New York photographer

Satya at the Studio

It's been an amazing week of birthday celebrations and galavanting. 

I'm thrilled to welcome in another year and I can't wait to 

explore

dream

collaborate

grow

Especially with folks who see me and who let me see them in all of their messy glory. 

SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-1.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-2.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-6.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-10.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-21.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-27.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-37.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-49.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-52.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-59.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-82.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-93.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-101.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-137.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_SatyaCeleste-142.jpg

Corinne in Crown Heights

Sometimes you just meet someone and totally click. 

Corinne has an effervescence that just pulls you into her world and lifts your mood no matter what's going on. She's a native New Yorker with big entrepreneurial dreams. 

SarahShalenePhotography_Corinne-32.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Corinne-41.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Corinne-53.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Corinne-63.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Corinne-90.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Corinne-94.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Corinne-96.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Corinne-106.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Corinne-87.jpg

December in Bed Stuy

Ah December. With the rush of the holidays and the impending New Year, it's naturally a time of intense anxiety for me. This year we decided to take it easy and stay put in Brooklyn for the holidays. It was hard to not see family, but after an unusually difficult few months, we knew we needed to take care of ourselves first and foremost. There was lots of snow (although none at all on Christmas- boo!) and our New Years party was pretty damn lit if I may say so myself. 

SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-4.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_OriginalMiniJoints-2.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_OriginalMiniJoints-7.jpg

 

Can I just say we have the MOST attractive friends??? 

SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-59.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-7.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-13.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-15.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-24.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-38.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-43.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-45.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-47.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-48.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-49.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_DecemberBlogPost-56.jpg

Sweet E in Clinton Hill

This sweet boy turned five yesterday and it brought a damn tear to my eye. I started as his nanny when he was three years old, all tiny limbs and big baby belly. He's stretching out, his curiosity grows every day and he never fails to surprise me with his vocabulary. He's a tender, sensitive soul and I hope that never changes. 

SarahShalenePhotography_Ezra2017-3.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Ezra2017-8.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Ezra2017-9.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Ezra2017-18.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Ezra2017-27 copy.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Ezra2017-35.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Ezra2017-45.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Ezra2017-48.jpg

Katherine in Bed Stuy

I've been pining to do a shoot with a boudoir-adjacent aesthetic and Katherine was down to help me out. 

It happened to snow pretty heavily all day so we got some final shots out in the white and fluffy,. but mostly stayed warm and cozy inside!

Katherine is a freaking KNOCK OUT. See for yourself.

SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-1.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-2.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-6.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-9.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-11.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-21.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-23.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-28.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-30.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-34.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-36.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-40.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-47.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-50.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-54.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Katherine-57.jpg

Ian Fales in SOHO

Ian Fales in SOHO

Ian and I collaborated on this shoot to achieve a vintage-inspired, slightly androgynous, autumnal vibe- and I think we succeeded, if I do say so myself. 

It's such a pleasure to work with talented people. 

Just a side note- Ian's not a smoker. I'm doing some work for a client and asked Ian to model for me. 

SarahShalenePhotography_IanFales-2.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_IanFales-7.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_IanFales-11.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_IanFales-15.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_IanFales-18.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_IanFales-38.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_OriginalMiniJoints-11.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_OriginalMiniJoints-13.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_OriginalMiniJoints-14.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_OriginalMiniJoints-16.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_OriginalMiniJoints-19.jpg

Just a side note- Ian's not a smoker. I'm doing some work for a client and asked Ian to model for me. I cannot wait to reveal what that project is!!! Coming soon! 

Baby P

Nannying has been one of the great joys of my life.

I never thought that I would still be a nanny at this stage in my life, but I've had a hard time kicking the habit. Not only do I get to care for my sweet boy E, but he has some very sweet friends that I get to hang with from time to time.

Baby P* is one of them.

There's nothing quite like this age. Four and five year olds are reveling in their new found independence, wide eyed and curious. It fills my heart with sunshine. 

 

*P is not her name, just a small way to protect kids by not naming them online.

SarahShalenePhotography_Pia-1.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Pia-6.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Pia-3.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Pia-10.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Pia-14.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Pia-22.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Pia-28.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Pia-30.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Pia-35.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Pia-23.jpg

Tess Hermes In Austin, Texas

It's always such a pleasure to work with friends. 

