A Mother & Daughter Session, with Catherine + Charlotte

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There is an intimacy captured during in-home sessions that simply cannot be captured outside of the home. It’s the reason shooting in-home is my most preferred, favorite setting. Even more, I love to capture the relationship between a mother and her child; it’s unlike any other relationship, so innate and animalistic. The way we care for our young with our whole hearts; it’s a privilege anytime I’m invited into a home and capturing Catherine and Charlotte was no exception. A love so divine, so true.

Catherine and Charlotte, captured in their home in San Diego, California.

Interested in booking a session? Visit my website and email me: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

A Family Session, with The Simons

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I met the Simon family just before the holidays and was quickly transported back-in-time to when my boys were younger. Even though most days still feel like a defeat, I was reminded that there were times where nearly every single day was a battle; a battle I didn’t even realize was as much at the time… When you’re simply going through the motions and taking care of what needs to be taken care only to get to the end of the day and realize that taking-care-of part of the day never really included yourself. Not to say that Jamie in any way fit this description, she most certainly did not. In fact, she seemed oblivious to the fact that her days are surely harder than mine. I suppose it’s just the territory that comes with having a 5 month old and a 2 year old. Shit’s just hard.

Sweet baby Kaia was a dream, however, to photograph. Intrigued by my camera and go-with-the-flow. And Kane was all-systems-go and rock n’ roll, which truthfully makes for a welcomed challenge; no choice but to capture him as he is, on his terms, which is what I strive to do anyway. And Jamie and Brad were relaxed and natural, making the shoot rather seamless and effortless.

We spent the first hour shooting in their beautiful, newly remodeled, home in Seal beach before heading out to catch a bit of the sunset just a few blocks from their house.

I stopped at a local florist shop on the way home and bought some flowers, something I never do, and made a promise to myself that Willy and I’s next date will take place in Seal Beach because it’s just as cute as can me.

Many thanks to the Simon family for having me. If you, too, are interested in hiring me for a session, email me: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com. You can also check out my website by clicking here.

A Family Session, with The Martins

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I met the Martin family at their gorgeous home in San Francisco. We had initially planned on meeting somewhere outdoors and I’m so glad I convinced them to do an in-home session instead. Their home was absolutely gorgeous and with such a beautiful family to match, it only seemed fitting.

Nicole was home with both kiddos when I arrived and we shot some before Jose made his way home from work. Their kids, like mine, are less than two years apart and were all kinds of crazy but in the best kind of way.

I think parents often have some expectation for their children to be well behaved during shoots and it takes some convincing before they realize that I not only expect this on my shoots, but invite it. I’m no Sears Portrait Photographer and more times than not, I’ve found that the more chaos, the more movement, and the more movement, the better. Dahlia and Sebastian were all kinds of fun and played into every one of my scenarios just perfectly. Sometimes what seems like complete and utter chaos is actually pretty darn close to any written script I could have put together.

Interested in hiring me for a session? Email me: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

 

An interview with Dori Varga, builder of Tribe de Mama

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Some time ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Dori Varga, the beauty behind Tribe de Mama. I have been meaning to interview her here every since. Sometimes I get bored with the monotony that seems to have claimed much of social media and the blog world today; but there’s always a silver lining and Tribe de Mama, for me, is part of that silver lining. I love the sense of community and support that flows from Dori’s personal feed as well as from the Tribe de Mama feed; a place where women, all women, can go and feel united and invited. In any event, I thought some of you might be interested in learning more about Tribe de Mama. I’m also stoked to be able to share some more images from our shoot way back when because, well, it’s one of my all time favorites. With no further adieu, here’s Dori…TheStork&TheBeanstalkPhotography-4 TheStork&TheBeanstalkPhotography-6

What prompted you to start TRIBE de MAMA and how did it come about?

