A year ago I left my 9-5 job and now I thrive.

A year ago I left my job.  A year ago I left my all consuming, totally 24-7 job that I loved.  I worried how I would feel once I was gone.  I felt like I was saving the world at this job.  I felt like I was doing something important.  So what if I wasn't sleeping well or I was struggling to think coherently? I thought, that's ok - because my work is so important. 

taken with the front camera on an iPhone 4 - maybe in 2014? I don't know.  I was TIRED.  

taken with the front camera on an iPhone 4 - maybe in 2014? I don't know.  I was TIRED.  

And then I quit.  I just did it.  I felt sad and sad and sad and then... well then I felt free.

A year ago I quit my job and said to myself "Leanna I wonder what you want your photography to grow into?  Lets give it some space and see what happens.  See what blooms...see what comes up. In case you are curious if I am crazy, the answer is maybe yes because this is how I make all my decisions.  I very carefully go and sit at the metaphorical crossroads. I pack nuts and seeds and fruit and water.  I sit and wait.  Soon I notice that my heart is pulling towards one direction.  Sometimes I have looked in that direction and found a path or a road, but sometimes I have looked and there has been only a forest, a impenetrable way that no one I know has walked before. Either way, I try to follow my heart.  This method of decision making has led me everywhere good and even though it has also led to a fair bit of flailing around, I try to trust what I want.  

I try to trust that my daydreams speak the truth.  

family photojournalism Seattle

SO I vowed that I would follow my heart and follow my camera and then I have spent the last year trying things.  I launched a business, I launched a second one.  I took up yoga again, I began to cake an endless sieges of cakes.  I learned I hate to vacuum and I love dishes.  I started to notice what of these many things I was trying were working and which ones were falling flat.  

One beautiful thing I noticed in the midst of the madness of managing two small businesses (and a household) is that I have also gotten to spend a lot of time with my tiny human.  He is five and I am here to testify that FIVE  is the best age yall.  He's so cute and cuddly and nice and adorable and smart and funny and PERFECT.  He sleeps like a dream and puts his own clothes away in his drawers and sets the table and is polite and I have been taking so many pictures of our family and of him in order to memorialize this time.  

father son photography Seattle family

So look through the pictures below of him and his friend's living their best life on the porch and in a tent in the backyard and at the playground and envision your family, doing your ordinary wonderful things with my camera pointed at you in the warmest, kindest way possible.  

I have families tell me a lot that they want to book me but they don't know when is the right time.  

THIS is the right time folks.  

NOW.  

Look at your calendar.  Pick a day that is a teeny bit relaxed.  Let people wear what they are comfortable in and eat what feels delicious to them and do what they like.  Let me come and capture it.  Remember this time.  Not the perfect time, not the future time, THIS TIME.  It is good.  It is good-enough. 

The Art of Resilience - a show at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology's Symposia

I was honored to be invited to be a part of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology's annual Symposia of Alumni thinkers and artists this year in a show titled The Art of Resilience (co-created with the tallented Encaustic Artist Ava Swift).  It's a young event but it's growing and finding its sea legs and I was thrilled to return to the third floor gallery (where I showed 4 years ago when I was just a baby).

It's THIS SATURDAY and you can read more about the event and also buy your tickets HERE and I read today that tickets will be available at the door so show up ready to hang and learn!

When the idea for the show was first presented to me, I thought of this portrait immediately.  

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It's of my son.  

A couple months ago he woke up one morning with a scratch on his face and sickened in a couple of hours alarmingly.  I was home alone with him, delirium with exhaustion myself and working hard with his wonderful medical naturopathic team to figure out when it got serious enough to ...well take seriously.  I grew up largely without doctors and so I'm more comfortable with at home medicine that most Americans and I was comfortable but worried and overwhelmed throughout the day.  

When we decided it was serious, I packed us up for the ER and I grabbed my camera and clicked the shutter twice before throwing it in my bag.  Later, when he was home and painfree and we were all cuddled up on the couch I looked at my files with delight and awe.  

This is that moment.

It's preserved forever.  

It's me and him.  It's truth and fiction.  It's perfect and so very imperfect.  

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I love it passionately and then I built a show around it.  

I urge you to go see it in person because the Seattle School is in a old wooden luggage factory next to the sculpture garden and the Edgewood and also because photographs are best in person.  Big and on a wall - the grain and the light right in your face.  But if you're out of town or homebound - Ive included the text and the photos below so you can enjoy it even a little bit on your small screen.  

 

Here's my bio from the show. Scroll down to see some of the images that I plan to hang tomorrow.  whoooo hooooo

__________________________________________________________________________

LeannaBre is a Seattle photographer passionate about documenting the ordinary life of humans big and small. She is available for events, portraits of individuals, couples and families and all good wacky ideas. These photographs are from her archives, a meditation on the topic of Resilience. 

