My Heart to Yours
I have been photographing naturally occurring hearts for over 20 years. I no longer know if I find them, or they find me from a much higher place, but as I have grown and evolved so has my relationship with them. I have a passion for finding beauty, art, and magic in unexpected places, and I believe love and spirit are with us even in our darkest moments. Open your heart and lets connect...
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Love Grows (1), New York, NY 2013.
Getting Ready for the Funeral, Connecticut, 2016.
I still remember the night, right before our high school graduation. My best friends and I sat in our parked car and made a promise that no matter where our paths took us as we each went our separate ways into the big wide world, we would always come back together for life’s important moments. In the many years since, there had been weddings, divorces, births, and even death. But the day this photo was shot one of us was preparing to bury a parent for the first time. A painful milestone in the great cycle of life, and a full circle moment in our friendship from the innocent days when we made that promise as teenagers. As I mixed my makeup on my hand while anxiously getting ready for the service, I noticed this heart smudge and knew it was the power of our love, friendship, and support for one another materialized. I also believe it was a very special person smiling down on us, happy to know we had come together for his daughter, and our bond was still strong after all those years.
Let Your Shadow Be Your Guide, East Hampton, NY, 2019.
Embrace your shadow. Easier said than done. While being fortunate enough to spend the last month away, I had several different groups of family and friends come for visits. It is interesting how sharing your home for long periods of time with other people offers the opportunity to view behaviors that are the norm for you from different perspectives. Anxiety is a sneaky creature after all, and we are often unaware as it slyly creeps into our lives. A few bumps in the road offered me a great opportunity to look at how my own anxieties are shaping my life, and examine areas I could improve upon for both myself and those around me. Yes these moments are uncomfortable at first, but once the initial defense mode passes, I actually have tremendous gratitude for the chance to check myself and grow. While I can acknowledge my shadow side and recognize my faults, my bigger problem is forgiving myself and letting go. Feelings of guilt and shame linger over possibly disappointing people I care about deeply with less than perfect behavior. The timing of this shadow heart’s appearance was no coincidence, it was a clear message to have love and compassion for all parts of myself. Embracing my shadow is the only path to real healing and freedom, and this will be my reminder.
As Time Goes By (Two Weathered Hearts on the Streets of New York City), New York, NY, 2018.
Be Inspired (Dirty Dishes), NY, NY, 2016
Just when you think you can clean no more…
Confirmation, New York, NY, 2008.
After taking multiple at home tests, I was finally at the doctor’s office. My first pregnancy had been officially confirmed, and our lives would be forever changed. When I got up from my exam and saw this, I knew my angels were along for the ride, and I was already experiencing a love like I had never known.
Home is Where the Heart Is, Bridgehampton, NY, 2006.
Our spirit guides and loved ones who have passed on find many ways to send messages to us in this world. One of the ways my grandmother shows up for me is as a spider. I was once told by a wise woman that she and I lived a past life together weaving creations out of beautiful sparking silver, which may sound crazy to most but actually made perfect sense to me. So as I was photographing this spider, the moment she reached up and created this heart that lasted for just a split second in time, I knew it was a heavenly hello. The moment, like life, was fleeting, but the love remains.
Love Grows (2), Bridgehampton, NY, 2012.
No I don’t see it as rotten, and no it’s getting thrown out. Instead we are going to pause and recognize a gift. Whether it comes from within or was sent from beyond, in this moment we will stop and feel the LOVE...and then we turn it into art.
Perfect Imperfections, 2006.
This heart shaped smudge appeared during my modeling days when I would regularly have my face painted with makeup for work. Although people would be closely LOOKING at me, I wondered if anyone was actually SEEING me. At times I was uncomfortable playing that role, and often wondered if I was betraying my authentic self. I was much more interested in what existed beneath the layer of makeup, and all the ways we may be covering up who we really are. Now as a woman trying to age naturally in a society that expects us to live up to impossible standards of perfection, I value this image even more. When the make up is removed, my hope is LOVE for self remains. What’s under yours?
The Truth About Motherhood (Luna’s Track Meet), New York, NY, 2018.
Parenting is hard. It is the greatest love you will ever know but it also comes with great sacrifice. When I had my babies I made the choice to stay home with them full-time, making everything in their lives my top priority. Now that they are older I have embarked upon a new career path, working during their school hours. It can seem almost impossible to balance keeping up with their insanely busy schedules and still be able to show up for everything while attempting to achieve personal and professional goals. Traveling to this track meet in the middle of what should have been school/work time felt particularly challenging on this day, but when I arrived and spotted this heart it helped me hit the reset button and gently confirmed that there is nothing more important then being present for our kids. And when I saw my daughters face look up at me gleaming with pride as she finished her race, I knew there was no place on earth I would rather be.
Love Connection, Mexico, 2008.
At the time this heart appeared I had arrived in Mexico straight from my dear home town friend’s funeral. She had died in a shocking car crash. I was newly pregnant with my first baby and instead of enjoying this tropical vacation, all I felt was sick, hot, and incredibly heartbroken. I went for a walk with my father, I needed some love. How did they know?