The creation and birth of Noah inspired me to get deeper, to dig deeper. Inside me, and outside me. Not a shock as I was doing all I could to prepare for an unmedicated birth, I had to tear all the walls and bullshit down that I had built up ever since childhood.

When the idea came to me I was already in the transition from an art blog to a blog which features artist women, with a specific focus on interviewing mothers who create art. I was, and am still, fascinated by the transformation of the feminine creativity when the mind and soul goes from maiden to mother. Such a special exploration!

Once Noah was born it was clear that I was on a mission, and that is to help to empower women, to inspire women, to help those looking for sisterhood, and to be a bridge between healers and those who seek healing. The rest organically flowed, and is still evolving.

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I’ve noticed gatherings taking place all around the world. Do you have a hand in organizing each of these gatherings? Where have you held gatherings thus far?

Yes, we indeed have events around the world; we have had women come together as TRIBE de MAMA in Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and Hungary, but our main playground still remains within the US.
Anyone can become an organizer, once they agree to follow our core values; creating a judgment free, safe space, where a loving and empathic sisterhood is gathered.

We make a difference between three types of events an organizer is able to create: gatherings, workshops, and women’s circles. For the latter we are currently creating the protocol.

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What are the gatherings like? What takes place at each gathering?

It depends on what kind of event we are talking about. A gathering can be a picnic, an organized hike, a class or lecture, a movie screening; really the list is infinite. What defines them all is that these events are free for anyone to attend and that they are all infused with our core values.

Can you speak to the power of women coming together? I think it’s such a beautiful thing, something our society really needs more of.

I absolutely agree.

I first felt the undeniable “girl power” while becoming a big Spice Girls fan when I was a young girl. My main attraction to this group was the way they celebrated unity in diversity. Five ladies, all very different, yet equal, best friends, creating sisterhood. Each of them representing an aspect of the woman, the goddess. I always thought whoever created that idea was a fucking genius! They must have had very similar ideas about women and ‘the future is feminine’ movement, as so many of us today.

Since then just the representation has changed, the main feelings stayed in me. I am obsessed with the empowerment and connecting of women. I believe that when we come together to celebrate life, to support one another, to inspire and uplift each other, we are raising the vibration of humanity and the entire planet. Through putting our hearts and minds together in a circle of trust and consciousness, we are creating a better future for our children. All you have to do is focus on your closest connections; your mother, your sister, your daughter, your daughter’s friends, your neighbor, her sister and friends, and so on. Your local village is the most important place for the work. Truly living the love, and fully embracing mindfulness and a generally peaceful lifestyle while nurturing our local, conscious, sisterhood is first. A sisterhood of equality and free of judgment.
I understand that not everyone has the opportunity to connect with likeminded women in real life, and for those sisters we created TRIBE de MAMA. To be all that I mentioned already: support, encouragement, inspiration, a safe place to turn to.

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Are most of the participants in TRIBE de MAMA mothers?

Mmm… Good question. I know that the word ‘mama’ confuses some, but we are not only for mothers. This expression is a hint for the nurturing aspect of the woman. This community is a place for anyone who identifies as a woman.

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Where do you see TRIBE de MAMA headed in the next 5 years?

You are not the first one to ask me this… I have no idea. Truly. Just in the first year we have built so much! But things seem to be slowing down a bit. I like to let the community lead the way, and organically set us up for what is to come. Let the ladies decide what they need most, and serve them. I am here to serve.

I look at TRIBE de MAMA as community first, then as a magazine. The community building part is what stands closer to my heart. I have been dreaming of working together with women on a global level for a long time.

Currently we are putting together the protocol needed to initiate official facilitators to hold space for TRIBE de MAMA. I am just starting to work together with Alison Love, shamanic healer, artist, and practiced women’s circle facilitator. She is one of my main co-creators who is helping me create a fresh system, proper guidelines, and a badass marketing and action plan to reach and help as many sisters as we can through our events.

