Adventures | Inland Northwest

I love the Northern Hemisphere
Everything is so stunning I cannot take pictures of it all




hope your day
is lovely.

5 WWII Books You Should Read This Summer

I’ll admit it: WWII is my favorite sub-genre of historical fiction. I mean, I love fiction in general, but these stories have an extra special place on my bookshelf (and in my heart). Now that it’s summer, you have more time to read – don’t you? lol – why not invest time in a few high-quality books that will probably change the way you look at the world? Take it from me, these books are keepers.

If you do decide to read any of them, please please reach out and let me know what you thought! I adore bonding with people over favorite books. Enough said: here are 5 WWII Books You Should Read This Summer

. . .

The Storyteller | Jodi Picoult

// forgiveness // baking and challah bread // war crime investigations
// secrets kept from loved ones // Auschwitz // fairy tales as reality //

History isn’t about dates and places and wars.
It’s about the people who fill the spaces between them

. . .

The Nightingale | Kristin Hannah

// resistance // reaching out for love that can never be yours // sacrifices of war // heartbreak // hope and love, and little moments of joy // Ravensbruick // Operation Spring Wind //

I love you,” he mouthed.
Shots rang out


My copy of Unbroken is in storage, and I haven’t gotten myself The Sunflower yet, so you’ll just have to pretend that I’m not missing two books from this photo.

. . .

Sarah’s Key | Tatiana De Rosnay

// July 16-17th 1945 // shattered innocence // Auschwitz // journalism
// painful and compelling // Zakhor Al Tichkah //

. . .If they had told her, if they had told her everything they knew, wouldn’t that have made today easier?”

. . .

The Sunflower | Simon Wiesenthal

// inspired The Storyteller // gripping // makes you wrestle // makes you ask questions // lots and lots of opinions // fantastic discussion starter //

There are many kinds of silence. Indeed it can be more eloquent than words. . .

. . .

Unbroken | Laura Hillenbrand

// if you haven’t read this book, you need to. you just need to. //

Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man’s soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it.

. . .





|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||

Have you read any of these titles? What are your favorite WWII books?Have any recommendations for me?

Adventures | Utah

all we see is sky
for forever
we let the world pass by
for forever
feels like we could go on
for forever
this way.

. . .

“For we are only of yesterday and know nothing.
Because our days on earth are as a shadow.” || Job 8:9

. . .

I’m so so happy I finally get to share these photos with ya’ll, since it took me forever to get my laptop to cooperate so I could edit them. : ) I have been working with my new camera a lot more, and getting prouder of the photos I take. Really excited about photographing more and more this year!!

hope your summer
is lovely


My dear.
You used to get excited about sunrises and fresh salads.
You loved each season for what it was.

But then
you saw a hundred sunrises.
you ate salad every weekend.
you turned incredible into mundane and
wonders became dull.

You stopped believing in life
and instead you bought
the mantle of sameness.

You stopped noticing the murals on the wall because you’ve seen them a thousand times.
You got so used to the place you were in, you thought:
who I am now is all I’ll ever be.

But how can you,
believe in life as death?

Death is the thing that is stagnant and still.
Death is sameness. But not you –

You are

You are never stagnant.
Even if it feels like you haven’t moved, haven’t changed, haven’t done.
You are moving
changing, doing.
Movement is built into you.
Sameness is not your inheritance.

My dear, please
Life is not a hamster wheel

Growth is not always visible
it is


always forward.

Artist Spotlight | k.a. emmons

Hey guys, how’s your summer fairing?

Mine is pretty great, although I’ve had hardly any time to do “summery things” because I’ve been working so much. Weekends are always filled with home projects, blogging prep, and editing new photos. I have over 300 photos to sort through and edit – so that’s taking a lot of time. Guys, I’m really, really excited to share them with you. And yes, there will be a blog post with my favorites. . . soon. But today is not that day.

