30 November 2016

dear november

you were one heck of a month, november. and not just because I miraculously managed to share something here on nearly all of your thirty days. you were one heck of a month and I'm not sure I mean that as a compliment.

still, I remain hopeful.

I suspect you do too.

28 November 2016

as in, yurtsgiving (2013 edition)

yurtsgiving, as in thanksgiving that happens in and/or around and/or near a yurt.

three years ago, when we were still living out in portland, the madison family said, hey! let's camp! let's camp for thanksgiving! and we said hey! let's camp! let's do it! though we feel we should tell you something. we've never camped before.

which is maybe the first time we'd admitted it out loud, while living in the pacific northwest. because, and maybe this will come as a surprise to some of you, this is not something you openly admit when you live in the great pacific northwest. you do not openly admit to not liking coffee. and you absolutely do not openly admit to never having camped. you just don't. believe me.

and it's not that we didn't want to camp. we just didn't know how. neither of us had ever gone as kids, neither of us had grown up camping. we didn't have any of the stuff. and you need the stuff. you can't just show up and camp, you need the stuff. furthermore, you need to know how to do the stuff. and we certainly did not know how to do any of the stuff. and so this is how we went almost seven years living out in the great pacific northwest (the unofficial camping capitol of the free world) without ever having camped.

clearly, yurtsgiving changed all that. for the record, I do realize yurt camping is maybe not the same as, ahem, real camping. though I'm here to tell you it sure as hell is when you've never been camping before. as the people say, you've got to start somewhere and that little yurt nestled in a forest along the oregon coast was our gateway drug. that little yurt in nehalem bay is where we fell in love with bacon cooked over an open fire and crazy camp raccoon shenanigans and midnight stargazing and campsite turntables and picnic table thanksgiving dinners and, well, camping.

twas our last thanksgiving while living in portland, twas a heckuva way to go out.

27 November 2016

26 November 2016

on this saturday night, I am:

dreaming of korean spas. and red enamel dutch ovens. plus that last piece of pecan pie in the fridge. and a washing machine and dryer that live and work in the same house that I do.

finishing the last of the cleaning of a post-thanksgiving kitchen, the washing of the last dish, the storing of the last of the leftovers, the last of the very last.

editing photographs, editing editing editing, all the live long day, desperately trying to catch up.

writing postcards to donald as part of an avalanche effort-- in hopes of keeping more racism and white supremacy out of the white house. wait, is that really a thing I just wrote? a real live thing? what year is this? WHAT YEAR IS THIS.

mourning the end of this here break. and the last of the ambrosia. and the mashed potatoes. and goodness, am I mourning the last weeks of the obama administration (am I ever, boy am I ever) but more than anything, I am mourning the fact that there even has to be something like an avalanche postcard effort to keep white supremacy out of the white house in the first place.

25 November 2016


favorites of my favorite in honor of his 48th birthday, which we celebrated yesterday with chocolate cake after turkey and cranberries and mountains of mashed potatoes. favorites of my favorite, taken with my least favorite camera but the one I always seem to have on me, the stupid iphone. favorites of my favorite from the year 2016 and how are we at the end of it already? how?

happy birthday, mister jenkins. you are still the peanut butter to my chocolate, the sonny to my cher, my most favorite person in all of the world.

22 November 2016


this will always be one of my all-time favorite thanksgiving memories: my friend jon madison with that turkey, that tub of spice, that vinyl. the year we camped in yurts on the oregon coast and ate turkey at a campsite picnic table.

thanksgiving changed for us the year we moved to portland, oregon. one of many casualties of the big move across the country, a move that put us hundreds of miles from family. the first couple of thanksgivings, we tried. we really did. we worked hard to recreate what we'd had back home with family. and we did all right, I guess. the kids were young, we didn't really know what we were doing. the first couple with just the four of us were sweet but, undeniably, a little lonely. 

then, one year, we decided to throw out the regular plans, trade them in for shiny new ones. which led to a last minute road trip to astoria and our first thanksgiving meal at a fancy restaurant. the next year we hosted thanksgiving for friends at our house, a first for us. another year, we camped in yurts on the oregon coast with friends and prepared the whole thanksgiving meal mere steps from the pacific ocean, another first. and last year, we found ourselves in florida for thanksgiving, yet another first. 

so this is our tradition, I suppose. thanksgivings that move around. there will always be mashed potatoes and fresh cranberry sauce, I will always bring out my mom's little ceramic turkeys. they just might not always be set out on the same table.

after a couple of days in the mountains we'll head back home for our first legit thanksgiving since we moved back to atlanta. but who knows where we'll be next year? I'll tell you, that's just the way I like it.

