Kristen Kidd Photography

Photo Documentary: Exposing Life As It Develops

The year is over halfway through and I thought I’d take a second to share and reflect on some of my favorite images of the first half of the year.
This year has been full of spectacular places and beautiful moments with couples, kids, families, friends (both furry and not so furry).
It’s such an honor to share and capture every moment that presents itself.
Thanks to everyone who has made it the best year thus far at Kristen Kidd Photography.

On a day that was no day in particular, besides a Wednesday, I received an excited, verging on frantic, call from my friend Nadja.

"Hey, do you want to go see Kristyn and Dustin renew their vows wearing nothing but cutlery?"

"What? Yes. What?"

"These are all things that are happening right now."

"When?"  I was beat or two out of sync in the conversation, thrown off by the general context.  

"Now.  In thirty minutes. I’m going over right now to help her get in her ‘gown’."  

What I didn’t realizing at the time was that I was being ushered into the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen (GISHWHES).  No. This is not a hyperbolic acronym that I created. Though, kudos to you for recognizing that as something I would definitely do.  It’s better.  It’s an actual thing.  What I became witness to was item number 31 on a two hundred item list of incredible deeds (many with a charitable angle) and projects (mostly including a heavy arts and crafts component) to be accomplished over the course of one week.  

Number 31:  ”Get married.  If you’re married, renew your vows.  For this ceremony the couple must be adorned in the seasons hottest, most stunning and elegant kitchenware…make sure your event is well attended…The officiant must be a ship’s captain.”  Kristyn and Dustin rose to the challenge with all the enthusiasm that wedded bliss should conjure. By standers (and their pets) joined in the merriment. The air buzzed with enthusiasm and the vibrations were contagious.  Even though half the people in attendance had no idea what or why this was happening; they just wanted to be apart of it.  That’s part of the grand scheme of GISHWHES.  

GISHWHES describes itself as

a “game” where we present the players from all over the planet a long list of items to accomplish. Then people collectively in their respective teams divvy up and pursue these items, making incredible crazy art, performing wild things in public, and partaking in heart-warming community service projects. They receive “points” for every item they accomplish.”

However, the list doesn’t limit itself to ridiculous high jinx, but also opens itself to make a difference in someone’s day or entire life.  A couple of my favorites from this year’s list included getting CPR certified and another was to do an activity in remembrance of a loved one that has passed or do an activity with a loved that you’ve been meaning to do, but keep postponing.   GISHWHES goes on to say: 

"Many of the participants claimed it was a life-changing experience that either pulled them out of their shell and completely changed their lives, or drove them insane.

Previous years’ items have ranged from “random kindness items” like “Take a picture of you hugging a War Veteran” or “…giving coats to a homeless shelter” to sublime items like “Take a picture of a stormtrooper cleaning a pool next to a sunbather” or “create a 2-foot tall seagull made entirely from sanitary napkins.” Whichever team receives the most points by scavenging the most items (quality counts!), will win an all-expense-paid trip to somewhere incredible.”

It’s so easy to get stuck in the monotony of life - the daily routine.  GISHWHES shakes it all up and just for the hell of it, because we occasionally need to forget responsibility and deadlines and embrace the five year-old that’s still there… if we’ll only let him/her come out play.  I think one participant put it best when she said,

GISHWHES reawakened the part of me that finger painted as a child and laughed at my messes. I cannot remember the last time I felt this inspired and joyful.” -Jennifer Archer 

 

I had no idea it would be the beginning of a wonderful photography relationship when I brought my camera into the animal rescue, Harley’s Haven. Each baby mutt was cuter than the last. As I snapped picture after picture I was acutely aware of the fact that each one had been saved from a very brief existence in a pound a few hundred miles away. I watched one after another find their forever homes. 

