Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Inspiration Wednesdays: The Red Balloon (Le ballon rouge)


A fanciful short film about a young boy who is followed around Paris by a friendly red balloon. Screened daily at the Museum of the Moving Image right here in Queens, I remember first watching this movie in elementary school and connecting with this little boy in France.

Watching the movie again years later, the first thing I noticed was just how gray everything other than the balloon is. Seeing post-war Paris - with its bombed out buildings, gray stone cathedrals and buildings, dour citizens - transformed by a simple balloon back into a city of life and hope is heartwarming. The little boy, naturally dressed in gray, with his local bullies, strict grandmother and mean schoolmaster, needs the balloon most of all.

Pascal was played by Pascal Lamorisse, the son of the director Albert Lamorisse. Pere Lamorisse was trained as a photographer (and later invented the board game RISK), and had already directed the also wonderful Crin blanc: Le cheval sauvage (White mane: the wild horse) and won the Palm d'Or at Cannes for each and an Academy Award for Le ballon rouge. In both films, he shows he understands children very well. Their love of wandering, the fact that youth is not always easy, the wonder in simple pleasures.

It is a short movie at just over 30 minutes, but perfect for the youngest viewers for just that reason. My daughter squealed with laughter more than once and loved the ending. In the midst of a tough winter, maybe we need the balloon now too.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Fun: The Kids of "Everything is Terrible" are Wonderful

The mouths MOVE!!! Around 1:55 will scare you to your very core.

Everything is Terrible is an amazing found footage site. My husband is obsessed and because of him I've watched such gems as Phone Manners. But who know they had so many great baby videos?

I'm kind of in love with the push-up/kiss combo.

Oh Matthew, I hope you eventually got to go to the park without a camera crew.

As you can see, found footage - especially from the 80s - is comic gold. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fashion Week and Grandmothers

The big question - do I look at the camera or my adorable grandson?

It's fashion week in New York and yes, I can be a totally uncool mom who no longer goes to any shows or parties and still love fashion. Women's Wear Daily posted a slideshow on fabulous designers who had their grandchildren at their shows this week in NYC. I always thought it was fun to see designers bring out their kids at the end of their shows for a little walk on the runway. Gwen Stefani & Kimora Lee Simmons come to mind.

Double the pleasure - could my parents be cuter with their 2 grandkids?

This week we also had a visit from my parents & aunt which gave my daughter her very own entourage. Of course my mom was in 7th heaven and I started thinking about some of the grandparents I have photographed with their grandchildren. It doesn't happen that often, but I love to immortalize the bond.

Some more cake? Don't mind if I do!

Ah you lucky grandparents - like parents but without all the rules, schedules and responsibility! 

Why not schedule a shoot with your grandchildren as a gift for their birthday or a big family event? I have even had a grandmother book a secret shoot while she was babysitting her granddaughter so she could give the photos to her daughter as a holiday gift. How cute! Send me an email to book a photo session today!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras Baby!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Happy Mardi Gras! Whether you are heading out for some pre-lenten gluttony or fixing your favorite traditional Fat Tuesday foods at home, here's hoping you get all your yayas out today. My daughter is thoroughly enjoying her beads at home - alternately slinging them over her arm and transferring them from pot to pan in her play kitchen.

Photo by Tina Rupp via

Speaking of food (which I usually am), if you feel like starting your healthy eating today, here's a recipe for King Cake on from back in the day when I was their photo editor. We had a lot of fun with the baby on the photo set that day & I kept some of the more hilarious polaroid test shots pinned to the board next to my desk way past Easter

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Fun: Baby Hamlet

Maybe it was watching the VERY British story of The Little Princess (with the very non-British accented Shirley Temple) earlier this week that made this YouTube clip so entertaining to me. Via Sadie at Jezebel.

Obviously Brian Cox is an amazing actor in his own right but this toddler Theo is hilarious delivering Hamlet's famous soliloquy in his adorable British accent. "That is the question" "Yeah!"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Zara, or what to wear?

Primping makes perfect

Potential clients ask me all the time if they should plan on more than one outfit for their baby's photo shoot. As a mom, I think an extra shirt just makes sense in world of spit-up, drool and other potential spills. Just in case. On the other hand, when the shoot is a short one like my 30-minute mini sessions, it's not always a good idea to break up the flow if the child is relaxed and happy by trying to change their outfit halfway through. In your own home, why not try a second look?

First outfit, a lush red dress

When you have a baby like Zara, even the "behind the scenes" photos are gorgeous.

Costume change!
Hey, when it works, it works. What I love is that by shooting digital in natural daylight (instead of the traditional studio set-up), I can adapt to the situation and quickly move around whatever space we're in to find just the right spot - even down to cool color combos. 

 Still sweet and calm in outfit #2

I don't think I would have put Zara in front of the funky blue background in the red dress, but her ivory sweater is neutral enough that her sweet face is still the star of this photo.

