Indiana, Heather & Jesse | Family Photo Session | Durham, NC | September 2015

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We were honored to be asked back by Heather and Jesse for another photo session with their daughter, Indiana, after having photographed Indi as a newborn back in April 2014. The photos from that session are here.

Heather shared her inspiring story about surviving breast cancer and using donated breastmilk to feed Indi for her first year. It appeared in the Women’s Birth & Wellness Center’s Sept/Oct. 2015 newsletter. Read her story here.

Indi was a little more mobile this time so we ventured through the rest of their house and we watched as she climbed around a stunning set of stadium seats they have. It was a visual delight with green seats and Indiana in a pink tutu!

Next, we moved outside photographing in the front and side yards of their wooded home in south Durham. The day was casual as we made a few family portraits, photographed some face smushing and followed Indiana around as she explored her world.

 

Outside The Mom Box|Small Business Vignette|Durham, North Carolina

OTMB_Blog_04With great interest for what she does, I met Elizabeth M. Johnson through a mutual friend. I was immediately struck by her passion, her concise thinking and her compassionate heart. Elizabeth is a coach and health educator who helps women feel and act with greater confidence in their everyday lives. She’s spent most of her career helping women listen to themselves, make time for what works and say ‘no’ to what’s holding them back. Her professional background includes time in corporate America and the non-profit worlds, most recently as the crisis line coordinator for a local domestic violence agency.  Elizabeth has worked with survivors of violence for 10 years and is one of only three educators worldwide certified by Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus to deliver the trauma-informed training based on their book, When Survivors Give Birth. Elizabeth holds a Masters of Arts degree in Women’s Studies from Southern Connecticut State University. She lives in Durham with her daughter and husband. To get a sense of what she does, Elizabeth made some time to discuss more in depth about what her services are about and how they serve women and their particular needs.

                                                                                                          -Kallyn

What does it mean to be “Outside the Mom Box?”

“The Mom Box” is a metaphor for the way that society categorizes and compartmentalizes women. To be “outside the mom box” is to step outside the boxes that we’re placed in as women whether that’s mom or childfree, wife or single, and create a life that’s not only larger than a box but reflective of who we are as an individual in the world.

What is it about motherhood that moms can get lost in?

Motherhood, especially new motherhood, is an incredibly vulnerable time for women. I see this in my clients and I experienced it myself. In addition to the physical strain that having a child has on our body, the double standards that exist for us as women are amplified when we have a child. Double standards like: be ambitious but not aggressive, be beautiful but don’t look like you work at it! Moms are also often forced to make choices like keeping their job or taking time off to be with our newborn. Choices like these aren’t really choices at all. Double standards and false choices take a huge emotional toll on moms. The result is often that it’s hard for moms to tune into themselves. That can be the start of a loss of personal identity.

Tell us a little about your work with women.

My work centers on helping women feel and act with greater confidence in their everyday lives, whether that’s personal or professional. I do that in three different ways: Group coaching in the form of two eight-week personal growth workshops – one dedicated to confidence building; the other centered around self-exploration, kind of like a ‘What’s next for me?’ program. I also offer individual coaching as a 14-week, highly-personalized program for women who have a specific goal that they want to attain. Lastly, I facilitate a trauma-informed, confidence-building training called When Survivors Give Birth for professionals who deal with new moms and pregnant women to help them better respond to the needs of survivors of physical and sexual violence.

What do you clients get when they work with you? What are their takeaways?

My clients are buying success, support and accountability. Practically speaking, this takes the form of tools and trainings that bring their gifts and talents to the forefront. And of course, there’s also thoughtful guidance to identify what’s not working and how to get rid of that. My clients also buy my authenticity: me working as hard as they are, taking risks, showing up, modeling vulnerability and imperfection. When our work is finished, my clients walk away with the time, energy and direction they lacked, along with the personal and/or professional happiness and satisfaction they desire.

Why would a woman work with a coach instead of a therapist?

Coaching is usually time-limited and specific. It’s not about periodic check-ins without real structure. My personal style of coaching centers on accountability and action as well as support. I challenge my clients! They show up and work hard, knowing that I walk my talk and am as imperfect as they are. Unlike therapy, I’m not there to heal my clients. We’re on an equal playing field. I see them as smart, creative and whole women who need support and resources to live better. My job is to empower them to make personal changes that can integrate into their life in a way that feels authentic.

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To learn even more about what Elizabeth does, check out her fabulous newly-designed website at www.outsidethemombox.com.

 

 

Our Favorite Wedding Images of 2014

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I realize that it’s almost March, and that we’re putting out our favorite wedding photos of 2014 a little later than we’d like, but it’s important because it was a big year and this modest collection of photos means a lot to us.

2014 was such a wonderful, stressful, exciting, uprooting, perspective-shifting and energizing year that I don’t even know how to write about it other than to throw down a bunch of adjectives. But, really, that’s just lazy.

