LOVE YO BODY.

Hello World!

While it is embarrassing that I haven’t posted in nearly a year… or that frequently before that I find it fitting that I am making my re-emergence with this post.  I have been working professionally as a photographer now for 12 years and full time for nearly 7.  Most artists try to continue to grow their skillset even as they enter the professional world because sometimes when your exchange your craft for money your passion takes the backseat… and no one likes a stagnate cranky artist 😉

The last several years I have focused immensely on upping my game in the lighting category.  Lighting is basically the foundation of photography so mastering added and artificial lighting makes the world your oyster.  2017’s project was working on a new, harsher lighting.  Most of my past lighting focus was for portrait work and so I needed a new and more challenging project so this year I decided to focus on fitness photography.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am the weirdo who can’t get enough of a good sweat session or the endorphin high after cranking out a new PR.  So entering into this new line of photography was not only fun but it allowed me to combine some of my passion with my work. (winning!)

After I learned some of the lighting techniques I needed for fitness photography (a HUGE thank you to all of the fitness instructors I used as guinea pigs 🙂 I should do a post for them at some point!)  I wanted to do more than just shoot professional athletes or fitness pros.  My favorite part of my job is not capturing the ‘money shot’ or the 8×10 great grandma will hang on her mantle.  My favorite part of what I do is working with families and people in such an vulnerable way that I capture ‘THE’ shot.  The shot where a person can see themselves through my lens the way loved ones see them.  Beautiful.  Strong.  Capable.  Loved.

Our society puts so much pressure on all people to be a certain way, act a certain way and achieve certain goals and without completing this imaginary list of conquests we are told we are worth nothing.  I hope that through my work (both hired and personal) people can treat themselves a little more kindly and see themselves in the light that other people view them.  Which with that longwinded journal entry brings me to my project!

This project was birthed to show everyone of all fitness levels, interests and walks of life that there is an inner athlete in you.  Everyone can be fit, strong and do amazing things.  You don’t need to do cross fit, run marathons or be a zumba instructor. (though if you want to, more power to you!)  Everyone has their own starting point and often times people have *multiple* starting points.

The main goal is to view your body as this amazing machine that enables you to do AWESOME things.  So we should really love it instead of constantly hating it, criticizing it and worse; trying to starve it to mold it into something it isn’t meant to be.  Fuel your body.  Love your body.

As I finally delve into the ACUTAL post a huge, huge shout out to KIN Movement for hosting this event.  They have an awesome space to help people from all fitness levels achieve their goals.  Their mindset is unlike any I have found in a gym and their support through this project has been unparalleled.  Also a HUGE thanks to the folks who showed up and were vulnerable enough to let me use them as my models.  These are just regular people (NOT fitness models!) and I hope you give them a standing ovation for their awesomeness.

2017-08-22_0001Bob: Triathlete and would be diplomat.
Always be ready to embrace the suck.  May not be the fastest but always moving forward.

2017-08-22_0002Cole: Manager/Specialist at Human Element and Single-Mom-Extraordinaire
Strives to be stronger and more fit to set an example for her son.  Wishes she could be a travel writer to show him the world.

2017-08-22_0003Hannah: Owner/CEO Metric MKTG
Loves the beach, her kiddos and kicking thyroid disease in the butt.
Favorite actress is Candace Cameron Bure and would be a professional singer in another life.

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Holly: Mama of two sweet babes and part of University of Michigan’s Sea Grant (School for Environment and Sustainability)
Multi-sport competitor and Proud Canadian.  Mama who nurses/pumps WHILE working full time (that is a marathon folks for those of you who have never done it!)

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Jesse: Swim instructor and coach.  University of Michigan student.
Would be professional gymnast.  Favorite book is The Hurt Artist by Shane Neimeyer.

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Katie: Mama and Manager of Health and Wellness of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Would love to travel to Greece and favorite color is yellow.  Has a PhD but in another life would be a Labor/Delivery nurse.

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Megan: Nurse Anesthetist, bad ass and dog mama.
Loves Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and would be a race car driver if being a nurse anesthetist didn’t work out.

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Nikki: Mama to 3 littles and fitness lover.
She is a beach lover and Paul Walker fan.  If she could tell her younger self anything it would be: To stop spending so much time caring what other people think because what matters is what YOU think!

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Sam: Teacher for STEM Prep school in Nashville.
Runner and newly minted teacher from EMU.  If she could live anywhere it would be to her newly relocated Nashville, living the dream!  Favorite song is ‘Before He Cheats’ by Carrie Underwood.

