gardella family – a harvest session.

first, a video…

gardella-001

i have long admired the gardellas. michelle’s fierce passion and glorious artistry, thomas’ gentle, loving spirit and humble bravery as he leads his family, and their two little beautiful humans, lily and braedon, who themselves are filled to the brim with quirky creativity, tender daydreams and wisdom far beyond their years. i have the honor of calling them friends, although family would perhaps describe the kinship better. and i know that anyone who has met them feels their genuine warmth burning from their hearts right down to their toes and into every soul they encounter. i spent a day with them at their home in austin, texas; arriving just before they woke up to an unkempt house, messy hair and bleary eyes, as requested.

michelle told me, “i want my children to remember this: that they, and we, are enough, even in our most undone and real moments. we are beautiful even when things aren’t pretty.”

while these images speak for themselves, i did feel that since the gardellas are, themselves, so eloquent with words, that i would share some of their writings that i gathered from their online journals alongside the photographs.  you’ll also notice these are all in black & white, as requested by michelle. timeless and not a bit fancy.

these four souls, they just bleed love.

gardella-148

Thomas about Michelle: ”I have learned so much from her. How to love. How to be silly. How to open my heart to the world. But more than anything I have learned how to be a better dad from watching and experiencing her be such an amazing mom to our children.”

Michelle about Thomas: ”He always knows how to bring my heavy heart back into the light.”

gardella-169gardella-152gardella-103 gardella-106 gardella-120

Thomas about Lily: “I am certain I have known this soul for many lifetimes.”

gardella-122 gardella-126 gardella-128

gardella-134 gardella-142

Thomas about Michelle: “The little things about her I love… her side of the bed just after waking up. Her soft white blanket still warm while dreams slowly fade from memory. I cherish every moment with her.”

gardella-143 gardella-144 gardella-146

gardella-157 gardella-164 gardella-167

Michelle about Thomas: “If you were to throw a pebble in a lake it might make a tiny ripple, but if you happened to be super mini and sailing on an ant-sized ship, that tiny ripple would feel like an enormous wave. I am living this life on an ant-sized ship. Most days I see my highly sensitive nature as a huge blessing. Especially when it comes to my art. But somedays, my goodness it just feels like too much. And on those oh-my-goodness-my-heart-is-breaking-every-second-because-this-sunset-is-reminding-me-of-my-third-grade-lunch-lady-who-had-cancer-one-year-and-wore-orange-days, he is my anchor. He keeps my boat from capsizing or swirling out to a sea filled with pirates.”

gardella-173

gardella-178 gardella-184 gardella-189

gardella-191 gardella-195

Michelle about Braedon: “ Me: I will always love you with every inch of my soul. Him: Well, I will always love you from here to the ends of the universe, therefor, it is always expanding.”

gardella-198 gardella-202

Thomas about Braedon: “He is more perfect than I could have ever imagined. Every time I look at him I am so grateful. Grateful for the amazing times I have spent with him over the years. He has such a huge heart… just like his incredible mom.”

gardella-204 gardella-208

gardella-210

gardella-211 gardella-217 gardella-221 gardella-227 gardella-228

Michelle about Lily: “Her sweetly spun fairytale, her messy hair, backwards Goodwill dress, arm resting on my leg… I don’t want to let this go. I need to hold on to the seemingly simple moments like this, that, on every birthday since I can remember, I blew out the candles, and wished so hard for.”

gardella-231 gardella-236 gardella-238

Thomas about Michelle: ”No matter what comes at us I know that she will always be there for me and our family. Never have I met someone so brave and true. She amazes me every single day.”

gardella-240

gardella-246

Michelle about Thomas: “I crept in on his nap so I could smell his neck.”

gardella-253 gardella-264 gardella-271 gardella-274 gardella-277

gardella-279 gardella-281 gardella-283

Thomas about Braedon: “At some point he went from cradled in my arms and rocking him to sleep to building and giving presentations on oscillating water generators.”

gardella-287 gardella-297

Michelle: ”I follow their freckles like sailors look to the constellations, when their ships are lost at sea.”

gardella-303

gardella-304 gardella-305

Michelle about Lily & Braedon: “She called out asking for someone to help her button her sweater. He came running over. I don’t know much about previous lives, but I do know, without a doubt, their bond is millions of lifetimes strong.”

