January, 2014 Archive
On Vulnerability | Our Difference Sameness
January 31st, 2014

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.


Vulnerability. It opens us up to the possibility of immense joy and overwhelming heartbreak. It is the core of who we are – it is our humanity. It is the field where souls collide and our oneness is realized. Vulnerability is showing up and opening up and breaking down and being at peace with uncertainty. It is loving and being loved in spite of fear until, perhaps, there is no fear. It is everything. And, it is nothing. It is the absence of barriers and the welcoming of what actually is.

For my contribution to our project this month, I chose a self-portrait. I decided to show up – literally. And, it wasn’t easy for me. I have never taken a self-portrait of this kind before. I don’t care for the way I look in photographs. And, I often find it difficult to step outside of my comfort zone photographically and to then share the results with others. It’s difficult to put myself out there in that way. Because of this, a self-portrait seemed the perfect image to accompany my thoughts on vulnerability.

I leave you with a quote from Brene Brown who, it could be said, is an “expert” on vulnerability. I hope her words resonate with you as they did with me.

“One of the deepest paradoxes about vulnerability [is that] when I meet you, vulnerability is a very first thing I try to find in you and it’s the very last thing I want to show you in me . . . It’s all about our community humanity and, when we own our stories and we share our stories with one another and we see ourselves reflected back in the stories of the people in our lives, we know we’re not alone. And to me, that’s the heart of wholeheartedness, it’s the center of spirituality. To me, that’s the nature of connection, to be able to see myself and hear myself and learn more about myself in the stories you tell about your experiences.”



Our Different Sameness is the combined effort of a group of photographers seeking to explore our human connection through images and words. In our attempt to authentically capture what may prove to be intangible and elusive, we seek only to journey together honestly. Every month, we will explore what it means to be human, and how we experience life as part of a collective. Our goal is not only to explore these themes, but to celebrate the sameness we find within them. To learn more about the project and view our work, visit us here.

these two sisters | a project in 52 weeks
January 27th, 2014

 The most powerful symptom of love is a tenderness which becomes at times almost insupportable. ~Victor Hugo

these two sisters

Sometimes, I see such tenderness pass between the two of you that I am left speechless. Hold tight to one another. Always.

week three

To see previous weeks, go here.

Who They Are | Washington DC Family Photographer
January 25th, 2014

It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like. It’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.” Paul Caponingro

For me, these words set the standard. While there are many ways to tell a story, to present an idea, to capture a moment, to communicate a thought through a photograph, my passion for making portraits lies in the idea that – one day if I work hard enough – I will hit this standard more times than I miss it. I won’t be untruthful here – I find making a portrait of who people actually are to be incredibly difficult. It is especially difficult with clients. There must be an ease there – an openness and a willingness on both my part and on theirs – to be open, to be present, to simply be. When I feel the stars aligning and begin to see glimpses of this happening my heart truly sings. Those moments make the whole thing worth it.

I photographed Jude when he was mere weeks old. My business was younger, and I was less sure of myself. But, even still, beautiful images of baby Jude were made, and I left quite taken with him and his family. I hoped they would call on me again. When I got the call to come and photograph a much older Jude, I was thrilled. They welcomed me into their home like an old friend, and they just lived their life in front of my camera. It made my heart sing.

I hope you enjoy the resulting images.







crystal hardin photography

family lifestyle photography