The two Veterinarians behind Harley’s Haven, Jen and Beth, requested that I photograph them with their dogs and in their new practice, Pennridge Animal Hospital (PAH).  They wanted to convey their personable approach to animal care.  So, we worked together to assemble a session to illustrate their message of meeting the pet where it’s at.  This often means getting down on their level, sitting on the floor with them and interacting a  more casual, comfortable manner.  

A few mutts photos later I was contacted by Beth’s mother Who requested that I collaborate with her for a surprise photo session that would feature Beth’s son and their three rescue dogs, Harley (the origin of Harley’s Haven), Fiona and Sawyer. I was elated to participate in yet another meaningful project for them and overjoyed to hear that Beth was moved to tears upon the reception of her Christmas images.

After photographing the rescue, the doctors and their dogs and then the family, I thought all the bases were covered. Yet, sure enough, when Beth and Jen shared with me that they provide unique service of home visitation to their furry clients, I knew I needed to capture this.

Featured above are some images of what a home visit looks like. At a local farm, the pouring rain loudly resounding off of the tin roof made me believe it could possibly be raining cats and dogs.  We were all forced to nearly yell in order to be heard over the racket.

I was in the barn, but Beth had already been in the house draining the infected ears of one of the farmers house pet. The business laptop was cradled under her clutched rain coat as she dashed across the grass to the barn and was greeted by four enthusiastic Maremmas (a rare bread of Italian guard dogs) and Cynthia, their loving owner.  Stella, Milly, Donna and Lilly were all due for a check-up, various standard tests and a couple vaccinations.  

Beth immediately set herself down on the floor.  In between petting and kisses she monitored their heart beat and gave them a physical evaluation. When it came time for injections, despite the rain and the needles, the dogs displayed a calmness and ease that can only be found when they are in the comfort of their own environment.  Cynthia sang the praises of the home visit as she offered familiar treats and the dogs freely roamed the barn.  However, it was plain to see that the alternative - carting four large dogs, two of which were rambunctious puppies, to an office; was less than ideal for both Cynthia and the dogs.  

In the end, all dogs were happy and well.  They continued on with their evening of sniffing and sleeping and eating with little disruption and the general sanity was preserved.  However the benefits of home visits don’t just extend themselves to to the limitations of minor convenience.  Rather, it opens the doors wide for animal lovers that find it a challenge or even impossible to transport their beloved pet and themselves to a vet office.  The community of elderly and those with disabilities stand to gain the most of this service.  It’s good to know these services exist to make it possible to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle for both the pet and the owner When it’s so abundantly clear how beneficial it is to the animal lover’s spirit, resiliency and overall health to have pets.  

This past Easter weekend I went home and, with my family, spread my Father’s ashes.  In an unceremonious and seemingly uncorrelated event, I decided I wanted to gather several transplants from the home I grew up at to bring back to our new home in Pennsylvania.  What transpired from this was a sort of “act of remembering”.  I was reminded of pieces of life that will never change, pieces that cannot stay the same and pieces that we carry on in new and different ways.  

A poem I wrote for the service:  

The Places We Find Those That Carry On

Dad I found you in the pages 

Of the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening

Behind tomato cages of concrete reinforcement wire

And black and white illustrations

Of garden plans.

You were many things.

You taught me people are many things.

Today I choose to remember you this way:

Giver of life

In the planted and plotted,

Buds and suckers

And a life pruned over a lifetime 

Hoping - working for a better yield.

Dad, I found you in the sleeves 

of 78s and 45s.

Sometimes in-between the Rolling Stones and The Carpenters,

Between Jimmy Dorsey and The Supremes, 

Simon and Garfunkle and Chicago

Or Johnny Mathis and Johnny Cash.

God, I hate Johnny Mathis.

Yet, he takes his place among the rest,

Proof that I love you.

Because my Father’s record collection

Is not my Father’s record collection

Without an occasional verse or voice

Or note I’d rather not hear.

Today I choose to remember you this way:

A masterpiece symphony

In a cacophony and unresolving chords.

Listen to the words:

An offering of meaning 

For the things we, ourselves cannot articulate.  