Still Holding On (Dead Bug and Heart Leaf), South Africa, 2008.
With Love From the Streets of New York (Beyond the Grime), 2016.
With Love From the Streets of New York (Smashed Flower on a Rainy New York City Day), 2018.
The love lives on…
The Hills are Alive, Sonoma County, California, 2007.
Beauty in the Pain (Heart Wound), New York, NY, 2018.
Take a Pause (Reflections), New York, NY, 2018.
I almost kept walking past this tiny heart puddle. How could I possibly have time to stop when I was caught up in the hustle bustle of the New York City streets, a busy schedule, and my even busier mind. But something told me to stop, so I turned around and took a closer look. As I started photographing the heart, I discovered in the larger puddle the reflection of a tree and blue sky above me, and tuned into nature and beauty I didn’t even realize existed amidst a cold, grey, concrete world. Taking a pause brought me out of my head and into the present moment. The physical reflection on the ground gave rise to a moment of spiritual reflection within, as it connected me to my creativity and therefore my soul. I would carry that with me as I stood up to once again join the busy streets, this time continuing on the path with a slightly different step.
Motherhood and All of It’s Magical Mess (Luna’s Drool), 2009.
I brought Luna home from the hospital on my birthday, and she and all of the growth and lessons for both of us that would come along with her, were the greatest gifts I could have ever received. And while it has certainly not always been picture perfect, the love is always there.
My Heart by the Ocean (Luna and Seaweed Heart), Southhampton, 2016.
Love is on Our Side (Luna’s Sign and Hot Cocoa from the Women’s March), New York, NY, 2017.
Teaching our children the importance of equality and human rights is of utmost importance, and seems simple when it is something you believe in so strongly. But explaining the harsh truths of our history, and what still goes on today, to an innocent child you have only done everything in your power to shield from negativity up to this point, is complicated and challenging. I shared this moment with my 76 yr old mother-in-law and my seven-year-old daughter. As we marched together that day, three generations of women, I felt privileged to be in the company of so many who had paved the way before us. My daughter watched as her grandmother chanted boldly, not afraid to use her voice and be heard, proudly holding the sign Luna had made but was now too shy to carry. Luna was quiet, and I assumed overwhelmed, taking in the big energy of the crowd. When we took a break for this cup of hot cocoa, I thought it might have been too much for her and we should be done. But it was my daughter who told me we HAD to go back out and make it to the end, that we COULD NOT STOP. The student had become the teacher.
Warmed My Heart, New York, Ny, 2019.
Self Love, 2018.
Yes, those are my spider veins on full display next to a gentle reminder to love myself as I am. I could have chosen another version of this image where my legs looked long and smooth and did not showcase these “imperfections” while writing of the original meaning behind this heart’s surprise appearance. It was actually a pretty great moment where I was questioning my future while shaving in the shower (don’t we all??) only to look down and see this heart. A confirmation to move forward without fear and self-doubt. Instead, when I began editing these images, and therefore my own body, I suddenly saw this shaving cream formation as an opportunity to shift out of my first instinct of critical self judgement, and view myself through the softer lens of love and acceptance. As a former model/actor and now portrait photographer I am NO stranger to photoshop, in fact it comes with the territory. With a simple click these marks could be gone. While I too participate in the delusional retouched insta-perfect world we live in, I am more inspired by content that shares raw truth, builds confidence, and attempts to redefine traditional beauty standards. I’m not saying this is always easy, but with this image I am going to shift my perspective and honor the veins in my 40 year old legs that grew while I grew two humans inside me. Instead of fighting these signs of aging, I will find gratitude for the fact I have lived long enough to see them.
Gifts From the Sea, East Hampton, NY, 2018.
Going Home (My Mother’s Flowers), Manchester, CT, 2018.
Holiday Spirit (Make Magic), New York, NY, 2017.
Is there anyone who does not feel completely overwhelmed by the craziness of the holiday season??!! When this little hidden treasure caught my eye nestled in the netting that was holding our newly purchased Christmas tree together, I took it as a tiny reminder to reconnect with what really matters during this busy time. Instead of getting caught up in the net of stress, I’m going to (try to!!) stay in touch with what this time of year is supposed to be about and make magic and memories instead! Thoughts to keep in mind throughout the seasons, and hopefully spread love and cheer all year round…
With Love From the Streets of New York (Stop, look, and Listen), 2017.
What tiny treasures do you miss out on because you’re preoccupied with the day to day? How would you see things from a new perspective if you broadened your vision? What more could you feel if you walked this life with an open heart? Tiny gifts are everywhere…
Good Morning Mom (Stone’s Bloody Nose in My Bed), New York, NY, 2016.
With Love From the Streets of New York (Self Care), 2018.
I spotted this heart after walking out of an incredibly rare afternoon of self-care. We spend so much of our energy taking care of our families, jobs, and so much more, but forget about ourselves. If you are not good to yourself, you will not be your best for anyone else. Just a small window of time to nourish my soul had me renewed and ready to take on my life in a more balanced and positive way. I had filled myself with love, and therefore could see it everywhere. Even in some litter on the sidewalks of New York.