gardella-321 gardella-339 gardella-340

Thomas about Michelle: “Hearing her blow dry her hair with Lily singing and dancing around her always makes me smile.”

gardella-342

gardella-346 gardella-352

gardella-359 gardella-370 gardella-376

Michelle about Braedon: “He has the kindest, most forgiving heart I have ever witnessed. I have seen him angry twice. The love I have for this human being is otherworldly and swallows me whole. Every freckle on his shoulders. Every sound effect he makes while playing. Every comic he draws in his notebooks. Every dance move. Every huge hug he gives his sister. Every morning snuggle. Every single second that I get to be his Mama.”

gardella-378 gardella-381

Thomas about Lily: “This girl has my heart. Always.”

gardella-384 gardella-389gardella-400

Michelle: “Me- Lily want to do my daily meditation together? Lily- Sure! (giggles nonstop for ten minutes.)”

gardella-402

gardella-416 gardella-420

Thomas about Michelle: ”Everyday she works hard to live her truth and balance family and passion and art and income. We are so honored and blessed to have her as a mom and wife.”

gardella-422 gardella-427

gardella-430

Michelle: ”My children know what it is like to be loved right up close, and to have parents who, by ungraceful but passionate example, live to nurture both the wilderness within, and afoot.”

gardella-441

Posted in * Family Sessions, Harvest Sessions | 7 Comments

Mia & Sean’s Wedding – Valentines Day in New Jersey

mia&seanBEST-140_b&w

mia&seanBEST-143_b&w

 

the snow flurries began at one in the afternoon on valentines day.   he toasted with his friends and she cried with hers and the snow fell silently, preparing the way for them to walk together, for the rest of their lives.  they met at the carriage house that almost felt like connecticut and a world away from manhattan; a place where new life would grow.  she was running late, she closed her eyes with intention and the snow gathered upon her lashes, and he took her hand, and they took in that winter air and exhaled deeply, as one.  it all seemed frantic until he saw her.  all the words were too loud until they stood in that falling snow in the silence.  their eyes smiled and his shoulders relaxed and she came alive.  their friends and family gathered and candles were lit and vows were promised.  the snow fell thick all around them, as if it all took place in a dream and they danced into the night like the only ones, free with abandon.  it was the valentines day her grandmother had once given her as a little girl and why this day of the year was the one choice to celebrate a love this sacred.

i haven’t gone through nearly half the images from this wedding but i felt drawn to share these.  the anticipation feels like a first date and the newness of snow feels like a daydream, but it’s the maturity of their love, the security and the strength you can feel as they stand beside one another that truly makes me love these photographs.  it’s the standing still, trusting, being covered by love in a way that it can actually be seen and felt in the snow.  truly, that is all i can hope for my art.

 

mia&seanBEST-102_b&wmia&seanBEST-103 mia&seanBEST-107_b&w mia&seanBEST-109mia&seanBEST-119 mia&seanBEST-122.4mia&seanBEST-136mia&seanBEST-123.4_b&w mia&seanBEST-124 mia&seanBEST-125mia&seanBEST-134mia&seanBEST-144 mia&seanBEST-127mia&seanBEST-146mia&seanBEST-156_b&w mia&seanBEST-157 mia&seanBEST-158 mia&seanBEST-159mia&seanBEST-160mia&seanBEST-149_b&wmia&seanBEST-170 mia&seanBEST-171_b&w mia&seanBEST-171.5_b&w mia&seanBEST-172_b&w mia&seanBEST-175 mia&seanBEST-178_b&w mia&seanBEST-179 mia&seanBEST-182.5 mia&seanBEST-182 mia&seanBEST-185_b&w mia&seanBEST-187_b&w mia&seanBEST-189

mia&seanBEST-112mia&seanBEST-198_b&w mia&seanBEST-223_b&w mia&seanBEST-234_b&w mia&seanBEST-236_b&w

Posted in Weddings | 6 Comments

wildflower. mother. wife. believer. artist. farmer. writer. dreamer.

instagram

features

favorite sessions

farmlifebutton2
simplelifebutton1
roadlifebutton3
trailerbutton3
workshoptab
prairietab

search the blog