Kristen Kidd Photography

I am extremely excited to announce the launch of my new online portfolio. It is much more user friendly, sleek and attractive. I hope you enjoy taking a gander! I’ll be updating it periodically with new galleries and eventually selling images directly through the website.

A few weeks ago Beth and Jen at the bourgeoning Pennridge Animal Hospital asked me to do a session in their new, cozy digs.  The exam area is in what feels like the den of a home, complete with fire place, a couch, toys and all the standard vet necessities to exam the pets that come through.  Beth requested I specifically capture some images of them on the floor with pups because this is the down to earth care they offer all of their furry, hairy or feathery patients.  They set themselves apart getting on the animals level, providing house calls and even occasionally seeing patients at the last minute.  While I was there, wrapping up the session, on a Sunday, they were following up with “patient’s parents”, making calls and appointments.  The amount of love and care these two entrepreneurs give to their field is a site to behold.  I’m really proud to be apart of capturing the ambitions to come to life and unfold into a great new business in the community.   

One year ago I met Angie at a party for a medical practice I did a photo session for.  She told me she had an interest in hiring me to do some portraits with her and her beloved Nana.  She gushed over her love for her grandmother and I was elated at the prospect to capture her and Nana together.  It was this past weekend that all of our schedules coincided.  Most portrait sessions (especially where grandparents are involved) evoke thoughts of grandparents sweetly sitting in chairs with muted back drops as their family members flank their sides in a formal fashion.  That’s lovely, but I was overjoyed when Angie came to me with visions photographing Nana “doing the things she loves”.  ”I really want to make her feel special.  I’d love to get her behind a sewing machine.  She loves to sew.  I love to have some of her behind the mixer too.  We both love to bake.”  

"Fantastic", I said.  "What are we sewing?  What are baking?"

What transpired was a walk to the snowy park, hemming of pants, reading on the sofa and baking banana bread - all activities that are beloved by both Angie and Nana when they visit one another.  

My soul was warmed to tell the story of one grandmother and her granddaughter.  This is why I do what I do - to preserve timeless and cherished memories.    

Photo Documentary Series:  A Year In The Garden

These are samples from a year long documentary series I did of one, local garden.  It was amazing to see the changes with each season’s passing.  For more reflections on the beauty of the great outdoors see the extended catalog.

Six  months ago we bought a house.  This is the latest update on our home.  I included areas that are still a work in progress.  It’s been an amazing journey that continues on.  

kristenkiddphotography:

Commonly, by now, you know I do stories about other people and other places.  Occasionally though, I tap into my narcissistic side and post about my personal journey.  Those of you who may read in a more devoted fashion might have noticed a few less emails in your inbox these days.  (Since we all receive way too many emails, it was likely a welcomed respite.) These images give you a glimpse into why there have been crickets in the place stories.  It turns out that sometimes I simply can’t do everything all the time and be everywhere at once.  Who knew?!  

Dave and I began a journey of making a home… sometimes more literally than we bargained for.  We purchased a home in the middle of town (which is the lifestyle we love - close to trains, restaurants and bars) and have jumped full force into revitalizing what was once a turn of the century beauty that be came a run down drug house in one capacity or another.  

We’ve heard the stories from neighbors and even realtors that live a ways away.  Apparently this gem carries quite a sad history of the reality of poverty and the choices that sometimes come hand in hand with that reality.  Despite that downer, we’ve really embraced our situation and do what one can only do in times like these… laugh. “Remember the time we bought a crack house?”, I ask Dave.  He smiles and we rip up another slab of unidentifiable splotches on carpet.  We question the substance in between carpet and laminate.  We toss it all in the trash and move on.

In all honesty, we have been in love with the idea and (thus far) our process of making this place ours.  There’s nothing so cathartic as demolition and peeling away the old to reveal something better buried underneath.  

I will be bringing updates along the way.  I hope you enjoy my self-indulgent journey and maybe find commiseration and a good laugh or too, if you too are a home owner.