We just wrapped our 2017 tree farm mini sessions and they were a huge success. It was a bit cold, but no wind and great light all day. I’m so excited to share the images with my fabulous clients. Seeing most of them use them for holiday cards and gifts I try not to share too many. There was also a new first. Evie has begged us to take her on more shoots and we finally felt she was mature enough to handle it, though I have to admit I was a bit nervous. She’s in the studio often when I have shoots, but this was all day outside. Not only did she do great she was so helpful! She eventually got board outside so she went to the gift shop and helped them put pricing stickers on their ornaments as they prepare to open for the season.  It was pretty amazing and definitely a turning point in the adventures of parenting. I’m just wondering where that little baby I had not long ago went. We started the day with testing out our sets and lighting and ended the day with messy hair and a perfect sunset. We can’t wait to go pick out our tree in a few weeks. Thank you, Evergreen Farm for allowing us to host our annual mini sessions and allowing me the chance to create these images of my not-so-baby. 

Posted by: In: Life with Evie 29 Aug 2017 0 comments

This summer was nothing short of amazing. We got to do some traveling and indulged in Evie’s love for science. Her birthday kicked off summer vacation and two days in she flew to California to spend some time with my parents traveling in their VW weekender. They stopped in Yosemite, La Brea Tar Pits, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, the Jelly Belly Factory and the Rosie Riveter Museum where she got to meet real riveters. This was all before hopping on another plane to meet up with us in Hawaii for a corporate event Rich was hired to photograph.  Through earning her own money through her craft business Phat Pony she was able to experience a life long dream of swimming with dolphins. After the gig was done we trecked around the Big Island, snorkeling with sea turtles, climbing volcanoes and waterfalls, seeing some planets and stars from the observatory and a very very long flight back to Boston. We spent the rest of the summer collecting backpacks for The Wish Project, helping the humane society create a baby animal calendar and making a plan for her upcoming fall Phat Pony booth. She’s going to be raising money so she can go to the STEM afterschool program at Girls Inc. Our mother daughter date we spent the day at the Boston Museum of Science and witnesses the amazing eclipse at the EcoTarieum.  

Right now she’s big on science. We probably watched every episode ever of Bill Nye the Science Guy twice. Her first day of school outfit is inspired by him and in our house refers to him by first name.  She insisted on a bow tie and lab coat. The glasses to make her more ‘sciencey’. We were in the fabric store and came across the most perfect science girl fabric and just HAD to make a twirly skirt out of it. 

I worked so much when she was little little, I’m grateful to take a little step back this summer and spend some quality time together. However, I think we are all ready to get back to a  structured routine. Last year I was a sobbing mess, however, I’m looking forward to wrapping up some loose projects and prepare for the crazy fall is for the studio. Evie, on the other hand, wishes it was summer forever. She was very anxious about starting today. More about being away from us than anything. She has her BFFs from last year in her class and I know she is going to have a blast. I can’t wait to hear about it when she gets home this afternoon. 

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Let Them Eat Cake!!

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On a warm summer day, a project that had been in the making for over year was unfolding before our eyes. Evelyn our almost five year old was in the limelight of pageantry as we dressed her up as the queen of France – Marie Antoinette.

The idea started with a tearful hair brushing episode and a box of fabric I’ve stashed away from the age of 12. Coincidentally, the fabric was given to me by my great grandmother Naoma, Evie’s middle namesake. We all loved the waist length ringlets that bounced behind here, but that was a lot of managing for it to not completely dreadlock through the course of the day.  She was asking to cut it off. My mothering + memory hoarder were kicked into overdrive. She would be turning 5 in a few months and knew I needed to do an epic shoot that visually  illustrated the mental expression of a preschooler, all while playing tribute to her baby curls. After tossing some ideas back and forth with my husband, Rich – talking about the things she loves: playing princess and eating cake. The project became clear … “Let Them Eat Cake”.

So I presented the idea to Evie for her 5th birthday shoot. She had one condition, that we design and sew her dress together. We started pulling out all my boxes of fabric and found the box that my great grandmother, (who taught me to sew), had given me along with some lace and buttons from Rich’s grandmother (also coincidentally, Evelyn’s first namesake). I’ve been saving them for something ‘special’ and I knew this was it. Evie got started on drawing things out and I started building her custom dress form. Trying on material and pinning fabric on a 5 year old for hours wasn’t going to go very far, so the extra step of a dressform was essential. It was actually really fun to make, especially duct taping her to create her body double.