A big part of our community building is the TRIBE FAMILY GATHERING, which we held for the first time in Joshua Tree last Halloween weekend. It was a powerful three days of about 60 men, women, and children. We held workshops, different healing circles, had the most talented holistic chef cook for us, built bonfires, played music, created art. Involving the partners of the TRIBE de MAMA girls was epic. From what I heard, saw, and felt, these men were changed and have been ever since. The brother circle and its work is just as important as the women’s; there is a deep need coming from men to gather and connect on the soul level at this time of life. My lover, Adam, heard this calling, and said yes to it. I am so proud of him for creating such magic for others to heal and grow. The entire weekend was just an amazing and profound experience for all of us that we decided to gather the tribe twice a year. Our next TRIBE FAMILY GATHERING will be in late September. This time we will open the doors for up to 120 sisters and brothers, and from now on we will be keeping to this number. Our aim is to keep the intimacy of the gathering, to truly recreate the feeling of the village.

On the other end, there is our magazine.  We are currently moving from a monthly to a seasonal format, as well as a professional online magazine layout. The website is being renewed as well; so we will be back online with our first seasonal issue, REBIRTH, being released at the end of January.
Since the start I have been aiming for a platform where the movers and makers of the feminine power can join forces and spread their wisdom and message. After a year, I finally feel like we have the team we have been looking for to make this dream come true.
My main assistants are Kristen Coleford, as Production Manager and Creative Co-Creator and Alison Love as Creative Co-Creator. Vanessa Perger as Editor in Chief is an amazing expert of written words, while Erin Erickson is helping her as Editor, and has been one of the main tribe girls ever since the beginning.
We are creating a lifestyle magazine for women of all ages, colors, cultures, and sexual orientations. Our mission is to bring a mindful, holistic, and spiritual approach into the everyday life through these pages, offering suggestions for our rituals in all aspects of life. You will find health and wellness pieces, as well as travel, fiction, interviews, photo journals, storytelling, empowering, informative, and other narrative articles. Our contributor group is also growing; currently we are working with about 60 women globally on the written content. There are another 30 women internationally who create art for us, to make the magazine an artistically valuable platform as well. Alexa Pique is my Art Curator with an amazing taste and voice, which keeps the creative juice flowing. We are co creating TRIBE de MAMA’s side project Kunstblitz together where we explore “Consciously Curated Art to Inspire the Feminine Heart”. Art is still a passion of mine, and I wouldn’t be able to give it up for a second. Connecting with people through paintings and photographs is such a deep way of learning of one another’s soul. I found some of the closest sisters around me through connecting through sharing art with each other.

Besides these parts, we have opened our own BooKlub as well on Facebook, led by beautiful sister KC Brezina, and which will be holding virtual meetings over the phone starting in the new year. The books KC has in mind for our community are truly beautiful readings to inspire the feminine mind and soul.

Lastly, we are also about to launch the TRIBE de MAMA Fundraising Collective with the lead of Ines Tucakovic and Stepha Lawson. Our mission is to support different organizations helping women, mothers, expecting women, or young girls in need, and to raise awareness within our community of the difficult situations of the woman living on our planet. My longterm plan is to build our TdM Fundraising Collective into a legit fundraiser organization, which will be able to co create with volunteer workers and serve the women in need. My biggest dream will come true when this happens.

My hope is that in the upcoming years we will truly be able to create a more diverse community, not only for ourselves but for the world. Each part of TRIBE de MAMA is serving this idea. My continuous aim is for us to clearly communicate that we are open to anyone, and to create an inviting and comforting space for women to join us from all around the globe.

