desert dreams

Chester, NJ

"The desert and the ocean are realms of desolation on the surface.

The desert is a place of bones, where the innards are turned out, to desiccate into dust.

The ocean is a place of skin, rich outer membranes hiding thick juicy insides, laden with the soup of being.

Inside out and outside in. These are worlds of things that implode or explode, and the only catalyst that determines the direction of eco-movement is the balance of water.

Both worlds are deceptive, dangerous. Both, seething with hidden life.

The only veil that stands between perception of what is underneath the desolate surface is your courage.

Dare to breach the surface and sink."
-Vera Nazarian

I've always had this want to explore into the desert. I guess for now, I can find places that will keep me captivated with plant life as in these photos.

"God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden... 
The best gift of the desert is God's presence... The protective love of the Shepherd gives me courage to face the interior journey."

Paul E. Miller

& I'll meet you where your soul meets mine.

Pure moments,
simple joys
a hand to hold
Whether a tear
or a smile
gets to shine
that day.

When the days can't hold enough hours of light,
When the nights are long and there's not a star in sight,
I'll meet you where your soul meets mine.

When through the light and the dark,
two separate lives become one,
through connection there's always magic to be found.

I am nothing more than a million thoughts of you swimming inside me.
— Tyler Knott Gregson

spring fever

Hacklebarney, NJ

Nothing feels real here, the fever begins to take it's hold over me...
I'm beginning to fall into this world, like a vivid dream,
I can't tell if this is real, or if I am... Or, if I'm really even here...

Everything is beautiful, surrounded by vibrant colors i swear I've never seen. Strange feelings rushing through me, I can feel my soul trying to break out of it's human skin; I can taste the colors as they begin to move around me, it's  as if they're trying to show me new places never touched. I can feel myself floating along with the early spring breeze hypnotized by the song of nature.

"Where Soul Meets Body"

Schooley's Mountain, NJ
Listening to:
Thrice
discography
"Plans" album by
Death Cab For Cutie

"I want to live where soul meets body
And let the sun wrap its arms around me and
Bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing
And feel what it's like to be new.

'Cause in my head there's a Greyhound station
where I send my thoughts to far off destinations
so they may have a chance of finding a place where they're
far more suited than here."

Death Cab For Cutie

Recently, I've found myself out and about exploring more which has led me with my camera in hand to dig back into my roots creatively. There's so much freedom in not having to worry about anything, but to capture images with whatever is there in front of me. To find ways to work with whatever is given to me. It's all been a whole different experience that I've fallen away from. It's given me peace of mind and a way to enjoy time without much else but nature to enjoy.

As I started to go through all of the recent images that I've captured, I couldn't get the song, "See you in the shallows," by thrice out of my head. Especially the line, "The water here is far to blue." It didn't mean much, but it stirred something in me when I started to see that I didn't and then couldn't remember the last time I shot any sort of 'real' and 'true' landscape photo. All the stuff you see all over social media that others are doing that seem to stand alone, just a beautiful and bright scene that would make anyone want to jump into a plane or car and go see in real life. And the more I kept wondering if these photos were real, the more that line rang around my mind.

Then... Some bunch of days later, I found myself listening to Death Cab For Cutie's album "Plans" I was feeling every line... Every note... Feeling music in a way that I feel like I haven't much enjoyed in it recently. I started looking through these photos again. I started feeling the peace that I felt standing above and sitting next to the rushing waters, climbing the rocks and sitting in the snow without feeling the cold. And it hit me: it doesn't matter how I go about getting the images or if I'm following any sort of given rules. But, the simple fact of it, it's that I don't look for your normal scenes or try to capture these images how others would; but, I'm really searching for the small things around me that portray small extensions of my soul. If I feel like I'm capturing that, than that's all that really matters. They're beauty and darkness will stand on their own. The true nature of things that are often overlooked.

"I hear the waves crash far below;

The rocks are leaping for the sky
They're starving for the air, for a bone to break,
A dream to smash apart, but I don't care
It looks deep enough from here, I'm diving

The water here is far to blue..."

-Thrice

#MARCHFOROURLIVES

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
- Martin Luther king Jr.

Morristown, NJ

There's something magical about being apart of moments that you can feel the energy in and know they're something so much bigger than you. It didn't hit me until later on until I started looking through these the fact that it was a Saturday and these are what kids were putting their time and effort in. This is what kids feel they need to do today. That's where we are and it shouldn't be.

just get up and go.