After a couple of months of working on it with her after school, our masterpiece was complete. There was just enough fabric left over to create a matching hat.  With the dress done, it was time to plan the set for the shoot. Evie again helped with this part, drawing what she thought would be the scenery. We took inspiration from the 2006 Sofia Coppola movie. Thanks to youtube and being able to only watch  only kid appropriate scenes. We also only loosely told her what happens at the end. That will be a conversation for much later. 

In the meantime, I worked on borrowing props, making a dog sized powder wig and finding a bakery to help us with the treats. Luckily the awesome Auntie Ellen’s Creative Confections was more than generous with helping put together the parlor scene. I enlisted our good friend and insanely talented artist Emily Ashman over at The Illustrated Room to create the parlor backdrop.  I know many talented HMUA but there really isn’t anyone  better than Nathan Prescott of Styled by Nathan that could pull off  this insanity quite like him. He was perfect and I was thrilled when he agreed to help with the shoot. Our normally wiggly 4 year old sat through 3 hours of hair and makeup like a champ. She very much played her part as the star.

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A special thanks to my wonderful husband who supports these crazy ideas as they come to life, my assistant Steve who went between keeping the talent happy and my ever changing lighting needs and last but not least, Sir Guinness of Lowell who is the most patient dog I’ve ever worked with. Guinness and his dad, Ken, run Serpentine books, our neighbors at Mill No. 5. 

The actual shoot feels like a blur and about a month after the studio shoot we knew Evie would be growing out of the dress quickly so we snagged a beautiful day and headed to The Crane Estate at Castle Hill in Ipswich, MA just to get more images. Why not! 

 

I would love to hear what you think. Leave your comment below.

Check out these awesome Behind-the-Scene Photos & Video by our good friends Masao, Emily and Mike. 

 

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Posted by: In: Life with Evie 06 Oct 2016 0 comments

Fall is always a crazy time, it’s the busiest time of year for the studio with lots of wedding, family photos, and getting holiday cards and gifts ordered and out to clients. So family time is both rare and sacred. One of our yearly traditions is going to the Topsfield Fair. We allow cotton candy for dinner and staying up late for rides even on a school night [weekends are all booked up]. I usually take a break from my camera, but wanted to try out a new lens so figured it would be a good way to break it in. So happy I did and so glad I have a compliant kid who enjoys having her photo taken. I also wanted to mention the dragon roller coaster is a huge deal. She begged to go on it last year, even though I insisted it was going to be a little scary. They ended up having to stop the ride. As soon as we got there she insisted on going again. “I need to face my fear mom.” Huge smile the whole time, so proud of my girl!

Posted by: In: Life with Evie 07 Sep 2016 0 comments

All week I’ve been asking myself, how did I let this happen? She was just a squishy little peanut folded into my arms, what seemed not that long ago. I know she is beyond ready to spread those wings, , full of energy,  charisma, and wonder. You light up a room as soon as you enter. Leaving her sad little face was heartbreaking. I love watching her grow, but it also means grieving the stages that have come to pass. Motherhood is certainly not for the weak.

 

 

 

Last Sunday [June 12th] we hosted our daughter Evie’s 5th birthday party in our photography studio. I have been planning her first ‘Big 5’ party since I found out I was having a girl. Originally we were going to have it out at the stables she’s spent so much time at other the last few years, however, with the newly developed horse hair allergy that wasn’t an option. She’s very into tea parties and Alice in Wonderland right now, so we figured that was the perfect theme. Many of the other partners at Mill No. 5, which is home to our studio, graciously chipped in to lend props and help style. A huge thanks to Chhavy over at Style this Shindig for bringing my vision come to life. If you are considering a styled event please consider her, she is nothing short of amazing. While I don’t have photos of her actual party, I hired another photographer so I could play host and be a mom for the actual event, here are some pre-party photos we took before the guests arrived.

 

Posted by: In: Life with Evie 01 Jun 2015 0 comments

It’s not every day your preschool daughter’s best friend turns 4 years old. And the fact we had a rare warm weather Saturday afternoon that we get to enjoy with our friends. Most of the kiddos are parting ways to new schools next year so it was so great to kick back with some of the other mommies I’ve become close with since our kids all started together a couple years ago. Thanks Nancy for hosting such a fun event! 

I’ve been working on my Mother’s Wedding Dress project before I even became a mother myself. Traditions of wearing your mother’s wedding gown is a rare occurrence, but when you are little playing dressups in mama’s dress is a magical experience. Being able to present these to her on her wedding day already makes me emotional.

I photographed these almost a year ago, they got shuffled into our personal pile of photos just as wedding season started and never got around to it. I’m so glad I’m spending mother’s day going through all our family photos and getting them organized, not an easy task with a two photographer family.