2017-08-22_0010Stacey: Mom of two and Battle of Waterloo finisher
Loves making gains in the gym, pushing herself harder and being epic for her two sons. If she could tell her younger-self anything it would be “Don’t compare yourself to all these girls. Don’t change a thing about what makes you you. You and your life end up to be really amazing! ”

2017-08-22_0011Susan: Fitness Guru and Marketing pro
In another life would be a photographer or a veterinarian.  Miami transplant to Michigan and warm weather lover.  If she could live anywhere it would be Brazil.

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this journey!  Posting this has taken a bit of vulnerability on my part as an artist because as we learn new crafts we see only the flaws in our projects… much like how we view our own body’s in the mirror.  I hope through this journey of life we can all view ourselves a little more kindly and honestly give ourselves a pat on the back.  Being a good human is no joke, so lets all be nice to each other, give each other high fives and encourage each other to be the best, strongest human ever.

run often, smile more!

Amanda 🙂

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What’s Up Recap!

So, on a rare Saturday evening off in July I was sitting at the table eating a yummy dinner (of leftovers… like I said… it was a saturday off 😉 ) with the boys when Lalo gets out some stampers…. and then before we know both boys are giggling (well I guess laughing since boys don’t ‘giggle’) and I look over to them both covered in barn yard stamps… everywhere.  When I could have eye rolled or even gotten frustrated that they were covered in ink… I instead took a deep breath and realized how I felt unbelievably blessed.

During the midst of ‘the crazy season’  I think I just needed a reminder that its ok that sometimes I miss being home, sometimes I wish I didn’t have to work and sometimes I miss out.  I mean not everyone gets to work their dream job, so I count myself as completely blessed.  Just sometimes it is a bummer to work during everyone else’s time off and vacations.  But today as I worked on some ‘wediting’ watching the Lego movie with the boys before bed I was grateful for all of the memories we do have together…

So I bring you a sappy and nostaligic blog post of our recent happenings.  Because sometimes, when work is busy you forget that life is still happening around you.  Even if it is chaotic… you can still enjoy it.  🙂  So take lots of pictures, be intentional, make time for laughing and for getting stampers everywhere or digging in the dirt… because even if you can’t dwell on the moments for too long in the present, reminiscing will be that much sweeter later 🙂

2014-08-02_0002My sweet, sweet boy 🙂  So photogenic but just like every other child needs a little coercion to get a ‘good’ picture (ie… not sticking his tongue out) so like all good mamas… I bribed him 😉 with taking a picture of me after I got the picture *I* wanted of him.  2014-08-02_0003those eye!!!! 2014-08-02_0004how did I get so lucky to have such a handsome, loving boy!  2014-08-02_0005and this is how he sees me 😉

So on that funny note, here is a recap of our summer thus far 🙂  *LOTS* of trips to the Henry Ford and Greenfield Village!  Grammy and Gramps have a membership so we go a LOT 🙂  2014-08-02_0006Lots of time playing with Chani …. and she still acts as if we don’t play at all 🙂  An insurmountable amount of time wrestling with papa and calling Mama a ‘butterfly’ since we don’t pile drive mama on the floor…..2014-08-02_0007Made some home made bread and meals for dear friends to love on them.  Got a ton of snuggles in 🙂  Dressed up as dragons… and then slayed them 🙂 Got to hang out with some *awesome* photogs and the creator of HH Boogie for a summer ‘retreat’ of sorts for photography creatives.   2014-08-02_0008Played in the rain, walked to the ice cream place.  Snuggled with Starbucky and read lots and lots of books.  I also got the opportunity to do the Chicago Ragnar Relay race!! 200 miles in three days! (Well my leg was about 25!)  In addition to running I have also been kicking booty working out at RydeOn and PureBarre Ann Arbor! (staying fit GREATLY helps morale and energy levels when you feel like you have no time to even sleep!) 2014-08-02_0009We got more snuggles in (see a pattern 🙂 ), had some family tickle fights, watched some firework shows by Papa in the hammock 🙂 Fell asleep buried under tons of lovies and snuggly things and watched entirely too many cartoons snuggled in blankets while mama was still covered in sweat from her earlier morning run…. 2014-08-02_0010I realized writing this post I still have written about my Birthday Trip/Easter Trip to the Smoky Mountains so I will do that soon 🙂 But here is a hiking picture from that trip 🙂 Some burying of Chani under dirty clothes, and yet MORE snuggles 🙂

Over all when I look back at the last three months I feel how much I have worked (Dear To Do List: please let me BREATHE!)  but more I see how blessed I am that I have the opportunity to hang out with two awesome guys nearly all the time… and when I do have to work, I get to come home to their smiling mischievous faces! 🙂

Not only do I have one of the world’s most awesome jobs of serving people by providing images of their important moments but I also get to have important life events of my own, as long as I remember to make time and be grateful for them.

