Recently I photographed a walking meditation led by Swell, a San Francisco collaboration between artist Ali Nashke-Messing and design studio ScrapD, through San Francisco's Bernal neighborhood. Here are some images from the afternoon walk, publicity for Swell's upcoming public arts project, Print Public, with Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. The purpose of Print Public is to foster an arts-integrated approach to urban planning and community activation. This Thursday the 13th of February, from 6-8pm "Print Public" will be inargurated by Swell along with fellow artists Susan O'Malley, Taro Hattori, and Marksearch at Kala Art Institute, introducing artist projects and community outreach. If you're in the East Bay, particularly West Berkeley, come by Thursday! Enjoy the photographs.
An absolutely avid home cook, I spend much of my free time devising meals from market finds, reading cookbooks like novels, and endeavoring upon obscure recipes. This past autumn I've been happily busy making preserved lemons, homemade granola with chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with sea salt; fresh carrot juice with turmeric, papaya and ginger; buttermilk-brined roast chicken; watermelon radish and beet salad with wild arugula; various improvised cocktails; rosemary and red wine pear pies; upside down autumn fruit cake with persimmons, currants and fig; tons of tacos with chipotle and cumin infused beans; shapely pastas with cured salmon, dill, pine nuts and endless fresh feta. I probably don't need to elaborate on how amazing it is to live in this food-bounty-heaven of Northern California, you get the picture. I hope to keep the culinary posts coming between other photography projects. Enjoy the pictures, and go feed your friends, cook something from scratch, something utterly flavorful. Stay warm!
When I return to my childhood home in the Pacific Northwest, I am, no matter the season, inundated by green, shocked by the stars, silenced by the silence itself. Compared to my noisy city life in San Francisco, skipping over sidewalks and always impressed by architecture, Rock Farm is an oasis of foliage, forest and spaciousness. I can not say I prefer one environment over the other exactly, but I know there is no other place I feel this elfin. I know these trees well; though we move in different time zones and I've outgrown some while others have outgrown me. Here are a few portraits of this home landscape of mine, taken on the sole sunny afternoon in the last days of 2013 in Washington state, with a few pictures of Christmas brunch and my adorable niece Mira tucked between. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!
Today, the first day of January, I wanted to publish photographs of my apartment over the seasons I've lived here as an ode and proclamation of gratefulness to home as haven. Most of my belongings are imbued with history and a lovingly worn in feel; I infrequently buy new things, seeking a balance between my inherited aptitude for frugality and my lust for all that is luxurious. I find such pleasure in the details, textures and shapes of handmade ceramics, folk woven basketry, Guatemalan textiles, Moroccan berber rugs, Japanese kimonos, faded velvet cushions, circular mirrors, open shelving, stone and marble accents, wooden bowls and carved objects, lovely paper garlands from Chinatown, abstract black and white sculpture, lean and sturdy blossoming branches, vintage kitchen accoutrements, my grandmother's 1960s oil paintings, artworks from friends, living plants-particularly feathery ferns and asparagus fronds, everchanging arrangements that reflect the season, as much natural light as possible, and color, color, color. In another life, or perhaps in this one, I'd happily be an interior decorator, inspired by Diana Vreeland's sense of irreverent and dense arrangement, Coco Chanel's modern minimalist restraint, my dear friend Rachel Corry's sense of the folkloric, the year I lived in India, my mother's broad approach to employing textiles in the home, and an ever-growing confidence that the kitchen is the room I'd like to share with my loved ones most of all. Looking forward to 2014 and all the new spaces, arrangements and artistry it will hold. Happy New Year!
Beth Cook is one of my most effervescent friends, a whip-smart, socially savvy and utterly entrepreneurial woman I met many years ago and immediately adored on our very first day of graduate school. Taking Beth and her consulting business as the subject of my most recent photo-shoot, we worked together to create a series of photographs for her new website. I tried to embody 'a day in the life' approach, observing Miss. Cook in action in her home, workspace and with clients in San Francisco. Take a peak at Beth's website to find out more about her work as a private coach and consultant, in which she specializes in creative business & life strategies. Everything Beth touches becomes golden, and I highly, highly recommend her consulting services. Unabashedly, I'm a fan!