Tess is one of the funniest people I know. She's somehow always on. 

Always ready to make you laugh, always ready to poke fun, to lighten any situation. 

We need more people like her in this sometimes dark world. 

We got together on the South Congress bridge to take advantage of a gloomy, moody sunset (my personal fave) and give this sweet girl some new headshots. 

SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-1.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-3.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-8.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-11.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-14.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-10.jpg

California Road Trip: Part Two

A glimpse into the second half of our road trip through Northern California. 

Monterey Aquarium 

Carmel By The Sea

Yurba River

Grass Valley 

So many jellies. It was fun to indulge my Pisces brain and live in these water images for a few peaceful moments. 

SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-2.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-7.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-15.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-25.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-31.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-36.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-42.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-45.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_NorthernCalifornia-47.jpg

Coney Island for Tropicaleo

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to shoot for a brand that has some real hustle behind it- Tropicaleo. My friend, Karl Amalia, is the man behind the clothing line- a tribute and a connection to his Puerto Rican roots. We did a shoot together back in April and it felt so good to get back in the saddle with his brand, this time on Coney Island. These models were on fire, the weather was gorgeous, and I'm so dang happy with the results. Enjoy! 

Shop Tropicaleo for yourself here:  Tropicaleo

Follow the models here: 

Andrew Vecchio

Keyshla Maisonet

Elizabeth Zayas

SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-2.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-3.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-11.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-21.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-33.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-43.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-60.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-82.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-88.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-92.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-97.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-115.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-135.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-141.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-166.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-172.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-177.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_Tropicaleo_ConeyIsland-187.jpg

California Road Trip: Part One

To say that we had a busy summer would be the understatement of the year. In September we got some unexpected news that suddenly freed up our schedules and left us feeling a little blue. So what did we do? What we do best- we planned a road trip. Lauren and I have driven all over the country together looking for home. When we found where we wanted to plant ourselves it was a little bittersweet- the search was over. And the search was a little bit fun. It was me and her (and our car) against the world that year that we spent searching. We learned a lot about each other... and a lot about ourselves. So we decided to take up the road again- at least for a week or so. We flew to LA and plotted out stopping points to Laguna Beach, Joshua Tree, Carmel by the Sea, San Fransisco and Grass Valley. 

First Stop: Laguna

SarahShalenePhotography_LagunaBeachDiversCove-2.jpg

Laguna is incredibly important to me. My grandfather started going to Diver's Cove as a teenager to scuba dive. He took my grandma there on their honeymoon at the ripe age of 19. He continued to visit with his children in tow, then eventually his grandchildren. We grew up taking day trips from our dry, dusty homes in the High Desert to the protected cove, the teeming tide pools, the deep aquamarine waters. As soon as I started driving I took friends to this special spot almost immediately. My first kiss with my high school sweetheart happened up on that jetty in prom attire. We'd found ourselves lost on the way to Prom, but suddenly I recognized a road and my heart lead us here, just in time for sunset. It felt like I was coming full circle to bring my wife to this place that holds so many of my sweetest memories. 

SarahShalenePhotography_LagunaBeachDiversCove-5.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_LagunaBeachDiversCove-12.jpg

To keep costs down and to maximize our time away from home, we stayed with friends and family along the way. Philip and Oscar are two of our sweet Brooklyn friends that (sadly for us) have permanently moved to Los Angeles. But also lucky for us, they have a gorgeous home that they so sweetly opened up to us in Highland Park. It was such a joy to see this city as an adult. 

SarahShalenePhotography_LosAngeles-4.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_LosAngeles-6.jpg

Second Stop: Joshua Tree

Oh Joshua Tree, you dusty, dirty little town, I think I love you. We stayed in this really modern, cool Airbnb for three nights and it was something else. First of all, this place is off the grid. It's run completely by solar power and has some super cool amenities that include an outdoor shower and a second "bedroom" that has an open roof to the sky- for stargazing, naturally. We hung out with my very sweet soul friend, Panda Landa. I took their picture and wrote a little post. You can find it here. 

