I have to start out by saying that Andrew proposed to Zuza with her favorite candy – Nerds. He put the ring in a nerds box (seen below) – how stinkin’ cute is that?! I had the best time working with these two leading up to their day. We had a little bump in the road… I (Ashley) had to have my gallbladder removed a week before their wedding. Luckily we’ve got some amazing people that work with us (and an amazing couple that did not freak out), so I was able to work as long as I could that day and then David and April took over from there. Team work makes the dream work, right?! April and I can be so alike when we shoot weddings that I told Zuza that she might not even notice when I left. This wedding day at The Cotton Room was so sweet and beautiful and everything went so well! Zuza is Polish so we got to learn about some Polish wedding traditions, including the bread ceremony during the reception. The florals were absolutely gorgeous from Fresh Affairs and the beautiful cake from Cakes by Chloe.
Oh June! How hot was June?! Not my favorite weather, people. I feel like I need to move to Alaska to get a climate that feels like my natural habitat. But don’t worry, I won’t be moving to Alaska because I like Raleigh, NC too much to leave. I’m a Raleigh girl for life! You can see my insta posts from each month in 2015 so far here: January, February, March, April, and May. It’s our hope that you can get to know us a little better through these monthly instagram recaps. We feel like it’s important that you choose your photographer not only based on their work but also your connection with them.
* See those guys around my dining room table? Those are the talented men of Young Yonder. They practice in our garage once a week and y’all, remember me talking about those 100+ degree days? THEY STILL PRACTICE IN THE GARAGE. They are insane but it’s because they are so passionate about this project – they just have to get together! This evening it was a particularly hot one and David rewarded them with some banana pudding afterward. We love having people in our home!
* Aww! David and I got to attend Brandi Carlile’s NCMA show at the beginning of June. Y’all, she’s my FAVORITE and this was my sixth time seeing her live and like always, she blew everyone away with an amazing show. David and I are lucky that we share a very similar taste in music so we can enjoy concerts together.
* David and I love gardening and we’ve been looking for some Bee Balm to go in our yard for a few years now. We were thrilled to finally find some at the NC Farmers Market this spring and even more thrilled to watch it bloom. I posted this image on Father’s Day…. in the past I have written about how hard Father’s Day can be for me because of my own Dad taking his life in 2008. This year I walked around in my yard, took this picture and remembered what a green thumb my Dad had. So amidst all the bad stuff about my Dad’s choice to leave this world, this year my mind chose to remember this one thing for me.
* Hot weather means pool days, and let me tell you, the pool quickly became as hot as the sun it was baking in. This did not stop my little brother. He reminded me that he is from South Africa so the heat is no big deal to him. That’s fine, little one, but I don’t want to get boiled up in a public pool, mmmmmk?
* I had to post about it twice! So this is a shot from the Brandi Carlile show at NCMA. We LOVE concerts at the NCMA. As creatives it’s cool to do and attend anything in such an inspired place. If you’ve never gone to their movies on the lawn (they were the first venue to do that around here, btw) then you must!
* We love local and we love fresh, so when an ice cream place is named “Fresh. Local Ice Cream” (and it’s only a couple of miles from your house) then you go all the time. End of story.
* THIS IS A BIG ONE! On June 26th the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that all people have the right to marry. Around here we have always said that we believe everyone’s story is important and worth telling with our cameras. We photograph all kinds of people who believe all different things, that look different and that love different kinds of people.
* Around here we love Ashleys. I am an Ashley and growing up there was always atleast one other Ashley in my class. This Ashley in this picture with me is one of my most favorite Ashleys. I’ve known her since middle school and was such good friends with her in high school. We got to have lunch and it was just so good to catch up with someone who has known me for so long. This Ashley is one of those people that truly embodies what it means to be a good friend. I am so thankful that she is friends with me!