Today I have a very special post for you. I’m interviewing Kate Emmons to celebrate the release of her latest book – Worlds Beneath!!!*

*it came out
July 1st, so
get over there
and buy it.

Kate is someone I really admire. A lot. She’s a talented writer, she runs an incredible, A+ blog, she’s determined and it shows. It’s an honor to interview her. So today, we are chatting about her, her writing, her latest book, and best of all: her passion for the indie movement. This is something she spoke about in the release video for Worlds Beneath, and after I watched it, I knew I had to ask her more about it (it’s near the end, and you definitely don’t want to miss it).

So. I’m going to stop talking now and hand it over to Kate.


KATE / personal

tell us a little about yourself. hobbies, passions, faith – what makes you, you.

I live in the green mountains of Vermont with my husband and right next door to my family and sister – who is a fellow creative and basically my spirit animal. I’m passionate about writing, traveling, surfing, karate, and helping people realize that they are here for a big, beautiful reason.
Above all of these though, I’m passionate about Jesus and obsessed with this beautiful truth: that we were created to discover and ENJOY the bliss of who we are in Him.


have you always wanted to be published or is this a recent dream?

I don’t think I really thought too much about being published when I was a wee child. I was too busy furiously scribbling and getting ink on my fingers, sipping tea with my sister and bantering on about our books. By the time I was a teenager though, I knew that I wanted to write forever and publish everything.


in what way does your personal life influence your writing?

I would say that my my faith and the things I spend time on definitely influence my writing. I spend a lot of time outside in nature, talking to my friends and family about faith, reading scripture, doing karate, and traveling. All of those things have inspired me, for sure.


do you ever worry about where the next “big idea” will come from?

Not so much worry, but I definitely wonder sometimes! Haha. It’s always a crazy excited/anxious feeling, waiting for inspiration to strike for the next story. I’ve learned by now to just trust that it will come when it’s meant to.

you have written more than just fiction – essays, spoken word, slam poems, nonfiction – what is it about these genres that intrigue you?

I LOVE non-fiction. It’s fun to write, it’s fun to read, and it’s just a pure expression of something – usually an idea or concept – that just won’t keep quiet in your head. There’s so much room for variety within non-fiction and I think that’s part of what attracts me to it. I write a lot of poetry and I find slam poems to be an excellent and artful way to communicate things in ways that you may not be able to by just writing something down. It adds that extra element of speech, and with that a lot of passion and raw authenticity.


outside of your published books, do you have a favorite writing project you’ve done?

I do indeed. It’s a fiction YA novel that I wrote when I was 17, and it’s extremely near and dear to my heart, and I am planning on publishing it. I wrote a blog post about it once. It has a lot to do with faith and doubt and what it means to be alive. There’s lots of surfing and strawberries and dancing with kids, and learning to forgive and let go and learning to listen. There’s a lot about graffiti and hope and wrestling with big questions and big dreams.


you’ve said that you almost never read fiction: why is that? what would you say to people who say that you have to read fiction, in order to write it?

I get this one so often! I’ve kind of gotten to the place where I don’t even feel the need to explain myself anymore, because SO MANY PEOPLE quote “you have to be a reader in order to be a writer” thing. . .not true. You really don’t. It really depends on what mediums inspire you to write, and books have just never really done that for me. I know it sounds weird, coming from an author, but films inspire me a lot more than books do. And I’m also hugely inspired by travel and being outside or in the ocean. So it all depends – everyone is different. Everyone is inspired by different things.


and while we’re on the topic: what are you favorite nonfiction book(s)?

I love anything by C.S. Lewis. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven.

what are some writing doubts you’ve had to overcome and how did you overcome them?

Oh wow, inspiration isn’t flowing right now. . .this must be the end. I’ll never write again.
Literally this happens and that’s pretty much my exact thought process, and I think we can all agree it is utter nonsense, haha! Talk about putting pressure on yourself. I find the best way to overcome this is to be KIND to yourself. Take some time off. . .restore. Fill your cup. Don’t beat yourself up and talk down to yourself or your craft. As my husband likes to say “perfection takes time.” So quote that to yourself instead of talking all this garbage about your book.


outside of writing, you also run a blog collaborative: Burning Youth. What is Burning Youth, and what inspired the idea?