We plunged ourselves into the deep December of 2013 when we left our life in Florida and moved to Durham, North Carolina. We went all in, selling our fantastic house, quitting the very good jobs we had each had for more than a decade as photojournalists for the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers and most difficultly, saying goodbye to all the friends who had become family over the years.

We have big dreams for our new life here and goals to reach to help us get there. It’s been more difficult than we anticipated, and things have moved more slowly than we had imagined, but we’re patient and determined.

We had photographed weddings together while living in Florida. It was something that we did only occasionally, but we knew that we would be welcoming the opportunity to photograph more people on their wedding days when we moved here. Thankfully, we’ve had that opportunity because of some good people who have helped us out.

It might seem strange to include a few paragraphs about how our lives have changed this year along with a gathering of our favorite wedding photos from 2014 … but when we look at those images, we see more than wedding photos. We see the people who are helping us live our lives in the brightest and most vibrant way we know how. We’ve still got lots of growing and learning to do, but just like the couples in these images, we’re starting off down a road we’re committed to following and we’re looking forward … all the time.

There are so many people who helped us with our wedding work in this first year. We would not be near close to where we are without them.

Coco Rosenblatt-Farrell & Noah Rosenblatt Farrell – our dear friends who planted the seed to move to Durham. Noah and I (Alex) have worked on photography projects together, and I had the chance to be the second photographer for a wedding Noah photographed in 2014. Coco and Noah have known Kallyn for more than 25 years, and since this post is about weddings … Noah was the officiant at our wedding.

Ivan Weiss & Stephanie Weiss – our cousins who we are so happy to be around and who continue to inspire us. Ivan is part of Rock Fish Stew, a documentary company working to craft previously unknown stories in a unique way. Right now, Stephanie is doing field work in Mexico while finishing her anthropology doctorate at Duke. They also connected us with their friends Nikki & Brian, whose wedding we will be photographing in 2015. Ivan and Steph were married in Durham in late 2013 and it was shortly after their wedding that we moved here. Their wedding was photographed by the two folks below…

Courtney Potter Cook & Justin Cook – About 75% of the wedding photos seen above in this post were shot while working as second shooters for Justin & Courtney. They are friends and talented photographers who have helped us out tremendously and selflessly shared their knowledge.

Courtney is also part of The Birth Collective, a group of photographers specializing in maternity, birth, and newborn photography.

Justin works as a photographer for INDY Week and as an independent photographer in his “off” time. His great work can be seen here.

Ryan Helsel & Sadie Tillery – Ryan and Sadie are two big cogs in the crew that runs the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Ryan helped us dive into the community by inviting us to volunteer on the photography team for Full Frame even after the volunteer sign-up window had closed. They later asked us to photograph their wedding when they got married in October.

And of course, the love and support of our families is the current that flows beneath it all.

Thank you.

 

 

Indiana, Heather & Jesse | Newborn Photo Session | Durham, NC

141230_DahmComp_01An instant calmness and gentleness comes over you when you meet Heather. She embodies those qualities and has passed them along to her and her husband’s brand new joy, Indiana.

We spent a seamlessly magical morning with them as we converted their bedroom into a studio. Their large window provided some soft light on that cloudy morning in December. We also brought our own LED light to supplement the window light. It provides a constant, quiet light source so not to startle the newborn the way a flashing bulb can, so we were set for a calm morning. And that’s what we got – a dreamy photo session with a couple who is madly in love with their Indi.

Seed Family|Family Photos|Durham, NC

141116_SeedFamily_Comp_FINALThe backyard photo session with the Seed family was going really well until big brother got a little too excited throwing leaves around little brother. To make a short story shorter…leaves in the mouth don’t taste very good. But, thanks to limited attention spans, things were fine again a minute later and everybody was back to having a good time.

The session lasted a couple of hours and we spent the morning alternating between making posed family group photos and chasing spontaneity. In the end, we came away with a nice group of photos that captured the fun spirit of the young family at this point in their lives.

Kallyn met Christine, the mama of the Seed family, while on the search for someone to help design the new website for Heart In Hands, where people can go to find out about Kallyn’s experience as a doula, see her birth photography and learn about birthing resources in the area. Christine worked with Kallyn and did a fantastic job! She is a talented designer and her business, Detail & Design, helps organizations refine and spread their message.

Jasmine|Maternity Photos|Durham, NC – Eno River State Park

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Oops! We gave bad directions…

We’re kind of new to the area and when we asked Jasmine and her husband, Brandon, to meet us at the Eno River State Park, we didn’t realize that we were at a different entrance than where we told them to go. Lesson learned.

We eventually got everyone to the same place, but really we could have gone anywhere along the Eno and found a great environment for Jasmine and Brandon to play around in. We settled near the entrance off of Umstead Road in Durham and had a wonderful, early evening photo session with flowing water, gnarly roots and wildflowers as the setting in which Jasmine could shine.

Jasmine and Brandon are expecting their first child.