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December 5, 2012

Charles and Stephanie are two of our favorites. They’re authentic. And we love authentic. Simply put, they were amazing in front of the camera. When a couple lets us into their little world to capture the love and magic between them, the photographs can’t help but be beautiful. Tim and I aren’t out to capture beautiful images for the sake of beautiful images though. We desire to photograph what is real, honest, and authentic. Charles and Stephanie allowed us to do just that without hesitation. And for that we are so very grateful.

Enjoy a few frames of Charles and Stephanie.

November 30, 2012

During Thanksgiving week, we had the privilege of joining Josh and Susan and each of their families at the hospital the day they welcomed their daughter Meredith into the world. It was such an honor to photograph and capture video of their beautiful baby girl when she was only a few hours old. We were thrilled when they asked us to capture the day for them, because these are the sort of stories we love to tell – real stories about real people, told in an honest and beautiful way. We hope you enjoy!

November 8, 2012

This post is a bit of a departure from our norm. It’s purely a personal project, an exploration, and a creative collaboration. The idea for this shoot has been rolling around in my mind for a little over a year now, with new ideas being added and old ones thrown out. It finally transformed into what you see below. Before you look at the photos, you must read the short story below. I sent these pictures over to my dearest friend Paige, who you’ve seen on the blog many times before. She’s a fantastic writer and has a way of using words that sweeps you away to a different time and place. Check our her blog, For the Love of Literaturehere if you enjoy anything remotely literary. I asked Paige to craft a short story based solely on the photographs, and what she came up with was even better than I could’ve hoped for! Enjoy!

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     There once was a young lady by the name of Samantha Thatcher who was born to a wealthy aristocratic family in the heart of New York City. It was said that on the day she was born, her hair was as much a surprise as her premature arrival. Both parents possessed dark hair the same color as the soot collecting in the numerous chimneys in their beloved city. So when Sam, as she soon came to be nicknamed, made her early appearance with bright red tresses sticking up in all directions, the newly hired maid ran shrieking from the room that the child had been born with her head on fire. As her father sat gazing down his meticulously manicured mustache with the young maid’s shrieks fading down the halls, he knew this tiny daughter with hair the shade of flames, would never cease to be peculiar.
 
     The tiny baby grew into a small girl who proved her father’s premonitions to be true. She hid from her exasperated French tutor in a tall sweetgum tree and was always somehow in trouble with the neighborhood boys. Her mother gave up on repairing tears and stains on her expensive boutique clothes and settled for staring disapprovingly at Sam’s scraped knees whenever she was in the same room. Sam knew she was a scourge on her parents’ reputation and happily passed the time in an unused attic room positioned under a gable of the house. The steeply angled walls offered a quiet sanctuary away from the bustling city of smoke and hawker’s cries where Sam poured over a book entitled The Cyclopedia of Wonders and Curiosites which she had “borrowed” from one of her tutors who had intended it for a male student.
 
     Within the book’s pages, Sam learned of famous Greek heroes and brave Joan of Arc. She traveled to Saudi Arabia and the Jungles of South America. She soaked in illustrations of the Great Pyramids and the Floating Gardens of Mexico. But her favorite chapter of all was titled “Most Remarkable and Astonishing Creatures of the Known World”. Sam was fascinated by the animals and insects described below pen and ink illustrations. She carefully memorized the facts of each creature and practiced portraying them in her own sketches. She started collecting anything of interest in old milk bottles that she lined up along the windowsill. Within the glass, lit behind by sunlight, were kept leaves and feathers of unique shapes, sparkling rocks, insect shells, and other oddities. Her father would overhear snatches as Sam skipped down the stairs muttering about the lengths and color variations of net-winged beetles. He would peer over his newspaper at his contrary daughter, shake his head, and go back to puffing on his enormous pipe.
 
     One blustery day, Sam had once again succeeded in losing her French tutor and thought to go for a stroll in the park. She was busy inspecting a line of ants marching along the trunk of a tree with the magnifying glass she kept in her petticoat pocket when something cold and wet nudged her hand. She swung around, tool still in hand, to see an enlarged dog nose through the glass. She dropped the glass to discern a skinny spotted dog sitting by her boot with a tail whipping up dust on the ground behind it. Sam couldn’t believe her luck! She fished out a piece of leftover cheese from her many pockets and held it out for the dog who picked it up daintily with her teeth before devouring it in one bite. From then on the two were inseparable and her parents saw the uselessness in trying to keep the skinny stray from the house.
 