Burning Youth was something I was inspired to start a couple years ago about passionate young adults and how much beauty and potential we have locked inside of us just waiting to be let out. It essentially became this really beautiful yet casual online hangout for young adults about fighting darkness and bringing the light, and that’s exactly what I wanted to see happen with it. It’s not super organized or scheduled – it’s messy and random but steeped in purpose, and I’m incredibly honored to be a part of it with so many other talented young writers.


I have to ask: what are your favorite soundtracks?

YOU KNOW MY LOVE LANGUAGE: SOUNDTRACKS. ❤ My favorite of all time would have to be The Passion of The Christ soundtrack by John Debney because that’s really what made me fall in love with scores as a young kid. Also any and all of the Transformers soundtracks by Steve Jablonsky, and quite literally anything by Hans Zimmer.


KATE / writing + author tips

how many (finished) books have you written?

Oh boy, I’ll have to put on my thinking cap for this one. . .like 9 or 10? Something like that


what made you decide to publish The Blood Race series, ahead of any other novel?

Because I was completely on fire for the story, stoked, and I felt God guiding me hardcore in that direction. So I went for it! I also believe so strongly that it’s a story the world needs. Writing it made such a huge impact on my life.


do you have any kind of checklist that a piece of writing has to make before you release it to the world?

After I finish writing, I am pretty religious about editing my own work before I send it off to my editor. I think it’s a great practice to get into, and it will teach you so much about your craft and story in general. After this it’s off to the proofreader, ARC-readers, and then formatter. I typically also design and create the cover during this time + a little before, too.


do you read “how to write” or “writing tips” books? what is your opinion on “writing” books?

I personally have never read them. I think every writer is different and I know a lot of people who are into reading that kind of thing, and that is all cool! It’s just personally not my thing. Writing to me is like painting or any other art. . .there is no right or wrong. It flows from my soul. No one can tell me how to make that happen, it’s always just comes to me.


how do you feel about the advice “write what you know”? do you think it limits young writers?

I think this can be good and bad. There is some truth in it. . .but honestly, you could know a lot of things and not be passionate about any them. And who wants to write a book they’re not passionate about? Sometimes these things go hand in hand, but not always. So if you don’t know what to write. . .write what you’re passionate about. Write the thing that keeps you up at night.


being an indie author, do you find that it’s easier to be distracted from writing because there are so many other things you could do – marketing, replying to emails, social media branding, etc. .? how do you balance it all?

I would say that’s the hardest part about being an indie: you’re the one doing all the work, and it can be tricky to balance all of that. But it’s possible with discipline. . .staying focused, not getting distracted, and therefore, having enough time. I do find it distracting sometimes, when I sit down to write in the morning (when I usually write) and find myself thinking about my stuffed inbox, or ad copy. . .but I refocus, put these things aside, and focus on the task at hand. It’s helpful to have at least a vague outline of your day too, such as writing in the AM, emails in the PM. . it gives you permission to relax and take that off your plate until later, and vice versa. I also have a lot of help from my family and friends which helps a TON.


how has being a published author changed your mindset / writing process? does it feel different, to know that your writing is being read and admired?

Knowing that my writing is making an impact is a huge source of joy and motivation to me. I couldn’t do what I do without my readers, so I find it extremely humbling. It definitely feels different and surreal, and sometimes scary, haha. It’s like putting your baby out there into the world. But it hasn’t really changed the process of how I write.


last question: I remember when The Blood Race first came out. I used to check its Amazon page regularly, and read the reviews. So many of them were wonderful reviews, but like anything else. . .some were not so wonderful.
has that surprised you in any way? how you reconcile the idea that your writing is not for everyone, even though so many people enjoy it?

