betty & lily

The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants. ~ Johnny Depp

It isn't fair to make this post just about Lily and her pup, Betty, because their doting parents are also incredibly lovely people whom I enjoyed my time with tremendously. But, I mean, come on, those two girls are clearly the stars of the show in their world.

xo, PQ

baby at the bar

My Staten Island-based childhood memories include faded images of maroon vinyl bar stools, my favorite minestrone soup, wooden bowls full of salty pretzels, and peanuts still in the shell. I don't know when the law changed in New York, but before it did it wasn't uncommon to see kids hanging out at a bar with their parents. These days that seems nearly unimaginable. Unless, of course, your parents own a bar (and then you can be there only when it is closed); Marli and Bart run The Fixin' To in St. Johns, and their smart and funny daughter, Emmylou, isn't yet old enough to realize how cool her parents are, or that she's the only kid in Portland who gets to eat bunny crackers off the bar of the F2.

Our session was the perfect mix of at-home and on-location, with the location being a perfectly authentic-to-them spot, and a new-to-me exciting adventure. I never thought I'd find myself chasing a baby around a bar on a Monday morning, but I quite enjoyed myself, and I love the results.

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xo, PQ

happy '14

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To my dear clients, friends, and blog readers,

May 2014 bring you as much laughter, joy, thoughtfulness, and love, as you all shined on me in 2013. As a thank you, and a fun way to kick off the first quarter of the year, I'm offering a $50 discount on all sessions booked in the next 14 days, to take place by 3/31/2014 (session must be booked and deposit paid by 1/14/2014).

Happy new year!

xo,

PQ

 

chloe, the girl who stole a little piece of my heart.

On a perfectly autumnal day in October I met Chloe and her family at their home and we made some pretty pictures of their loving family and super sweet life together. Chloe's mama, Erin, said she wanted photos while Chloe still had a mouth full of baby teeth, and well, I'd say we got them (just look at all those baby-toothy smiles!).  But get this, the very next day when Erin picked her up from school, Chloe had lost her first tooth! Talk about perfect timing...

I could stop this post right there and have you thinking Chloe is just like every other cheerful five-year-old, because in many ways she is. She loves to sing and dance, do puzzles with her dad, and play with her sweet dog, Clarke. She especially loves all things Star Wars (she was Darth Maul for Halloween!), she has an incredibly infectious laugh, and her freckles go all the way up to her forehead! But what makes Chloe's joyous spirit remarkable is that she battles cystic fibrosis (a deadly genetic disease) every day of her life; in order to just breathe she takes dozens of pills and does hours of breathing treatments every single day.

Her parents would want you to know that she is so much more than her disease, so I hope I've made that obvious here.  I walked away a bit surprised that she was so exuberant; I guess without realizing it I was expecting Chloe to seem sick, and what makes her so incredible is that despite her illness and treatments that consume hours of each day, she is an absolute delight. The ugliness of her disease is what makes that sparkle in her eye that much brighter to her parents, and I imagine anyone who comes in contact with her. I've said that Chloe stole a little piece or my heart that day, but maybe what I should say is she and her amazing family made it grow a bit bigger. Maybe that sounds cheesy, but it is honestly how I feel, like there's a little chamber in my heart now just for her.

Another glimpse into the reality of Chloe's world, as well as her family's ongoing fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation can be found here. I encourage you watch the video and give what you can. Soliciting donations is not part of my norm, but well, how can I not in this case? I'll be asking again next spring when they do their walk as well, because this cystic fibrosis business needs its a** kicked, for my pal Chloe, and all the other people battling this ugly disease every day.

Much love, PQ

let the kids PAINT themselves

So many things I want to say in this post.

First, I am honored and beyond thrilled to be featured on Let the Kids Dress Themselves today. If you don't know the blog, click on over, view beautiful photos, leave lovely comments, plug it into your Google Reader, and then come back over and finish reading what I have to say. Okay, GO!

OR maybe you've just come here for the first time from Let the Kids, to which I say: Welcome, thank you so much for being here, I hope you'll stay for a cup of tea. Ahem, moving on.

