Congratulations Ilhan!

Enjoy some shots from Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s victory party on election night! She just became the first Somali-American and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, where she will be representing Minnesota’s 5th District.


Why Pinterest is a hidden gem for portrait photographers

My friend Willow is an intensely talented musician and a gem of a human, so I was excited when she asked me to take portraits for her new website and upcoming album release. We went to my favorite place to swim in the Twin Cities, Hidden Falls in St. Paul, to catch the evening light.

This shoot is a good example of why I love using Pinterest as a collaborative vision board. After talking through some ideas, Willow and I both added pictures to this Pinterest board in the weeks leading up to the shoot. Scrolling down takes you backwards chronologically to where we started: vibrant, textural nature imagery, then building from there.

Looking at the finished portraits of Willow alongside our vision board helps me see how much that process influenced the final result. I had all these intangibles swirling around in my head: the mood and lyrics of her music, feelings we wanted to convey, who Willow is as a person and an artist. Piece by piece we found imagery that resonated with flavors in that idea soup until it cohered into an aesthetic roadmap. 

SO THERE, people who make fun of Pinterest for being frivolous! Visual bookmarking is actually so handy! 

On that note, does anyone else feel like Pinterest’s feminine vibe is a big part of why people are so quick to make fun of it?  It’s a solid tool for creative professionals, especially because of the browser button that lets you quickly pin images from any website. I’m curious how much Pinterest intentionally maintains a feminine brand image and to the extent that it does, whether a more neutral visual bookmarking platform would be used differently. 



Dog Sitter-in-Residence

Hey, other freelance artists who love dogs and supplemental income! Why aren’t you dog sitting? 

For the past several months I’ve been balancing photography commissions with working as a sitter for Rover, a platform where people can book dog sitters and walkers through an app. 

My first client booked me for a long weekend towards the end of April, which I spent looking after their very sweet boxer and even sweeter pit bull. It felt like I’d booked an Airbnb with a bonus “borrow homeowner’s dogs” option. I adore dogs and these ones were especially well behaved, so caring for them was easy. I spent most of my stay working on my laptop while the dogs napped by my side or rolled around in the backyard. 

Since April, I’ve had so many people book me that I’ve had to raise my rates just to keep up. Before I knew it there were only two days in September when I’m not scheduled to dog sit. 

In an era of “sponsored content” I should add that I wrote this of my own volition for free. I wanted to share how gratifying this work has been for me because I know a lot of artists who wouldn’t mind getting paid to hang out with dogs. It’s not every day you find rewarding, low stress, flexible, freelance work that pays decently and doesn’t take time or energy away from your art. 

Plus I wanted to post some of the neato dog pics I’ve taken while on the job, took so I figured I’d say something about the thing while I’m at it. 

I’m not one to turn down a referral bonus though, so if you do decide to give it a go then sign up with this link and I’ll get $50 when you do your first walk or stay. 


Taylor Swift in Minneapolis

On Friday, the Star Tribune sent me to photograph Taylor Swift’s first Minneapolis show on her Reputation tour. She performed at the US Bank Stadium, AKA the new Viking’s stadium that was built for this year’s Super Bowl. Charli XCX and Camila Cabello opened for her. You can see my photos alongside Jon Bream’s review of the show here at the Star Tribune.

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