Family is everything to me! I have the most amazing highly functioning dysfunctional family. Some are blood and some are not. That's just how I roll. As an only child I have always adopted close friends into my family. I was raised by my grandparents in Brooklyn NY and my siblings were my three cousins and my friends. I've been lucky enough to have not one but two awesome step-dads, a starter husband, a forever husband, a daughter of my own, two beautiful bonus daughters, my daughter's other mother who has become one of my greatest friends and friends I love deeply and I who I know love me back.
My dream was to be on Broadway! At the age of seven I saw "Annie" on Broadway and instantly knew that was where I wanted to be... on stage. Now... just so you know - I'm incredibly talented at singing show tunes in the car and the shower. Rent, Les Mis, The Lion King, Evita, West Side Story...... oh... I can sing them all. However, broadway was not in my cards. I found my love of photography in high school and continued my education in NYC at the Germain School of Photography. After working as a cruise ship photographer I started my own business as a wedding photographer. I'm proud to say I have had one career in my life and I still love every minute of it. Anthem AZ became my home in 2002. The Arizona weather was made for me. I love it here, I never have to shovel sunshine.
My heart and soul lives in Italy and I love all things Italian. I've been lucky enough to visit Italy 3 times and I know that someday I will live there even if it is part time. Italians are some of the warmest people in the world and I feel like I am with "my people" when I am there. I love the architecture, the history, the food, the cobble stone streets, the art, the coast, the shoes, the food, the wine..... did I say food?
The greatest highlight of my career came at the age of 35 when (Canon USA Canon Explorer of Light) invited me into the Canon Explorer of Light program. There are only 40 Explorers of Light in the US and I am still pinching myself that I stand among 39 world renowned educators. Teaching and public speaking at conventions is my jam!!! I have been teaching photography internationally for more than 20 years. From intimate workshops to massive keynote presentations, teaching fires me up like nothing else. As I was coming up in the industry I would attend workshops several times a year. The instructors soon became family (that's a surprise, right?) and soon I was being asked to teach classes. Teaching has brought me to Australia, South Korea, Italy, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, and most of the US. There is nothing more rewarding than giving back to a community that has given so much to me.
I'm about to be 53 and I am owning it! I have earned every one of these 50 years and every gorgeous grey hair on my head. I'm the happiest I have ever been in my life and have no regrets. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason even when we don't know what that reason is. Happiness is a choice, joy is a choice, love is a choice.... everything in life is a choice. I choose happy!
*Portrait by David Lee
Anna Banana! Oh this kid.... Without a doubt this beautiful human is my greatest joy in life. She is named after my grandmother who I loved more than words could ever convey. Anna is warm, loving, courageous, kind, funny, smart, musical and so much more. She has made me a better person and the mother I never thought I could be. She is without a doubt the greatest gift of my life.
*Portrait by Joel Grimes
My Incredible Highly Functioning Dysfunctional Family
On the 10 year anniversary of photographing Anna with her dad, Louise and her step-siblings I decided to photograph all of us together. So.... on the left is Gary (my starter husband), Louise, Olivia, Nick and Joel (Louise's starter husband). On the right is myself, Paul (my forever husband) Alli and Ashley and Adam.... (Joel's forever husband)
This is what family looks like to me.
Anna headed to a school dance.
My grandmother's sister Gen at her 95th birthday celebration surrounded by her grand and great grandchildren.
My beautiful friend Dave. We lost Dave in 2018 to brain cancer at the age of 50. I miss him every single day. He was so full of life and love.
One of my favorite pictures of me teaching a workshop in Texas. It is truly a gift and a passion to be able to teach in the professional photography industry.
William! William is the son of the great French photographer David Brenot. William came to live with us as a college intern student in 2018 - he is now our adopted French son who we love like crazy. Of course we needed a family portrait with him. We had the opportunity to spend some time in Dijon, France this summer with William and the entire Brenot family.
My forever husband and the love of my life. Paul and I have been married for more than 12 years and still I get those crazy butterflies when I know he's on his way home. It's all about the little things for us. I travel quite a bit for teaching and speaking engagements, without fail there is always a card and a favorite magazine hidden in my luggage.