I was recently asked to photograph Yoga Loft, a stunningly light-filled, high-ceilinged yoga studio on Divisadero Street. I documented their lovely studio spaces, a few classes in action, and a holiday staff party, creating imagery for the Loft's renewed website. Although it was a bit awkward to tip-toe between balancing, suspended and oh-so poised bodies during classes with my camera, and it made me long to stretch instead of shoot, the engaging, sweet staff made me feel welcomed. I'm eager to return for one of their movement classes off-duty.
As a frequent guest of Outerlands, one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, I was very excited to document the wedding of its stellar chef Brett Cooper and his enchanting lady, Hailee. On a breezy, bright afternoon I photographed the sweetly swooning couple at Alamo Square park before the wedding celebration got underway in the grand rooms of the Swedish American Hall. As expected, the culinary spread was crazily delicious, thanks to Nopalito, who did the catering with their trademark grace. The most amazing cake I have ever tasted, prepared by Bill Corbett, pastry chef of The Absinthe Group, was heavenly and wild; a tres leches cake with roasted white chocolate mousse, huckleberry custard, huckleberry-fennel compote and cocoa nib streuselI. The whole evening was vibrant, full of dancing, much laughter, and blooms by Church Street Flowers and the bride's friends Maggie and Tracey. Warmly welcoming an autumn season of festivities, this wedding full-heartedly shook the cold city wind off and away. Congratulations, Brett and Hailee! I know, without a doubt, you two are destined to have a rich, joyous and delicious future ahead! I cannot wait to share more meals, photographs and celebrations with you down the road....
Caroline Fey, the super savvy chef behind The City Kitchen, a boutique culinary event company, recently asked me to photograph a Pre-Holiday Fete she hosted with local chef Chris Bottorff. Both Chris and Caroline invited friends to gather at the magnificently pretty Cook House, the rental space where The City Kitchen offers regular cooking classes. In the heart of North Beach and its neon allure, Cook House's classy and cozy interior features an open kitchen running parallel to a long banquette table where at least twenty attendees can dine together. What I've learned from working a little with Caroline so far is that she is not only a social firecracker, but quick as a fox in the kitchen. Her delicious food is incredibly colorful, seasonally apt and always presented flawlessly; edible works of art. On this occasion what stunned me most was a celery root and parsnip bisque, whose mushrooms, pancetta and squash garnishes made the dish appear to be an autumnal landscape cast with windswept leaves of different hues. I am so looking forward to photographing more of Caroline's food and City Kitchen dinners, not to mention nibbling on the fare between shots!
Over the past few years, and especially as of late, a constant wave of my friends in my Bay Area community have left San Francisco and moved down south to spacious, sunny Los Angeles, where they compliment the warm weather, affordable apartments and urban parks, not to mention the active art world and temperate ocean. I'm always restless, curious and up for being convinced somewhere is the other best place to live, so recently I took a few days off, taking a quick flight to visit friends who are building their lives in the sprawling, sunny city, some in academia, others in music; some in comedy, others in the culinary world. No decisions were made about where my future lies, but I'll definitely be visiting lovely Los Angeles more often. Here are some of the photographs from my trip; enjoy.
In the midst of San Francisco's Indian Summer, a few deciduous trees among the ever-present palms change color just slightly, reminding me that the seasons are in fact changing. In order to really solidify the feeling of Fall, however, leaving the city is a must. One of my favorite places to spend time is the childhood home of my friend Ali, in Healdsburg. Together we lounge languidly, catch up on our reading, cook and converse, swim in the murky pond, pick wild bouquets, and hike through the woods. Here are a few pictures from this past weekend at Deergnaw, a luscious, beautiful landscape with a cozy, converted cabin, hilltop olive orchard and bounteous garden. Enjoy the pictures, and Happy Autumn!