Thank you, Dori, for your time. Again, you can find Dori & Tribe de Mama on instagram @dorideer | @tribedemama and on the web here.tribedemama

A Family Session, with The Foleys

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We had intentions of shooting first thing in the morning and as I drove across the Bay Bridge to their home in Alameda, I realized that the sun wasn’t even set to rise until 30 minutes into our shoot. I was immediately cursing myself for the extra 30 minutes I could have spent in bed because, ya know, who doesn’t like sleep? But as I drove along the water to their home and saw the first hint of light coming up beyond the palm trees, I called Stacey and suggested we flip flop our plans and start by shooting at the beach first. And so, pajamas n’ all, we headed to the beach to watch the sun grant us the light of day. Her husband Devin joined us for a bit before heading off to work and all in all it felt much like a true lifestyle session. My favorite.

We headed the short block home after the beach. I fell in love pretty fast with Sadie, admitting that if the baby in my belly ends up being a girl that I’m not quite sure what to do… but a girl like Sadie? Let’s just say she’s equal parts sweet n’ kind and rock n’ roll.

We spent the rest of the morning coloring, horsing around, eating breakfast, and playing in the yard. A pretty typical morning in many homes made beautiful and unique by a family I’m now happy to say I know.

Interested in hiring me for a session? Email me: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

A Family Session, with The Posters

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I met the Poster family at their home in Lafayette for another one of my Bay Area sessions. Watching their two young boys, Nick and Sam, reminded me so much of my own rascals; a little one that will soon enough be the bigger of the two and both with a propensity toward sticks and dirt and all things, well, found on the ground and in nature.

We shot some in-home before heading just down the street to a beautiful nature path that weaves it’s way through much of Lafayette. Beautiful light trickling in from behind the oak trees and a tree swing for any who venture down the path to use.

A beautiful, warm, and inviting family. A love you could feel.

Interested in hiring me for a session? Email me: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

A Family Session, with The Shreeves

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We spent some time exploring the surrounding area before walking down to the baths. I can remember learning about the Sutro baths – which back in the late 1890’s were the site of an indoor swimming pool – in college, when I attended San Francisco State. Nowadays you have to watch your step because falling into what was then the pool would now be like falling into a porta-potty. Okay, maybe not that bad but I’d be interested to see what kind of things could be pulled out of what’s left of the pool. We came across a few loose sandals but all in all it looked less than inviting and murky, at best.

Not that you can tell any of that from the images; the Sutro Baths today draw all kinds of photographers come dusk, quick to capture the beautiful sunsets and the reflections that so beautifully mirror the colors that fill the sky. It made a great backdrop and my time with the Shreeve family was nothing short of delightful.

Interested in hiring me for a family session, event, or wedding? Email me: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com. You can learn more details by visiting my website.

 

A Family Session, with The Yungs

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Mary and I were both once part of Childhood Unplugged and had the opportunity to meet in person at one of the instameets I put together with my friend Cindy some time back. It made it all the more sweeter when she contacted me about doing some family photos.

Their home is filled with so much laughter and, for me, there’s something extra special about watching a mama be grossly outnumbered and yet so abundantly loved. And by the same token, I enjoyed watching Winston interact with his three boys. I came home telling Willy not to fret; that there will come a day when the boys will enjoy watching football with him, or at least there is hope.

This session had such a natural flow to it; none of it felt forced and I could tell immediately that laughter is something that fills this home on a regular basis.

Forty Five

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A portrait of my family once a week, most weeks, in 2015

Willy: Tried blaming a fart-in-public on me but both boys called him out and said, “but mama doesn’t fart that much”.

Hooper: Made a necklace for a little girl in his class and actually gave it to her. He’s colored many pictures for her too but none have made it into her hands. Can’t believe this crush thing happens so early.

Van: Insists on wearing this sweatshirt despite the still-summer-like weather (minus the cold front that seems to have just rolled in). He asked me to take his shirt off yesterday, claiming he was too hot and thus needed his sweatshirt. His love for the sweatshirt is real but his reasoning is a bit skewed.

Me: Was coasting through what quickly became the second trimester only to now feel like all of my insides are going to fall out of my vagina at any moment.