We often hope that we won't have to be resilient.  We pray that nothing bad will ever be done to us or done by us.  We pray we won't need to make healing our friend.  And yet again and again, we fall short of our mark -  our children are dirty, our bodies are sick, our houses are unkempt and our lives lack the polish that we wish they reflected. We fall into the trap of believing that the cycle of broken and glued back together is shameful, that the truth about us should be hidden from the world.  

Leanna believes nothing could be further from the truth. She believes that the cracks within us that we fill with clay and straw and sticky tack are rich with a special beauty that can be found nowhere else. The rhythms of sweetness followed by bitterness and then healed by cuddling and soup and long cries are one of the best showcases for the beauty of life and the gorgeousness of the human spirit. Be inspired to find a little more beauty in your resilient, ordinary self today.

Ordinary Times - a lenten meditation - A show hanging at One Life Community Church

Last month I hung my show entitled The Hidden Goodness of Ordinary Times up in the sanctuary of OneLife Community Church in Seattle. I'm so pleased to be decorating this holy place with my art and my view of the world.

For those of you in town, please drop by and visit the work if churches are a safe place for you. It's a lovely community there. 
I've included the text of my blurb and a couple of shots from the show below in case you are too far to visit. The show will be up through the fall as I continue to document the life and rhythms of this community with my lens.

***

LeannaBre is a Seattle photographer passionate about documenting the ordinary life of humans big and small. She is available for events, portraits of individuals, couples and families and all good wacky ideas. To mark the Lenten Season of Ordinary Time, Leanna is honored to decorate this sacred space with images that portray the deep pleasure of the everyday.
Sometimes the pleasure of everyday (of errands and showers and buses and work) can be hard to find. Many of us spend our ordinary time dreaming of the pleasure of extraordinary times. We love big parties and magnificent sunsets and fabulous vacations and memorable Christmases. We prefer sparkle and pizzazz to laundry and bills and feeding the cat. That’s OK. We all need special times and once in a lifetime memories. But we also live most of our lives in the routine and it is important to celebrate and lean into these regular times.  
How can we manage the reality of ordinary life against our shiny memories and the glitzy world of social media and tv?
Much of the time our children are dirty, our houses are unkempt and our lives lack the polish that we wish they always reflected. We fall into the trap of believing that this ordinariness is shameful, that the truth about us should be hidden from the world.  
Leanna believes nothing could be further from the truth. She believes that ordinary times are rich with a special beauty that can be found nowhere else. The rhythms of bedtime and tv, chicken breasts for dinner and chores and email are one of the best showcases for the beauty of life and the gorgeousness of the human spirit. Be inspired to find a little more beauty in your ordinary life today.

Pacific Northwest Artist and Maker - Ava Swift

I'm in awe of the makers.

The creators.

The dreamers and imaginers and thinkers and doers and planners and be-ers.  Those who have a vision that no one else has.  Those who sweat and work and try and try again.  Those who hold themselves a littler differently.

Its hard to be an artist under capitalism.  Hard? Maybe impossible I don't know.  Harder to be a lady artist with so little of the art work dedicated to art made by women.  So little of that art bought or sold or hung on museum walls.  I'm honored to share with you the start of a sierras I've been working on that will feature Pacific Northwest female artists.  I want to help a little bit against the isolation that surrounds makers, each in their own studios, working with their own hands.  I want to bring our ideas together.  Put the faces next to each other, if no where else that at least in this place called the internet.

woman portrait Seattle binoculars photograph dreadlocks

My dear friend Ava makes beautiful precious encaustics with her hands and her brushes and her heart and I was honored to be invited to witness the process and dedication in her gorgeous cottage on the side of the sound in Seattle.   

And stay tuned - Ava and I are collaborating on a show next month as a part of THIS fancy event so you'll get to see much more of us together! Come out for a fun afternoon of thinking and seeing in the historic Belltown neighborhood of Seattle.  See you there!

Encaustic means “to burn in” and is an ancient art form where beeswax, pigments, and heat are used in combination to produce layers of wax upon a surface. Ava's work mixes wax, resin, pigments, oil pastels, and ink on wood. The results are beautiful etherial inner landscapes projected outward.  

Have you missed me?

I've missed y'all!

And.... well, Sorry but not sorry my internet darlings.

I've decided to take the summer off from blogging.  Instead of blogging, I'll be baking stone fruit cakes and enjoying late fires in the fire pit and scratching mosquitos at the lake side.  I thought about it long and hard and I really don't want to be in front of my computer any more than I have to.  

And I already have to be in front of the computer A LOT to edit and connect with my clients. And that is great! I'm lucky to do it.  But I'm cutting blogging back cos it's nonessential.  So enjoy the outdoors yourself and how about we meet back here in the fall to play some catch up?  There will be pictures of the Pacific Northwest in all her glory and pictures of my beautiful wonderful smarty clients and of the tiny muddy necked human!  It'll be great.

See you then!

-Leanna Bre