I’m still Joni from the Block – BLOCK PARTY, that is!
If my sons read that or knew that I used that in a blog post they would tell me how cringe I am. LOL, oh well! I will wear it proudly!
This Saturday is the first East 2nd Street Block Party in Scotch Plains! I’m super excited to be participating in it along with a bunch of other local businesses! There is even going to be a car show! I never had that official tape cutting Grand Opening for The Studio so while it has been so exciting getting that space, it was also pretty anti climatic! HAHA! So I feel like this Saturday will be a great opportunity for me to meet people and the other business owners that I haven’t had a chance to meet yet. I’m a Fanwood resident so not only is this where my business is, but it’s my COMMUNITY.
I know that some of the businesses will be offering things from their establishments, but I am a Portrait Studio so it’s a little bit different. I AM thinking about doing a fun selfie station (think pink), having photographic prints available for purchase, maybe even do a raffle? But I am excited to show my face and also talk about the services and products that I offer which make me different than other photographers.
To read more about The East 2nd Street Block Party and the participants, click HERE!
Communion – the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.
This post is kinda personal. I don’t like to talk about religion. I believe everyone has a right to believe what they want. I was raised Catholic. I went to public school my whole life, but ended up at an all girls Catholic high school, The Academy of St Elizabeth, when I was 14. I went from knowing no one and having no friends, feeling lost and sad and angry, to meeting some of the most amazing girls (now women) that I will ever know. Some of my best friends to this day are girls that I met in my four years at this small and tight knit school. I am by no means a deeply “religious” person, but I am spiritual and I LOVE my St E’s girls.
One of the girls I met was Lauren. Lauren was younger than me, but we both played softball. Age didn’t really matter much once you crossed that sports line. Our teams were like family and we really genuinely cared about each other. Lauren was a hell of a pitcher too, so she had that going for her 😉
Fast forward years and years and years (not telling how many LOL) and Lauren reached out to me for family Christmas photos. When I met her 2 girls I immediately fell in love! They were little fire crackers! And seeing Lauren was like a sweet memory of being young again. Fast forward and it’s 2021 and her older daughter was making her Communion. I was lucky enough to be able to come and document the reception. Her family is pure and loving and genuine and real and sweet and I honestly feel like another one of the family when I am around them.
But one of my favorite memories of this day was Lauren’s Papa. He was the same age as my Grandma and had this twinkle in his eye. The love that poured out of him when he looked at his family was literally tangible. And I caught it that day. The way he looked at Lauren’s daughters, the way he looked at Lauren. I caught it. This is what I live for…
Lauren recently lost her Papa. I recently lost my Grandma. They were both in their late 90’s. So when I saw her share that he had passed away I immediately understood her sorrow. We were so lucky to have these strong and important people in our lives for so long. To have our kids know their Great Grandparents is such a gift. And while we understand how lucky we are, it is still such a deep loss. Maybe BECAUSE of all the time we had with them.
So when I write this and share pictures from Giuliana’s Communion, the definition of Communion holds so much more meaning. “The sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.” I’m sharing the communion of the day I captured with Lauren’s family. I am letting Lauren know that I love her and I am so grateful for her and for the honor to be able to capture these special moments in time for her and her family.
Lauren I am so sorry about your Papa. I met him ONE time that I can remember. Who knows, he may have been at some of our softball games! But he was special. I felt it. I saw it. And you were so lucky to have him in your life. XOXO
All the love to my SEAster, Lauren and her amazing family <3
Here are some photos from 2021. Next time I won’t be 2 years behind on blogging and will share pics from Olivia’s Communion soon!
“There is a saying: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”
I heard from Howard today and realized that tomorrow will be ONE YEAR since we did his dating profile session! And he also just celebrated his ONE YEAR dating anniversary! If you are saying “wait, that doesn’t make sense. How did he have a one year dating anniversary BEFORE the one year anniversary of his dating shoot”, then you’re right! It doesn’t really add up!