SarahShalenePhotography_JoshuaTree-2.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_JoshuaTree-1 copy.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_JoshuaTree-5.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_JoshuaTree-6.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_JoshuaTree-8.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography_JoshuaTree-9.jpg

Stay tuned for Part Two: Monterey, Carmel, and Grass Valley. 

Panda Landa

I've known Panda for roughly six years. In this lifetime, at least. 

SarahShalenePhotography_PandaLanda-9.jpg

The thing is, when I'm with Panda, I'm not worried about being misunderstood in any way shape or form. They have this way of putting me completely at ease. They know my full story, regardless of whether I have verbally communicated this to them. They see me through and through.

SarahShalenePhotography_PandaLanda-5.jpg

Not only does this magical human get me on a fundamental level, but when we are together there is not stopping our creativity. Panda, Lauren and I come up with the most absurd movie pitches, TV shows, alternate realities, etc and there is no stopping us. 

SarahShalenePhotography_PandaLanda-10.jpg

We met in Seattle, then I moved away to Austin, Texas. A year or so later, Panda moved into the same apartment complex. Now they live in Joshua Tree, California and it turns out Lauren and I weren't ready to let go of summer adventuring so we came to Cali for a little road trip and made point to stay here in Joshua Tree. It just so happened that we were here for Panda's birthday and to wish them happy travels as they venture on to Nebraska for a month long artist residency. 

SarahShalenePhotography_PandaLanda-7.jpg

It's such magic to find a friend that you know will be in your life for the rest of your time on this earth and probably in lifetimes to come. 

SarahShalenePhotography_PandaLanda-17.jpg

I'll see you in my dreams, sweet traveller. <3

Babetown NYC

My good friend, Marissa invited me and Lauren to this whiskey tasting event hosted by Babetown. I didn't really understand what I was signing up for, but I trust Marissa's judgement so I took a leap of faith and purchased a ticket. Hey, I like whiskey to boot, so what was there to lose? 

Come to find out, this fabulous human, Alex (pictured below in a gorgeous blue floral sundress) has been hosting events for queer, trans and non-binary folx for the last 3 years. Alex is a long time cook that used to live on a lesbian separatist commune in New Orleans and now resides in NYC feeding people food served with love. She's a force to be reckoned with and I was immediately drawn in. Alex introduced us to her friends and fed us delicious rugelach and carrot falafel. We drank a lot of whiskey provided by Kings County Distillery and we moseyed around, meeting some very cool, very interesting queers.

Enjoy some pictures of these new friends, our crazy-cool host, and this ultra-cozy location and learn more about the next Babetown event at https://www.beyourownbabe.com/

SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-2.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography-2.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-4.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography-4.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-7.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-10.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-11.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-12.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-19.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-15.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-36.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-34.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-27.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-40.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-1.jpg
SarahShalenePhotography-7.jpg
SarahShalenePhotographyBabetown-32.jpg
Source: https://www.beyourownbabe.com/

Europe Adventures!

Brace yourselves for an adventure-packed, Lauren-filled blog post brimming with gratitude and superfluous joy.

It's hard not to gush about this trip- maybe because it feels like a dream that didn't really happen to me, but to an alternate reality version of me. Even that sounds so over the top... but this trip was truly over the mother-frikkin top. So let's start at the beginning and I'll walk you through the highlights of the three weeks I spent in Europe this summer.

Driving through Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy, I found more of myself than I'd anticipated. Which is silly, because I've travelled before and I know how much of an impact it has on me. None of this should have surprised me, but it did. I've mostly travelled alone and I've always liked it that way, but this trip I met so many incredible people that made such an impact on me in addition to traveling abroad with my wife for the first time which gave me so much joy on its own! 

I didn't expect to do so much heart-work on this trip. I didn't expect to be challenged in the ways that I was- and that's the beautiful thing about traveling, isn't it? You never know what you should expect and whatever you are expecting is likely to be bigger and more than anything you could've dreamt of. 

The phrase that I kept coming back to over this trip was "I never even thought to dream of this kind of life." 

