Nallo & Tom: Live at the Hexagon

Tom, my darling partner-in-crime-and-life, has been playing with Andrew Ranallo, aka “Nallo” this fall. I first met Andrew when we were young (at least several years ago), playing with my brother, Dez, at the 400 Bar in Cedar-Riverside. Andrew’s sweetness and passion for poetry and music had me at hello; Tom has begun joining Andrew for a few select songs, adding harmonic, melodious overlays and insertions. They played this fall at the Hexagon, followed by Bethany Larson and the Bees Knees, who played a lovely set after Nallo and Tom.

Tom and Andrew

Andrew Ranallo at the Hexagon

Andrew Ranallo

Andrew Ranallo

Bethany of Bethany Larson and the Bees Knees

Sarah and Bethany of Bethany Larson and the Bees Knees


Jonna & Peter

In my humble opinion, there are few things so beautiful and awe-inspiring in this world as a pregnant woman. It was my great pleasure to photograph one of these beauties, recently, only a few short weeks before she gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Elya. I went over to Jonna’s house one bright, crisp, fall morning, and took photos of her, her sweet and gracious partner, Peter, and their as-yet unborn babe. The light streamed in their bay window, offering my favorite kind of spotlight, and we collaborated to capture some really lovely moments. I am so honored to have been invited in to be a part of their pregnancy experience; congratulations to Jonna and Peter, and welcome into this world, Elya.

Jonna & Peter

The parents-to-be

Full portrait of Jonna (and Elya!)

Fall window light


Family Time

Looking out my window today at the glowing orange, red, and golden yellow Minnesota fall vista, in the park across the street from our house, my thoughts wander back through this fleeting summer we just came through… Tom and I were fortunate enough to have many precious family visits over the summer, spending long weekends and an occasional week with loved ones around Minnesota and Wisconsin. Our families stretch across the globe, all over the United States, to England and Russia, and when you are lucky enough to have family visiting from such distant regions, a four hour car drive doesn’t seem so bad.

In the spirit of the dwindling (or already gone?) summer, I share with you a few snapshots from a couple of memorable visits: a trip to Madison to meet our Russian in-laws, with family coming in from Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota (us!); and a family reunion in Perham, Minnesota, where my family gathered from all over Minnesota, Virginia, Utah, and Florida. I feel so privileged to have been able to share all of this time with people so dear to me, and hope for many more summers so full of reunions, laughter, frustration, sleepiness, excitement, memories, late nights and early mornings, and all the other experiences and emotions that we go through when we love others so dearly. Love going out to our many family members, wherever you are.


Making pesto

Translating traditional Russian folk songs.

A pie stop on our way home, at the Norske Nook...

Nya Rae

My sweet sweet cousin, Nya, was able to visit this summer from Virginia, and while she was here, we had a fabulous time with a fashion photo shoot. Nya is quite a little fashionista, already, at 16, and was completely at ease in front of the camera. Enjoy a few shots from our photo shoot around Northeast Minneapolis.

Mandy & Ben

A dear friend of mine, Mandy, was married in the end of August to Ben, her partner. Their wedding was a weekend-long affair, with colorful tents peeking through the woods in the park where their wedding took place, and where a production of Midsummer Nights’ Dream preceded the wedding. (Mandy & Ben are a part of the theater company, Upright Egg, which put on Midsummer as an open-air play this summer.) After this hilarious and rousing reminder of the state into which love can put us, Mandy and Ben were married, barefoot, both in white, (Mandy in her grandmother’s wedding dress and veil), under the gazebo as the sun sank into the western sky.

Mandy and Ben served up the food that they and many family and friends had prepared, on compostable plates, handing out a plate to each guest before sitting and enjoying their own meals. The love and sense of community were inspiring. Many, many thanks to Mandy and Ben’s lovely family and friends, it was wonderful to photograph all of you! Enjoy a few of the shots from the evening…

Midsummer Night's Dream

Assembling kebabs

Mother of the groom, Shelley, preparing part of the dinner.

Irie Sol at Welcome to 1979 in Nashville, TN

A few months ago, my partner, Tom, joined a new band. He has been through the rounds of the Minneapolis music scene(s) this past year, playing with a number of bands ranging from R&B and Funk to Jazz to Indy Folk Rock. It’s sort of Reggae this time, he said.

A few short weeks later, Tom and I found ourselves in a van packed with Irie Sol members, tugging along a small U-haul trailer filled with sleeping bags and instruments, headed for Nashville to record an LP at an analogue-only studio called Welcome to 1979. I had been invited to come along to photograph the whole endeavor, and had readily accepted. As our 8:30am planned departure time in reality became 6pm, I wondered if we would ever actually make it to Nashville; but as we drove through state after state, all night long, I began to believe in Irie Sol. We pulled into Nashville around 11am that Friday morning, and through a haze of exhaustion and sleep deprivation, gratefully stepped into the intense heat of a Tennessee morning.

For the next 48 hours, Welcome to 1979 was our home away from home. Chris Mara, owner, engineer, and producer, and his assistant producer, Bridget Guise, made us feel completely at ease in our new surroundings, the vintage-styled studio spaces decorated with ’70’s paraphernalia, cozily frayed furniture, studio magazine features, and an eclectic art collection. After a rejuvenating rest, the band started practicing, gearing up for the recording session the following day. There would be one run-through, the old fashioned way, and the record would be made; hours of practice would garner one 30-minute album, so the pressure was on. As repeated riffs became the ongoing soundtrack of my weekend, I wandered through the studios and practice spaces, gaining a new appreciation for all aspects of effort that go into making music. I spent the two days trying out new photographic angles and notions, battling the studio’s habitual low light, providing peripheral support and encouragement for the band, and observing the workings of this analogue studio. This was why I became a photographer; I couldn’t imagine a happier way to spend my weekend.

Irie is a Rastafarian term, meaning positive vibrations (source: OED online); Sol is the Spanish word for “sun”. This is a fitting name for this group, whose mission is to send out positive, sun-like vibrations wherever they go. I have rarely felt such respect and esteem from a group of self-proclaimed “raggedy” musicians. Many thanks to Irie Sol, for bringing me along on your adventure…

Irie Sol
Welcome to 1979 Studio

Bridget and Chris





Lars and Joel

Jon and Omari



Kent & Janene

My uncle Kent and aunt Janene requested that I shoot some family portraits this summer, while we were all together at an annual family reunion. As children grow up and begin their own families, I have seen how difficult it can be to get everyone in one place at one time; it was quite something that only one of their children was missing at this event, so they grabbed the opportunity while it presented itself. This beautiful family gathered together after hours of travel from Salt Lake City, Duluth, and Minneapolis, at our grandparents’ farm in Perham, Minnesota. Theo and Jasper, the first grandchildren in this family, (as well as “Blueberry”, pictured here, but as yet still a very small fetus), were particularly excited to see Grandpa Kent and Grandma Janene. Jasper spent most of the week on Grandpa’s lap, impressing us all with the strength of Jasper’s love and trust for Kent, transcending the distance between Utah and Minnesota. Much love going out to all of you in Utah!

John, Ashley, Blueberry, Brook, Heather, Jasper, Kent, Janene, Theo, Benjamin, and Grant

Grandpa Kent and the boys

Theo was less inclined toward formal photos...

Ashley and John, the Duluthians.

Theo, Ben, Brook, and Jasper, the Minneapolisians.

And pictures are done!