Thank you so much for your interest in me and my services. I regret to inform you that Jamie Neilsen Photography is closed for business. Fret not, friends, this is a decision I made with my whole heart.
I just spent the last year of my life unraveling to my core and falling deeply in love. My priorities changed. My goals changed. Happiness itself took on a whole new meaning. Slowly, I shed away projects that no longer brought me joy and running a business is one of those things that no longer fits into my life.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to hear stories about other peoples lives and enjoy open minded thinking with a sense of humor, then you might enjoy my new blog, which is just as much about my life as it is the entireuniverse. I really hope you’ll join me. If that’s not your thing, thanks for stopping by and I wish you all the best in your future searches.
Wanna know a secret?? I hate weddings. Aack! I know I’m not supposed to say things like that, let alone announce it publicly on the internet. But it’s true. A wedding is a beastly, bipolar monster hopped up on Pintrest with unrealistic expectations. And as a photographer, it’s a hellofalotta work.
What I know about weddings is that despite all your planning and best intentions someone important will be running late, the flower girl will suddenly go shy, the groomsmen will look for any opportunity to get out of their suits, and someone will inevitably have too much to drink. Flowers will wilt, cakes will melt, and there will be a wardrobe malfunction. If you have cable television you’ve probably heard the term “Bridezilla”. I’m sure all you reality TV junkies out there are picking up what I’m putting down, yaknowwhatI’msayin?
What I’m trying to say is, weddings aren’t all roses. BUT inside every one of those hectic wedding day moments is joy, wonder and beauty. One of the most important things you can do as a bride is hire a photographer with a trained heart and eye who knows how to look for it. A really good photographer can turn any mishap into a beautiful pin on Pintrest and design an album as gorgeous as a fashion magazine spread.
You should know, I take joy very seriously. Years of experience photographing weddings and families has trained me to find the beauty inside whatever story I am documenting – including your wedding day.
Every year I shoot a handful of weddings for brides and grooms that get it. They don’t stress out about schedules and timelines. They take comfort in knowing that the ceremony starts when they’re ready and not a moment before. And most importantly, they know that at the end of the night, no matter what else happens during their wedding day, they’ll be husband and wife. And that’s all that matters.
Last summer I had the pleasure of photographing Jae & Zar’s wedding at the Columbia Winery. It was a beautifully hot August day. I can’t say the wedding went off without a hitch, but I can say it was a heartfelt ceremony followed by a vivacious reception. Surrounded by friends and family, Jae and Zar professed and promised love. They were married.
Check out the video for even more photos of Jae and Zar’s wedding day…
That’s it. I can’t take it anymore. As if it weren’t bad enough to be stuck inside for days while Seattle waits out this crazy snow storm, I’m forced to see everyone’s snow pictuers all over the internet too. No color! So cold! Stir crazy! But I’ve got your back, Internet. It is with great pleasure that I warmly present to you…summer. Yes boys and girls, long, long ago on an 80 degree day at our friends house out in the sticks, we played hard in our bare feet and soaked up the setting sun. The Commons children are some of the most polite, kind hearted, free spirited children I know. Expoloring their backyard with them and lying in the grass telling stories was an absolute delight. And not just for the grown ups. I think I remember Tristan saying it was the best. day. ever. So this afternoon, while the snow continues to trickle down outside and I’m napping the day away, I’ll be dreaming of summer and these precious beauties who helped us have the best. day. ever. Can’t wait to do it again soon!
Holy Golightly: “Listen. You know those days when you get the mean reds?”
Paul “Fred” Varjak: “The mean reds. You mean like the blues?”
Holly: “No, the blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?”
Holly: “When I get it, the only thing that does any good is to jump into a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away.”
Just like last year, I visited sweet little Maya for some birthday pictures. This year she turned two. Terrible two’s jokes aside, Maya was not in the mood to be smiley and playful for her birthday shoot. We tried everything. Her bright pink jacket and perky pigtails didn’t do the trick. Bouncing and kicking a cheerful pink ball didn’t crack a smile. We even brought out the big guns with a shiny pink bicycle but she was barely amused. I don’t think she was sad at all. Just a case of the mean reds. Perhaps what Maya needed instead of pink was a little blue box! I kid. I kid.
In the end, what seemed to suit her best was relaxing in her living room and playing with the record player. Maya and I are the same like that. A needle on the record and a snuggle on the couch on a chilly autumn morning is exactly what I’d want too.
“She softened gradually, melting in the light of the sun, all the while thinking, O, this is what it’s like to be a planet & suddenly it was over & the universe expanded by one.” — Story People
I just got the news this morning via Facebook that Brooke and Josh welcomed their baby boy into the world last night. I am so excited for them! Brooke and I go waaaay back to our pre-teen days and seeing her now, in the life after our twenties as a mommy, sheesh, it gives me goosebumps. The power of the Social Network never ceases to amaze me. A baby gets announced on Facebook and a whole village rallies through the internet to give blessings, well wishes and cheer. An entire community at your finger tips. Isn’t that incredible? And through this tool Brooke and I have been able to remain in touch after all these years. We watch each others lives from a distance and then when we finally get together, we hardly skip a beat.
