This past weekend I had the pleasure of photographing some pretty awesome brothers and their beautiful sister at their home in Chicago’s North Shore.  It’s been a couple of years since I saw them last and they were as fun as I remembered them being and a really great set of kids.  I was delighted when their mom called me to schedule this session, teen sessions are some of my favorite to shoot because (obviously) they’re fun and they can do what I need them to but more importantly I love that they participate and make sessions their own.

Here’s a sneak peek for some pretty cool kids.


These kids are really awesome but those dogs…those dogs were pretty awesome too.


I absolutely LOVE N’s blouse and those shoes!  Isn’t she beautiful?  I kept telling her she looked like Natalie Portman.


I can’t believe how tall he’s gotten.  Handsome guy!


Him too!  What a great looking family!

Here’s the blast from the past (Oh my gosh my old blog images were so SMALL!  LOL) – click here to travel back to 2007!

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Since we’re on topic…we’re searching for graduating highschool seniors for the Class of 2013 to be part of our newest venture: our Senior Models program.  If you (or someone you know!) is going to be a graduating senior in 2013 (or 2014 even!) please let them know about this awesome opportunity to be part of something pretty awesome.

We’re looking for students from Lockport High School in Lockport, IL, Lincoln-Way High School in New Lenox, IL and Frankfort, IL, Joliet Catholic Academy students in Joliet, IL, students from Plainfield High School in Plainfield, IL and students from Minooka High School in Minooka, IL and Channahon, IL … however we’ll look over applications from students from other area schools.


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  • Annette M Simonich - March 17, 2012 - 10:18 am

    Mar’ ~ They ARE a BEAUTIFUL family!!! Great job in making them look so natural in these shots. I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures!

  • Yvonne Chakraborty - March 21, 2012 - 6:23 am

    Lovely relaxed and natural group pose and great use of backlight!

Once again I’m pleased to share some of my personal works in this month’s ELEVATE blog carousel.  Monthly we showcase some of our work that isn’t necessarily related to the business of what we normally create.  This month I’m happy to say my good friend Paula of PRB Photography has joined.  Welcome to Paula!!

This month I’m showcasing some work I was pursuing several years ago, one could say it was during a ‘blue’ period of mine.  I had visited several cemeteries in the area in search of some sort of meaning…and of course the captivating weathered granite and marble that is so pervasive in that environment.  I started working on a series of works I had hoped to eventually “show” but I never made progress and some of these really cool images of these sort of forgotten places were gathering dust on my hard drive.  I’m taking this month (and maybe the next) to showcase some of the more interesting things I found in my 2007-2009 cemetery haunts.

I think these were from the summer of 2008 from an ancient cemetery not very far from where I live near the I&M canal:


Angels Cry


Yes, a worn dog figure.  I can only assume it symbolizes a pet as there was no inscription or other markings on this site


My husband will attest that I have been forever obsessed with old wrought iron, this fence was no exception


This image is particularly sad to me, the plastic flowers beaten up by the elements combined with the ramshackle nature of this sign…someone took great care to create this piece but it stands forgotten and beat up by the ravages of time.  What’s happened to its’ maker?

I apologize for the sort of dark theme of this post – my intention is to celebrate life in every image I shoot for the children and families that I work with and I love every moment of my work.  However nothing is constant but change…we all await the same inevitable fate down the line, I would be a liar if I stated that the fascination with what awaits isn’t a part of my being……

Thank you for taking the time to view these personal works.   I urge you to now virtually travel to Texas to visit with my talented friend Tamara Fort Worth’s From the Tree Top photography our next stop on this blog carousel.

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  • Stacey Woods - March 12, 2012 - 8:58 am

    Oh the last image breaks my heart. When I was a little girl, my grandparents would take my sisters and I to visit our local cemetery quite regularly, to “visit” my great-grandparents and leave flowers at their graves, clean them up, etc. It would always make me sad to see the faded flowers and unkept stones. I remember straightening every tiny flag we saw, and righting those that had blown over. I’m grateful for those little trips; they taught us so much about respect, patriotism, honor, and the fragility of life. Thank you for this trip down memory lane for me. Your images are poignant and so hauntingly beautiful, Mare. xo

  • Paula - March 12, 2012 - 10:00 am

    I love these, Mare. You have such a way of speaking with your images. 🙂 And, here, it is not a voice of sadness. It is a voice that says, ‘I see you. I understand you’. I think it is your experience as a nurse that makes you such a powerful artist. Thanks for the welcome! P

  • Tamara - March 12, 2012 - 11:43 am

    Hauntingly beautiful, serene and spiritual… I am quite fascinated by old cemeteries and also have collected some images from them. Loved seeing these..please share more in the future.

