Witkowski Family in Upstate New York




“Love will hold us together
Make us a shelter to weather the storm
And I’ll be my brother’s keeper
So the whole world would know that we’re not alone.

It’s waiting for you knocking at your door
In the moment of truth when your heart hits the floor
And you’re on your knees.

Love will hold us together
Make us a shelter to weather the storm
And I’ll be my brother’s keeper
So the whole world would know that we’re not alone.

This is the first day of the rest of your life
‘Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It’s gonna be alright.”


-Song lyrics by Matt Maher, Hold Us Together.




i could easily write a novel about my love for this family. we first met when they hired me to photograph them at their home in new york last year while also graciously inviting my whole family to have a slumber party weekend with them while traveling on the road. together, our kids caught minnows in their lake, ran through tall grass, searched for bear tracks at golden hour and shared pancakes and heart stories in the wee hours of the morning. we all quickly became good friends and they surely took up permanent residence inside my heart. the way they live is, in itself, a ministry. they bleed such beautiful grace, and it is shown in their determination to keep marching onward, together. i had the honor of photographing them again a few weeks ago during my bloomville, new york workshop at the turquoise barn and i could not have possibly imagined a better example of authentic gratitude for my attendees to learn from than them.

the above song lyrics, they told me, have been their family’s anthem this past year and what strength there are in those words; making the everyday beautiful and whole no matter what the season… Love will hold us together, make us a shelter to weather the storm. And I’ll be my brother’s keeper so the whole world would know that we’re not alone.


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Posted in * Family Sessions, Workshops | 6 Comments

Artful Blogging Magazine Feature!

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Full 8 page article published in Artful Blogging Magazine – Aug/Sept/Oct 2015

by Joy Prouty


“A daydream is a musing or fantasy while awake, a fulfillment of wishes, a fond hope. I have made it my goal to find ways to crawl within my children’s daydreams and chase after this fond hope. Taking part of their imaginative play and making it my own has deepened my art and enabled my once heavy heart to grasp ahold of a world full of everyday magic and wonder. I love the wild, messy, unrehearsed tales knit together by dandelions and the capes made of towels pulled down from the clothesline as they act out their stories, wearing crowns weaved from cherry blossoms by dirt caked hands.


Hope is the thing that keeps us going, that allows us to not fall into a weary slumber of discouragement and despair. I’ve been there, I’ve experienced despair, and I have had seasons where I considered the idea that perhaps the darkness was the place my most “authentic” art would be found, but there was always a pulling within my soul toward the light. Light is, in truth, the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. Trying to feel my way in the dark had only led me to stumble. I began to remember that childlike faith was always my lantern, the illumination to my path.


I sat beneath our willow tree last week and watched my children at play, completely free as they sang melodies to the birds and spoke of the tales that spun in their minds. Their happiness was not dependent upon achievements or recognized success; joy was found merely by grabbing hold of the low hanging leaves of the willow tree, swinging from one branch to the next. I ran inside to grab my camera, knowing that the photographs taken would act as visual gratitude lists to look back upon on future weary days. There was a time not long ago where I had made a conscious choice not to pick up my camera, but in the midst of that season I also missed all the joy, and it was the eventual recognition of everyday gratitude present in the midst of that struggle that pulled me out of it. When I quiet my mind to take notice of the details in our days, with no other reason except to pursue being present, I am always drawn to the bright spots. When I close my mouth and take my lens cap off, I allow myself to listen.  That is what photographs have always been for me: stepping stones into a place of clarity.


It is so easy to get lost within the traffic of my mind: the to-do lists, the endless burdens of grown-up obligations and worry that has the ability to consume any shred of creativity lurking beneath. It’s really just fear of the unknown in pretty packaging. But when I allow myself to exhale and take notice of my place in nature without obligation to technology or hustle, I can literally feel the stress drip out of my body and the inspiration begin to flow from within like a river. This is when the art comes. I join my children in their fairytales, I envision a castle in the sky, a lilypad beneath my head and instead of staring at my phone, I look up, I try to find a picture in a cloud and allow myself to laugh and actually feel the depth of the pleasure. I make sure I have my camera always nearby to document that cloud; another bright spot of hope to add to my treasure chest of gratitude.


I spend so many hours working in our garden with the children; it has been the most filling version of meditation for me.  Last summer, when we preserved our food, I found the sweetest jams came from the fruit allowed to ripen on the vine the longest.  My sweet pea flowers had their most lovely aroma once fully in bloom.  And my brussels sprouts, if picked too soon, were too bitter to taste.  It was all about needing enough time to mature.


The season that is unrushed has the most beautiful harvest.


My photography has come full circle, and in the digging I have realized that the strongest inspiration for my art has always been in the simplicity of childhood. After years of working tirelessly to infuse creativity into my business, I turned a corner not long ago and now allow myself to indulge in daydreaming and let my creativity lead my business. As I have dug in deeper, clients have followed along, making the business side of things no longer feel like work, and allowing my art to flourish from a more rich, personal place. When I lift my camera to my eye, I don’t always aim to get the perfect exposure, but more, I look for a creative way to show hope illuminated. When I compose a photograph to be shared, I yearn to plant seeds of inspiration in the viewer to seek out wonder in their own surroundings. This beauty is always found within, in the capacity of one’s willingness to breathe in a moment and exhale, conjuring up daydreams in the mundane everyday.”



*magazine is currently available at local bookstores and magazine stands!

Posted in News, Press | 6 Comments

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



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