Spence turns 40

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One of the great things about my job is that I'm asked to photograph family events, i.e. kick-ass parties, like this one for my cousin Spence. His stunning wife Stephanie (those would be her gams below) threw a bash in the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous condo in the city; the weather was so overcome by the presentation that even it agreed to call off the rain and leave us in peace to enjoy the festivities.

Happy birthday, Spence! Thanks for letting me capture the big day!








Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oh my.

After shooting a birthday party, a wedding, and a sizzling boudoir session this weekend, I am pretty much wiped out. I would happily be cozied up on the couch watching the final episode of Lost, but with Caleb in Nashville, I am on media lockdown for the next 24 hrs.

I am dying to share pics, so I'll just leave you with this little teaser...and leave the rest to your imagination.


I'll Never Be Lost Again

Friday, May 21, 2010

And my unintended Lost tribute day continues.

This cracks me up. And actually kinda moved me.

Sheila Kelley and the body Electric

She doesn't know it yet, but creator of the S Factor pole dancing phenomenon and much maligned character of Zoe on Lost, Sheila Kelley, is going to guest blog for me today.

If you follow Lost, you know Zoe, the newest of the new characters in the final season who has bored/enraged/bewildered/blah-ed many a fan of the show.

I, in particular, was disappointed in the direction they've taken her character, because it's nowhere close to representing who I know her to be in real life.

One of the last things I did in LA was take her S Factor pole dancing class. It was located in the back of the Asahi building on La Brea, and you'd enter it with a code, speak-easy style, easing your way up a narrow staircase with a bag of 6 inch stripper heels and boy shorts by your side. We'd meet in a dimly lit dance studio studded with three poles where we'd climb and spin and generally shed clothes - and inhibitions - over the course of two hours. Sheila taught my class, and she TERRIFIED ME.

I mean this in a good way.

I have never been around someone so comfortable in their own skin - so comfortable that it forced you to examine your own inhibitions and beliefs. It forced you to question the shame you ever felt for expressing yourself sexually in a culture that is frightened of the power of a woman's body. This class gave me permission to truly and safely feel free in my own skin, something that I think about more and more now that I have my own daughter to raise and protect.

I still receive Sheila's newsletter, and she has some really honest, wonderful things to say about the current brouhaha surrounding the new Miss USA's latest spin around a pole.

I'll leave you with Sheila Kelley's words:

OMG! Can you even believe the audacity of this young woman from Michigan, this "Miss USA"? How dare she live in the full bloom of her beauty and sexuality the way she did, dancing on a pole in a contest like that? It's absolutely scandalous. It's outrageous. You'd almost think she had the boldness to live life fully in her body like a young man her age strutting around in his prime, in the cock of his walk.

But seriously, here is a beautiful young woman, living boldly, provocatively and sexually in the world, having her way with the world, and we as a global culture are in a tizzy. Scrambling. How dare she?

"Run for the hills, Rima!" A supporter calls out.

"No, tar and feather her!" A critic yells.

"No, destroy her, strip her of her crown!!!!!" A misogynist dictates.

Some of us are roaring for her to have the same equal freedom to express her body as a woman in the world as any man can: "You go sister!"

And some of us are roaring, in appalled dismay that this young woman dared to live outside the "plans," outside of the "given guidelines" of what is and is not appropriate female body behavior. Oh, you didn't know about the "guidelines"? They are those almost undetectable, insidious judgments of selective female social segregation between clean & wholesome and dirty & untouchable (unless you touch her in the dirty darkness of a men's club, and pay for it) that we have all unwittingly ascribed to. How can I make it clearer? The "guidelines" are society's rules of behavior for respectable women -- what we have all signed up for without question. You know the -- She's had sex so she's a slut at 14. And the -- Your breasts are obscene because they cause sexual arousal, oh! Well, then please let me cover them! Yes, well you better or you will be arrested for indecent exposure. And let's not forget the -- If you wear that outfit you are not a good girl, and you are therefore less valuable -- kind of guidelines.

We do as we are told. We, the people. Well, we have always done as we've been told. We haaaaave...well, most of us. I guess I shouldn't say "us" and "we" here because I guess we are the troublemakers out in the world who have not done as we have been told, along with an army of tens of thousands of women who are no longer doing what they are told because what we have been told is wrong. Yes, we of the S are proudly part of the problem. We are starting to dismantle these "unspoken guidelines." Because these man-made laws dousing the flame of feminine sexuality are wrong. They're in place to create fear, to protect through fear, to control, and to control through fear.

It's not going to work anymore because we're coming, whether you like it or not, we're coming and it sure looks like we're not going to stop or be stopped. Young women, middle-aged women, all women, mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces, grandmothers and daughters are blowing their collective repressed tops. The inequity has come to a critical mass and the slowly accumulated pressure of thousands of years of "guidelines" is about to erupt. And like Mount Vesuvius, we will burn like hot lava through these archaic rules and recreate the landscape of femininity. And you know there is no stopping Mother Nature.

This is the immense power of the female body that I espouse all the time. Here it is...we are seeing it play out in the form of this grotesque farce starring 23-year-old Miss USA from Michigan. Her body is the latest battlefield on which we are waging war in the final frontier of the feminine revolution. A revolution in which we will insist upon winning our bodies back. And when we do take back our sexuality, we will truly have the freedom to fly.

The Cottage

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So there's this story you might be familiar with. This guy named Hamlet? He basically spends a lot of time trying to make up his mind and not acting and ultimately becomes really, really famous for it.