Devon is an artist, a painter, who grew up attending a rad Berkley art school for kids, and recently turned her dream into a reality when she opened the Portland Child Art Studio (it's an incredible space, as you can see, and it's just an all around really cool idea. Portland parents, you should totally check it out). Devon found me by way of a favorite client-turned-friend, and quickly became another favorite client-turned-friend. I love this job.

Jess is a house painter, and also someone I've known since elementary school, but hadn't seen in years. He is super down to earth, and is one of those people who just gets kids. The first time Franny met him she said "he is a nice man," and he is.

Djuana is their daughter. A Cindy Lou Who of Wildwood. A three-year-old with a five-year-old's vocabulary and a teenager's love of fashion. A wispy little lover of a girl.

Napoleon is their cat. He hugs.

Together they live tucked away in the forest, just above Portland, with a view of our City's favorite bridge (and probably my house if you had good binoculars!). They keep chickens, grow vegetables, and yarn bomb trees. They spin records, dance in their socks, and host tea parties. They drive beat up station wagons, they do what they love, and they live absolutely.

xo, PQ

last of fall families

Alright so yes, I'm piling three photo sessions into one post again, and yes, there are a handful (or so) of fall family sessions that never made it onto the blog, and YES I'm probably going to blog some 2012 families in 2013, but I've got a supah Christmassy session to blog and before I do that I want to send the fall family sessions off with a big kiss. So here goes {smooooooooch}....

Fall you nearly kicked by bum, but dang you were fun! Until next year...
xo, PQ

peace and love.

I've been searching for a happy place since Friday. Actually that isn't quite true; I don't want or need to feel happy, I just want a break from the news, the response, the dark details, and all the heartache. I don't at all expect or desire to feel "happy," in fact I think it is important to allow ourselves to feel shattered right now. But I am feeling overwhelmed by the news and the noise surrounding it. I don't want to read any more accounts of how it went down, I just want a place to rest my eyes on something that gives me hope. I've been clicking around the internet hoping to find something to bring my heart a little peace, and then I realized, I can do that for people. Karissa I am thinking of you calling this your "happy place," and while we've already established that there just isn't any being happy right now, it is important to remember that there is hope. On Friday after the horrific news broke about Sandy Hook, I absorbed it, I sobbed appropriately, I took a hot shower, and then I turned off the news, closed down my Facebook page, and got to work on editing these photos that were due. It helped me to spend time with Jonah and his carefree child spirit. There is beauty to be found in these children of ours (ALL of ours) who are lucky enough to be blissfully unaware. While we are feeling so tremendously helpless, let's try to remember that we can do something. We can practice empathy, kindness, acceptance, and understanding, and we can raise people who will do the same.

sending you all peace and love,

posy

PS - want to DO something? I think Paper Hearts Across America is pretty a lovely idea.

you, at home, doin' your thang.

November in Portland... well, it can give you plenty to complain about. It's often dreadfully gray and wet for days on end, with a chill that when added to that dampness can go straight to the bone. But the awesome thing about this time of year is it often forces us to skip the wild adventures around town and instead we stay home, your home, where we do everyday things like playing on the floor with blocks, reading stories in bed, mixing up a batch of granola, maybe have a little tea party with your daughter's favorite doll, and, you know, get our fingers messy in the art studio. Oh you don't have a naturally lit art studio in your home?  Well that's okay, I'm quite sure you've got something that is totally YOU and therefore perfect for your family photos. But Mara here is an artist, and granola chef, so we incorporated those things into their family session.

What I love most about capturing your at-home moments is the idea that when your children grow up they will have these photos of themselves in the home they grew up in, doing the things they grew up doing. Whether it's ring-around-the-rosy in your living room, laughing around a big pink box of donuts on Sunday morning, making waffles with Dad, or dumping wiffle balls down your staircase, it's what you do as a family and what your children will remember. And that's a mighty special thing to be invited into. (Where's the emoticon for warm squishy feelings? [insert here please].)