  • martha schuster - March 12, 2012 - 1:23 pm

    very beautiful mare! i too am fascinated with cemeteries, especially the very old ones. love the history and the reverence. your images are beautiful.

  • kamee june - March 12, 2012 - 11:42 pm

    i am so hauntingly magnetized to cemeteries as well!!! this was such an intriguing post!! bravo!!!

  • wendy - March 13, 2012 - 12:21 am

    Beautiful! I am intrigued with cemeteries. I was so disappointed a couple weeks ago when I was in New Orleans that the cemetery had just closed when we arrived on our last day there. I would have loved to have captured some of the history and ceremony of that old place. Looking forward to seeing more of your cemetery haunts.

I was thrilled to pieces last week when my schedule included a stop at this family’s home, it’s been a couple years since I’ve seen these adorable cuties and I couldn’t wait to see how much they’ve grown!!  I’m never not having fun when I photograph them and their parents – such a beautiful, amazing family with beautiful and amazing kids and a beautiful and amazing new puppy!

(I think I’m going to exceed my “beautiful and amazing” quota for the day…I’d better be careful…)

I is turning 8 soon (like perhaps even maybe today) so here is my birthday joke for the day to one of the most adorable girls I know:


What did the frosting say to the cake?

“Mind if I “stick” around?”

Ok, enough silliness.  The point of this post is to showcase a couple of highlights from our session together about three days later than I planned.  🙂  I’ve been horribly under the weather this past few days so my apologies to Amanda for getting this up a little late.  Here are a couple of sneak peeks for the bday gal & her fam.  Love!!





Just a glimpse into an amazing and fun session with a pretty awesome family that I love!!  Thanks for stopping in!   xoxo, Mare


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This month’s theme is “Shadow Play” and I couldn’t wait to post this image from this past fall. The moment I saw the theme I thought “YES! I have it! Perfection!!”


Now please take the time to go visit the lovely & talented Corey Sewell, one of my favorite Atlanta Baby and Child Photographers – I can’t wait to see what she’s cooked up this month!

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  • Anna-Karin - February 26, 2012 - 9:22 pm

    That is adorable!! I can see the joy in her face coming up with the shadow. Great choice for this months theme!

  • Tara McGlinchey - February 26, 2012 - 11:25 pm

    What a fabulous shot! Love her expression.

  • Anna Mayer - February 27, 2012 - 10:01 am

    I love that. She is actually “playing with shadows”. Looks like a monster or something. Shadows are one of the great childhood mysteries/joys.

  • Corey - February 27, 2012 - 10:37 am

    So fun, Mare! I love how she is concentrating on creating just the right shadow – too cute!

  • Dena Robles - February 28, 2012 - 11:08 am

    Sweet! My favorite bit is how she seems to playing with her own shadow.

So it’s been a couple of months since I participated in the Elevate Fine Art Exploration study but I am THRILLED to be back.   Last month I had to bow out at the last minute due to illness but I am happy to share in this cool little project that I am very proud to be part of.

So traditionally fine art photography is photography that someone would want to hang in their home as an art piece but I’m going to veer away from that this month and show off an ongoing project that I have sort of inadvertently taken on over the course of the past several years.  I didn’t start on this as a project intentionally, it sort of took form over the course of the past 2-3 years.  Now I feel like perhaps it is a project to document my life as I have progressed on a sort of life journey (more on that in a moment).

It’s known that some artists document themselves, some to the point of obsession, it’s not the case here – I tend to self photograph only when the whim hits me, some weeks it’s several times and other times months go by without one photograph of myself.