     As Sam turned from small girl into a young lady, the passion for discovering the wonders of the world grew with her. She spent hours in the grass, her dog’s head resting on the gentle rise and fall of her stomach, gazing up into the clouds which turned into mighty ships pushed along by the wind. She thought about how her milk bottle collection was so scant compared to what she knew to be out in the world and when her mother had happened upon the assemblage while looking for hatboxes, she’d thrown most of it away in disgust. She started to feel trapped under the city’s suffocating closeness. She thought it must be rather like how it would feel to be encased in amber, like the moth she had found. A gilded cage. She was tired of the stuffy old suitors her parents persisted on having her make polite conversation with. It was time to leave.
 
     Samantha Thatcher stood with her leather trunk and her dog at the edge of the dock. Steam billowed out of the great ships awaiting their cargo. Their steel hulls loomed out of the murky water so that she had to lean back and shade her eyes to see the railing. She tried to shut out the whistles and the men shouting over each other as she mentally ran down the list of what she packed. She had carefully stowed away all of her journals and sketchbooks, cases full of drawers and compartments for collecting, and a new assortment of glass vials and jars. Lastly, she’d placed her Cyclopedia of Wonders and Curiosities between a stack of sweaters. A burly man sporting a scruffy beard and kerchief around his sweaty neck lifted her trunk with a groan. She could hear the jars clinking against one another. “Excuse me for asking, Miss, but where might you be headed off to with all of this?” panted the man as he eyed her dog.
 
 “On an adventure,” replied Samantha.
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Many thanks to everyone who helped bring my imagination to life:

Our models: Sara Orr and Lily the dog

Hair and Makeup: Courtney Thomas

Kim McIlwaine from Il Bella Gardens for letting us use her property for our location

My mom for transforming a hideous old wedding dress into the long flowing skirt Sara is wearing in the final shots

My dad for letting us use his “Nature Collection”

Our favorite thrift and antique stores where we collected many of the treasures: West Stanly Christian Ministries, The Carousel Horse, and The Depot at Gibson Mill

My parents house, where we collected the rest of the treasures, including Lily

Paige Daniels Nguyen for writing a beautiful story that gives the perfect backdrop to these images

Tim. For all his patience with me as I collected all manner of glass baubles, vintage clothes, and other doodads to complete the picture I had in my mind.

 

November 6, 2012

Before Asharae and I met with Lindsey, Michael, and Stella on beautiful Hilton Head, we thought it would be really special for them if we took some video during our time together.  Lucky for us, they agreed to our plan and we were able to photograph and film their baby girl’s first time at the beach. We love capturing people and showing who they are in an authentic, honest way.  Photographs capture a moment and freeze it forever – that is one of the reasons we love to take pictures.  A lot of responsibility comes with capturing something that won’t change.  There is also something that is so freeing and magical about being able to look back and know exactly what your face was like when you first saw your bride-to-be walking down the aisle.  Pictures help refresh and sometimes form our memories.  With a picture you can sit and dwell on a moment.  As photographers, we don’t want to just take pictures; we want to help you remember the emotions and details of those important times in your life.

Video not only allows you to revisit those important moments, but to see them in motion.  Pictures will always be worth a thousand words, but to be able to see motion brings a different kind of appreciation that pictures can’t capture.  Both are very special in their own way, but it’s the little moments like seeing Stella’s tiny toes curl and flex as she tries to stand up that have a different life to them as they move.

It was a joy to capture the movements of baby Stella that morning on Hilton Head.  It was equally joyful to capture the pure love that Lindsey and Michael have for their daughter.  It is in times like those that we really love the opportunity to be with people and capture them, whether that is with pictures or with video. We believe that amongst the seemingly mundane aspects of life, capturing pictures and video creates a sense of joy and appreciation for those easily “forgettable” moments.  They allow us to remember, reflect, and be grateful for who we are and what we have, not on who we “should” be or what we wish we had.

We are really looking forward to our new brand and can’t wait to capture your life moments with pictures and video. Contact us today if you’re interested in booking us to do photography and/or video for a lifestyle session or a wedding! We can’t wait to hear from you!

October 31, 2012

Tim got an Instax camera for me as a birthday gift back in May, and it’s been a fun way to document our adventures. Over the summer and fall we’ve been to Indiana and Chicago for our younger brothers’ graduation ceremonies, to Raleigh to see friends several times, to Ohio twice for two different weddings, to Hilton Head Island and all around North Carolina for various shoots, and to Bolivia of course. It has been crazy and busy but we’re loving it.

In other news, we’re working hard on rebranding our business in the next few months! We’re so excited for Asharae Marie Photography to continue under a new name and a new brand – get excited people, we’re going to be offering videography in addition to our photography! Tim has been working hard on several videography projects that we’ll be releasing in the next few months, so come back soon!