How fitting that a small break from reality and to grab some mental sanity would be to simply wander off into a snowstorm all the way down to the lake.
I wasn't sure if I'd end up with even one good photo from the adventure, I was just pushing my luck.
Yet --
Somehow, trudgning across town on foot, getting beaten down by blinding snow gusts and wind that never stopped -
I walked up to the lake.
Everything a pure, brilliant and blinding white and in the middle - just open space. It didn't seem like a lake, just a dark whole. The closer I got, the waves of the lake slowly made an appearence uderneath the darkness of the storm hovering over it.
No photos will ever do it justice and no words I could find right now could explain the magic of the whole scene that I was walking into.

There's just something magical about making your way through fresh snow. It doesn't matter if you're driving or just walking through it.
Everything's covered and out of a fairy tale, like a coma state or purgatory - it all looks like a dream and feels like one.
To focus on whats around you. To breathe in deeply. To enjoy the moment. When you forget about everything else in the world and even the conditions feel as if they couldn't hold you down.
The amazing beauty that nature gives us in all of its forms is the greatest medicine.

The conditions were something else, but I just kept shooting and shooting.

Past the first few shots I got, I couldn't see anything going on with my camera. The plastic bag I had it in was becoming just as snow and water covered as I was, making it even harder to know if I was even capturing anything worth it, or if a single one would even show up not a blurry mess.
But, I simply didn't care.
I just kept shooting and shooting, until the weather finally got to me.

Also, above is my friend Ash. ( ashcapvisions.com )

Right before I stepped out the door, I texted her and said, " if you're not busy, I have to walk by your house in a little bit to grab some smokes... let's go to the lake."
Props to her for answering and being about it, ready to go as soon as I got over there!

It was good to just get out, battle new circumstances and just create to create. Just let my soul find some peace and balance in just making something, whatever might come out.

Not only am I really stoked on all these images and just the freedom felt of the other day, but - in the middle of facing the storm, especially getting right next to the lake - we somehow managed to throw together a quick and completely spontaneous concept that I'm excited to share (tomorrow's blog post).

It's amazing the blessings around us. I've been in a really strange spot for some months now, but these are the things that keep me feeling alive the most.
Thanks if you made it all the way through!

lost in a hole somewhere between here and -

Model: Bianca
IG: @bianca.eye
NJ.

Before,
life can give death
a chance to reach me
and before,
I can do anymore damage
to myself or this world -
let my heart find whatever
that it may in search of.

Always feel like I'm caught in a dream, like a purgatory and everything - good or bad - feels the same.
It's like I'm forever sleeping even in waking life. It's like part of my soul disappeared, or maybe it's always been missing, I can't remember anymore.
I've been stuck in the middle of one long wave with no break in sight.

Lost somewhere in a hole; these nightmares, they're speaking to me in tongues. I'm riding on the wave watching the sky turn to fire. Asking myself, "do I want to make it out of here to see the light?" I'm just not sure if I'm up to being saved, because hell - it feels like home.

I've been getting these visits in the night and I've been speaking to the dead, they've been keeping me from completely unraveling. They've been reminding me that I still have more time left in a world that keeps throwing me away.
I'm ready to feel all of this.

It's in the places that we fear the most,
where we truly find out who we are.

That our darkness becomes our light.

me vs. who i am vs. who i want to be.

A small self portrait series.
Charlotte, NC.

I am my wishes.
I am my dreams.
I am my good days.
I am my bad days, too.
I am all of my fears.
I am my deepest regrets.
I am always lost inside
of my head and that's
okay.

It can all feel so unfortunate,
but remember,
sometimes -
the blessings are hidden
in starting over again.
And -
what's one more,
after a thousand times before? 

wishes on empty promises.

There's a time and place; if I knew any better, I'd be able to catch it before it slipped by.

She kept taking her chances on falling stars, making wishes with eyes closed.

I never made it.

She kept wishing.

Model: Adena Alexis
NJ.

I've already killed tomorrow.

Model: Mandee
Manhattan, NYC

In my head, I've already killed tomorrow. And, I know that it's all just in my head. But still, the days slip by before I can even notice. They slip right on by me and well, I don't give anything a good chance anymore.