I think it boils down to the fact that everyone is different, and that’s to be expected. I write what’s in my heart. . .whether someone takes it or leaves it is fine with me. I always say “I write because I have to”, and that’s not an exaggeration. . .writing is how I understand the world and myself, and I would do exactly what I’m doing now even if no one ever read a single thing I wrote.


KATE / the indie movement

your passion for the indie movement: does it spring from being an indie author yourself, or something else?

I think it might spring from my rebellious gypsy spirit to be quite honest! Haha. I’ve never been a conventional person. I was a free-ranged homeschooler, I didn’t go to college, and I wrote prolifically since I was a kid. I was used to doing things on my own, and by the time I’d published The Blood Race, I’d already co-founded a non-profit with my sister, helped make an indie documentary, and spoken at conferences and classrooms internationally. My sister and I have grown so much together as creatives as well, and she has always been a huge inspiration and motivation. So I was a pretty darn headstrong, independent young adult. It’s ironic though, because I actually did start going down a traditional route with another book. . .which turned out to be a great big learning experience but lead the book nowhere. So I started from square one and went indie. . .which turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I felt completely liberated, and free to build my career.


what is the indie movement? or. . .more specifically: how would you define it?

Artists making art, being able to share it directly with their audience – with no massive corporation as a middle man – and being able to build a career by doing so.


why did you choose indie over traditional publishing?

So many reasons. I wasn’t ready to change (many) things about my book just because someone sitting behind a desk somewhere in a publishing house wanted me to. It’s not just a “crank em’ out” business for me, it’s an art. While every once in a great while, you CAN have a very successful experience publishing traditionally, it’s most certainly not the norm, and it was not the experience I had approaching the industry.

do you see the indie movement exploding in the coming years? why or why not?

Oh, I think it’s already started to, 100%. Indie music is dominating the markets, and indie books are right behind it. We are living in an indie age. . .people don’t just want to buy the mainstream things that corporations are pitching at them – they want to discover art for themselves and there are SO many platforms for that. There has never been a better time to be an indie artist.


are there any disadvantages to being an indie author, do you think?

Hmm, not so much a disadvantage, but it is more work. There’s a lot to do, a lot to balance while still pursuing your craft. So sometimes the struggle is not being able to find enough hours in the day. But as you grow and learn, you find ways to manage everything, and often friends and family who are eager to help you along the way. (Shout out to my awesome, talented family!!)


why do you think people resonate with the indie message?

I deeply believe we are all born with an innate desire to create – we are creators. And with that desire comes the potential to create it ourselves. . .I think we’re attracted to the idea of doing it ourselves – as artists, without restrictions, or waiting for someone else to buy our story out from under us.


what advice can you give aspiring indie authors?

WRITE. Write, write, write, and then write some more. That’s the #1 thing that will build your career. And second, research – learn all you can. I highly recommend starting with Self Publishing Formula Podcast – hosted by a best selling indie.


what do you think is the most defining difference between traditional publishing and indie publishing?
(it seems to me that the relationship between authors and readers is closer because there is no publishing house or management company between them. that’s really the message I got from your Worlds Beneath release video – that readers can actually be apart of the process. so. . .could you touch on that?)

You definitely nailed it – that’s a huge component. But I would say above that, two larger differences are: how much control you have over your own work, and how much income you’re making, honestly. There’s a huge difference on the financial scale. I know a lot of traditionally published authors who are happy if they are getting 17% of the profit from their work, while indie publishing will often allow the author up to 60-70%. So that’s a massive difference. And if your book is sacred to you, and there are things you know you’re not going to want to change or cut, or if you want a say in the title, cover, etc? You may want to consider indie publishing.


how can readers support the indie authors?

Buy their books,
leave them nice reviews,
and share them.


KATE / World’s Beneath

I know you won’t give spoilers (and honestly, I wouldn’t want you to), but can you give a little teaser about what readers can expect from the sequel?