The thing is, I've always been a dreamer. I've always been ambitious and driven and dreamt of having a very big life and making an impact in some way (and letting myself be impacted), however the Universe chose to reveal that path to me. I've always been someone who strives to live with great intention and I've always believed in chasing after what you want. But I don't think I've ever let myself want anything too big for fear of feeling disappointed or like a failure. Something about this trip opened my eyes to how I've been holding myself back. By the conclusion of this trip, I realized the Universe is asking, no, daring me to dream even bigger

Kandern, Germany at sunset. &nbsp;

Kandern, Germany at sunset.  

My friends, Rory and Mallory, got married in Mallory's hometown of Kandern, Germany. Her family owns an art factory in this small town and moved here from the United States as missionaries when Mallory was a child (This is the simple version of the story. The whole story includes a stop off for a number of years in Austria or Bovaria?). Anyway, Mal and Rory invited me and Lauren to the wedding then asked me to do their wedding photography and take some pictures of their wedding week!

Check out their wedding photos in my portfolio! 

I came out to Germany early and documented their week of wedding activities leading up to the wedding itself. Then Lauren joined me the day before the wedding. I don't think I had realized how many friends and family were staying at the art factory for the week(s) leading up to the ceremony. We had so much time to get to know each other, to bond and to share stories about the betrothed couple. It was an incredible experience and I feel very grateful to have had so much time with their families and friends I'd never met before. 

Chateau du Haut-Koenigsburg

Chateau du Haut-Koenigsburg

That first day in Europe, I got off the plane and Mallory and Rory picked me up from the airport. Then we immediately piled into a number of vans (there were maybe 15 of us) and went to this incredible castle that's been around since 1147. That's right, y'all- since the 12th frikkin century. It was an incredible way to fend off jet lag and to jump right into sightseeing, even if by the end of the day I was delirious with sleep deprivation. 

Schwimmbod- Kandern, Germany&nbsp;

Schwimmbod- Kandern, Germany 

This huge public pool was just a 10 minute walk from the art factory. It was pretty warm there so in between wedding activities we would go lounge around the pool, drink beer, dive off the high dives... it was a perfect way to chill out.

Lucerne, Switzerland&nbsp;

Lucerne, Switzerland 

Pretty immediately I hit it off with one of Mal and Rory's mutual friends, Doug. He invited me to crash his day trip to Switzerland and I agreed- why not?! We took an hour and a half train ride from Basel, Switzerland (just a 30 minute bus ride from Kandern) to Lucerne and we were absolutely blown away by the Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne. It was stunning, to say the least. Photos can't quite capture \that feeling of being encapsulated by the Alps- it's like being in a snow globe- you're surrounded and it makes the whole town feel like a separate entity from the rest of the world. 

Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne, Switzerland

Doug in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Doug in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Colmar, France

Colmar, France

The amazing thing about Kandern is not only does the town butt up against the Black Forest, but it's also in this little corner of Germany that nestles against France and Switzerland. So taking a day trip into either country was incredibly quick and easy. We took a little road trip to Colmar, France because we heard it was known as "Little Venice". It was quaint and cute and made for a perfect half-day exploration.

Lauren in Colmar, France&nbsp;

Lauren in Colmar, France 

Doug, Lauren and Bryan in Colmar.

Doug, Lauren and Bryan in Colmar.

Cathedral in Colmar.&nbsp;

Cathedral in Colmar. 

Mia and Lauren in Saarburg, Germany.

Mia and Lauren in Saarburg, Germany.

Lauren and I decided to rent a car and make our way to a town called Saarburg. We have friends from Texas (who now live in Philly) that are German and Gerd, the husband/father of the family is from Saarburg. He grew up in this vineyard town and his family owns a hotel and restaurant right in the center of it all. We stayed there and were treated like ROYALTY. There may have been a bit of kismet in the timing of it all as their daughter, Mia, happened to be spending a few weeks of her summer vacation with her aunt and uncle, helping out at the hotel. Mia is one of those kids that we all hope we'll have one day. She's so smart, so mature, and just a pure joy to be around. She led us around the town on a personal tour and had dinner with us at her family's restaurant. We just love this kid more than life itself and we're so thrilled we had a day with her to wander around this town that is part of her ancestry. 

Saarburg, Germany

Saarburg, Germany

Lauren in a ski lift in Saarburg, Germany.