Unfortunately, indecision-making doesn't seem to be on the list of ways to get rich these days, but if it was, Caleb and I would be GAZILLIONAIRES.

Over the past two years we have agonized over this property we own (purchased when we labored under the delusion that we actually were gazillionaires. And then the economy collapsed blah blah blah) The property came with a freestanding "back house," a cottage really that served as a woodshop and living quarters for the previous owner. The cottage spoke to both of us - here was a property set up as the office for Caleb and I myself. He would woodwork downstairs. I would have my studio/office upstairs. We would then build some adorable, super green home that showed off Caleb's commitment to saving the earth and my unhealthy obsession with British shelter magazines.

Over the past two years, I kid you not, we have looked at every house plan on the internet. We have scoured home plans books and design magazines and longingly thumbed through Dwell, comforted by the knowledge that here was one home style that was not allowed by our historic neighborhood's design standards and therefore off the list. When asked by friends what kind of home/addition/cottage remodel we were building (because we have entertained all of these options), we have confidently answered Spanish, Craftsman, Victorian, Victorian farmhouse, and some combination of all of these.

There have been fights and tears and stonewalling and a curiosity to revisit Tom Hanks' "The Money Pit."

But through it all, we never abandoned the idea that we would find a way to live on this lovely little slice of green that was officially ours.

And now we have come to a decision. Or to be honest, the economic climate is forcing us to get on with it.

We are moving into the cottage. Caleb is at this very moment working out two years of angst with a sledgehammer, gutting the insides of what is currently a terrifying storage unit that is currently home to a card catalog, strawberry wallpaper, and until very recently, the ashes of a mentally impaired handyman who died in his sleep on the first floor.

Exactly. My dream house.

It's gonna be a journey. I'll keep you posted.

Karen + Zack are engaged

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So it turns out that every now and again, it actually doesn't rain in Memphis.

Karen and Zack and I took advantage of this one special afternoon and boarded the Delta Queen for a 1 1/2 pleasure cruise of the MIssissippi - no Wolf River - no - honestly I don't remember what the body of water was technically called because I was too busy snapping cute pics of my cute couple. That, and apparently talking so loudly I had to shushed by a customer who clearly had paid for the "information" part of the cruise. We sipped wine from plastic cups, ate popcorn and pink gummy worms and had us a fine, rain free afternoon.

And I am so, seriously thrilled about Karen and Zack's wedding. Thanks for the warm up!


Fwd: flags







Yes, I know it's hot outside.

It's still a perfect day for homemade carrot-ginger-apple soup.


Mother's Day at the Peabody

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What has shaped to be one of my all time favorite shoots was a surprise Mother's Day session at the Peabody. A friend from college got in touch with me via Facebook with the loveliest gift idea - a shoot with the ladies in her family when they rendezvous-ed in Memphis. Ty, her sister Brooke, and their gorgeous mama Patricia got all dolled up and met me downtown for a surprise high tea at Chez Phillippe. Thank you Ty for the brilliant afternoon!



My creation




My creation


Mother's Day Surprise sneak peek

Thursday, May 13, 2010


The Tauers

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I distinctly remember meeting Sarah for the first time at a mommy group and wishing she'd be my friend. She gave me hope that other cool mamas from urban cities would stick it out in Memphis.

So don't ever, ever leave Sarah :)

I had the privilege of shooting her daughter Mabel's first family session, and I am telling you, I have so many good moments I don't know what to do. 5 posts on one family seems excessive, no?

Here's just a tiny smidge of what I want to share:












I love my job

Monday, May 10, 2010


On this nasty, forbidding, thunderstormy Monday morning, I am proud, shocked and profoundly grateful to say just how much I love my job. I spent the weekend shooting a lovely surprise mothers day session at the Peabody and a kick-ass engagement session aboard the Memphis Queen riverboat. The week prior was chock full of gorgeous babies and equally luminous parents and scouting what might be the most beautiful 19th century townhouse on the planet for a boudoir session. I'm off to meet with a bride, but before I go, I just wanted to say thanks.

It's mushy, I know.

It's just that we are living in troubled times, and I am so grateful to the clients who have become my friends and giant sources of inspiration to keep me going on icky days like this.

So, back to your morning. More loverly pics coming soon!


Friday, May 7, 2010

My grandfather served in WWII in the Pacific as a sheet metal repairman, replacing airplane panels that had been shot up by the Japanese. But what has become apparent over time is that more often than not, my grandfather and his buddies were a bunch of bored, amped up young-ins who went to amazing lengths to entertain themselves. One of his more famous exploits involved salvaging a bunch of scrap metal one day and BUILDING AN ENTIRE FUNCTIONAL JEEP out of it that they raced around the island before accidentally drowning it.

Maybe if my grandfather had had You Tube in the Pacific, the stories would have been different.

Nevertheless, for these guys in Afghanistan, nothing solves boredom like some duct tape, a dance routine, and Lady Gaga.


Shout out!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I totally got namechecked on Monday's 24.

When I last worked in television, my boss and I struggled through the tempestuous first season of CBS' Numbers until we got the boot. He landed at 24 where he went back to work with his best friend.

I went to Memphis.

But apparently my presence is still alive and well at CTU as their staff psychologist... Melissa Anderson.

Thanks Alex!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Land of sand, sun, airbrushed tees, and cats on leashes.

Time capsule 2008

Monday, May 3, 2010

Me + the boy + the girl + Anthropologie = one happy (and much skinnier) mama

time capsule