Guitar and sun set

Meditative Photography for Women

There is so much beauty that passes by us daily, or rather that we pass it by, and I would like to bring that awareness back and make a daily practice of it by teaching Meditative Photography for Women.

Spider web on a blue sail canvas

You might think that making photos and practicing meditation might be unrelated since the photography is an external act and meditation leads inward.Let’s explore this. Teachers of meditation say to focus on your breath during mediation and bring your “monkey mind” back to center with the breath.Compelling photography is generally not a product of a hurried existence. It is born through a process that runs through our senses.I see the true value of photography in its simplicity, seeing what is beautiful because it is without blame or judgment: a chipped pot, peeling paint, a broken down car or discarded mattress with bulging springs.

“I like and relish the aesthetic challenge posed by the limitations of the ordinary…. It is easier for me to take ten good pictures in an airplane bathroom than in the gardens at Versailles.”  — Sally Mann

Boat in a sea of grass

Once we really get the message about what simply is ,via our eyes to our hearts, it will perhaps be easier to cope with life and its imperfections. Think about it. If we find a broken car in a field beautiful,or a dilapidated fence with a wild vine worthy of scouting and exploring, why not look at our lives through that “lens” as well? Perhaps in that way, it will be easier to take life’s journey and ride out the waves of challenges that are always waiting to confront us.I have always felt like real photography, the real art of it, is simple and directly outside of our own door. It is found on our bed sheets when the morning light falls upon on them, on our daily walks, while we cut an onion for a meal with a steely knife that catches light as it contacts a wooden cutting board.  If one gets that, if one is moved by that, then one will excel with technology in a fancy studio.

Yellow bus in a sea of tulips

When I started out, I was dutiful in seeking photography projects to sate my curiosity of the outdoors, the light, of people, and of objects. I made photos of boats in a Seattle marina, of homelessness around Seattle, and images of dried twigs peeking through the snow.

Paddle on a red wooden boat

I still remember the curiosity I felt and had to document. I remember how deliberate I was with the process and how much passion I put into it, getting up early, and being excited about checking in with the world. Looking back, I call it my active meditation when I knew nothing nor wanted to know about meditation (oh the irony!). These were moments of pure perception, appreciation, connection between myself and everything external to me. That was truly a beautiful time and resulted in images that I still treasure. All those images were created in the immediate vicinity of where I lived and worked as a waitress.

Autumn leaf with a hole in it

Here are some images created over the years. They are simple. They brought me joy. They taught me about perseverance, being meticulous, being patient, trying again, and coming back to the same place, or subject, over and over. They belong to the formative years of my career as a portrait photographer. I have always valued that time with the camera, sometimes long hours chasing what made me stop, explore, ponder and finally push the button. It was meditative photography that moved me away from the fascination with the extraordinary and lead me back to a rediscovery of the ordinary.

Coffee cup on the table in a cafe

I am returning to it, with the intent of teaching meditative photography to women who wish to become more attuned to the world around them – and take the time to see it. I wish photography will become a counterpoint to hectic lives, a time when what matters is a woman’s perception of the world- how they see it and how they capture it. It is a powerful feeling to make a photograph that stems from within, from your very own heart.

Eventually, it becomes a way of life.

Paddle resting on a boat

“To take photographs,” wrote Henri Cartier-Bresson, “is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeing reality. …  It is putting one’s head, one’s eyes and one’s heart on the same axis. … “

Broken car window and steering wheel

Art is opening ourselves to possibility.

Let’s explore your potential and your feelings through the lens of meditative photography.

Toppled vase with flowers on a garden table


Lifestyle photography

Pondering the path taken. By a Seattle Photographer

Sometimes we don’t know where we are going until we get there.

Before I opened my business as a Seattle portrait photographer, I was a waitress attending photography classes.  I remember having a hunger to capture everything around me.  It could be the light coming through a crystal vase, clothes pins on a line, a single bird on a branch, a shiny door knob, a textured sand dune, or discarded objects.

This phase of my life seemed carefree and frivolous. Sometimes I would take pictures by myself, sometimes with a friend who shared the same visual hunger.  We would get up early to witness different light, take road trips, drive to diverse neighborhoods, and later share our work with others at cafes around town.

Though I didn’t know it then, this was an important phase in my career. I was diligently training myself, my senses, and my intuition. I began to understand light, and how to tune in to those visual details that are critical to composition.

All the knowledge I acquired lives in my work now.  Those elements now easily fall into place, almost of their own accord, and harmoniously exist in the portraits I create of individuals and families.

The exploratory phase of my life is not as intense any more, since I run a thriving photography business which requires a deep level of commitment. However, I am forever grateful for having a curious eye, and for learning how to observe, ponder, and marvel at everything that is out there in the world.

Top Family Photographers

Talking to a Seattle Family Photographer

Lily Temmer is an author (she has written four novels and four collections of short stories, and her prose was deemed, quote, “flawless” by Kirkus Reviews), copywriter, editor and ghost writer.  Lily is a dear friend of mine.  Recently we talked about my work as a Seattle Family Photographer and this is what Lily wrote after our conversation. Thank you Lily Temmer:

Seattle Family Photography

Film Stills

Jasin Boland, Motion Picture Still Photographer in Seattle! Seattle, WA

Jasin Boland is the one who photographed the poster images for The Matrix, Bourne Supremacy, and Mission Impossible. I was part of the workshop where he talked about his fascinating life as a movie Still Photographer. He is a true inspiration to photographers. He is charismatic, humble, funny and ready to share his photography knowledge with those who are curious. I told him he was an inspiration. He said: “Thank you, but I have ways to go.” His answer amused me and impressed me. Here are several photos from the all day workshop with Jasin Boland. It was interesting to see him as a teacher, friend to others and just a pleasant guy to be around.

