Lifestyle

Our Dream Girl Turned Two: Pastels, Lambs and Babies

All my life now appears to be one happy moment,” Gagarin (the world’s first cosmonaut) said mere minutes before entering his spaceship. “Everything that was lived and done before was achieved for this moment alone.”

Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California

We call her Delphine, mostly, but also Delphini, stinker pink, dream bread, chòudòufu, plinker, angel, bam bam, the list goes on.

Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California
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Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California
Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California
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Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California
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Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California

She’s sensitive, just like her parents. She’s fundamentally extroverted but takes her time in social situations. She’s loving, cuddly and completely hilarious. Her first, and favorite word, is “no.” She was an “easy baby” but now that she’s a toddler she’s very clear about her agenda, interests, and preferences.

Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California
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She’s been the brightest, shiniest light in our lives for two whole years! We’re astonished, and delighted, by her every single day.

Go Big *and* Go Home: How to Print and Display Your Photographs

You did it! You had professional photographs taken. You shopped photographers, organized a date, paid a session fee, planned outfits, hairstyles, accessories, got everyone to the location on time, looking great, posed and laughed. Now all you have left to do is post those photos on Facebook, kick back and let like the likes come rolling in, right? Almost.

The typical Facebook scroller is going to spend, literally, second [sic] on your carefully crafted family portrait, before moving on. Why not get more for your investment? For example, a sweeping, deeply personal piece of art that will inspire and delight you thousands of times a day.

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I give you this example from my own life. This huge photograph is hung up on our bedroom wall. I look at it every morning when I wake up. I discover, and rediscover, the things I like about it every time I see it. Each time, I swoon anew at my daughter’s teeny, toast colored toes and my husband’s loving gaze. It gives me a “how lucky am I?!” wave of gratitude to start, and end, every day. Let’s call it my daily gratitude practice, except I don’t even have to write in a journal or sit on a pillow. I just have to open my eyes and I’m there.

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It might not be necessary to go as big as I did. The crucial factor is your space. An 8 X 10 print might be perfect for an unusual corner in your bathroom, but won’t make sense centered on your living room wall. You’ll also want to consider how you use the spaces in your home, and where your eye naturally rests in your most inhabited spaces. If you’re not sure what to do with photographs from our session, reach out to me! Not only would I be happy to discuss with you, I would absolutely come to your house and help you think it through in person!

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Light Lunch: double exposures on film.

I love looking at double exposures so I decided to create a roll of them on film. For these photographs I pulled the string lights off our tree and shot them against our dark grey bedsheets. The next day, I used the same roll of film to photograph our lunch at Drake Barn. You can see the frames from the two sessions don’t line up, which caused hard lines slicing the light orbs.

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Now I’m planning how I might apply double exposures to an aesthetic end in my portrait sessions.

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I’m very inspired by the work of Wendy Laurel in this area. If you haven’t seen her work, I suggest you do click through to her website, and prepare to be amazed.

Dogs and Babies

girl and great dane on film in california rachel sima photography

“Over the years I've come to appreciate how animals enter our lives prepared to teach and far from being burdened by an inability to speak they have many different ways to communicate. It is up to us to listen more than hear, to look into more than past.”

Nick Trout

girl and great dane on film in california rachel sima photography
girl and great dane on film in california rachel sima photography

Mission Dolores Park: then & now

We’re headed to San Francisco to spend Thanksgiving with my dad. He moved to San Francisco when I was fifteen, landing in the Mission District, in an apartment overlooking Mission Dolores Park. I would say, ‘the neighborhood has really changed’ but it’d still be too extravagant of an understatement.

Mission Dolores park film family photography by Rachel Sima Photography
Film Family Photography in Mission Dolores Park by Rachel Sima Photography

The park, physically, has since added a huge play structure and an ultra modern public restroom but it’s the demographic changes that are most apparent. When I used to stay with my dad in high school, the park was mostly unoccupied space except a few homeless people sleeping under blankets and one or two Mexican teens selling marijuana by the bridge.

Film Family Photography in Mission Dolores Park by Rachel Sima Photography

Now, on a sunny day, every foot of the park is packed by mostly 20 and 30 somethings, splayed out on picnic blankets, drinking craft beer and scrolling on iPhones. There are still people selling marijuana but it’s legal here now, and the sellers are typically white people hawking Gluten Free and vegan edibles. Huge swaths of the park are off-leash areas although by mid-day on the weekend there’s far too much food on ground level to reasonably let a dog free.

Film Family Photography in Mission Mural Walk by Rachel Sima Photography
Film Family Photography in Mission Mural Walk by Rachel Sima Photography

Looking back, further into the history of the park, it was inhabited, in turns, by the Ohlone Indians, Spanish Missionaries, and a Jewish Cemetery before its present incarnation as a public park. It’s incredible to consider how supremely diverse this small physical space would be if you could collapse the single dimension of time.

Film Family Photography in Mission Mural Walk by Rachel Sima Photography

How I got here.

My husband and daughter

My husband and daughter

Here's an exercise: review the trajectory of your life from the rearview mirror of this moment. See how the architecture of your experiences, the constitution of your characteristics and history, is a product of random happenstance and conscious decision making. Note the different story threads. How does a girl from a midwestern suburb find her way to New York City? How does this now New York City lady end up with a Great Dane (we'll have to go back to beginning again?) We all have a thousand storylines wound up into one. Ever seen the wiring in an electric cord? That's all of us.

I'm here, on this specific blog, as a photographer: your photographer, I hope. So here's that thread.

When I was a girl my mother and I took a photography classes put on by an adult continuing education program in the basement of the local high school (I was the youngest class participant by at least twenty-five years.) We watched slide lectures on legendary photographers or went into the darkroom to process and developed our film. Outside of class, we took pictures. And I never really stopped. But I also didn't really focus on it. I studied Psychology, Digital Cinema and Writing as undergraduate. I matriculated to Teach for America and taught self-contained public school classrooms for years. I received two masters degrees, one in Education and one in Fine Arts. My most recent full time gigs have been non-profit Arts Administration. Meanwhile, photography evolved into the central focus of my artistic life. My friends and colleagues began to ask more and more frequently for me to photograph them. Friends begging "Rachel, I need a new profile picture!" became a running joke at parties. Until I realized, like most recurring jokes, it really wasn't a joke. Photography was a passion for me, but it was also a service that other people were very directly asking me for, based on seeing my work. Around this time, I also became a mother, and became fascinated by families in a way I never imagined before. All I want to do is look at families, and talk about them and, yes, take pictures of them. 

So here we are, back in the now. I'm a photographer. Take a look through my photos, and if you like what you see, I'd love to take your photograph.

Love,

Rachel

 

 

 

My daughter and I

My daughter and I