One thing I need to say about these folks before I wrap this up: they were lovely, like super nice, and easy going lovely, and when I called that adorable bouncing bubbly girl of theirs Elizabeth when her name is totally and completely KATHARINE they didn't even bat an eyelash at my serious faux pas. And for that, I love them a little extra.
xo, PQ

the westwoods: bubble up. kiss. crush.

 

The Breyer Horses Hannah played with as a child. The swing in Ryan's playroom. Miso the cat. The family music room.  Hannah's dad, gone but oh so present.  The Westwood skipping path. Chad's love for his girls. Oh yeah, and did somebody say retro sodas and rootbeer floats? Dang that was a fun at-home session!
***
Although I know I shouldn't be, I am compelled to tell you that the moment when Ryan reached up and hugged on her dada just under the picture of her mama doing the same to her own father, well that one just happened. It's true I hollered out for them to hold it so I could throw myself on the floor and capture it. But how could I not? It's one of those things that would have felt cheesy if I'd created it, but when it happened on it's own, well that was a magical moment right there.
xo, PQ

thank you, thank you

thank you thank you for our food

for homes and rest and all things good

for the wind and the leaves and the sun up above

but most of all for those we LOVE

thank you thank you

This is a blessing the children at Franny's preschool say before eating their snack each day. I love it, especially the hand gestures that indicate wind, and love (tiny hands over heart, I swear my breath catches every time I witness it).

Along with heaps and heaps of appreciation, I'm sending you wishes for a day filled with love, warm homes, full tummies, and cute kids reciting what they're thankful for (Franny's is whipped cream).

Love, Posy

happy place

Remember how I said at the beginning of this year that my goal was to be a better blogger? Though I've felt like I have indeed accomplished that goal, nothing has made me feel better about it than the private messages and comments I have received from blog followers and clients. This was especially true when Karissa told me during our recent session that this here blog is her "happy place." Sigh; though I wasn't exactly sure what my mission was at the beginning of 2012, beyond blogging more often, I'm gonna go ahead and say mission accomplished.

I am once again struck by the desire to say all the right words about  this amazing family who I have documented and built a relationship with over the last three years. I want to tell you about how Campbell Rose was itty bitty the last time I saw her, and how this time she straight up bossed me around, and made funny faces for my camera; and about how Chase made his own camera out of paper, with paper photos that came out of it all Polaroid-style (I know!!!), and how Karissa and Steve are so dang sweet that I have a hard time leaving when it's time to say goodbye. But what I really want to say is more general to all of you amazing people who invite me into your lives and homes: YOU are my happy place. I could not let this month of gratitude pass by without thanking you; your trust  in me fuels my flame. THANK YOU.

Sometimes writing this blog can feel a little like talking to myself; I have to pretend that the hundreds of you who come here each week are my friends and are laughing (or crying) right along with me. Because while I know that you do indeed come by the hundreds, I don't hear a peep out of most of you. And that is fine, I was a silent blog reader for years. It wasn't until I invested more time and energy into this blog that I realized how nice it is to receive feedback. I have talked about being a feedback junky in the past, I completely recognize this flaw in myself, I just don't care. Ha! Ahem, anyway, I certainly don't blame you for not commenting, I have pretty much talked AT you for this last year, so I'm going to make a better attempt to incorporate YOU into this space more. In return I'll ask that if you are so inclined (and please stick around if you're not, I still know you're there) tell me this: where's YOUR happy place?

xo, PQ

a little "PS" just for Karissa: look how your strong-willed girl snuck crocs into the photos right at the end!