When I go into families' homes I'm always on the lookout for the best spots to photograph their children - nice warm light, cool textures and colors. In Zara's case, 2 outfits meant more variety for her photos and a nice break for her. When you book a shoot with me, I'll work to make sure your child enjoys their shoot just as much!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Inspiration Wednesdays: The Little Princess

As a bonus this week, the movie I picked is free to watch on

I loved the Shirley Temple classic, The Little Princess, as a child. I know that a gentler, less Victorian remake exists too which may actually be less scary to young children, but I remember lapping up the rough edges of the original.

Based on the wonderful book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the plot alone fulfills the morbid curiosity of all well-loved children with 2 living parents & is the predecessor of several "lovable orphan" movies including Annie & Cinderella. A haughty rich girl sent to boarding school only to presumably lose her father in the Boer War is forced by the mean headmistress to move to a chilly garret and clean up after the other students. Of course being a Shirley Temple movie she learns what's really important along the way and gets her happy ending, but not without some very sad and scary points along the way. And some singing and dancing.

So if you're stuck inside with a snow-day like us, why not brew up some tea and dream of tropic escapes with Sara Crew.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


 Impossible to believe, but only a few short months ago it was summer. I needed to relive some of the warm memories and thought back to a particularly hot day when I went to New Jersey for a day of mini-shoots. 


One of the families included Amara - a gorgeous girl who loved the camera. And bubbles. 


We had a lot of fun running around the backyard chasing bubbles in the hot sun.

Just looking at these makes me feel happier on a cold day.  

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Fun: Children's Health


It's cold & flu season here in New York City and you can't go 10 feet without seeing another snotty baby. Or adult. But hey, let's look back at some old public health posters to make us feel a little better about our current ailments. Until the 4th of July anyway.

Hey, at least it isn't syphilis!

You can buy these or other health-related WPA posters at Vintograph. I have my eye on the tooth-brushing one for our bathroom. Because maybe we still need some of their advice today after all.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Here's one baby I've been lucky enough to photograph recently in Sunnyside. Olivia and her mom were welcoming and warm on a cold winter morning. It's Olivia's favorite time of the day &we had so much fun getting down on the floor to play together.

In addition to the relaxed & natural infant portraits you can see here, we also had a chance to dress Olivia up in her Christmas dress and Christening gown. So now her family has professional photos to remember those days when I could not be there to document them.

Her gorgeous nursery deserves a post of its own too. Prepare yourself to see more photos from this session over the coming weeks!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Inspiration Wednesdays: The Sound of Music


Every February, our friends run WALOMM (watch a lot of movies month) - a contest to see how many movies you can watch during the shortest/coldest/dreariest month. When we started it, let's just say the various streams of media saturation were a bit dryer and the bulk of movies were watching in theaters, on DVD or TV. Now we've got the internets and Netflix and all sorts of newfangled portable contraptions, plus more unemployment. Which translates into more competition.

So this month, I'd decided to use my weekly Inspiration Wednesday to highlight a movie either beloved by me in childhood or the child in me as an adult. In no way an exhaustive list, I think these are movies I'll enjoy watching with my kids too.

First up, The Sound of Music.

I took this tour in 1999 but Aissy55 took this photo. Highly recommend.

The story of a 'young girl who will never be a nun," the movie somehow features Nazis, motherless children, an only-slightly closeted Uncle Max and a saucy Baroness while still remaining one of the best love stories out there. It may be scary and sad at times but I'll take that over a sacharine cartoon any day. Plus Maria is a lovely role-model - honest, inventive (her curtain-clothes rival Scarlett O'Hara's), brave and independent.

Of course all my daughter noticed about it when I had it on in the background the other day were the songs - particularly rocking out to "My Favorite Things," "Do Re Mi," and "The Lonely Goatherd." She even sang along (in her way...) to "Edelweiss" - one of the lullabies I sang her as an infant.

What favorite childrens movies should I include this month?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February Goals - Getting down to *gulp* business

 Juliet - my fearless assistant & muse - Kristin Burns

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started 
is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable
tasks, and then starting on the first one." -- Mark Twain
A day late, sure, but I was busy pretending yesterday was the last day of January so I could cross off one big goal from last month's list. Every month, The Meetup members post our goals at Athena Dreams, look back at the previous month's list, and encourage each other to focus.

First a look back at my January goals :
1. Update photo galleries with new work - nope
2. Prepare for upcoming art fairs - nope
3. Reach out to people I admire for more support & ideas, including adding a blog-roll here - nope
4. Blog ahead more - nope
5. Schedule 3 in home shoots - nope

It looks like I got nothing done! But I actually just did a crappy job of writing goals. I actually accomplished quite a bit - got our taxes squared away, started working with another Meetup member photographing her work, photographed a baptism, sold 4 matted prints of my art photography, entered the Annual PDN competition & most importantly signed up for the 6-week business course at Bakery. I also embraced my time at home with my daughter by cooking, coloring and dancing with her in my downtime.

On to February :
2. Take photos for our local wine bar's website
3. Reach out to people I admire for more support & ideas, including adding a blog-roll here
4. Blog ahead more
5. Schedule 3 in home shoots

If more gets done, so be it!