I recently I had the pleasure of photographing a launch party for Avocados & Coconuts, a San Francisco film production company, as they debuted their incredible space to a bevy of talented friends and colleagues. To call the studio and its facilities impressive would be quite the understatement: the space was maze-like, utterly sophisticated and ridiculously creative. The production suites and offices must be seen to be believed; its interiors are full of hand-worked wooden elements by locals such as Smallworks art-framer Andrew Berg, and carpenter Luke Bartels, whose wooden features make the senses soar. Naturally, the party's attendees were as fashionable and charming as the space itself, making my job as portrait-photographer easy! Between delicious elixers, amazing fare by Tacolicious, and a set by local band, Sonny and the Sunsets, (one of my longtime personal favorites) a very good time was had by all! Do enjoy the photos. and check back in soon for winter events..... Warmly, Airyka
On a sweltering August afternoon in Orinda, California, I photographed the gorgeous, relaxed wedding of a wonderfully sweet couple. Heidi and Richard invited an intimate group of friends and family to join them for a beautiful, flower-laden, picnic wedding set in a grove of Oak trees in Briones Regional Park. The bounty of petals were arranged by Sarai Fox of Blue Heron Farms. Amidst the accompaniment of a Cascada de Flores, a Spanish guitar-playing trio, a lovely time was had by all. Between the warm breeze, playful dancing, poetry, perfect tarts and pies from Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, and perfectly pastoral setting, some of my very favorite wedding moments of this summer took place. I am feeling so lucky that Heidi and Richard chose me to document their vivid, endearingly open-hearted celebration. Congratulations you lovebirds!
In late July I photographed a beautiful wedding at the Great Blue Heron Hall, a quaint farm house and ecological center in Santa Rosa, California. The day was bright and warm, the sky perfectly topaz. The adorable and relaxed newlyweds, Nora and Patrick, celebrated their love in an understated, classical, elegant style with overflowing bright yellow farm bouquets, a satisfyingly summery banquet meal from the local A'La'Heart, and much laughter and conversation. Just before their vows, Nora and Patrick's friends serenaded them with a homespun song; later, the brother of the bride and sister of the groom gave moving, warm and hilarious toasts as twilight came on and dancing commenced. Local DJ Korise perfectly nailed the music for the evening, wooing the crowd with his tunes until late. I really enjoyed photographing this wedding, especially as the day began at the bride's childhood home, was full of cheer, humor and sincerity, and concluded with a bright northern star twinkling above prairie meadows in the distance. I wish you the best of luck and many more adventures together, Nora and Patrick!
In early June, I photographed a unique, mellow wedding on a breezy day near the coast of San Francisco. Luke and Hilary invited an intimate group of friends and family to the verdant San Francisco Zoo to celebrate their love amidst adorable alpacas, gorgeous cypress trees, and the boisterous, dirty blues of Blue Bone Express. The bride wore a custom sea green dress and carried a bouquet of vivid yellow blooms by local Half Moon Bay Flowers. Custom cupcakes were provided by the bride's friend Angelique, who runs the lovely and old-fashioned bakery NM Sweety Treats in Sante Fe. Fresh herbs for kitchen gardens were given away to the guests and after much uninhibited dancing and play, the newlywed couple sped away on their burly motorcycle, "just married" emblems glittering on their black helmets. Congratulations Hilary and Luke: you and your communities and families are wonderful, and I know you two will be having many adventures ahead!
During a midsummer heatwave in Northern California, I photographed the wedding of Laura and Sean at the lush Shelldance Orchid Gardens in Pacifica. I felt so incredibly lucky to photograph this beautiful, intimate wedding amidst a plethora of plants; you can tell from these pictures I have a thing for succulents! Nancy, the proprietor of the gardens, fashioned incredible, sculptural bouquets which somehow eclipsed the overflowing foliage and blossoms throughout the space. The bride wore her mother's vintage wedding dress, a classically simple eyelet cotton wrap-dress. The groom's friend Neil played guitar during the ceremony as the bride's father officiated. Delicious cured meats, cheeses and sandwiches were provided by the super sweet foodies behind Jersey Tomatoes. For dessert, a bevy of handmade pies crafted by local bakery Pacificakes were praised and instantaneously devoured on platters and vintage teacups orchestrated by the bride. The newlyweds beamed as the sun set over the Pacific, filtering through the greenhouse windows, ocean breezes cooling the air. Photographing a small wedding is so special to me as I get a chance to delve into making portraits of each and every guest, gaining a sense of a couple's community and story. Wishing the best to the radiant, fairy-queen like Laura, and Sean, her joyful, handsome husband. Congratulations, lovelies!
