - a talented, brave Chicago Musician who shot in my old home.

People are incredible. Unbelievable. Extraordinary. And I could see it. Genuinely, breaking down and begging people, "Please. Let me take this. Let me remember you. Let me savor this memory." And they'd say yes. They could probably see it in my eyes. Sure, I was exhausted. Actively recovering was tiresome. But they could also see that I've finally experienced what I'd bested for years.. A resurgence of passion. A reflection of my younger self.. An idea that I could be so important, that anyone could be, that they should immortalize that moment forever, right now.. It was tearing me apart. I lost my father so young and there will never be enough pictures. I would babble at these early sessions after the hospital, insisting "I was so overcome with grief. So many things I couldn't do. So much was happening. I just couldn't." and feeling hand on my shoulder, saying: "I'm glad you're about to photograph me."

Reginald - Artist

Because I get it. I get it. The anxiety of having your photo taken. The clutch in your chest when you wish you'd just snapped that "stupid picture" with grandma. I just dragged my friend across the crosswalk for a selfie the other day even though he looks like he absolutely hates it. But there was a time, when I wished we had a picture together. There are moments with my ex best friend in California, that break my heart to not have a picture of.

Loss is rampant. I lost sixteen friends during the pandemic. I didn't even have time to process that grief. I didn't wanna show up to people's weddings crying, anxious, and angry. Why would life do this?

I would snap out of those mentally exhausting moments to look into the eyes of the person through a lens hole and when the shoot would be over, there would be nothing but gratitude again. No more snickering around the corner about how Jasemine "froze" or how she can't seem to focus for five seconds during a shoot. No. Jasemine has finally rested from the fight of a lifetime.

To capture the most honest, creative, or artistic moments with ease, with joy... With presence and respect in every room.

I'm Not For Everybody

Bri - Creator and Cosplayer

Thank God.

I've looked into the eyes of people who only hired me to laugh at stories of lengths I've gone to make incredible memories. People who didn't get it.

Away from that, were thousands of people who were just like me. Who cherished those moments. Those experiences. Those are the moments I missed while I mourned, while I learned, while I learned to live again. I love to commemorate moments with people who have gotten to a place in life where they value memories, they value moments where photographs were taken and while they were a little nervous, they could look behind that lens and see someone who was doing it for them. Not just the client, not just the followers, but for themselves as well. I'm not everybody's photographer, because I would never take a shoot again in my life that made me feel like I was not enough. Like the photos weren't enough. Like the moment in time was nothing. I would never take a shoot that made the people on the receiving end feel like that either. I've shot funerals, please don't talk to be me about the face of grief. I never want someone to feel like they didn't get the experience they deserved. If I'm not well enough physically to book a session, I will offer to reschedule or simply reject the offer. I won't just be the photographer, I'll be yours. Honestly, the one who tells you, "this session is going to be difficult, but we're going to hold hands and make magic."

It's in every contract I've ever signed. Because I know what it feels like to commit to something you've watched over the years and wanted so badly to take part in.

Why? Because it's the shoot you deserve. Seriously, not everybody read down here and truly thought about the evolutionary moments right as a picture is taken. Because it was a moment you wished you'd had forever, even if you've been through a life where those don't happen as often. It's the experience you should have to love. I don't cringe at session ideas. I don't just set you up and leave you standing there. There's no single person in the history of my business that can say I wasn't helping them through their sessions, even if they didn't like my personality.. They loved their work. Because I invested the same amount of time, love, and thought they did into every single moment.

I Never Quit..

There were rumors I gave up when I had to pay back people for the time I was in the hospital and couldn't show up to a session. That's incorrect.

I gave $10,765.42 worth of refunds between March 2022-the present day. It was not easy. I did not have the money. I gave up my home, my car, and everything I had.. Picked up two jobs.. and started an OnlyFans (I'll get to that one later) To show myself and my past clients that I was the artist I knew myself to be. Honest, hard working, and hopelessly committed to giving what I could never receive.

Now, it's our turn.

For the artists that didn't make a dime during quarantine setting their first booth up at a convention.
For the girl smoking in the basement who wants her butt on a sticker to place on her 2012 MacBook Pro.

For the ones who have been here for ten plus years, watching the rise and fall of my life like it's Flavor of Love, I wrote a whole trilogy about this experience.. (Far more entertaining than my Twitter, I promise.)

Finally for myself. Everything I'm taking part in creating including a giant project devoted to Mac Miller is my tiny little love letter to myself and my loved ones. Just in case. If I'm not here tomorrow, I hope you waybackmachine this blog in xx years, and you remember.. I never did it because I had to it.

I do it because I want to. I fought hard enough to understand that we all deserve that.

If you got down this far, remember to do good and good will come onto you. Don't be afraid to release your judgement of yourself and judgement of others this week. I just had the first emergency room visit of my life that went by without judgement and I can tell you, good is a beautiful thing.

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