It’s funny because I’m finding that this one is SO HARD to talk about without giving spoilers! Haha. Expect a new POV, a few new faces, and some new places as well. There’s a very different and unique component that makes it quite different from book 1.


what was your favorite part of writing the sequel?

Writing a POV for Fin, the wolves, and a certain climax.


were there any particularly challenging scenes to write?

Not really. Haha. That sounds super conceited, but this book was honestly just so much fun.


is there a playlist or Pinterest board for readers to visit?


yes, well I’m
sure it’s amazing


the playlist || the pinterest board



Get the first 9 chapters of The Blood Race: FREE!


all photos credit
to k.a. emmons


. . .

I hope you enjoyed that. I was so blessed that Kate agreed to this interview alongside her busy schedule. Make sure you show her some love (AHEM…buy her book), and follow her in all the places.


Originality Doesn’t Matter | January Series no. 6

I don’t know if there is a single word in the artist community more misunderstood than: originality. Often, artists (or budding-artists) have great ideas, but they toss them away because they tell themselves: “Oh no, there’s no way I can create that. It’s already been done before.

To which I would say: so freaking what?


Debunking the Idea that Your Work Must be Original
– because the simple truth is: your work can’t be original

Let’s just clear something up: nothing is original. Everything has already been done before. Every question has been asked. Humans are still making the same mistakes they made in 1857 (if you think that date isn’t intentional, think again). We’re still repeating history because we can’t seem to get our freaking act together and learn.

So if you are searching for the ONE GREAT IDEA that has never been made in the history of the universe: stop wasting your time. That one, great, original idea? – it doesn’t exist.

But. If by some luck, you did find that ONE GREAT IDEA, you’d still be wasting your time. Because no one is going to care about your idea. Here’s why:

Nobody cares if your work is original, they only care if it speaks. People don’t care if things been done before because they want what’s relatable, human, and known. They want to feel less alone, so they go to art expecting it to pat them on the shoulder and whisper in their ear, “Me too. Me too. Me too.

When people look at a sunset painting, they do not think about how many other sunset paintings there are. What they care about is how they feel when they look at it: does the painting speak?


A Case Study in Un-originality
– Dear Evan Hansen

I remember when everyone was talking about it. They made references to it on twitter, and I saw the sheet music on Instagram. They said it was great. They said it touched their hearts. For whatever reason (and I still don’t know the reason), I never listened to it. That is: until March this year. Now. . .I understand what all the hype was about.

As of writing this post, Waving Through A Window has received 34,528,797 plays on Spotify.

Out of all the thousands of people that were touched by this musical, they weren’t touched because Dear Evan Hansen explored some obscure emotion no one had never heard about. No, people related to it because it was right in their face with every doubt they had ever felt, every question they convinced themselves was too stupid to say out loud. It gave them hope in a way that wasn’t far off. It was right there in front of them. It’s going to be okay and here’s why: you are not alone.

Show me someone* who went to the show and said something like: yeah it was good, but do you know how many other songs have been written about suicide and loss and loneliness? You know, I couldn’t help but think of every person who’s ever told me that my life matters. Blah. I really wish song writers would write something original, for once. Meh. This same, old refrain gets a little repetitive, to be honest.

*i mean, critics
might have, but
they’re not paid
to enjoy art, are they?


I’m not saying that everyone adored Dear Evan Hansen. I have actually come across several people who said it was too depressing. That’s fine. But. This musical touched enough people that, it shows me you don’t have to produce some BIG GREAT story line in order to make a difference. Sometimes it’s the little things that speak. Sometimes they speak louder than big things.


In Conclusion
– I’ll let W.H. Auden say it for me:

“Some writers [or artists] confuse authenticity,
which they ought to always aim at,
with originality, which they should never bother about.”



so go
make authentic art.



|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||

What do you think about originality? Have you ever worried that your art wasn’t original enough? Is there something you’ve seen or read that was the complete opposite of “originality” but it still touched you beyond words? Tell me about it.

