colorado - don't give up // part one

i drafted this post a day after i got home. i dumped my photos onto my computer and poured through them. and then i had to walk away. and then i had some really serious and amazing and emotional conversations with my husband and family.i have attended workshops in the past, and been let down to be honest. it's been about two years since i've found something that really speaks to who i am, the kind of photographer i am and life liver i want to be. i found out about the don't give up project about a year or so ago. it remained a pipe dream. when would i ever have the money to invest in myself like this?! or who would i ever be able to convince to sponsor my broke ass. so i kinda worked a lot in the last year, not really in the ways i wish i was, but i socked away some money and got a big gig and suddenly i thought, what the hell, i'll submit my application and my little essay and probably will never hear a word. when you apply for the workshop there are the typical questions. where do you live? website? but the parsons...they're good...and they can mask a question like the best of them. "why now" why now. why now. what first came to mind was "well, i'm not pregnant, trying to get pregnant, breastfeeding or dealing with a baby" but the next thing i knew my fingers had spilled too much. i'm pretty sure i included some traumatic experience from my childhood in there. my palms sweaty. but knew all the more that i needed this experience. badly.

i hadn't realized how burnt out i was. as a wife and a mother and an artist. the whole business person piece of my identity. which i hate. which i really suck very hard at. i didn't realize i hadn't been shooting nearly enough of the sort of people and stories i wanted to be involved with and i was shooting anything that would add to the heap of $ to push the furie-bowman's through another month. i have been told all my life to fight traditional roles of mother and wife and stay at home maker. i've been told all my life that that kind of isn't enough and it's not all that matters. and i never had it myself. i've spent a majority of my life apologizing for who i am in one way or another. trying to be a chameleon to fit all my roles, and even within those roles i can't behave the same with my mother as i can my father as i can my in laws as i can my...and so on. i turned 28 three days after returning from Colorado and that trip was the best gift. and i gave it to myself. i paid for every cent of it, i shed every single one of my own tears. i fought through wanting to vomit while experiencing something so intensely raw and vulnerable with people who i had put up on a pedestal.

the parsons. the wonderful, amazing, kind, talented, parsons. no two people more meant for each other than they. drag this mass of people up into the mountains, their children in tow. their sweet, sweet children who are witness to all this. to what their parents have the power to do. to free people, to show them their own strengths and beauties and oddities. who tell us that imperfect is better. who listen to the stories of strangers. who held each one of us while tears streamed from our faces. freedom is so powerful. freedom of the heart and mind...more hard work that is so worth it.

i can not believe, truly i can't, that this fine ass group of people are my friends. totally worth all the blood, sweat and bottles of water. this is part one. because i really wanted to show you 100 pictures. but that's just straight up ridiculous.















because besides all the amazing food we ate and the crying we did (did i mention the crying?) we made images at sunrise and so many other little moments were packed into those 36 hours up in that thin mountain space. and i just want to share them all.




one belly, one big brother to be and some pancakes \\ arlington ma family photographer

in the spirit of trying to post more consistently i found yet another meant-to-be-blogged session in the queue that i never hit publish on...silly. because this beautiful belly has since become just about the cutest baby ever.  



and yes, i am still shooting this summer with a calendar filling fast. let's play!

xo isabel



that time i met my friend from the internet

i've written that line quite a few times in my life. becoming a mom at the age of 20 leaves you few places to turn, the internet seems like a pretty good idea. i don't, nor have i ever, lived in an area where it's been easy for me to make friends. i don't fit the typical mom mold around here and it has been a long painful process building up a village i can trust. when Jack was 2 i felt the pressure to have another baby. having grown up alone, meaning without siblings, i knew even at 19, when i decided to go through with the pregnancy, that i wanted this baby to have a little crew to grow up with, experience life, survive us as parents with. unfortunately, or fortunately i suppose, life had some more lessons to teach me. after a 2nd pregnancy loss, i was in a tailspin. i found a life after miscarriage forum online and was hooked. it is very surreal to look back at myself during that time. how just...crazy i was. obsessed with getting pregnant, needing to talk to people who understood how it felt all.the.time. reducing my life to fertility abbreviations. friendships are forged in these hard places, where we lean so heavily on the words of someone else. someone who survived. i met Bren.


Bren's journey is her own, but i'll just say that when she got pregnant with and gave birth to Stella, there were a whole lot of people who breathed a sigh of relief with her. it was a tough fucking road. i can remember sharing so many dark moments with her, joy and pain, milestones, pregnancy, all of it. she was one of the first people i talked to after Leo was born...and i'm fairly sure i was asking her up until i went into labor if she was *sure* the baby would, in the end, really be fine.

so when i was scrolling through FB last thursday and happened upon a post of hers casually mentioning that she was going to be in Boston, i sort of freaked out. we last minute planned the most wonderful afternoon, and as though being reminded that this was all in the plan, Massachusetts let up for a day and the sunshine actually felt warm, the breeze was gentle, and i'm pretty sure i heard birds chirping.

6. Six. six-years-later. we met and hugged. and i tugged at Stella's curls that have been a marvel since she was born. and Bren felt Leo's sweet golden hair and heard his laugh. and it was as though we had been friends forever and ever. husbands got along, great food was eaten, friendship was strengthened and reinforced. and just like that, at the end of the day, poof. it was done. life returns to normal and it's as though she wasn't even here. and the only real difference now is that...i miss her.