Oh, what this life does to us. And oh, the secrets that every single one of us holds. Can you look back into your reflection these days or are you dodging yourself at every turn? Which side of the coin do you stand on? 
Oh, the things we've seen and done, raise your glass high and make peace to the things better off forgotten.

with my thoughts and a dial tone.

Model: Natalee.
Chester, NJ

I felt the fever finally break and pass over the other night. There was this sudden moment and the spell finally felt broken, like I was lifted out of a deep fog and could finally walk away from all of this.
I've been sitting, waiting for this moment to hit me because, it's what I needed. I know that you can try to change at any point you decide, but I've learned that change means nothing if your mind and your heart can't align.
It was a strange moment, to feel so free and anxious to begin new again, but not having any idea on where to go from here. But, I guess that's all in the magic of life and how the light will always find it's way to you.

like night and day.

Model: Brielle.
Morristown, NJ.

She doesn't wait around for life; instead, she makes her own magic out of nothing. She makes her own light in the dark spaces, like nobody I've seen before. She believes in music and that songs could change your life. Maybe, even your very soul. She'd rather wander lost in new places than sit inside all day. She's like a dream and I'm hooked onto every word she says.

Like night and day, she glows like the sun; and like the moon, she illuminates the night.

I think that real angels might hide in stranger places than we would ever think to look, but they're out there, waiting with their hands out and ready to take us in.

even in all the light, i'm still losing myself.

Model: Molly.
Manhattan, NYC.

I never felt as alive until I met you.
I also never felt as dead in my life.
As I watch the sky start to turn, light up another cigarette and wonder - what do I now?
What do I do with something I can't even understand myself?

Quick note: The other night, a great friend of mine asked what was with the photos I make - why the weird stances? Weird locations? Why/do I ever take normal photos of families or something? And all the such of that. While I know he supports me and has my back, I know he doesn't really understand what I do or my life choices and that's totally fine.
However, it did make me question things for a minute. While I already know that a lot of my work captures a strange mix of beauty and colors with underlying tones of what it is to be living with the things many people would rather not face. Things like the struggles of living with issues of depression, addiction, abuse, or anything that coincides with all of that.
The funny thing is, I don't really plan on going that way.
Actually, I never have too much of a plan to begin with. After everything is said and done - photos captured and edited and ready to go - I just go to work on it all and things just kind of go their own way. It was quite awhile of being frustrated on why, even when I tried to go other ways, it didn't feel right to me. I learned to not force it or question it anymore.
Today, I wouldn't have it any other way.
I think that this set is a perfect balance and representation of what it's like living with depression. The beautiful location of the bright pink building as the backdrop, but the overwhelming feeling of something being lost, or broken and isn't that what going through depression is? Or any of that? Surrounded by so much beauty and color in the world and knowing it, but still feeling so disconnected from it all. Like you're just a ghost trying to feel something, like you're stuck sleepwalking through life.

And like a song on repeat......


Some 7 years ago or longer: This isn't living on the edge, an adventure; it's diving into certain oblivion. This is what we were, running around in a circle. You drained every bottle in sight, as I got stoned through the night. We talked about everything old and our wishes for everything new. We talked of everything we were hoping for. But really, we were doing nothing and getting nowhere. The misery found comfort in us and we found comfort in the misery. Every day felt too long as every night became the same story over again.
3am, hazy eyed, we fall in love again pretending everything's alright until we wake up again drowning in regrets. And like a song on repeat - get by through the day as best as we can and I'll see you later and it'll all play out the same all over.

I think of how I all of a sudden miss the seemingly, never ending, cloud of smoke that's always surrounding you.
Please, send me postcards from wherever you've been.
Give me phone calls, your voice, something real. 
7:38am, while drinking coffee, as you light up your morning smoke or anytime well into the nights, slurred words and all.
Remind me there's more to all of this.
More than only what I know of.
Some people are just home; no matter where or how or what's going on.

I'm just
a train wreck,
trying to
make the best
of it all.

*Wandering the streets of NYC.
Summer 17.

Daisy.

Beauty surrounds us everyday in every way, but we forget. We forget to look around us. We forget to see the small things. We forget to appreciate them. Life gets in the way and then we get in our own way. But, I think that if we can hold on to the littlest strand of hope -- I think that soon enough, we'll be reminded just how beautiful it all is.

Ft. Natalee
Chester, NJ