I had an amazing time shooting these Saint Paul dance photos with the talented (and humble) Carley Jensen. Our dance photography session began at Harriet Island Park, right across the river from downtown Saint Paul, MN. We finished our evening making sunset portraits high upon the cliffs of Indian Mounds Park.
I was truly in awe of the skill level and maturity of this amazing 11 year old dancer. Carley has trained ballet and contemporary dance styles intensively since the age of 5. Carley has won a national title every year that she has competed. She currently trains at Larkin Dance Studio in Maplewood, MN. Carley is already recognized as a NUVO Breakout Artist and an INTRIGUE Apprentice, and one day hopes to make it on So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance. She will be going to the The Dance Awards this year and the skies the limit for this hard-working, and sweet young lady.
Below is a collection of my favorite images from our fun dance photography session in Saint Paul, MN:
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I am so very excited to share these images and this story. Emerson is one of the coolest kids I’ve had the pleasure of hanging with and the story and path that led me here is right on par. It’s actually one of the main reasons you are seeing any of this in the first place.
Emerson’s dad, Brian Johnson, founder of PhilosophersNotes, En*Theos, and other awesome businesses, had a hugely positive influence on my life. I spent the good part of the early 2000’s soaking up knowledge and exploring purpose & meaning in life. This search led me to Brian who was just launching PhilosophersNotes. He was condensing all the greatest nuggets of wisdom from all the most inspiring and empowering books ever written, and putting together all the highlights in quick 20 minute MP3’s and PDF’s. It was all the most important stuff that wasn’t covered in school, and I loved the idea. It’s funny because I actually had thought and spoken with friends about this very concept in the past…compiling a huge resource of all the best information to motivate, inspire, and provide people with invaluable tools and direction. Once I came across Brian I thought, “well he’s got this covered already,” and I jumped on as a social media volunteer for the launch of the business to helped spread the good word to my friends here in Minnesota.
During this time of pouring into optimal living, I challenged myself to a 100 day program where I would only eat the best food, embark on a consistent workout routine, and listen to one PhilosophersNote every day, for 100 days. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I spent those 100 days living optimally and thinking clear and often about my purpose, and following my heart in life. I explored the question of “what would you want do in life anyways, even if you didn’t get paid for it? You couldn’t pay me to stop playing with photography, so the idea of following that passion full force, circled around & around in my head and heart. By the end of those 100 days I had officially launched my photography business and taken the plunge into the unknown. I had no idea what I was doing besides the fact that I absolutely loved photography and knew I had an unbreakable desire to improve, learn, grow and make people happy. With this passion & dedication I was fully confident I could make it work, however scary it was at first. People around you think you are nuts when you truly go for your dreams but I had to just ignore those peoples opinions and keep focused on what I knew I needed to do.
Fast forward four short years later and I am the proud owner of a thriving, fun, and fulfilling business, A Frame Forward Photography, and I get to do what I love every day for work.
Back to Emerson: I was making a trip out to CA to shoot the Nicholas David show at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles and I thought I’d reach out and share this story with Brian and personally thank him for being a huge inspiration in my life. Brian and his family live up in Ojai, a beautiful town about an hour and a half outside of L.A. I had the honor of meeting Brian and his family, and had an absolute blast hanging out and shooting with little Emerson. It’s really neat to be able to gift them these images of Emerson that they can now cherish forever. Kids grow up way too fast, that is for sure.
I highly recommend you checking out these PhilosophersNotes yourself. Life is crazy busy I know, but in short chunks of time you can fill your head with the goodness you really need to be filling it with, and watch your life transform. Sounds kinda out there to some people, but it’s the absolute truth. Try it, I dare you.
This is a beautiful story of a loving community coming together to help a sweet little boy find a new kidney that he so desperately needed. Little Jack Certain had kidney issues since his time in utero. He had his first transplant at age two, receiving a kidney from his mother. By age 7, and after hours and hours and hours of hospital visits and dialysis, he was in desperate need of yet another transplant. Finding a transplant for Jack was no easy task and I jumped at the opportunity to help the cause after hearing about the event that the Gorilla Yogis were holding for Jack. My good friend Ryan Eggen, an awesome Yoga instructor here in the Twin Cities, had been helping teach the Gorilla Yogi classes for some time, and I loved what they were doing in the community. When he told me about Jack’s story it really hit home. Being the father to two little boys around Jack’s age I was deeply moved to photograph the event, in an effort to help spread awareness for Jack, and for all those in need of donors out there.
The “Live, Give, Love” 75 minute Vinyasa practice for Jack took place inside the Thorp Building in NE Minneapolis. It felt so good to be there, and to hear from Jack’s parents, his siblings, and to see the support of the heartfelt community all around them. What a special day, and the best part…there was a very happy ending to this whole story. An amazingly brave woman named Mekea donated her kidney to Jack and he is doing better than ever. Read the beautiful story here written by Minneapolis | St. Paul Magazine.
Be sure to check out Gorilla Yogis too, and all the wonderful things they are up to…from their website: “GORILLA YOGIS is a movement, a migration to yoga beyond studio walls. Gorilla Yogis gather to practice urban jungle yoga in unexpected, offbeat places. In parks, on street corners, in museums, art galleries, at cafes, in restaurants, in music venues, on barges on the Mississippi River, on rooftop decks, on farms, in barns, in lofts, abandoned spaces, baseball fields. It’s yoga out of captivity. Each month we host donation based yoga events where we raise money for organizations that are doing hard work to make this jungle an awesome place to live.”
I love At-Home sessions, as the kids thrive in their natural environment, and the images always hold that extra special meaning on down the road. I had a blast playing with trains, reading books, and watching these two cute kids cruise around and do what they do. I love my job!
This was my second visit with this cool family, and my first time meeting Mr. Miles. It was a beautiful summer evening at the park, and we had a lot of fun exploring and laughing it up together. For a hilarious outtake from this session pop over to my Facebook Page. =D