Spring in Flowers | a photo journal. . .of sorts

A lot of you have asked me to share photos here. But honestly, I’ve been putting it off because well. . .I already share them on Instagram (and sometimes Twitter). And to share them on my blog too. . .idk, it feels a little excessive.

But here.

A selection of spring flowers and loveliness. Enjoy.
Sorry for the ones I’ve already shared on Instagram.
click on the photos
for exposure settings.
It’s my camera’s neat
little feature



“I can only say that I photograph what appears to be aesthetically beautiful
and what I can visualize as a photograph  worth creating
for myself, and I hope, for others.”
|| Ansel Adams



hope your day
is lovely

Moments Without Words

I planned to write this and post it in May. Now what is it? Almost June? So much for life not getting in the way of well. . .life. I wrote a bit about how stressful May has been for me on Instagram already, so I won’t go into it here. But if you missed my blog posts, rest assured that I have another one in the works for next week, and I’ll try not to skip out on you guys without warning again.

It’s just that: I haven’t had the energy for blogging or writing.
You understand, right?
Okay good.

Recently I watched this video about staying present, and wow it blessed me so much. I always knew little, mundane things weren’t really little or mundane. But really: how many times am I not paying attention? how many times am I too busy to notice? In the midst of a stressful, hectic life, there is still time to stop and recognize things that might only happen once in a lifetime. So that’s what I’m trying to do – stay and breathe. Because there’s only this moment, and then it’s gone. Forever.

// Rereading The Storyteller on whim and laughing because I’ve forgotten how much I love this book. // The feeling I get when I’ve forced myself out of a chair, and gone for a run. The air in my lungs, the renewed energy – it’s so much better than sitting still. Like I could take on the world. // Late game nights when you don’t care how stupid you look when you’re laughing so hard you can’t breathe. // Sunrise and hearing birds build nests outside my window. //

Singing at the top of your lungs when nobody’s home. #sorryneighbors

// Growing plants. I never thought I’d be a sucker for little plants (my mom has the gardening thumb), but I guess I am now. I have half dozen in my room and they’re taking over my wall, and I love them. // Going back and listening to music I loved as a teenager and finding that I still love some of it. // Finding old schoolwork in the garage. Remembering how obsessed I was with drawing + how I used to cry over math. //

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while the ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or a curse.”

|| Carlos Castaneda

// Singing with your siblings all the words to Dear Evan Hansen. And laughing because we can’t sing as well as Ben Platt (I mean, we all wish we could, but whatever. . .) // s/o to librarians who comment on the books I’m checking out. And then we have a ten-second conversation about them before I leave. It’s awesome. // Reading Lisa Cron and bookmarking every. single. page. //

Denial, Hidden Figures, The Light Between Oceans

– I have no words for how amazing these films are.

Joe Zambon’s album Love Is has blessed me so much I can’t even say. It’s about love, and what it means to love, and not being afraid of love. I mean, listen to the entire album, but especially this song.

Cause Love will never leave when I retreat
Love will never break the bruised reed
Love doesn’t call me a burden to bear
Love says I’m a gift that’s worth everything
Love embraces me. Love replaces fear
It’s recreating me. Love’s recreating me

|| Joe Zambon, Love’s Embrace

// When Little Brother knows a soundtrack piece so well, that he yells out “key change!” at all the appropriate moments. #proudsister // Helping Little Sister set the table, and she opens the top cabinet like a boss, and I realize that she’s growing up so fast, and that I actually don’t need to help her anymore. //

Little Sister reached up to touch my shoulders and I turned around,
“Hey, how did you get so tall?”
“I’m nine,” she said.

What has been making
you smile lately?
always forward.

Free Soundtrack Suggestions | no. 1

Hey guys,
Hope your May is awesome

Back in April, I asked what kinds of content you’d all like to see here.


#totallycoolwiththeresults *nods*

This is my first soundtrack suggestions post, so feel free to let me know in the comments if you want me to do more like this, or if you’d like me to do a post with more “high-intensity” scores. Whatever you guys think would be cool.