Brooke, I wish you all the tender, love filled, bittersweet moments that occur when a persons heart expands. I can’t wait to read your status updates about how everyday is a new discovery of deeper joy. May you have entire days spent just watching your tiny baby, soaking it all up and letting yourself be present for every precious moment of this new journey you’re on. Congratulations, Mama!
Today I feel like dancing. It’s my birthday month and in four days I’ll be in NYC with some of the best friends a girl could ask for.
Today I feel like a ladybug: bright and colorful with a voracious appetite.
Today I feel nostalgic. I want to feel holiday cheer the way a child does. Could Santa be real? Will it snow and shut down the city? Can we walk and sled in the streets?
Today I feel like stargazing. With a hot cup of spiced cider in my hands I’ll make up names for made up constellations and reflect on how tiny we are in this big old universe.
Today I feel like a leaf. I’m clinging to my base for dear life but nearly ready to succumb to being blown around wherever fate will take me.
Today I feel surreal. It’s as though all the bustling of holiday shoppers, downtown commuters, and noisy traffic jams are being whisked around, not of their own accord, but by the crispy cold wind that cuts sharply through our layers.
Today I want to feel passion and time stand still.
Today I feel blessed. It has been a very successful year and I’m ready to wrap a nice little bow around 2011 and send it on its way.
Today, I imagine the Wales family is feeling some of the very same things but for very different reasons. With a little one due to arrive this spring and news of the sex of their baby just days away, they’re surely feeling all this and more.
Julia, whatever you’re feeling today, I hope these images are received with joy and excitement. May your holidays as a family of three be filled with much celebration and jubilation as you transform into a family of four. I look forward to seeing you all again in a few months once the little one arrives!
Do you know I have tattoos? I say that to shock and distract you from the fact that the photos you’re about to see look a lot like early Fall and include children in costumes for Halloween….which was obviously awhile ago. I may be running a tad behind schedule here on the blog. With the way the weather looks outside right now, it doesn’t seem fair to be posting pictures from the summer weddings I shot this year. You know, when the sun was up past 4:30pm and you didn’t need to wear socks? Even though most of the leafs from the trees in this session are now on the ground, it’s these trees that made me think of tattoos.
My first one is on my inner, right ankle. I got it while in the Ozarks of Missouri with my little sister for her graduation from basic training. It’s a kanji symbol that stands for femininity…in the way that the sun is masculine and the moon is feminine…or so that’s what we’re told. An ironic choice considering that, my little sister, after having her inner ankle freshly inked with a sharp needle, rolled her tall socks up over her wound, laced up her tall, shiny, black boots and marched back to base in an anything but feminine cadence. I took a print of the tattoo back home with me so our youngest sister could have the same one done here in Seattle. I love that wherever we go, we each have that reminder of each other.
The second tattoo was a birthday gift to myself…my sign. The Archer or Sagittarius. A bent arrow on my back. It’s on my spine between the shoulder blades. I remember just before the artist got started he asked, “straight arrow or bent?” And without hesitation, I confirmed, bent. I guess you could say, I’m the kind of person who likes detours.
The third tattoo is on my right side from my hip to…a little lower than my armpit. It hurt. A lot. Every.Single.Rib. I could feel the vibration of the needle in the pit of my stomach for all three hours I sat on that work bench. But, the pain is temporary, tattoos are forever, and the end result are some fairly impressive gray branches and pink blossoms on a blooming cherry tree inked into my side. I absolutely love that time of year here, when all of a sudden there are pink trees blooming everywhere. And just as Spring gets really rolling, it begins snowing pink and white blossoms. You have to take it all in quickly because before you know it, they’re gone.
And…drum roll please…that’s how we get to these gorgeous red, yellow and orange trees of Autumn. My left side is begging for them. I want to take the canvas of the Bellevue Botanical Gardens on a Fall morning, like this one with the Mitchell Family, and condense them into one fiery tree inked into my skin. Wow, right? I know. I had an appointment set at my favorite shop in October…but October turned into a really busy month for me. What with running off to Portland on a train with a few friends to marry my soul mate…for starters. It too, was a beautiful Fall day with the leaves changing and a fantastic blue sky. The next weekend we flew to California to meet my in-laws for the very first time. That adventure was a pretty big deal too. Somehow, life got so full I didn’t have room for that tattoo appointment. So full of love, adventures, and a general wave of life changing experiences. This has pretty much been a remarkably wild year. And I couldn’t be happier.
Speaking of wild and happy, I had a wildly good time with the Mitchell Family last month. I loved having the opportunity to photograph them again this year and see how much the boys have grown. Liting, after last years rain out, I’m so glad you finally got the outdoor shoot you always wanted…blue skies and all.