My beloved aunt got hit by a car while walking across the street about a week before Christmas this past year. She went into immediate brain surgery, was in a coma, and has been recovering and healing incrementally ever since. Due to visa technicalities on my end, both my husband and I weren't able to see my aunt + family in Oregon since the accident took place till about a few weeks ago. We were then able to spend a few afternoons sitting with my aunt in the room of her nursing home, showing her photos on my phone, talking to her about our dogs, and just holding hands. She's a big fan of holding hands, and would often tighten her grip even if I was only adjusting mine. It was bittersweet, and one of my fondest + most precious memories to date. I hope for more of those in the future with her.
In light of not being able to visit family for 7+ months, I had this imagery in my head to create floral pieces that reflected the beauty of my aunt's life, the calm and vitality of her home, and the adventure in her heart. There was this deep need brewing within me to give her + my family something to visually experience despite my aunt not being able to do a whole lot else with her body. So this shoot is a result of that desire -- a desire to create prayer through art + wind + relationship. For we do not climb our mountains alone; it may feel like we are walking this path by ourselves, but perhaps it's just not wide enough to walk side-by-side ... maybe that's when we need to look up or look back to see where we've come from and who's with us in the waves + torment of grief.
If flowers could pray, this is what I believe they would look like. Vast, lonely, sad, hopeful, deep, communal, soft, swallowed, whispered, cried, wild, thrown... this is a tribute to the mourning, the grieving, the hopeful, those who have lost, or those who are teetering on the brink of loss.
My heart, my flowers, and ultimately my prayers go out to you all...
[Many, many thanks to the crazy-talented Kat Grabowski of Art + The Aerialist for capturing so perfectly the depth and range of emotion in this shoot. Words do not suffice-- thank you from the bottom of my heart for this gift. Seriously - anyone who is looking for a photographer or adventure-buddy needs to hit this girl up! ~ For more of Kat's beautiful work head on over to her Facebook page and Instagram account (@katgrabowski) ... you're going to want to keep up with this one 'cause she's going places, folks! (literally, heh)
A whole lot of gratitude to my dear friends Grace + Rae for their willingness to brave the cold, the heights, and the bumpy roads to join me in capturing a vision that's so close to my heart! You are both so beautiful inside + out, and I'm so thankful for your friendship on such a meaningful day. I can't wait to see what our future collaborations + hangouts will bring! :)
Last- but definitely not least- a big shoutout + thanks to Zack Melhus for being willing to take a bunch of women in a jeep on the biggest off-roading experience most of us have ever had (haha)! You exude deep joy for life, and that played a crucial role in making this day happen; thank you for being all in, and guiding our crew ever-so patiently up the mountain. ~ Zack just so happens to be a visual artist as well, and much of his incredible work can be found on his Instagram account (@zmelhus) so go check it out!]