Community & Connection is about exactly what the name says–reaching out and getting to know those around me; to help other creatives and artists get their work out into society to help make a difference; to grow as artists. And most of all, to keep the creative community thriving and free of petty competition.
Lindsay is the first person I met in my latest series venture, Community & Connection. When I first met her during a yoga class that she teaches I knew I liked her, and when I met her again to take photos, her entire presence and soul radiated peace and tranquility.
All the usual nerves I have when meeting people melted away and I felt calm and light. Lindsay is a much needed force in the world. Her message of love and peace in the face of chaos is one that needs to be heard. She’s mastering the art of peace one day at time, helping those in need along the way. (She’s also gives fabulous hugs)
Mariah is the second person I met for C & C (she’s the sweetest, most fun young woman I’ve had the pleasure of photographing). She attends West Virginia University, where she studies fashion merchandising, communication studies, PR, and business administration. Her Blog, Dancing With Grace, is a lighthearted, helpful, and enjoyable read showcasing fashion and lifestyle content. Why the name Dancing With Grace? Here’s what she says:
“I’ve chosen to name my blog ‘Dancing with Grace’ for a few reasons: A) I believe that dancing through life is a lot more entertaining than walking. B) I believe in having grace for others, and sharing God’s as well. C) I am a fur momma to the world’s sweetest pup, Gracie. Mix these all together, and you’re Dancing with Grace.” She’s an ardent, self-proclaimed “fur mama” to her precious pup, Gracie, whose full time job is “being cute and melting hearts.” When shes not in class you can bet she’s with Gracie or out taking #ootd photos–often both.
Juan is an actor from the Wheeling area and has been in several productions; one of his most recent being Treasure Island at Towngate Theatre. He’s a passionate, well-spoken young man with the hair of an Egyptian god. His easy going, relaxed manner make him wonderful to work with and an enjoyable to spend time with.
Deadra is the fourth person I’ve met with for my Community & Connection series. She went to cosmetology school and is now a professional hairstylist (a swell one, too!).
She was an absolute dream to photograph; every movement was fluid and ready for the camera. A smile at the ready when needed and a somber look when it was right; one those delightful humans that are a photographer’s dream come true. She’s also very sweet and full of laughter. I can’t wait for the next time we’re able to shoot together!
The lovely Kala makes number five in the Community & Connection series.
Originally from California, she relocated to West Virginia to work with Grow Ohio Valley. Though it’s taking some time to overcome the weather insanity in our area, she’s learning to find the beauty in this little part of the world. We bonded over our love of good food and our
inability to be athletic.
Mariah makes number six in the series, bringing in spring with yellow sunshine and smiles. She’s a sweet young woman who radiates kindness and grace.
She attends WJU, majoring in exercise science with the hopes of becoming a sports nutritionist & strengthening coach for college athletes. Her passion for health and fitness stems from personal battles in her past that she fights to use as motivation for others, and to use the lessons from those experiences to push her forward. The outdoors and the freedom of wildlife also hold a place in her heart, encouraging her to grow and change for the better with each day.
Lauren is number seven in this series. We met up at Oglebay Park to take advantage of the spring flowers before they left for summer (Which they did, only days later. Phew!)
and enjoy the gorgeous weather. Quiet and reserved, she elegantly and effortlessly followed instruction with posing and mood, bringing every feeling to life; adding depth to each photo. A photography enthusiast herself, she takes lovely nature and scenery images (and cats of course!) which you can find if you check out her Instagram which is linked below her photo. She currently attends West Liberty University, studying nursing.
Number eight is the enchanting Jade. Jade and I tried to meet several times over the course of a few weeks so when we finally were able to get together, I was STOKED.
I knew that she’d be a beautiful subject to capture. In 2016 she faced the tragedy of losing her mother, but through that pain she learned to live life to the fullest, in the now, to keep from putting things off. She spent much of this past year growing and bettering herself to become the best she can be. Travel has helped in that growth, and though she misses her mom every day, she can find peace in knowing that she would be proud of the woman she’s become. Jade is currently finishing her last semester as a biology major at Wheeling Jesuit University.
Sarah comes in at number nine in this series. We met one another through Jade, and I couldn’t be happier to know her; she is such a kindhearted, thoughtful soul.
Throughout the spring semester of 2016, Sarah suffered from chronic pain and fatigue, making it difficult to concentrate. When she temporarily lost feeling in the right side of her body as well as her ability to speak, she was rushed to the emergency room. After countless tests, she was told she had four times the normal amount of fluid on her brain. Emergency surgery was inevitable. Her heath struggles taught Sarah that overcoming her own obstacles isn’t a battle one can wage alone; the fight to heal, to grow stronger may have started inside of her, but it was family and friends that helped to mend her. “Even when we are unable to fully love ourselves, there are individuals out there that have an abundant amount of light and love to give.”
Rosalie draws the series to an even ten. Words can’t express the fondness I feel for this woman as an artist and all around wonderful human. The world is better with her in it.
We met each other about two years ago when she and fellow artist Hannah Lenhart toured around West Virginia for the Tamarack Foundation for the Arts Emerging Artists program, where they met with local artists. Thankfully, I was one of said artists! Rosalie’s stunning, dreamy watercolor paintings capture the beauty and intricacies of nature in such a sweet and fantastical way. She strives to be at peace with the world around her, to spread beauty and sincerity, calling on others to pause and just breathe; to take in the world around them and simply be.