Let’s get into it.

Desert Dancer

I don’t have a ton to say about this score other than it feels like being lifted off the ground and spun around and around. And the cover is amazing.

to start, listen to: Desert Dancer (seriously, my favorite track of the whole thing), Afshin’s theme



I can’t tell you how many time I’ve replayed the main theme. It’s 1:59 of pure bliss, like you’re flying over the expanse of the ocean and the waves are breaking, and you look up at the sun shinning in your face. Bliss and sunlight – that’s what this theme feels like. s/o to Patience for this one.

to start, listen to: Main Theme, Train, Layers Expanding Time, Home is With Me, Arrival


s/o to Abbiee for this one. And it’s one of my all-time favorites. The tracks flow so easily together, almost like there are no gaps at all. It’s just a pleasure to listen to while I’m cooking or working or creating.

to start, listen to: The Test, When You Were Born, Pretty Bird, Mary’s theme, Sunset



You know Lorne Balfe from the collaborations he’s done with Hans Zimmer (Dunkirk, Saints and Strangers), Rubert Gregson-Williams (The Crown), but he’s done some wonderful scores on his own too. I started this one on a whim, and ended up listening all the way through – it’s that good.

to start, listen to: Meeting with Monty, An Unsociable Hour, Meeting with the King, A Cottage by the Sea, The Speech

Wind River

For me, this is a score I’d listen to after the movie, just to bring back the feeling. To remind me of frigid cold and snow, and running barefoot across the snow. Also. . .the cover is gorgeous too.

to start, listen to: Snow Wolf, Tell Me What it Is, See You Tomorrow, Survive or Surrender

Far From the Madding Crowd

Believe it or not, this is the score that introduced me to The Village. I was listening to the Opening on YouTube and someone in the comments mentioned how similar it was to The Gravel Road (so obviously I went and listened to it). It’s on my list to ask him if he was inspired by The Village when he composed this score.

to start, listen to: Opening (props if you listen to The Gravel Road after), Spring Sheep Dip, Troy Swims Out, Oak Leaves, End Credits

The Mountain Between Us

When you think of Ramin Djawadi, you probably think of heavy, dark, epic-style music like The Game of Thrones, or Dracula. But this one doesn’t sound like anything he’s done before, and I absolutely LOVE IT.

to start, listen to: The Mountain Between Us – then, the entire thing.


|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||

Tell me your favorite soundtrack(s) • Have you listened to any of these before?Would you like more “soundtrack suggestion” posts in the future?

Is Photography Art?

I’m actually not sure if I’m qualified to talk about this, because until very recently, I never even considered the question – is photography art? But sometimes I get lots of thoughts about something and well. . .writing is where I go to sort it all out.

Welcome to the chaos.

I used to think, it doesn’t matter what people think about photography, because I’m going to do it anyway. And that’s a good thing, I guess. If I worry too much about if what I’m doing is “art” then I might stop. And that isn’t a good thing. Creativity isn’t about perfection, after all. It’s about following your curiosity.


I have been reading a lot photography books lately, and absorbing a lot of Ansel Adams. I’ve flipped through South With Endurance (which I highly recommend because it’s marvelous). I watched a Netflix series following photographers around the world as they photographed cultures and exotic animals. I learned the photography world is so much bigger than my little space and my little camera.


Why Photography Isn’t Art
– or can’t be, according to some

Because photography is such a broad medium, it leaves a lot of room for confusion when it comes to defining exactly what photography is. An art? A science? A reflection of reality? All of the above?

Some say that photography can’t be an art because it’s so accessible. Cameras are available to anyone who wants one, and even if you don’t want to carry around an extra piece – your cell phone doubles as a camera (remember when the iPhone 7+ came out and everyone was chatting about its photo quality?). Editing turns into a quick tap, and viola! – it’s good enough for Instagram. In theory, we could all call ourselvesphotographers.” Right?