Gifts from the Trees (Magic Moments), Upstate New York, 2018.
The Truth About Motherhood (It’s the Little Things That Count), 2018.
It was late and I was exhausted. So when my daughter ran out of her room begging me to sew her favorite pants (that were really at their life’s end) what I really wanted to do was throw them away. “It’s not worth it,” I tried to tell her. I am aware this sounds like a small issue in the grand scheme of life, but the various demands of parenting are never ending and those small needs sure can add up. In this particular moment I was drained, but this was a thing of importance in her world so I dug down a bit deeper into that well of energy that we manage to find as parents even when we think there is nothing left. When this heart appeared out of the thread I had tossed aside after I had finished sewing, I was reminded my efforts WERE in fact “worth it.” The next morning my daughter ran to me with a huge hug and thank you, and just like that my well was full again.
Spread Love, New York, NY, 2018.
Stay In This Moment, East Hampton, NY, 2019.
You are not your mind. A difficult concept to grasp but very liberating once it clicks. I stumbled upon this heart (and I mean I was literally stumbling from illness) on a beautiful beach during what was supposed to be a happy fun vacation. But due to a nasty virus that came for a visit along with my family, I was feeling miserable and stressed out. My anxious, ocd, germaphobe tendencies were being triggered more and more as each new sick person went down. Although I logically knew and could recognize how blessed I was to have my family with me and to even be able to take a vacation while there is so much suffering and struggle in the world, I could not stop internally spiraling to a negative space due to my own anxiety issues. Just telling myself to stop wouldn’t work, and this was even more frustrating. It takes dedication and practice to gain control over our thoughts which then become our feelings, and therefore create our reality. Finding this tiny gem in the sand helped bring me back to the moment in front of me. I was surrounded by the beauty of nature and the love of family I don’t get to see all the time, and I didn’t want to miss out on enjoying it. When we separate from our thoughts and our crazy spinning minds, and just focus on what is right in front of us, our feelings change and we can find peace. Now when my brain tries to take me on a wild ride, I refuse to get on. I actually visualize my mind outside of myself doing its thing, acknowledging its patterns while I remain present and still. I may not always succeed, but practice makes perfect, and I will continue to find inspiration in the signs of encouragement that show up along the way.
Mother Nature is My Favorite Artist, Maui, 2016.
Light Shines Through, 2019.
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets through.” -Leonard Cohen.
I was reminded of this quote during a beautiful conversation with a wise woman, shortly after photographing this tear in a bag I thought had reached the end of it’s life as I knew it. We were discussing the well being of a dear friend who was desperately trying to recover after damaging their mental and physical health due to drug use. When I discovered the tear in the bag I was initially upset it had been destroyed, could no longer function, and was beyond repair. But no. I was reminded that like us humans, the torn and broken places we think may end us, can instead be the openings where unconditional love and light can still shine through. And although things may never be quite the same, it is beautiful nonetheless.
My Melted Heart (Sergio Stone’s Snow and Shadow), Newly York, NY, 10019.
It was my son who found this heart and stopped me and said “mommy can I take a picture??” Yes it feels good to know that my children are seeing the world in a creative and positive way, and finding love and art even on a grimy NYC sidewalk. But it’s more than that. Let’s be real, we parents are usually embarrassments to our kids, so imagine the eye rolls I often receive when they have to put up with my obsessive photography. My kids endure the people on the street who stare and think I am crazy for laying on the ground photographing garbage, or dog pee, or whatever it may be. I always hoped the long term lesson for them would be to hold on to your unique vision, don’t be afraid to be different, and believe in yourself even if no one else sees what you see. Like with most parenting efforts, you feel like you lecture endlessly and wonder if anything is actually sinking in, but then every so often there is evidence you are getting through. My son being inspired to drop to the ground and photograph what most would see as an annoying dirty chunk of snow on the busy street filled with his peers passing by on their way to school, was one of those times. (Oh and let’s not forget not being 'too cool to pose for this shadow pic with his mama!)
The Ride Home From School (Stain on Wall of MTA Bus), New York, Ny, 2016.
The Happy Accident (Recovery Time), Central Park, NY, 2019.
Do you believe in accidents? After a tough week visiting my father in the hospital, I took my kids out for a walk through Central Park on a mission to lift my spirits. We decided to stop and sail boats in the pond. When my son placed the hot chocolate we had waited in a very long line for on the ground to hold the boat controller, I “accidentally” kicked it over. But instead of disaster and disappointment ensuing, we discovered a beautiful message in the mess. Watching someone you love in pain takes a toll on your heart and so does the energy of a hospital. The blooming flowers in the park, my babies, and this happy little mishap facilitated my emotional recovery by reconnecting me with the simple joys that existed right in front of me. I could not control everything, but I could choose what to focus on in that moment to create happiness. I was reminded you can always find love, even during difficult times, and THAT was certainly no accident.
The Earth is Bursting With Love (Summer is Here), East Hampton, 2018.
With Love From the Streets of New York (When Friends Join Forces), 2019.