21 November 2016


whilst on the road today:

1. two wild turkeys

2. a fancy park bench in a gas station restroom

3. a strawberry candy gummy snake, three feet long

4. leaves bright like neon

5. mountain air thick with smoke

6. a sign that read 'boiled p-nuts, straight ahead'

7. a sign that read 'please do not feed the bears'

(this is about all I can manage at the end of a really long but pretty great day)

20 November 2016

here's to the why

"it's not when you press the shutter but why you press the shutter."

-mary ellen mark

19 November 2016

can we please make this a thing

a few weeks ago, I drove down to charleston, south carolina to shoot mati and faith's painting retreat. it's a lovely thing to witness, women getting together to make things, to paint. it's an honor to document such an event.

it was the making of the flower crowns that won me over, though. I never knew something so simple could make me so happy. I mean, I had a hunch. because, flowers, crowns. entirely possible, er, not surprising at all I'd lose my mind over such a thing. that big plastic bucket packed with fresh flowers, the scent of eucalyptus and mums, the snipping, the wrapping, the tendrils of skinny green wire, the making of something so pretty with my own hands.

and then-- then I put that thing on my head. and reader, that was it. flower crown convert for life.

it feels pretty freaking amazing to wear a crown made of fresh flowers on your head. and for no reason in particular other than, why not. did you know that? because I don't think I knew that. and people who think they should only be reserved for weddings and maypole celebrations can suck it. flower crowns should be for everyone and any and/or all possible occasions. furthermore, flower crown making should be a required weekly event in which we all sit down, thread a few fresh flowers together with some scrap wire while we talk ish about the week. it should be required weekend attire. flower crowns while dish-washing. flower crowns while toilet-scrubbing. flower crowns while planning the mother-loving revolution.

I'll tell you, I'd like to place a flower crown on the head of every woman who has ever inspired me. on the head of the woman with the four kids at the grocery store about to lose it. on the head of the woman pulling the double shift at mcdonalds, the woman who does not know how she'll make rent this month, the woman who drives a bus all day long, the woman who looked in the mirror this morning and thought, ugh. I want to hand them out down at the corner like a crazy person. I know I can't, that I probably won't, but I want to.

and I hope that counts for something, I really do.

18 November 2016

things that got me through this week

1. washing dishes

2. leftover halloween decorations

3. episodes of togetherness

4. jojos after midnight

5. trees and leaves

6. leaves and trees


16 November 2016


new york, may 2016. I keep coming back to this one. never really noticed those little birds before. or the way that man's hands are so precisely folded. or all those shapes. how am I just now noticing these things? how?

the truth is we manage hundreds of photographs now, at any given moment. we deal in volume. which means sometimes details get lost, sometimes entire photographs go missing. I don't know what the answer to this is. we are all already so overwhelmed with everything.

you know what? perfectly fine with pretending certain photographs stay hidden until they are ready to be revealed. totally okay with this. maybe you are too.

15 November 2016


showing up here because I said I would, though it feels disingenuous to talk about anything other than how crazy america feels right now. about how lost and broken and divided we are.

but the days are days, what else can they be? the making of school lunches, the drinking of coffee, the folding of laundry, the editing of photographs, the hustling for work, the running of errands, the texting of messages, the paying of bills, the reading of books, the watching of netflix, the making of dinner, the washing of dishes, the planning of revolutions. 

meanwhile, the edges of america continue to unravel. to be clear, I am not without hope. I'm just standing at the kitchen sink, washing the dishes. talking to God, planning my next move. 

14 November 2016

august's sixty seconds

ava turned sixteen this summer, friends. sixteen. momentous occasions such as this call for extraordinary adventures so we hopped a train to new york for her first trip to one of my favorite cities in the world.

this here is the little film I made of it for the sixty second photograph project. full disclosure: it was not easy to remember to stop and shoot bits and pieces of footage of our time together. in fact, it really slowed us down. but, wow. I'm so glad I made myself stop, made myself stop and shoot the bits and pieces. because I know I'll treasure this little film forever. forever and ever and ever.

and I think ava will too.

(music by caribou and special thanks to my good friend jen lee for letting us crash on the floor of her sweet brooklyn flat)

12 November 2016

things that got me through the week

1. open windows

2. phone calls from friends

3. tribe's new album

4. clean sheets

5. moonlight

11 November 2016

to climb inside

here are a couple of photographs I'd like to climb inside and live for a little while. just for a little while.