Covid-19: An Artist’s Survival Guide on Dealing with Perspective Feat. Baby Frida Kahlo (aka my daughter Willow)

What a shit show it has been the last few weeks huh? 

This has most certainly affected everyone.  No one is exempt from this pandemic, even if we have not actually contracted the virus. Today I have been feeling very tempted to feel sorry for myself… To feel low. I think the reason I am feeling this way is because, like many people, I am scared. In the last 12 hours, I have had 2 weddings cancel and 1 rebook. Bringing the total of rebooked or canceled weddings to like 10 or something.  And that’s just weddings.. I also have had to cancel events and flights to other destinations for some pretty exciting shoots and work opportunities. It leaves me feeling afraid obviously… I can’t help but ask the question, “Is the last 3 years of sacrificing time with my family, working 2 jobs to build this business all for nothing now?”  “Do I have to just go find some random job so I can pay the bills for the next year and start all over again?”  “Have I failed at this?” “is my dream over now?” 

These are not friendly questions and I know there are many other entrepreneurs out there asking themselves the same things.  

This morning I called my mom because I was sad and afraid after receiving those 2 cancelations. My mom is amazing.  She is my rock in this world and also the one who lovingly shakes me out of my sometimes solo ways of thinking. She reminded me about how many other business’s are being affected by this and that this is not my fault.  I may have to act like a grown up and go get another job temporarily but that is the story of so many entrepreneurs right now.  She promised me that with some more blood sweat and tears, my business will survive.  The good news is I know how bleed, sweat and cry for what I want and to work hard for it.  Another thing she and my dad taught me.  It’s frustrating to have to start over, but the truth is that I AM ABLE to do that.  There are so many people out there that will not have that chance because they were physically affected by this virus and didn’t make it through that fight.  My mom reminded me of that as well this morning.  

I know that it is ok to mourn. It is ok to grieve how this has affected yourself and your families.  But this is a time when it is so important to hold onto perspective and to hold onto hope for our future as a collective society.  Otherwise, we artists are frickin’ done for.  We are generally emotional, we feel everything just a bit more intensely than others and we offer what is currently considered a luxury to the world.  And what is the first thing to go when times get hard in life? Luxuries! 

Once I started editing these photo’s I took today, those fears felt a lot smaller. I was scrolling through the most beautiful part of my life and the most incredible work of art that I had a part in creating. That being Willow of course.  I look at her and I see my mother’s eye’s and see the strength that is inherently gifted to her in them.  I have a healthy beautiful daughter and son who I simply have to keep alive, safe and happy.  We are all safe, are all alive and we have been mostly very happy.  We have very strictly been following the rules of social distancing and none of us have contracted the virus (or so we know).  We have the opportunity to get through this simply because we are alive and well.  The world will recover from this.  It has survived pandemics before and it will survive them again. Frida Kahlo herself survived severe accidents that led her to being crippled, barren and in incredible chronic pain for most of her life.  Despite all of this she became one of the most celebrated female artists of all time.  She has always inspired me through her artwork, but also by the photographs and images taken of her directly.  She made herself into a work of art through how she presented herself to the world and who she encountered on a day to day basis.

So be like Frida…. be like my mom… be like the people from 100 years ago who came through the Spanish Flu and somehow were able to establish life after something very sad and scary. 

Create art to express what you’re feeling and to find beauty in the madness. We are all a little scared and feeling some shock and trauma from this, but we will come through… We have before and we will again. 

Cliffside Elopement

These two beauties are just too much for my brain to handle. They are too sweet!

These were taken while I was away from my sweet little home in Kitchener, Ontario at the Wander Workshop in Oregon. Best decision I’ve made in years! I cannot stress how incredible it was to learn from Dawn Javis, Melissa Marshall, Amanda Skipper, and Kylie Morgan. To me, these ladies are giants in the game and together we shared tears, stories, skill sets, and quite a bit of tequila. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It was clear to me that these four women were genuinely pushing other photographers to be the best version of themselves. I was surprised by how much they cared about my success, both in my business and maintaining healthy relationships within my family and community. Because of this investment, I’ve already seen the benefits of what I learned in those short 3 days in Oregon.

One thing that I have been working on is how to branch out as a photographer to create more magical elopement options for couples. As weddings become more expensive and with the the cost of living being so high, it almost seems (to some) like an extreme amount of money for one day. I FULLY get that and can understand why people would rather consider investing that money on a home or business venture rather than a big hurrah that is over almost as quickly as it begins. That’s why it is becoming a lot more popular for couples to plan small gatherings for their weddings or to have their own private ceremony’s at their dream location, with a skilled photographer and minister/JP at hand.

One thing that a lot of people don’t know about me is that I happen to have a husband who was formally a minister. He has stepped away from that career path and moved into conflict management, but still holds and maintains his credentials as an ordained minister. Tyler (my good lookin boo) has performed many many ceremonies for couples of all faiths and walks of life. He’s a well read, deep and sensitive guy who has a way with words better than anyone I’ve met.

Part of my business plan for 2020 is to offer elopements for couples by combining both of our talents to create a beautiful and memorable experience, documented in the most creative way I know how. With connections with local florists and other venders in Southern Ontario, it’s important to me to help in any way that I can when planning this beautiful day with the bride and groom. With a few elopements already in the works for 2020, things are getting started quickly. If you or someone you know loves beautiful boho aesthetics and values the intimacy of a small ceremony; consider us for your elopement and let’s work together to make your wildest dreams actually happen!

Here is one of the elopements that was styled for us! I hope you catch the magic! 

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