Others say that photography isn’t art because of repeatability: the ability to make exact replicas of any photo, many times over. On the flip side, you couldn’t do that with, say, a painting. To copy a painting, you’d actually have to “paint” another copy. But even if you did that, your “copy” still wouldn’t be exactly the same as the original.

Even the “copy” is unique – something you can never do with photography. You don’t have to go out and take the same picture again. You can just make another one.

Repeatability applies to film photography as well as digital. Granted, it is more work to produce a print in the darkroom than it is to replicate a JPEG, but it’s still the same concept. You can imagine how widespread “repeatability” is for digital photography.

I can’t cover every variation here, but if you’re interested
here are a few articles + videos I found wildly helpful.

The Line Between Art and Photography | an A+ explanation of repeatability
Is Photography an Art Form?
Photography is Not Creative | he uses the word “creative” instead of “art”, but his point is excellent all the same.
Harold Feinstein :: Is Photography Art? | Harold’s answer to the question is the best part of this episode.


Photography is Different that Other Art Forms
– but that doesn’t mean it can’t be art

Technology has made photography feel cheap. Too easy – like anyone can pick up an iPhone and become Instagram famous. It’s certainly easy to say that photographs have become “too common” to be art. I agree with anyone who says that the digital age has blurred the lines between “art” and “whatever it is we call people doing – which they say is art.”

The overabundance of photos does diminish the individual image. Photographers have to work harder to create something unique and unforgettable if they want to “make it.” Not to mention that it’s harder to “sell” photographs nowadays unless you work for a magazine, do weddings or something.

I don’t, however, think you can lump all photography into one box and say: none of this is art because photography too common!

Let’s have an example, shall we?

Ansel Adams:
– master of the darkroom
– one of the greatest landscape photographers
– discovered the Zone System (which I have still yet to full understand)
– his prints still sell for millions

As I read his books, one common thread I found was the emphasis he put on visualization. On seeing what a photograph will look like before you shoot it, and then framing decision you make around that so you create the exact “look” you visualized.

This was news to me, and something I hadn’t thought much about. My photography is almost never pre-planned, instead it goes something like: if I think it looks pretty, I shoot it.

Maybe that works sometimes – and it certainly produces pretty photos. What this method is not, however, a recipe for timeless, expressive photographs. Think about the greatest photographers: Ansel Adams, Stephen Dupont (this is my opinion here), Frank Hurley, and others. Their work is unforgettable, isn’t it? But why?


Think about these photos: What is it about them that draws you?

Here’s what: it’s emotionEmotion – plain and simple. Sure, there might be a dozen other factors involved: eye-catching composition, proper exposure, visually-pleasing/interesting subject. But emotion, in the end, is what allows them to have a life beyond their technical slices. < < < That I think, might be what separates photography as "art” and photography as a “pretty photo.”

Porter says it best:

“The essential quality of a photograph is the emotional impact that it carries,
which is a measure of the author’s success in translating into photographic
terms his own emotional response to the subject.”
|| Eliot Porter

After all, isn’t this why art matters to us? The assurance that we are not alone, that we do not die alone, that something matters, that life is beautiful? Art speaks: either emotionally or aesthetically.

There is photography that speaks, just look at the photos above. So we can’t lump all photography together, just like we can’t lump all books together because we dislike YA. There are different genres of photography, just like there are different genres of books or music or whatever.


So. . .

Not every photography genre is art.
Not every photograph is art.

I’m not saying that photography isn’t creative (I absolutely believe it is). Creating things is creative – whether that’s painting or music or writing. It certainly takes creativity to put together a bookstagram photo or a flat lay. But it is “art“? Eh, I don’t think so.

. . . .

So. These are my preliminary thoughts on a matter. I really do apologize if they are jumpy or random, as I’m not 100% fluent in what everyone has to say about photography as an art. This is just what I’ve seen and read and heard. *shrugs*



|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||

What do you think “art” is? • Do you think photography can be art, or no? What photography genre can’t be art, in your opinion?
Let’s chat!