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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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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