Jimmie: Barfed but then cleaned it up himself. I told the boys to take notes.52weekproject-b

A Family Session, with The Rays

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It’s very rare that I get an email requesting my services for a true lifestyle session. I emphasize true because there are a lot of people out there calling shoots lifestyle sessions that are indeed entirely directed and composed. I, myself, am at times one of them. I always prefer that at least a portion of my sessions are candid in nature. I thrive on those moments when life must take over; when diapers have to be changed, cuts need a bandaid, children need to be fed, shoes need to be tied… because those are the little moments that are some of my favorite to capture. Mostly because people stop overthinking how they appear because, well, shit’s gotta get done.

I was so happy when Angela emailed me requesting an entirely candid session… I believe her words were “from bed head to breakfast” or something of the like. These images are far from perfect, with no re-dos and very minimal direction, but there lies a truth in their grainy goodness that far exceeds anything I could have orchestrated myself. And I couldn’t be more pleased with the moments captured; the love and war between siblings, the toothpaste in the sink and the inspection by a father of his son’s job of brushing his own teeth, the playfulness of a baby that is no longer really interested in nursing, and hair blowing wildly from that all powerful fan that’s so necessary in these dog days of summer.

I captured this family in their home, in Claremont, California.

Interested in booking a session? Please visit my website and email me for more information: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com.

Fall Sessions

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I may be shooting myself in the foot here because space and time are both quite limited this fall (energy too – ha). But if your schedule is flexible and you’re interested in booking a session, email me. Live outside of Southern California? I’m hoping to do more travel sessions in the new year, so speak up (I have an email request from someone in Austin so if you too are in that area, please raise your hand. And by raise your hand, I mean send me an email). I also potentially have one spot left in San Francisco, on Tuesday October 20th, if anyone is interested. Email me: ashleyjennett{at}gmail.com.

A Mother & Child Session, with Carolyn Mara Borlenghi & Co.

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My dear friend Carolyn, who participates in Childhood Unplugged with me, came out from Florida to visit and I was more than delighted when she asked me to snap some photos of her and her boys at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel. The entire shoot was very comfortable and felt very collaborative, with more art direction than is typical of my documentary style, though I’ve come to love it nearly just as much. It feels so fulfilling to have a vision and then to execute it. And with such a beautiful artist in her own right as my subject, it was awfully easy. Her boys were a joy to work with, sweet and charming and downright handsome. A with a love like they have for their mama, it all flowed naturally and smooth. Made me think I need to get in the frame with my boys more given the fact that they love me so dearly at this point in life (hashtag: subject to change). In any event, Carolyn is all kinds of beautiful; equal parts elegant and fun.

Interested in hiring me for a session, wedding, or event? Email me: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com

A Family Session, with The Gibsons

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That’s not to say this shoot was chaotic. Not for me, at least. Though Kelly and Roger may tell you otherwise. I captured this family, in their home and alongside the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington.
Interested in booking a session? You can visit my website for more information, or email me: ashleyjennett @ gmail.com. I’ll be in Northern California October 19-22 and have just a few slots left.

A Family Session, with The Hillman Family

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I photographed The Hillman Family in their hometown of Portland, Oregon during my recent time spent up in the Pacific Northwest. They invited me into their beautiful 1940’s home nestled in a quiet neighborhood in the hills looking down on the city. We spent sometime inside before venturing to their backyard, which is something Aaron build himself and surprised Amy with on her birthday years ago. You better believe I came home telling Willy all about this new bar that has been set. Little Josie picked what was left of the blueberries, chased the cat, and picked some flowers for each of us. Her little curls as sweet as her smile. We finished the shoot at a park up the hill from their home.

I’d love to open myself up for more travel sessions. If you’re in the US and interested in having me out to your area, shoot me an email. It’s been such a pleasure traveling and meeting new families. And in case you missed it, I’ll be in the Northern California region October 18-21 and am looking to book a few shoots while there.