Workshop was hosted by Black Rapid Inc. in Seattle.

 Please, check the main website for my family work:

Flowers on Boat

Finding a visual story within the ordinary. Photography coaching sessions, Seattle, WA

Another photography coaching session this morning with a soon to be art student (with emphasis on photography in her school program). The objective was to find a visual story within an ordinary setting, with an emphasis on deliberate composition. We photographed together for 30 min and then shared the images and discussed them over coffee. A great morning at work!


 “Being intentional, coming up with a story beforehand helps me not to waste time, think about what I want to say visually, struggled with that before, photos come easier when you know what you’re looking for before you make an image.”

Kendall, an 18 year old art student, regarding what she gained from photography coaching sessions with me.


Seattle Children Photography

Elements of a “strong image”.

Through the most part of my work process, I am a natural light photographer. I use available light ( light that is present at the moment) to photograph. There are 3 key elements that I always strive to put together in order to make an image that works.

Strong image has to convey a story ( happy, moving or a funny one), be locked in a tight composition ( mostly triangle like or guided by the rules of thirds for example) and lastly be well exposed, so the story is well “painted with light” ( from Greek the word ‘photography’ is intended to give the meaning of ‘painting with light’). When these 3 elements live and work well together within the image, I consider it a strong one. Below, a simplified diagram and a photograph that illustrates my words:

Seattle family photos

What is Art? What makes good Art?

Art lacks satisfactory definition. Easier to feel it then to “define it”. I have asked few people I know and admire:  What is Art?  What is good Art?  If I have gotten any answers at all, this is what I got so far. Quotes below.

Art lacks satisfactory definition. Easier to feel it then to “define it”. I looked through books, publications and asked few people I know and admire: What is Art? What is good Art? If I have gotten any answers at all, this is what I got so far:

“To me, the fundamental function of all creative work – no matter what kind- is communication. Art is a way of rendering humanity into something that can be shared, taken in, considered and maybe even understood. It is a vessel of human connection”.

Leah Baltus / Editor in Chief of City Arts Magazine,  a monthly publication for Seattle,  that covers art, music, film, and everything creative in the Puget Sound region/

“What makes good art? “Good” is subjective of course, however my eyes delight an unexpected line, texture, juxtaposition of balance and unbalance. Just as the delight of a hummingbird startles me so does the art that I appreciate.”

Debra /business woman and an artist/


“These are  questions with no certain answers, since the answers are subjective. Tho many have tried, there just ain’t no Bible out there on this to tell us the truth! So, we can all just say with confidence, the truth of our opinions, for ourselves only.
So here is my truth:
Pretty much anything created is art. Doesn’t even have to be created by humans. I’ve seen some amazing paintings by elephants and cats. The urinal piece by DuChamp was exhibited as art and is still considered to be art, for it challenged and expanded the contemporary definitions of art at the time. Conceptual art that may not have a physical reality is art. How I plan and plant my garden is art.
What makes good art, now here is where I get really opinionated. Good art must have an affect on people- arousing appreciation for it’s beauty, stimulating an emotion or idea, spurring a call to action, or creating a feeling of transcendence where one has become more aware or appreciative than one was before the encounter with the art.
Good art must satisfy aesthetically- it must have form and content that “works”. Now that is elusive when one tries to identify what “works”. It’s just a thumbs up or down opinion, and frankly, I do think an arts education can better qualify people to make those judgments. The composition must have balance, harmony and tension. So must the content, or no one will be interested in it. Then it might still be art, just not good!
so there is a start on an answer to the question”.

Nancy /painter/

“Well, I have a bit of a problem with “I do think an arts education can better qualify people to make those judgments…” I’ve been through many great museums, the National and Phillips in DC, MOMA and the Met in NYC, the Louvre, etc. Often one sees the “everyday Joe’s” in attendance staring in wonder at the art. I must believe that it’s alright for Joe to say, “That’s just beautiful, great…I can’t tell you why, but I love it.” Art, in my view, should never be egalitarian or academic. It is there, with a bit of luck, for all, even as just a respite. My view, anyway.”

Steve /writer and a political analyst/


“When is it art? When it touches me.”

Judy /designer, drawing instructor/


“That is a rich question that deserves an ongoing discussion. The nuances of our unique individuality, personality and creative insights determine our appreciation of art over other art.
Some of the work I see is not art to me at all… . However to another it is.”

David / fine art photographer and illustrator/


“What makes good art? Oh my, that’s a helluva question. Critics, academics, artists and lay persons all have different views. One looks at Andy Warhol’s soup can and wonders; another sees the innovation, another sees the innovation and the first layer of symbolism. How do we know that Warhol wasn’t just doing an exercise to improve his skills? Many think that old painting of dogs playing poker is good art. Perhaps it is for them as it evokes some sort of emotion or response. Or, maybe they just “like” it.
Of all the paintings I’ve seen, Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” is my favorite. Every time I see it, I see something new, sometimes even evocative. I’ve looked at “Across the Sky” many times: It changes each time I see it. It is not ours to say for anyone what art is, but only for ourselves”.

Peter /writer/


“In my opinion, people can intuitively recognize the difference between something lacking any artistic content and something possessing it, even if they cannot explain why.  Distinguishing between good art and bad art, in my view, is much harder.”

James /full time Father/


And famous words by Edgar Degas sum it all well. At least for now…

“Art is not what you see but what you make others see”.

Edgar Degas

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