But let me explain…Howard and I scheduled his shoot when he was still doing the online dating thing. In fact I think we started talking about scheduling something about 2-3 weeks before our scheduled shoot date. And when he showed up on the day of our session he confided in me that he had started dating a woman that he really liked. But you know what? That’s the thing about these shoots! When people contact me about dating profile sessions, what they have in mind is getting some good shots that they can use for their online dating profile. But every single time they leave with much more than that. These sessions are a confidence booster. It is an amazing feeling to have someone (me) completely excited about capturing YOU! Like the REAL you! Genuine and true and really having your personality shine through. And even though Howard had a really good feeling about the woman he had just started seeing, he went forward with our session. Because this was not just an investment in his dating game, but an investment in HIMSELF! And we had a great time!
I could write all about Howard and his likes and dislikes, but really I’m just super happy that he is still with the woman he met over a year ago. Because ultimately my goal for these sessions is to help people find love. And whether these pics helped with that or not is not important. But that he is happy and in a committed relationship, that’s what makes me happy.
Here are some shots from our shoot almost a year ago!
If you know where those lyrics are from, then you are probably a fan of Weird Al Yankovik. Which means you’d probably have a great time hanging out with Rahul who has seen Weird Al multiple times! I thought that was an interesting bit to find out about him.
I always ask my clients if they could live anywhere, where would it be? Rahul’s answer? Toronto! And if he could choose between the city or the country he would pick the city. While he enjoys the beauty of the country, he is really drawn to the culture you find in the city.
When I asked Rahul what it is that makes him happy, he responded as I would imagine a psychiatrist would:
Imagine that!? A man who finds joy in helping others feel better. Rahul is generous and is looking for the same in his partner(s). He is smart, interesting, skeptical, and enjoys connecting on a deeper level. He even enjoys yoga and has experience with salsa dancing!
We had a beautiful day for our dating shoot and we even got to experience the 11AM Pack Walk with Wonder Dog Studio! Imagine turning a corner to see a sea of Golden Retrievers coming towards you!? It was so awesome and impressive!
Thank you Rahul for trusting me to capture YOU last week and I can’t wait to hear how things work out for you!
Cole’s mom got in touch with me after Cole had been born to see if I had availability for a Newborn Session. That’s one of the reasons I only take a limited number of Newborn Sessions each month; so that I can accommodate parents like Cole’s. I’ve had families contact me after adoption, a difficult birth, a long stay in the hospital, health complications. I don’t ever want to have to say no to a new mom or dad who wants to get newborn pictures of their baby. So I told her yes! Of course!
Mom knew that there was a good chance that it would be difficult to get her 3 year old daughter to cooperate for pictures. That’s always a good thing when they know that it could go either way. And when she wasn’t quite feeling it, she didn’t push her. I really admired that. I know that lots of times we as parents want to get that really great amazing shot of the new siblings together. I know, I know, I know. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret…the little kids usually want nothing to do with it! So most of those adorable amazing pics of the sibling(s) with the new baby? Composites. HAHA! Seriously, they are mostly photoshopped to LOOK like they are posing there together all happy and angelic and whatnot. Yeah, sure, some are real. They’re few and far between. And the ones that are real are usually 1 good shot out of a series of 20. And probably were shot in a millisecond before one of the kids started screaming, crying or jumped up to get out of the photo!
Honoring our Children
Cole’s mom wanted the image to be authentic and real. And when big sis just wasn’t feeling it, she respected that. This was a beautiful example of boundaries at an early age. I loved watching that. She honored that little girl and didn’t forced her to do it or to take a fake shot to photoshop something together. It was beautiful.
Oh, another funny story, Cole’s dad basically had to break open my front door with a razor blade because it had sealed shut from some insulation foam I used in the door cracks. HAHA! They got to The Studio and I literally couldn’t open the door. It was a little embarrassing, but hey, we are being real and they witnessed first hand a little bit about how I do things. LOL! Thanks, Steve!