logan

I had four shoots this weekend, my toes are cold, I have a cold, and the coffee hasn't fully kicked in yet, so forgive me for not saying much more than I wish I woke up as cheerful as Logan does. Oh and I wish the sun was shining the way it did that day. In fact, I wish it was summer all year round, but I know many of you true Oregonians don't feel that way. Do I sound ungrateful? I'm SO not, I promise! Just a little chilly and a lot tired! I know that  I am incredibly lucky that a very busy weekend for me means hanging out with super cool families, witnessing and capturing their love, making time stand still, and making memories while we do. I am so thankful for that, and for the follow up emails from parents reporting that their kids want to know when I'm coming back for more play dates, or have asked things like "can Posy babysit me?"  and reports of inspired mock-photo-sessions after our visits.  But see now I am dangerously approaching the not-fully-functioning-brain nonsensical ramblings that I am accustomed to so I'll zip it and bid you a happy Monday, and a week filled with bursts of sunshine and snuggle sessions!

xo, PQ

chelsea

In August 2010 I received an email from Chelsea. We had met in a group for new moms at the hospital where our girls had been born just a few months apart; now they were turning three. We were in our mid-thirties, running our own businesses, living pretty similar lives. Except Chelsea was emailing because she had just been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer; her treatment was set to begin the following week. Chelsea wanted to know if I could come over and photograph her family before the treatment began. I don't know what Chelsea was thinking at the time, but I know that after reading about her type of cancer and it's advanced stage, I felt like I was going to their home to capture images of her with Eva and Thomas so they would have them to hold in their hands when they didn't have her any longer. I remember it being the first time I felt the profound importance of documenting families together. I remember Chelsea looking directly through the camera and past me, to who knows where. I remember the contrast between the enormous sadness I saw in her and Thomas's eyes, and the sheer joy of their daughter, gorgeously unaware of the ugliness life can throw at you.

As we were wrapping up our session, a friend brought them a meal; they ate blueberries on their porch, as we said our goodbyes. When I got in my car I sobbed with overwhelming sadness for Chelsea, the barrel she was staring down, and what that meant as a mother. I felt scared for Thomas, heartbroken for Eva, and I felt guilty for being so damn grateful that it wasn't me. But I knew that this wasn't my battle, or my time to grieve, I had something I could do. I had never before felt so lucky to have this gift to give.

More than two years later, Chelsea is stable, living with no evidence of the disease in her body. I had followed a personal blog she kept, so I knew that she had come out on the other side of intensive medical treatment still standing, and ready to make some changes in her life to support her ongoing healing process. I was thrilled when she contacted me in August about photographing her family again; This time I was going to capture all THREE of them happy, and together, alive and well.

Chelsea Harper, MA, BC-DMT, NCC, RYT is a counselor, dance/movement therapist, and yoga teacher.  Her business Moving to Balance offers workshops and retreats for young cancer survivors. Diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer at age 35, she is passionate about supporting young cancer survivors and their families to live well despite cancer.
xo, PQ

 

Update: Chelsea and another breast cancer survivor have teamed up and written a book for children who's mothers have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The book looks beautiful and fills a void in children's literature that sadly needs to be filled. But they need our help in getting a draft prepared to send to publishers. Please watch this video and consider a pledge to their Kickstarter campaign: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/461762311/the-storybook-project

fall in portland

All of these photos were taken last weekend – four sessions over the course of three days that felt like solid rain, and yet…

 

 

I was totally planning this whole post about weather and how this time of year we’ve got to plan for rain but that even on the worst days with forecasts of 90% chance of rain and big old doom-and-gloom clouds overhead, even on those ugly days I tend to get my families and all their beautiful love outside for at least part of their shoot. It was going to be funny, and there may have been a joke in there about rescheduling until next July if you want a rain-free session. But I didn’t write it today because after a few sessions were rescheduled I was left with a wide open day to spend with my family and that’s what I did. And now I’m soooooo tired and can’t think of exactly how I wanted to word this (though I’m starting to think I just did). You know that saying about Portland, the one about not liking the weather and just waiting 20 minutes? Well that tends to be how it goes even on our wettest days. We do a dance, hopping in and out, from warm and cozy homes where we read stories, or snuggle in front of the fireplace, to splashing in puddles and collecting colorful leaves; back inside, maybe to a coffee shop this time for some cocoa, and then a dash out onto the front porch. In and out, layers on and off, that’s just how we roll this time of year.

And now I'm going to bed. Good night!

xo, PQ