 

Until Next time… which will probably be in October when its time for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin farms, Firefighter Open Houses and Cross Country 🙂

run often, smile more and LIVE 🙂 No one else can live your life but you  ❤

Amanda 🙂

Feature Friday: RydeOn Cycling Studio!

 

March’s feature has taken me a little while to finally get my thoughts down on paper err, keyboard? Any of you that know me personally (or have read my emails) know that I LOVE running and being active; hence my sign off, ‘Run often, smile more’. 🙂 It is something that I acquired a love for in high school (thanks to the fantastic SalineXC crew!) and has followed me through life and has shaped me greatly! The benefits of running are vast but the one I have most enjoyed is being physically and mentally fit allowing me to accomplish whatever I set out to try. Aside from being passionate about running personally, I also love to inspire others to be active too.

2014-03-31_0007two of my favorite running routes captured by my FANTASTIC hubby!

Because I loved running so much, I decided to try spinning back in 2007 during a cold winter shortly before our wedding. I figured it could keep me fit during the winter months while helping me avoid my necessary nemesis the ‘dreadmill’. I instantly fell in love with it and soon was saving up for my first road bike. Much like running, people will tell you about the training, the mental battle and the endurance that is involved with spinning/biking but every single person will tell you about the endorphins and how they outweigh all of those obstacles.

Often the hard part of beginning a fitness regime (or lifestyle as I like to think of it) is the inaccessibility to equipment and a support system. How many times have you said ‘when I lose ten more pounds I’ll go to the gym’ or something along those lines? Or how many of you have signed up for a gym membership only to walk in and feel much like this video (please continue reading after watching! Hah!)

Enter Brigid Lossing! Brigid has an amazing story apart from the start up of the RydeOn Studio. A mother of two, wife to a local firefighter and a cancer survivor, Brigid took what life threw at her and used it as fuel to take her journey to the next level of awesome.

2014-03-31_0001Brigid found herself much like many of us often do; overweight, working a day job and wondering if this was really all of what life could offer. After receiving her stage three colon cancer diagnosis and treatment she decided to not only take control of life but to run (well, spin) with it. Shortly after her second round of chemo Brigid signed up for a six week spinning class at the Saline Rec Center.

 

“Personally I can relate to the struggle signing up for your first class.” As a self titled ‘Type A’ personality Brigid so beautifully stated what so many people wrestle with. “When you know you’re type A, it is so easy to not begin something simply because we don’t want to push ourselves to do something that we know we cannot do very well.”

 

At 320 pounds Brigid took the leap of faith and went to her first spin class. She readily admits that she only returned because she had paid the money and didn’t want to waste it. But week after week she returned and not only saw progress but fell in love. Within the year she was encouraged by her spin instructor to consider getting certified to also become an instructor and that was when a seed was planted for a different kind of studio, RydeOn.

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There are many gyms and studios in the area that boast their success for weight loss and training. However the dream for RydeOn was not simply a successful studio for the elite to frequent but instead to create an atmosphere of accessibility for people from all walks of fitness to come together and continue on their road of fitness together. The facebook page has the quote ‘Training for Life’ and Brigid hopes the studio will embody exactly that.

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“You never know when that seed [of fitness] will take root, but I like to provide a fertile ground.”

 

And that she does. RydeOn is staffed by knowledgeable instructors who are as passionate about the people who come to workout as they are about fitness. When you walk into the studio there is always one person to help you check in as well as the instructor for the class. The studio is outfitted with 25 top of the line Kesier bikes  and each instructor is Keiser certified in order to help everyone get the best fit for their bike. Spinning classes, like many fitness classes have several different methods of instruction. RydeOn is outfitted with a variety of instructors as well as classes to help meet your individual needs. One of the amazing aspects of spinning is that it is an individual sport that makes room for the positive dynamics of group exercise. With each bike individually controlled you are 100% in control of your own ride. So regardless of your level of fitness you can come and participate and without worry that you cannot keep up!

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“Spinning is so different than any other group exercise class because if you walk into a Zumba or Jazzercise class as a new participant it will be obvious that you are new or if you have trouble keeping up with the group. Spinning isn’t like that; here you are only in competition with yourself. With spinning you get all of the benefits that are derived from working towards a similar goal but each goal is personal and you never have to worry about letting anyone down” Brigid shares.

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So many people have different reasons for beginning their fitness regime, for some it is a major life event that helps them decide to make a change, for others it is simply a goal (like a wedding or class reunion) regardless of why you want to begin, take that first leap of faith! Register for a class using their online system (it will let the instructor know you are new so they can help you get your bike fitted correctly, the first step to a successful class!!) show up about 15 minutes early, bring your water and settle in for the ride of your life! Walk in rides are $16 and the new client special is $39 for the first month of unlimited rides (your $16 can be applied towards that!) Most clients end up riding 2-3 times a week but some more and some less!

