Circus Portraits at Milner Library

July 28, 2010

15 of my newest portraits, part of the Special Collections and Circus Archive at Illinois State, are now on view on the first floor of the Milner Library at ISU!

Last March I had the privilege of photographing backstage at the Barnum and Bailey Circus as they performed in Moline, IL. My friend from Bennington College, Jonathan, had been working as the traveling educator with the circus for quite some time, and I was excited to see him and visit with his students to discuss photography. I showed the group my Moweaqua portfolio, and we talked about what makes “home” a home, photographing things that only they get to see in their travels and how diverse America can be, depending on whose viewpoint it is coming from. Needless to say, I left my copy of the Americans behind for their traveling library .

After visiting the classes, and taking several class pictures, I spent the next two days backstage during shows, talking with performers, vendors, technicians and staff about their work with Barnum and Bailey. Everyone was so welcoming, and willing to participate that I felt extremely inspired and fortunate.

I can’t thank everyone enough- from the subjects to the circus itself, Jonathan to the folks at the Circus archive at ISU- for their gracious support.  We had a good time selecting images from the archive to accompany the new portraits- I can’t begin to explain what a treasure trove is on the 6th floor of Milner! Enjoy, and thank you again everyone for making this show possible!


The wedding that got me to the altar

July 19, 2010


In late March I got to photograph Chris and Heather’s wedding, a small family ceremony on a Friday evening in Moweaqua. I was honored, since I remember adoring Heather when I was growing up- I thought she was the most beautiful person ever!  Since then she and I have taken similar paths, moving away, establishing our careers, living in exotic places like Manhattan (ok, Brooklyn in my case)… and then coming home and finding our place in the world. I was very excited to be part of her big day and I’m not joking, the girl has GOOD taste!

However, I wasn’t prepared for how Chris and Heather’s ceremony and intimate vows would affect me. After the ceremony we went to Decatur for some fun artistic shots at the Fire Station where Chris works. Everyone was so wonderful to work with, I felt like I was part of the family. Even the firefighters got involved. Everything that day fell in to place and was so beautiful.

Fast forward to the following Monday afternoon in Bloomington, after I spent the weekend in Moweaqua working. My poor unsuspecting partner  of 7 years walks in  after a full day of teaching and all I could say is “We need to talk”… poor guy!  And talk we did… 2 hours later we decided that our time was finally here, that we were ready to make the kind of honest, loving and intentional commitment that Heather and Chris made. We finally set a date (two actually) and acknowledged that our commitment was already there in practice, we just wanted to celebrate our life together with those we love. And we wanted to do it in a way that was humble, fun and “us”. We spend so much time photographing weddings, meeting with couples to make their weddings go smoothly, we had never really stopped to think about what our ceremony would look like!

A lot of people ask me how I really feel about photographing weddings, being that my academic training is in the field of fine art photography. I can honestly say I love it. No two weddings are alike, and my eye is always trying new things in new situations. I’ve been privileged to end up in a field of work that I love, and every bride I’ve worked with these past 3 years in Illinois has made my job worth it. I love  capturing the moments as a couple makes their commitment public.  And in the case of Heather and Chris, I love the weddings that have opened my eyes to what can be possible in life with someone wonderful at your side.

Congratulations Torrie!

July 12, 2010

Torrie Roberts, Miss Illinois Galaxy 2010, placed an impressive 2nd runner up this weekend at the Miss Galaxy International pageant ( in Michigan. Congratulations Torrie!  She continues the tradition of Illinois being a force to reckon with at the pageant. Love, love, love these last minute shots we did of her before she left to compete, she is such a gorgeous person and so much fun to photograph!  

Come check out Booth 101!

July 8, 2010

This weekend I will be sitting around in my rocking chair (within a pretty swanky tent) and selling some AMAZING (and affordable) prints at the Sugar Creek Arts Festival. Come say hi (booth 101, right by the Children’s Museum in Uptown Normal) and check out the huge gathering of great artists, music and food!  

More details about Sugar Creek can be found at:

I’ve heard this one before…

July 7, 2010

Twice a year I get to teach Getting to Know Your Camera at the McLean County Arts Center here in Bloomington, which is a really fun class to be part of .   Thanks to Carmen who sent me this image after our second class to prove that her dog DID eat my handouts after all. I guess he really liked the leftover thesis paper it was printed on… 30% cotton=YUM!