Lauren in a ski lift in Saarburg, Germany.

Saarburg, Germany

Saarburg, Germany

Bellagio, Lombardy,&nbsp;&nbsp;Italy&nbsp;

Bellagio, Lombardy,  Italy 

From Saarburg we took a very long drive (7 or 8 hours) to Lake Como, Italy. I had planned most of our trip up to this point and I let Lauren handle our reservations for Lake Como. She had been talking about it for a while and that was the one place she really was dying to go on this trip to Europe, so I let her take the reigns and gave up some of my OCD tendencies for a hot minute. When we arrived that night at our Bed and Breakfast, it was late, it was dark, we'd been driving all day, so we just holed up in this beautiful, modern room with a bottle of wine and a bar of chocolate for dinner. I could tell that the lake was out there in front of our balcony, and I could see the lights on the hills and I knew it must be stunning. I had no idea what the next morning would hold for us. It was beyond anything I'd ever dreamt of. We woke up in this gorgeous room, then opened the blinds to find this pristine lake with hills surrounding it and villas nestled into the greenery and I was just floored by the beauty, by the fact that people just live there. Lauren deserves massive kudos for the place she booked and the town she brought us to. But even that was just the beginning...

Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy- Lake Como

Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy- Lake Como

Lauren booked us a tour of Lake Como on this incredible "limousine" style boat. It was spectacular. We felt the wind and the mist on our faces and saw all of the tiny towns that dot the coast line of the lake. We were blown away. The boat took us to the other side of the lake and dropped us off at an outdoor-patio restaurant where we ate one of the best meals of my life (although I would say the same about every single meal we ate in Italy) then came back and picked us up, took us back to our starting point in Bellagio and that was the end of our boat tour. 

Lauren on Lake Como

Lauren on Lake Como

Lauren and this Italian cat.

Lauren and this Italian cat.

Lauren in Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy.

Lauren in Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy.

Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy&nbsp;

Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy 

Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy

Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy

Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy

Bellagio, Lombardy, Italy

SarahShalenePhotography-98.jpg

After Lake Como, we drove to Milan. It wasn't quite as long a drive, but let me tell you, driving into Milan during rush hour when you don't have a firm grasp on what all the signage means is quite the feat. We made it to our hotel and quickly unwound with a glass of prossecco. Lauren is a genius when it comes to credit card perks. One of the credit cards she signed up for gave us two free nights at any Park Hyatt in the world. So we cashed in these points at the Park Hyatt Milan. I have never felt so fancy in my entire life. The bathroom was made completely of Italian marble. The ceilings in our room were at least 12 feet high. We were treated like princesses and we soaked in every last drop of it. We stayed for two nights, and if I'm being honest, we didn't really leave our hotel much. It was perfection. 

Il Duomo, Milan, Italy

Il Duomo, Milan, Italy

Lauren at Bar Luce in Il Fondazione Prada.

Lauren at Bar Luce in Il Fondazione Prada.

While we were in Milan we stopped off at this Prada museum. It was bizarre and interesting and took us completely out of any context that we had (which wasn't much). There were some gorgeous exhibits and I only wish we'd spent more time there. There's a bar, called Bar Luce that was designed and conceptualized by Wes Anderson- that was very cool to see, even if the service was absolutely as snobby as you'd expect it to be. 

Il Fondazione Prada

Il Fondazione Prada

Venice, Italy&nbsp;

Venice, Italy 

From Milan we drove to Venice, Italy. We had no idea how tricky it is to make your way into Venice! Given that there are no cars on the island and there are all of these water taxis that take you everywhere, we were thrown for a bit of a loop. Now, granted, we are not the best at researching the places we are heading to. We like to wing it and just figure it out along the way, so any stress that this caused us was completely self-induced. It was a bit of a shock leaving the Park Hyatt and coming into a very dumpy Airbnb situation. The big lesson we learned this trip was that maybe Airbnb isn't something you do in Europe. We dealt with it for one night but then had to move to a hotel the next day. The heat was pretty oppressive and this place we'd booked with Airbnb didn't have any air conditioning, which meant you had to leave the windows open, which would have been fine if not for the thousands of mosquitos thirsting for American blood. There are a myriad of other reasons why we had to bail on that place, but if you go to Venice- just book a hotel room. It's worth it. 