“I wanted to be able to wiggle my nose like bewitched and change my life [for the better].  In a way I did, it just took a lot more energy. Everyone has the ability, you have to figure out how to light the flame and more importantly that you are worth it.”

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Hope to see you soon at a ride!!! I love the early morning ones personally! 🙂 Until then, Run Often (spin often) and smile more!

-Amanda 🙂

 

Ellie Class of 2014

I am so lucky that I get to volunteer with a local cross country team!! Not only am I surrounded by highly motivated teens but I get to meet truly beautiful people like Ellie!  A beauty inside and out!  So thankful the rain held off so we could have fun at Millpond and over at Wellers!

 

Thanks Ellie!! Hope you love your photos!

If you’re looking for senior portraits for this year give me a call!! I have limited sessions and they are booking up!

http://www.purelysenior.com

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Your Race.

“let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”

Regardless of your religious affiliation these are just good words to live by.  Found in the Bible Hebrews 12:1b it has become my daily mantra.

Throw off everything that hinders and entangles.  Run with perseverance the race marked out for you.

Read that again.

The birth of social media has been both a blessing and a curse.  It can be used for some many good things but it can also be a trap that ensnares us. It becomes a time suck, a soapbox, a gossip generator and an isolator and my biggest trap: a vehicle of comparison.

A wise woman once told me to remember that people’s blogs, facebooks, twitters, etc are only snap shots of their life that they want you to see, the top ‘portfolio’ of their life if you will.  With this ugly comparison monster it is so easy to view your life as less than adequate or even mark it as a failure.

As of late I am in the process of ‘unplugging’.  I took facebook off of my phone, I am enforcing ‘office hours’ and I am intentionally participating in my life with  face time (no, not the Iphone app, real face time 🙂 )

At first it was almost a painful realization that life had been happening around me without my noticing but worse was almost feeling lost without constant social media intervention.  I am purposefully working on deciphering what ‘my race’ is without the constant interference and opinions of media influence.  And I am plodding onward with the direct support of those who take the time to invest in me and I in them.

In this new age I challenge you to really look at life.  Are you reacting to the life happening around you or are you living your life?

Being a mom of a little one my biggest fear is that I will somehow wake up and realize mine and my son’s life will have raced past me while my face was stuck to a computer screen.

So make some goals, stick to them, reevaluate what is important you and run after it with all that you’ve got and do not let anything get in your way.

This is your life after all.  Own it.

Winter…. Can be beautiful

I am a photographer.  I am a runner.  I am a mother.

Very few of those things encourage the love of winter.

Sure a long run in the sunny, snowy fields is beautiful- but rare (At least the sunshine part 😉 ) and often brutal with biting winds and results in wind burn to any exposed skin.  (Or if you’re lucky like me, sun burn AND wind burn!)

Occasional sessions in the snow photograph fabulously and often look fake if the snow is falling just right.  (but let’s be honest, that only happens 5% of the time!)

Sledding.  Enough said.  It is fun, however, getting  a toddler geared up to play in the snow is often more time consuming than the time actually SPENT in the snow.

AMP_4705(One beautiful photo session in the snow 🙂 )

ALL of that being said.  I experienced something last weekend that was just short of amazing.  the Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race: Winter Edition.   It was something the combined every aspect of me (Well maybe not the momma of a toddler… but team mate?) and then beat it to a bloody pulp.  It was one of the hardest (third to a marathon and giving birth!) but like the first two, one of the most encouraging things I have done.

photo-10Our Team 🙂

There is something to be said about braving the elements (well we weren’t REALLY out in the middle of nowhere.. it was unlikely we would have died.. but it was still treacherous 😉 )  working together as a team, pushing yourself further than you imagined and doing things you never though you would (ie: snow biking!?)

I know that I should cherish that we experience all four seasons, I felt like last year I did!! But we didn’t really have a real winter.  I think I spent more runs outside last winter than actually on the treadmill.  But something that hit me as I was crawling through 18 inches of snow last weekend.

If you love something, be crazy enough to do it- in whatever conditions life throws at you.

I am trying to live my life this year differently.  With abandon.  With conviction, with intention.  So I am going to love winter this year, (yes Rico, laugh and hold me accountable).  Because without winter, I could not fully enjoy spring- or summer for that matter.

And after all, winter… can be beautiful.

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A big shout out to my team mates, Bruce Edwards and Dan and Monica Herman!!! I had a blast and I hope to do the summer edition!!! 😀

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