Pittsburgh - Where the Bridges Run Free

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I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Allegheny County, Western Pennsylvania. Point Breeze, East End. Allegheny Plateau. Not quite East Coast, not quite Mid West. We practically have our own language and to this day my brother and I can have an entire conversation in Pittsburgh-related references to old mayors and WDVE morning show bits and city neighborhoods and places and memories that no one around us can understand if they too weren’t born and raised there. I left the city because while I loved it with all my heart I was afraid that if I didn’t leave right away that I never would and I wanted to see something different, even if that was another working class town just a single state away.

I loved that I could live in a city but at the same time could walk down the street and be in the woods of the 500 acre Frick Park - nature more easily accessed than most of my suburban friends. All of high school was spent running in the parks where my dad would quiz me on the different types of oak trees and the difference between a Red Tailed and Red Shouldered hawk. When I was old enough to drive, I’d spend late nights driving across the bridges just to see where I would end up and watch the lights of the city fade and then come back into view in my mirrors. I’d drive up to Mt Washington where you could see all three rivers come together at the Point, the rest of the city spreading backwards from the axis. Instead of hanging out at bars, I stayed at the 61C coffee shop until it closed at 11pm writing and watching the world go by over cups of regular with cream and sugar and a piece of biscotti.

After I left the city, it became my favorite place to fly into because of all the green opening up under the wings of the plane - the hills and valleys making so much land undevelopable (tho we try anyway and have streets of only steps to prove it). It’s one of the grayest places in the country, but there’s something comforting to me in that grey and it makes the sunny days all the more cherished because of their rarity. When you refer to the Strip in Pittsburgh, it has nothing to do with naked girls and is all about the neighborhood along the Allegheny River where the barges used to empty their food related goods to be sold. The only place I know of where they have a cheesemonger and traditional Greek and Italian and Mexican and Chinese along with Prestogeorge’s coffee and tea and all the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates merchandise you can want.

I love that each neighborhood has a story and I have something new to learn every time I come home. I love that no matter where I’ve been or where I go, it will always feel like home. It has been imprinted on my soul, and I like to think that I’ve left little pieces of mine scattered around the city, like stardust or breadcrumbs, waiting for me to run back into one day, or for someone else to pick up along the way, and when they get that feeling of “just right” they will know that they have connected with that place on a deeper level, that they have met another soul there without ever even knowing who it was.

Best of 2018 | 10 Favorite Family Photos | Baltimore Family Photography

I felt blessed to be able to work with so many great people this past year and I love being able to help tell their stories! I knew I wanted to do a little round up both to thank those who trusted me to capture their family moments and to remind myself of the progress I’ve made in my work. It’s hard to pick favorites because I want wrap up all my photos like kittens and yell “I love all my babies!!!” (Except the ones I don’t. You’ll never see those. Pictures, that is, not babies or kittens. I love all kittens. And most babies. I’m getting off topic…) Anyway, thanks to all you wonderful people who help me do what I love!

ONE

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Kim and Mark were one of the first couples I worked with and I am ever grateful for their patience with me! I was super nervous and they were super nervous, but we eventually relaxed into it. They sent out their Save-the-Date cards a couple weeks ago using a few of my photos which is the biggest thrill to me! I picked this as my favorite from their session not because it doesn’t show their faces (they have lovely faces!!) but just because I really love the composition of their hands together, the bright pink of Kim’s skirt, and the water of the harbor fading in the background.

TWO

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Visiting my friend Jordana and her son in Germany this spring was one of the highlights of my year. Since she’s a single mom she doesn’t get many photos with her in them and so I tried to keep my camera close through most of the trip. She’s such a great and expressive mom and I couldn’t stop laughing during this lunch one day! I love her expression and the pure joy on her son’s face from eating mac n’ cheese.

THREE

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Brice is 4 and a RUNNER. Jeff and Christie wanted a few family picture of them and their 2 kids, but knew it would be tough to get Brice to stay still for more than a couple seconds at at time. We did get some of the 4 of them, but generally just him do his thing and I captured him in the moment, like jumping out of this mini car. It’s my favorite way to photograph - just do your thing and let me document it!

FOUR

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Obviously, this is going to be my FAVORITE couple because they’re my parents! We went to this awesome restaurant and brewery, Millworks, in Harrisburg this fall for my brother’s birthday and of course I was toting my camera around with me. The light was so beautiful, filtering in through the windows of the old building, and I assure you NO ONE FELT AWKWARD while I was taking pictures of them pre-lunch (lies, they were like WTF are you doing can we just drink our beer) but they are clearly the cutest ever and sometimes you just have to go with it. Trust the process….

FIVE

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Another biased claim that this is the cutest kid ever because A. he is, and B. he’s my nephew. No worries to all the other parents out there, your kid is the cutest too, but for real - just look at this guy. This was the first cold weekend of the year back in October and we were all out camping in Pennsylvania where I guarantee he is warmer than I am at the moment of this photo. I don’t know who is swinging him around, and he doesn’t seem to care, he’s just immensely delighted at the activity!

SIX

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I felt truly honored to take pictures for Sally and Jeremy this fall. Sally had a hard pregnancy with Taryn and they wanted to celebrate finally being all home together. They have a beautiful home with tons of light here in Baltimore with their two girls, baby Taryn, and 3.5 year old Cora. I love how the focus of both the photo and Jeremy’s attention are on Taryn.

SEVEN

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Derek is one of those people who when you ask how I know him I have to stop and think because there are so many random ways we came to meet 10 years ago. He and his wife Kara are some of the most compassionate people I know and a little over a year and a half ago they decided to start the process of fostering. It’s an intense process that demands much patience and faith and they do it beautifully with this little girl. For privacy purposes I can’t share any other photos from their session, but we had a wonderful morning in the park walking around the boat lake and then playing on the swings and slide.

EIGHT

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Can I just leave this photo right here? No explanations needed, right?? I photographed Niki, Ted and Sammy when I went back to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving at Hartwood Acres. Niki and I have been friends for over half our lives, I was in her wedding, and she is a balm to the soul to be around. I just love this picture of them smooching little Sam, who is clearly less than delighted, and everything in his expression sums up the “tough life of a child”. He then wiped his face off and went back to looking for the ball my husband was throwing behind me.

NINE

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Back-to-back images that make me want to scream “I.CANT.EVEN!!” Chuck and Rachel exude such a natural and genuine love for each other that they settled right into the shoot and every photo was more precious and genuine than the last. What is it about this one?? The light enveloping them? Their gaze at each other? Their love for this little girl? All of the above? Yes, all of the above and more.

TEN

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Christina and Nate braved the cold of New York City all the way from Arizona in December. They went through some extremely tough times this fall and I wanted to help bring them a little joy , so we did photos in a sparkly lit parklet on the Upper East Side of Manhattan while all in town for a visit with friends. They still have each other, and there is magic in that.

New York City - Part 2

New York City - Part 2

In December Todd and I went to New York City for the combined 4th time since August to hang out with friends and see the famous Christmas displays. I’ve always wanted to visit New York at Christmas and when a bunch of our friends decided to descend on the city in December, it was the perfect opportunity to combine events. New York at Christmas is intense. I assumed that it would be, but until you’re actually there it doesn’t actually hit you that you are one of thousands of additional tourists all there to see the same things.