* Last but not least, my little brother Thabiso LOVES hanging out with April’s boys, which works good for her and I so we can hang out while they entertain themselves. They don’t get to hang out nearly enough but my goodness, they are always so sweet and funny together when they do. It was a lot of work to get this one picture – you should see the outtakes – but thats what you get with kids that are raised around a ton of photographers… disrespect for the camera 😉
What an amazing journey we have been on since we announced the idea for See Her Story. If you are new to the blog, let me briefly tell you what the event was all about – we created a super fun evening, with the help of some other amazing vendors, to give women the space to be photographed alone. In exchange for being photographed we asked these women to give money and/or items needed of a donation needs list to InterAct of Wake County. InterAct is a “private, non-profit, United Way agency that provides safety, support, and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault. InterAct fulfills this mission through the support of its volunteers and community” (pulled from InterAct’s website). After the event I reported here on the blog about how many funds and supplies we raised and shared about the other vendors that were involved in the event. Catering Works just recently blogged about their experience taking part in this event and their sweet words just blow me away. I am thrilled to find out that you all have kept on giving in the name of the event since that report. You all have share with me how you’ve signed up to volunteer with InterAct and learned other ways to give of your resources to such an important organization. Thank you so much for your giving hearts!
In this post about the event I want to take the time to share with you some of the portraits we shot from the event. April, Rebecca and I all had the honor of photographing women through out the evening. There was a big storm outside so weren’t able to enjoy the grounds of the Merrimon-Wynne, or take advantage of the beautiful light that streams in these tall windows…. but no worries, this house is so gorgeous that we were not lacking in places to photograph these awesome women. Some of the women who have allowed me to share their images on the blog have also chosen to share part of why this event was important to them. I shared images and stories with each woman’s permission.
“This year marks the 30th anniversary of my divorce and I am remembering, with gratitude, all the people who helped me get to this milestone. I came to InterAct for help more than 30 years ago in the midst of a marriage that was failing. This organization helped me understand my strength and helped to give me confidence that I could and would thrive on my own. I have supported InterAct for many years, have referred friends and acquaintances to the organization. I have continued to get personal strength from watching this amazing team grow in community service and influence and am so grateful for all they do to support women and children who are in danger of losing their dignity, their safety, their lives. Thank you Story Photographers and THANK YOU InterAct!”
“I did this because I believe it’s important for women to value themselves and all that they are and to help bring awareness to the great work of InterAct.”
“I work in marketing for a medical device company and I LOVE the work that I get to do – I spend about half my time in the office and the other half traveling to trade shows, visiting customers, or working with my sales team in the hospital. A huge part of my job is networking. I was selected to be a LinkedIn ambassador for my company and they were offering to reimburse us for head shots for our profiles. I saw your post and knew that that was where I wanted to have my photo taken. I donated the company reimbursement and then matched it with a personal donation for Interact. I had mentioned the event to my coworker and friend, Kelly Morrissey, who was also becoming an ambassador and she wanted to join in as well! I feel so lucky to work for a company that supports their employees, values our contributions and encourage us to grow as professionals. In addition, there are some really strong, smart women who have become great mentors and friends. Your event offered the opportunity to network with other professional women in the Raleigh area in a really relaxed and positive environment. AWESOME JOB!!”
“My mom has volunteered/worked with InterAct in various ways over the years, so I’m generally a huge supporter. So that got me interested [in this event] initially. Secondly, I hate how I look in pictures, especially when I have particularly photogenic friends. I have never thought myself photogenic and have become even more self-conscious about it as I have gained weight over the years. I am doing Weight Watchers and have lost about 20 lbs so far, which has helped my dimples to return, so I wanted to see I would like myself better in a picture at the moment. I’ve also never had professional pictures done (missed out on the whole ’80s/’90s Glamour Shots experience), so I thought that would be fun. And, I was excited to do something like this with my bff Christina :)”
“As a mother I suffer from “behind the camera” disease. I have so many photos of events with my son and I’m not in them or in many of them. Even when I’m not behind the camera, there aren’t many of me that I like. Recently my Nana passed away with my PopPop passing just a year and few months before her. When he died my parents had taken a box of photos from his desk, and after she passed we all sat around one night going through these pictures. These wonderful, tangible photos of a time before I existed, when my dad and uncles were very young, or before they were born. There were so many classy photos of my Nana in her winter coat, a portrait of her rocking the popular beehive hairdo and some really great photos of them on a large black float, in bathing suits (Nana in a bikini!?) at a lake in Canada. Maybe they had just started dating? Maybe they were just married? I don’t know, but having these tangible photos to go through now as an adult, reflecting on my relationship with her, and her passing brought a lot of joy and a bit more understanding of who my grandparents were. So between those two things, I wanted a picture of me so I’m not behind the camera, and hopefully a picture that when my grandchildren are going through a box one day the will find a photo that reminds them I was young once, too. I also wanted to participate in this event because I have wanted to get to volunteer with InterAct, especially as I’ve gotten older and become a mother, but haven’t really known where to begin. Donating to InterAct of Wake County for this event was a first step, and I took some information home with me to educate myself so I can become more involved. In the past year there seems to have been a number of high profile domestic violence incidents or rape and sexual assault. Not all incidents are high profile, and those women, and their children, need a safe place to turn to, support, and an advocate in their corner.”