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Lauren in Venice

Lauren in Venice

Venice, Italy&nbsp;

Venice, Italy 

Lauren in Venice

Lauren in Venice

Venice, Italy from the water.&nbsp;

Venice, Italy from the water. 

Lauren, in a gondola, Venice, Italy.

Lauren, in a gondola, Venice, Italy.

Venice was incredibly beautiful, but equally touristy. I'm glad we saw it and did all the touristy things (like taking a way-too-expensive gondola ride with a super hot gondolier) but I don't feel the need to go back. I'm thrilled to have seen it and the 11 year old in me died a little at finally making it to the one place that's been on my bucket list the longest, but I can do without it. 

Lauren in Modena, Italy&nbsp;

Lauren in Modena, Italy 

After two nights in Venice we were exhausted. It was time for a little vacation from our vacation. We took a drive out to the countryside and we thought we were staying near Modena, but really we were even further out than that. We stayed in a very tiny village near Saramazonni, tucked high up in the hills. It was everything we needed. I mostly put down my camera at that point because I was exhausted and just wanted to be in the moment so I don't have a ton of photos from the place we stayed. It was a gorgeous medieval tower built in 1516 that had been converted to an apartment. We were high up a mountain overlooking this gorgeous countryside with thick high-desert-like brush. It was stunning and secluded, just what we needed. 

We ate so much good food, but I chose not to photograph any of it. There are some things that are too sacred to try and immortalize. I feel forever indebted to all of the servers who worked with my very poor Italian and continued to serve us plate after plate of fresh pasta, giving us their favorite dishes even if they weren't in season. I feel so much gratitude for the opportunity to take this trip with my beautiful wife and to re-center while simultaneously being pulled out my comfort zone and out of the boxes I've created for myself. Not only will I never forget this trip, I will always look back on it as a pivotal moment in life that catapulted me into the next phase, the next chapter, the next iteration of what I believe is possible in my life. 

 

 

Asbury Park, New Jersey

I am incredibly lucky to have friends with houses upstate and down at the Jersey Shore. A few months ago, before our big Europe trip, we were able to steal away from life in New York and catch some rays down in Asbury Park. Our friends, Justine and Dina have lived in the area for the last 10+ years and their house is just as wild and unique as they are! It was so much fun to poke around and photograph their house with all its kooky little corners. They were having a yard sale so we were able to meet some of their neighbors and shoot the shit on the front lawn. A highlight of the summer! 

San Juan, Puerto Rico

It's been a particularly dark, grey, drippy winter in New York and it's taken a longer-than-acceptable time for Spring to finally arrive. Luckily for us we could zip away to somewhere warmer before we inevitably snapped. It was a D-R-A-M-A to get there thanks to some heavier-than-expected traffic between my work in Brooklyn and Newark Airport but by the grace of the Great Goddess Universe we somehow made it onto that plane. Our best friend, Danielle joined us and we had a blast sun bathing, drinking piña coladas and eating empanadas, swimming around in warm ocean water, swimming in a pool under lion statues spewing water... It was just what we all needed. 

The View from Castillo San Cristobal&nbsp;

The View from Castillo San Cristobal 

Our New Iguana Friend

Our New Iguana Friend

Marcela and Andres: Maternity

What a treat to shoot this sweet little family. Andres is one of Lauren's coworkers and we've had the chance to get to know him and his wife, Marcela over the last year. We were so excited when they told us that they're expecting a baby girl! Their love for each other is palpable and inspiring. I feel honored to take their maternity photos. Hopefully we will get some shots of sweet baby Emilia when she arrives in just a few weeks' time. 