It is written that Rembrandt sketched his own face thousands of times during his tumultuous life.  There are theories about this “obsession” (I disagree that it was an obsession).  Some suggest that he was his most readily available model, other theories go deeper and suggest that he used his visage to test new (painting and sketching) techniques.  Still others suggest (and this is my favorite theory) that to a greater extent his self portrait studies were done as an outlet for feelings & ideas concerning the nature of human existence.  That’s my favorite theory because I find myself questioning these very things during this stage of my life, I feel like I am on this extended life journey that has to do not only with self expression of others but also trying to find the root of my own existence.  That as well as coming to fully embrace and accept my own existence on this planet, in this plane – however you choose to look at our human condition.

Please don’t think I’m being all fancy with the work that I am doing, I am using the simplest tool I have, my iPhone 4 camera.  My husband often jokes that my iPhone camera is a narcissists’ (wet) dream because it has created a little bit of a monster as I search for perfection in my own human condition – I am far from finding it, by the way.

So for this month’s exploration please allow me to share some of my “work”, I joke with friends that I am looking for the perfect Facebook profile photo but that isn’t it, I’m simply seeking something in myself – what it is…I don’t know but the Facebook perfect profile photo is something we can ALL relate to.  I suspect Rembrandt never found what he was looking for (and if he was around at the time of Facebook I suspect he wouldn’t have any of that nonsense!).  I’m ok with not know what it is I seek – honestly I’m just enjoying the journey.

So bear with me and my exploration of self in self “portrait” study.  These images were done with a purpose in mind, I truly believe that I only can recognize my OWN vision in my art by recognizing myself and my place in the world.  I know that I open myself up to criticism about self indulgence and although that may be true on some level, at the heart of it I feel in every fiber of my being that until I know myself fully I cannot judge others – be it their intentions or their beliefs.  This is huge for me.  So huge that it defies explanation, it’s an experience one has to live.

Ok, I’m bearing my soul here, some of these are dumb, silly, cute and just plain WTF inducing.  Enjoy!


This shot (above) makes me smile, I like the eyesmile here.  🙂



I found this tutorial on this hair do on Pinterest, it’s one of my favorite shots – isn’t that funny?  It doesn’t show anything of ME but I love it


I’m including this one because it’s sort of dumb, me hanging off the bed seeing how gravity deals with my facial structure


This shot is in the SkyLofts at MGM Grand after I left a party at WPPI 2011 last year.  All of Vegas at my feet (as if!).


My extremely talented friend Dena made me this awesome scarf (which I wrapped around my head as a joke)  I like how the photos of my daughters are in the background of this shot


This seriously grainy shot was taken at House Of Blues, super dark in the restaurant but I liked the ceiling behind/above me and the memories associated with this night out with my husband to see CAKE


Finally this was taken at home, I like the light as it falls on my face and how the shadows are filled with skin color



I’m sure there’s a treat in store at the next stop on our Exploration blog circle, you will be visiting  Arroyo Grade California fine art children’s photographer  next, she’s a talented friend (and I look forward to meeting her face to face in the next week at WPPI 2012!!)


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  • Gina K. - February 13, 2012 - 10:10 am

    Love this! Great self portrait exploration, and you can tell that you are really enjoying the process. You definitely have some FB profile keepers in there :).

  • Nichole Van - February 13, 2012 - 10:24 am

    LOVE that you shared this, Mare! Not only do I love seeing your cute face, but I love your sense of wonder with what it means to just be human, haha. Love it!

  • wendy - February 13, 2012 - 2:31 pm

    OK, I love that you did this for this month’s post! Being in front of the camera is so hard for me. I love that you are exploring “self”. And you are too cute!!!

  • kamee june - February 13, 2012 - 5:50 pm

    i think we should make this one of our themes for one of the months: self portraits! i really enjoyed this, so much! cheers, to you!!

  • jefra - February 13, 2012 - 10:28 pm

    I love this whole theme! What a cool idea for an Elevate post. And number two – the earring – the best!!!

  • Jennifer N - February 14, 2012 - 12:04 am

    you are so fun! you all should make a self portrait fine art month 🙂

  • Cara - February 14, 2012 - 5:27 am

    What an interesting fine art concept. and executed with your phone, nonetheless.

  • Renee P - February 18, 2012 - 10:23 am

    How fun! Getting in front of the camera can be so hard

  • elizabeth pellette - February 26, 2012 - 11:58 am

    love to see your beautiful face