“I am a nurse in a Children’s Emergency Department and there is a part of our treatment that relies heavily on outside community resources. Unfortunately, there is only so much the emergency department can provide when it comes to certain areas of care. When it comes to violence and safety, we truly appreciate having InterAct as a resource we can refer our patients to. There have been times when I’ve carried the weight, and am honored to be that support for a child, a teen mom or a woman/man in need. As an emergency department we too are a safe haven, perhaps the only known (or unknown) resource to a victim of violence. When a patient walks out of the ER I want them to know they have options and that they have outside resources because as I tell these hurting souls, “It is never okay for you to not feel safe in a place that you reference to as ‘home’.”
” I wanted to do this because I’m always seeing pictures of friends with engagement photos, wedding photos, new baby photos, and I don’t have any of those experiences yet, but thought my mom may want an updated photo of me since I don’t have any of the above to give her. She loved the photos I sent her and is really excited about framing one! I just turned 30 last month, and I’m really very happy with my life, job, friends and love where I live, so why not take a picture to remember this period of my life! I was glad to be able to support InterAct, because I feel like a center to care for abused women is so important for the community. Everywhere you go there’s a 5k for cancer or something of the like, and not that those organizations aren’t important, but abuse is an uncomfortable topic, and I feel like not enough attention is given to a subject that is really too common today. I wanted to support an organization that empowers women, and seeks to restore the damage and hurt that they’ve been through, so thank you for choosing InterAct to fundraise for.”
“When I saw my See Her Story image, I felt empowered in a way I haven’t experienced before. I have felt pretty in pictures before with friends and family, but something about seeing myself alone and confident in that picture made me feel strong and beautiful. That was an unexpected perk of volunteering for this great event.”
“It’s one of my missions to help women, so I jump at any chance to do this. Thank you for providing this opportunity to give back to a community that gives so much to me.”
“My best friend joined me to this event. We had an absolute BLAST. Neither of us knew what to expect. It was a great environment and a great crowd. And, of course, the food was great. 🙂 Everyone was very friendly. And the photographers, make-artists, etc. made it very comfortable and the location was beautiful. Just a bit about my story – I am a survivor of an abusive relationship and a two-time victim of sexual assault. Someone once told me that my story will change people’s lives. And that’s what I intend to do. I heard about this event through my wonderful boyfriend, who has also taken interest in InterAct and saw a post about this event on their Facebook page. Around the time of hearing about this event, I decided I wanted to volunteer at InterAct and I start this weekend! 🙂 I cannot wait to help raise awareness and make a difference.”
“This is what I look like after a 12 hour shift of working as a nurse at the hospital. The work is hard and I suppose I don’t look so great by the end of the day, but it the true me – no makeup, no fancy clothes. I walk approximately 6 miles a day on concrete floors, I turn and lift heavy and immobile patients frequently during the shift to bathe and clean them and to make them comfortable. I listen to those patients and families who are afraid, confused and angry, and to those who are calm and accepting of their condition. Often I tent to a person’s needs during their very last minutes on this earth – especially if they have no one with them. Nurses are often asked what they make. We say ‘they make a difference’.”