Getting to play dressups with my baby girl wearing my wedding dress is something I will never forget. The hat she’s wearing was the hat my mom wore to her wedding. The suitcases belonged to her great great grandmother.  These photos I will cherish forever.

Posted by: In: Life with Evie 27 Jan 2015 0 comments

This year has both been heartbreaking and breathtaking.  The year started off going back and forth to the west coast trying to help and navigate both my mom and grandma’s cancer diagnosis.  My grandma, unfortunately, succumb to her illness in early February, but happy that after a grueling 8 months of weekly chemo treatments my mom has now had clean scans for several months. As soon as things found their new normal my dad was diagnosed with skin cancer. Luckily, it only required surgery. We are grateful, hopeful and optimistic. Having the utmost support from our friends, family and clients make a huge humbling impact. I’m not sure I would take me several lifetimes to repay all the kindness we received. I am forever grateful. 

I dealt with the stress and worry with what I do best, creating. Being behind the camera somehow shielded me from the pain the real world was presenting me.  I worked on my Tiny World Project and found inspiration in nature & architecture. Sewing and crafting came in just after that. I made Evie a flower girl dress she wore in our very good friends wedding and then for her fall photo shoot with her beloved pony Peanut. To celebrate ending treatment my mom treated my two sisters and I to a cruise along the west coast. She wanted quality time in a place where any of our cell phones didn’t work. [Silly technology addiction]. I was an experience I will never forget. 

As snow melted into spring and wedding season came into full swing. I feel like I blinked and my little Evie went from baby to little girl in a matter of seconds. We celebrated her birthday by baking this crazy rainbow cake together and shared it with friends. Took the commuter train into Boston a few times, discovered museums, beaches and generally tried to appreciate as much family time we could squeeze in between our client work [not that I’m complaining]. If this year taught me anything is not to underestimate how much time you have with someone and to focus on what’s really important. Filling our life with Love. 

We were lucky enough for a few days off at the end of summer to take Evie camping and Storyland for the first time. Her best friend from preschool introduced us to Flying Changes Stables where she was taking lessons. They were gracious enough to exchange pony lessons for photos and we dove into the horse world head first. I have never seen such a sense of peace with my [very rambunctious] child as when she is on a horse. 

September and October are a complete blur. We hosted a halloween party at Mill No. 5 which is the future home of our new portrait studio. Over Thanksgiving we flew back to California to see my family and to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. Then came back and hit the ground running to wrap up the tail end of the holiday portrait/wedding season.

Thanks to all the print, canvas and album orders were built our own cozy gingerbread playhouse it paired nicely with our very first Christmas tree.. Christmas day was hosted at our house. It was nice having Richie’s family here. This was the first year Evie “gets” the whole Santa thing, which was pretty fun. Now if I can get her to stop asking me if ‘he came back last night’ every morning at 5:45am since.

New years was uneventful for the most part. We spent most of us reflecting on the last year and writing out our goals for this year. Here’s to having a happy, healthy family with hearts full of love and lots of artistic creations. Thank you to everyone in our lives, no matter how little it made a huge the impact. I am happy you are on this journey with us.

Love, Ashley


 Our website tried to breakup with me when I tried to add all 800 photos to this page, so here are a few and the rest can be seen HERE on our proofing gallery.

 


Want to see more???  

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Posted by: In: Farm, Life with Evie 15 Oct 2014 1 comment Tags:

Little girl brushes her pony

Evie has always been an animal kid. Though I’ve never met a three year old that wasn’t in love with animals. However, horses have been a favorite. I cannot even tell you how many episodes of My Little Pony we’ve clocked in this house. It’s the only thing she will watch. We were very fortunate when her BFF from preschool invited her to ride a few times at a local stable and then she fell in love. While, Peanut isn’t technically “hers” she will argue otherwise.

You know that moment as a parent when you see your kid doing something so natural for them and you know you have created something for them they will carry throughout their life? This is it for us. Hook, line and sinker. The stable she takes lessons at is FLYING CHANGES STABLES in Chelmsford, MA. They have miniature horses just her size. The owner, Cathy is extremely generous and kind. Her teenage daughter Kasey is Evie’s teacher and is unbelievably mature for her age, responsible and patient.

The dress she is wearing is something I made her to wear to be a flower girl in our good friends wedding last August. It ended up being a much bigger undertaking than I estimated so I at least had to get another shoot out of it. Thank you to my mom for helping me put the pattern together. 

Little girl cares for her pony