Marcela & Andres Maternity
Marcela & Andres Maternity
Marcela & Andres Maternity
Marcela & Andres Maternity
Marcela & Andres Maternity
Marcela & Andres Maternity
Marcela & Andres Maternity

Sonya

I recently had the opportunity to take some photos of my new friend, Sonya Shields. She's my fellow Pisces sister and creative spirit. Sonya works with Brooklyn Community Services to ensure that at-risk kids and families have equal opportunity- it's a huge job, I'm sure and I'm so thankful that I got to learn more about her work while we were shooting together. She's an inspiration and a fierce boss lady that knows how to get shit done. Not to mention she is drop-dead gorgeous. We took these photos for Indigostyle Vintage

IMG_0132-2.jpg
Sonya Shields for IndigoStyle Vintage
Sonya Shields for IndigoStyle Vintage
Sonya Shields for IndigoStyle Vintage
Sonya Shields for IndigoStyle Vintage
Sonya Shields for IndigoStyle Vintage
Sonya Shields for IndigoStyle Vintage

I'm so excited for some upcoming photo shoots. A maternity shoot among the cherry blossoms... some product photography for a friend's clothing line... a wedding in Germany this August... and a gala in June! I can't believe things are actually lining up and I'm excited to keep moving forward. 

Xoxo

S. 

Election Day... Followed By A Cozy Vermont Engagement

It's been nearly four weeks since Election Day. It's been an exhausting four weeks. But hell, it's been an exhausting year, hasn't it?

We had an Election Night party at our house with some newer friends. It turned out to be the absolute worst party I have ever had or been to - as I'm sure was the case across the country: tons of progressive-minded people turning out in droves with their thumbs on their champagne bottles, ready to pop them any second. We thought it was in the bag.

A friend of mine showed up around 8pm, tied in knots with nerves, and before we even sat down she said to me "I think he's going to win." I'd been fearful, obviously, but I didn't actually consider it a real possibility until about two weeks prior to Election Day. And even in this moment when she said my fears aloud, I did what my mother does when she's afraid and doesn't want me to see- I shook my head, averted eye contact, said "Pssshhhh no way"  and I ushered her into my cozy warm apartment, crossing my fingers that she wasn't right. 

We all sat around, eating pizza, drinking wine, chatting and trying to catch up- which apparently is very hard to do when you're a tangled ball of anxiety with eyes glued to a television that isn't giving any answers and won't for the next several hours. Sometime around 9:30 we tried turning on some music and keeping the TV on mute. That lasted for about 15 minutes. Back to the news- a screen with a map that displayed an alarming amount of red. The room grew silent. People excused themselves to go smoke cigarettes on the patio. I cleaned my kitchen furiously and kept apologizing for throwing this awful party- an anxious tick. I sat down with friends, got up again to fidget with things. Cozied up to Lauren,  then briskly excused myself to clean some more. Made a cheese plate. More red states. Tidied the bathroom.

 Around 10:30 I had a lump in my throat and the blood had drained out of my limbs. This was happening, wasn't it? None of us could look at each other as we said our goodbyes around midnight. It was still Tuesday, after all, and we had jobs to tend to in the morning. Lauren and I went to bed stunned, not saying much. We didn't have definitive answers yet and there was still a part of my brain that was holding onto the slimmest possibility that this could somehow swing our way. 

Wednesday morning I woke with a jolt around 6am. I grabbed my phone. I had a CNN alert announcing Donald Trump as the president-elect. I woke up Lauren and I said "It happened. He won." We sat up, trying to wrap our heads around this new idea of a country- a country that all of a sudden did not want us- two queer women in New York City. A country that we had apparently completely misunderstood, or ignored. We turned on the news. We watched in horror. We held each other and cried. 

I immediately clicked onto Facebook, which for better or worse has become the quickest way to take the temperature of my peers. The first thing I responded to was a post that said "Well, we voted, now all we can do is pray" to which I responded "THIS IS IGNORANT AND NAIVE." Admittedly my response was CHILDISH AND STUPID. I immediately deleted the app off of my phone (though not the response. I knew it was childish, but it's how I felt and I also felt down with pussyfooting around). Then I re-downloaded it. The next post I saw was a meme of Kermit the Frog for some apparent reason with text that read something along the lines of "This election is no different than any other, chill out", posted by a fellow Millennial white dude who I was pretty sure did not vote for Trump. These two posts, by people in my former Christian life, who are relatively progressive, were so incredibly upsetting to me and I've been trying to understand why for the past few weeks. 