On a long, mid-summer day, Zach and Noelle came together to celebrate their bond in the grand and ornate upper levels of San Francisco's City Hall. Their friends and family traveled from places as far as Oklahoma, Amsterdam and Toronto to cheer on the couple and to celebrate into the night at The Verdi Club with a feast of succulent roast pig and Southern style accoutrements by Jake Godby of Truck Stop. Bouquets of dahlias, poppies and fir tree fronds were provided by friends Julia and Sonia. Subtly sophisticated wedding bands were crafted by Carly Kimbrough of CK Jewelry. All guests appreciated the chance to express their generosity and outrageous dance-moves when bride and groom lured them in to a traditional 'money dance' followed by local DJ's Trevor Goosen, Matt Roberts and Rance Brown further electrifying the party. Artist and professional baker Leah Rosenberg customized an elegant layer cake whose all white exterior opened onto a striped rainbow interior. Noelle, an effervescent bride, seeped Hollywood glamour and grace in an emerald dress and 1940s hairpiece, while the groom, Zach, gazed at her with proud, unending sweetness. It was an honor and pleasure to photograph this easygoing, fun and beautiful couple, and their big-hearted community. Congratulations, you two!
In early April I photographed the wedding of a beautiful Brooklyn-based couple who held their ceremony outdoors in Grand Ferry Park. Guests bundled together in a circle around Amber and Daniel as a close friend led a meditation in the Quaker tradition; family members held up the four poles of the Jewish chuppah, and park visitors looked on excitedly. Amidst flying rose petals, applause, tears and laughter, the couple smooched, and smooched; indeed the longest, most passionate wedding kiss I've yet seen! The electrically exuberant local Raya Balkan Brass Band led everyone onward through the city streets in a celebratory procession to Picture Farm, a unique space run by creative aficionados, where dancing, mingling, and many moving speeches were fortified by the edible delights of Poppy's Catering. Congratulations Amber and Daniel! You are such a playful, joyous, and romantic couple; it was a delight photographing your wedding day.
Although I was out of the country when Stacy and Ian got hitched at City Hall, I was able to shoot her baby shower when the time came. I'm especially excited to share this post here, because the party took place at my own home, decorated with vintage Chinatown paper-cut-out garlands, and an abundance of Spring flowers, wrangled into elegant forms. Being showered with sunlight, flowers, gifts, cakes and love has got to be one of the most emotionally and sensually pleasing things for any woman, especially one with her first child on the way! We had a beautiful time celebrating Stacy and Ian and their little Desmond Moon to be...
It was such a pleasure and honor to photograph this beautiful, down to earth couple, Tula and Doug, at the bride's family farm in Healdsburg, California, on one of the last days of Indian Summer. The groom bought gleaming new shoes yet decided to go barefoot; the bride commissioned Tara Arnold, out of Berkeley, to custom design a dress based on a sketch of an 18th Century Russian dress. Flower children appeared like fairies in gardens laden with blooms. Tula's family, of Preston Vineyards, are dedicated to delicious and meaningful food, so most ingredients for the banquet came from the family's surrounding gardens: even the carnivorous fare was sourced from humanely-raised animals on the farm. Mateo, the chef from Cucina Latina brought it all together with grace and gusto, serving guests at long banquet tables under a canopy of trees. The bride, an artist and editor, thoughtfully orchestrated the aesthetic details of the day with grace and simplicity. Dragonfly Farms arranged delicate vines and tendrils of flowers in lean jars. Eventually, a full harvest-moon rose above guests on the outdoor dance-floor, compelled to dance by the savvy DJ Patrick Numair. Throughout the day, and into the evening, I felt a great sense of gratitude, joy and community spilling over from the just married couple. I never want nights like this to end--outdoors all dressed up at the end of summer, photographing communities set to gather for feast and dance, flora and true love. Many congratulations, Tula and Doug!
At exactly seven months pregnant, Stacy was emboldened to bare her blossoming belly for a series of photographs. We spent a leisurely afternoon photographing at the edges of Lake Anza, one of my favorite swimming holes in the forested canyons above Berkeley. Off-season, Lake Anza is quiet and secluded enough to take portraits with barely anyone else around, which was important as we did a few nudes as well. Stacy was calm and content; her tone resonant with the exquisite surroundings. I feel lucky when I have opportunity to photograph a pregnant woman; not only because of the trust which is present between us, but because it is an honor to document a woman at this turning point in her life, perched on the threshold. The universe aligned for us that afternoon, providing a perfectly reflective lake surface, buds of spring green emerging on silvery winter branches and a mist that settled over the water at sunset.