The Day my Most Important Life Project was Born

in honor of her

in honor of her

No matter what books you read, what stories you hear, and what preconceptions you may have, nothing ever prepares you for the moment when your child is born.

Everyone has their story from the magical to the confronting and mine was a mixture of both. For years before, I had been chasing and building my career in a very aggressive manner and I looked at jobs as something to conquer and when one did not suit me, to have to the confidence to just drop it and move to the next. With this state of mind I waltzed into my pregnancy thinking it was just another task to win at. And then she was born.

All my preconceived ideas came crumbling in one big heap. I realized that nothing is as I thought. This job will be for life. There are no options for quitting, no turning back, no chance at slacking, and the responsibility of it was just mind-boggling. It was like joining a secret parent cult that no one warns you about.

If there is magic in life, then this is where it lives where I am concerned. Watching a life grow, evolve, develop and become the human it is meant to be.

The honor of being entrusted with the care of another human is the greatest honor of all.

Today, with this post, I begin my third 365 photography and writing project.

Chasing Time~

chasing time~ Boracay

chasing time~ Boracay

It’s a funny thing, time. I remember as a child not minding time at all; being and living in the moment; existing in a plane where time had no say in my business. Then slowly things begin to change. Time would no longer allow itself to be ignored. It wants to assert its managerial role in the affairs of my human existence. Freedom is replaced by deadlines, strict appointments and duties to be fulfilled on ‘time’. But little does time know that I remember what it was like to be free, and that I can escape to that place where I kept my childhood alive and well. Don’t tell time…

Holding on to innocence~

IMG_4588 IMG_5126 IMG_5787 IMG_5885

As my little girl grows up, I watch with quiet desperation how her innocence begins to recede to the background. The old simple jokes that made her laugh again and again are now silly, the complete freedom with which she skipped all over the world and its problems is beginning to allow bits of worry into her magical world. Questions about the state of the world arise causing a frown to form on her previously every radiant and smiling face. Nothing prepares a parent for the inevitable letting go of their child’s innocence. We hold on to it desperately, we pray that the hugs will last longer, that the laughter will ring louder and that worry will keep its fangs away from our babies.

The inevitable change

secrets in the rain~ Shanghai

secrets in the rain~ Shanghai

once upon a rainy day~ Shanghai

once upon a rainy day~ Shanghai

fall games~ Shanghai

fall games~ Shanghai

fall mosaics~ Shanghai

fall mosaics~ Shanghai

legends of the fall~ Shanghai

legends of the fall~ Shanghai

Every year at about the same time in November a new wind blows in Shanghai bringing with it the promise of a heartless winter to come. But there is so much to love about the way the fall forces itself on summer, not offering any apologies, simply making a bold statement, stripping the trees of their leaves, forcing us all to alertness and away from the laziness of summer warmth.

 

harsh realities~ Qibao

a life she drifted into~

a life she drifted into~

a rough start at life~

a rough start at life~

In Qibao, and old area of Shanghai, is a neighborhood(if you can call it that) of green lanes. Confronting realities wait there behind each door and in front of some where young women prepare to sell themselves for a living. As much as this practice is as old as civilization itself, it remains heartbreaking to witness people’s daughters going through this to survive. And most painful of all was seeing a little girl forced to grow up in that strange world of green lanes.

 

when the imagination runs free~ we love Halloween

Every year our little family waits for Halloween to step out of the ordinary into a little something extraordinary; because life is just that; extraordinary; until we forget. I find so much joy in planning events since my daughter was born 9 years ago and together we plot and plan and create. Last year we had the idea to create Halloween characters with her and her friends making studio portraits with them in costume and this year we will do that again. Here are a few of our favorite portraits from last year.

clarissa

clarissa

cora

cora

the blue vampire

the blue vampire

ginger

ginger

hans

hans

lady tamiko

lady tamiko

ralph

ralph

raya

raya

sybill

sybill

sybill

sybill

tara

tara

jora

jora

waia

waia

ginger

ginger

Searching for home~

searching for home~ Edinburgh

searching for home~ Edinburgh

Ask me where I am from, where home is, and I find myself thinking before I answer you. This is the case for so many of us these days. We come from mixed race marriages, we leave our home countries, we live in a new place, we move again, we marry from yet another country and our children are left with a number of origins to choose from and call home. Recently someone asked my 7 year old niece where she was from, and she answered: “I am a Swiss/Lebanese/New Zealander and I live in UAE”, whereas my 9 year old daughter is a German/American/Lebanese who lives in China. Is this the face of new world citizenship and the age of planetary close connections and integration? I wonder…