Liberals/Progressives have been making a huge mistake in believing that this country is further along than it is. We've become complacent (especially us Millennials, as all we've ever really known is Obama for most of our adult lives) and we've stopped trying to understand those around us. There was a great article I read yesterday (From the Washington Post) that mentioned how same-sex couples have opted out of the conversation with anti-LGBT folks. We've declared ourselves too-educated and too-progressive to engage in that kind of "idiocy" from "such archaic people". Well, the fact is that 45% of Americans still believe that same-sex couples don't deserve to be married. And that is now well-evidenced in our entirely anti-LGBT Presidential cabinet-elect and our soon-to-be ultra conservative Supreme Court. The two people I mention above hit a nerve because a) we can't just pray about it. Policy not prayers. We have to be out in the streets fighting tooth and nail every step of the way. And yeah, protests included. And b) this is not like any other election and your place of privilege is completely blinding you to the fact that anyone that is not a white heterosexual male is scared shitless. It takes a toll on you to not be heard or seen by people who supposedly have your back. Which brings me to my next point... 

Through all of this, I keep finding myself thinking "This is what people of color are talking about and have been talking about and it did not get through to me until now." I am finding empathy, not just sympathy. I thought I was safe. I'm white. I'm queer, but I live in a country where we passed same-sex marriage on a federal level and my President embraces who I am and is willing to protect my human rights. Sure, when I'm in a rural area, I don't hold hands with my partner. And yes, I worry when she goes into the bathroom by herself in a less-than-sanctuary city. But I could live with that. What I cannot live with (or I'm struggling to find a way to live with) is the fact that my president-elect is someone who stands for nothing, who talks about harassing women like it's nothing, who has made xenophobic jokes on stage and who is electing straight-up lunatics to be a part of his cabinet- and this effects my every day life because now I walk down the street and I'm acutely aware of my gender, my queerness, my progressive mentality- and I'm afraid. This has helped me realize what it must feel like to be a woman of color, or anyone of color, knowing that everyone above you doesn't get it. They don't understand your fear and they don't care to. They will tell you to stay calm. They will tell you not to overreact. Because they don't stand up for you. White allies who want to have your back and probably have good intentions won't march for you, won't vote for you, won't actually do anything substantial to have your back, because it does not effect them. They'll "Pray for you" and that's about it. I do not claim to know what the black experience is like in this country or any other. But I do know that I have the taste of fear in my mouth and a fire in my belly. I am enraged. I am broken-hearted. And I am more motivated than ever to fight. 

“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything”
— Malcolm X

Shall we get on to the good news? 

Lauren and I are getting married! 

The weekend following the election, Lauren and I had plans to go to Vermont. It worked out like a perfect accident that we could steal away from the city and go to our friend's family's house in the country. We drove all day and we talked a lot about the election, just trying to process what this president-elect means for our country. Almost simultaneously we both mentioned that we should talk about getting legally married before Inauguration Day. But the more we talked about it, the more we realized if we were going to get married, we were going to do it right. No one is going to bully us into settling for less-than the wedding we've been imagining. We've talked about getting married for nearly two years (we've been together for 2.5 years... but when you know it's right, time doesn't exist. We talked it out, and by dinner we were casually talking through a tentative wedding the first weekend of January. I stopped her mid-sentence, going over our guest list and I asked her "Wait- are we doing this, then?" She looked at me and said with teary eyes "I'd marry you in a heartbeat." 

I've been wearing this gold band on my left hand, middle finger for nearly a year. I stole it from Lauren when she moved to New York and I stayed in Portland, OR to wrap up our apartment. We were apart for all of 6 weeks, but it might as well have been 6 years. The ring is hers, but it became mine. So I got down on my knee, in the middle of the kitchen of this perfectly Scandinavian house, and I asked her to marry me. And she said YES.

 

We didn't call anyone or tell anyone until we came home on Sunday night. We spent the weekend planning and dreaming and giggling. It's not the grand plan I had in mind- it's so much better. Here are some photos of the weekend we had at this gorgeous house. They're a stand-in for engagement photos, because in 33 days Lauren Guilbeaux will become my wife and we will have wedding photos instead. 

IMG_3282.jpg

 

Bring it on, 2017. We will be united in love and marriage, ready for whatever you have for us.