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Photography as therapy | by +Krisandra

For the past couple weekends I have been hanging out at Kate’s Club with some pretty amazing people. For those of you reading who aren’t familiar with Kate’s Club here is a statement from their website. It summarizes perfectly who they are:

“Kate’s Club is …FUN! It’s a misconception to think of Kate’s Club as a sad place simply because we’re a grief services organization. More often than not, when you enter a Kate’s Club Clubhouse, you see smiles and laughter. And for the somber moments, we’re grateful that we are here to support one another through them.”

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I co-lead a photography workshop with Rachel Ezzo for the teens of Kate’s Club. Our focus was on showing them how photography can be a different source of healing therapy. Showing them that not all the time do we have to use words, or paint a picture, or write in a journal. That there are other ways of expressing our feelings and emotions. That you can participate in the world and heal at the same time. Other ways that may be as simple as pulling out your cell phone and taking a picture. That the best camera you can have is the one you have with you. That there are more ways than just pointing a camera at someone or something to create an amazing image.

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I must admit that when I was first asked to co-lead this workshop I was nervous because it was a “grief organization” because for me grief is an everyday battle because I just wasn’t sure how the teens would respond to me …but after spending 2 great days with these teens and the volunteers at Kate’s Club I can’t wait to be part of the organization again! If you have never experienced grief it is not something that can be explained. It is unique to each individual and Kate’s Club is special. They aren’t only there to catch the tears, but they are there to help create new smiles.

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Through the workshop exercise we asked the teens to capture a minimum of 5 photos. One that conveyed a happy emotion, one that showed a negative emotion, one that explained shadow, one that expressed “be the light”, and a free shot of whatever moved them. What the teens came up with was ah-mazing! So amazing in fact that the images they took will be shown in an exhibit at Octane Westside date TBA via facebook.

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I am so grateful to be part of  LeahandMark & Co. It’s the opportunities like this workshop that allow me to connect with individuals in a new way through photography… in a way that helps them connect with themselves.

A special thank you to Rachel Ezzo and the staff, teens and parents of Kate’s Club for letting me be part of the healing process.

My name is Krisandra. My Sister, Dad, and (step) Dad died.

My submission for negative emotion taken with my iPhone.

My submission for negative emotion taken with my iPhone.

 

 

 

 

 

Doing More | by +Luiza

I’m always telling you to do more. To expand your talents. Try new things. Experiment.

Well… I’m not all talk. This is kind of a secret, but it’s hard to keep it all to myself. Right now I’m working with some really talented people to put together a music video, and I can’t tell you too much, but I can tell you it’s going to be amazing.

I’ve always been a big fan of collaborating with other artists, especially those who work in very different art forms. And I consider myself very fortunate to have so many friends who place such importance on creating. Whether it’s photography, film, music, drawing, painting, sculpture…

That’s why I’m so so so excited to be working with Asante and Peter Z to create new things. Things you haven’t seen from me before. And things you haven’t seen from them before.

This video will be the first of many. And it’s going to be amazing. I promise.

Wedding Workshop | by +Luiza

So you already know that being an intern with LeahAndMark is awesome. I tell you this every other time I write. The other +photographers tell you this. Mark tells you this. And the interns tell you this. And show you. All. The. Time.

You see the awesome, creative work that comes out of the internship. The amazing shoots and events interns get to attend. From week to week and blog post to blog post you see consistent improvement. But there’s even more than that. Along with the events and constant opportunities to practice, there are also workshops just for interns where you can ask all of the questions and get all of the answers. Seriously. Mark will just give all his secrets away. Because when you have such awesome ideas, and when you’ve developed such amazing techniques, it would just be selfish not to share them and help someone else improve.

But it’s only a few short months. And you have to shoot and shoot and shoot. And at the end of it you’ll either be burned out from all that work and no sleep, or you’ll be mad at yourself for not shooting EVERYTHING. But no matter what, you’ll know you’ve learned and improved. It’s impossible not to. And at the end of it, the weeks where I went on 3 hours of sleep each night because I was trying to balance a job, school, and the internship, were totally, completely worth it.

And after the internship? It only gets better. Everyone take away something different from the internship. No one has the same exact experience. But many of the interns I was shooting with during my season have since launched a website, started their own company, and are really successful. They’re consistently putting out amazing work.

And me? I’ve decided that I loved it so much I’m doing it again. But as a plus! And it’s just as amazing and then some. Because I’m still consistently learning and improving, but I’m also teaching and helping the current interns improve. They’re coming to me with questions, which is crazy. But what’s even more crazy is that I actually have answers!

Even as a plus, I don’t think I actually stepped out of the “I’m an intern” mentality until Season [X] started to come to me with questions. I still feel like I should be carrying Mark’s gear or getting him coffee or something every where I go. And sometimes I still do.

So with the nights of no sleep and the hard job of balancing work, being a plus, being with friends/family/boyfriend and actually taking some time to myself, I get a little overwhelmed. But that’s okay because I have an amazing time with everything, I’m never bored, I get to hang out with awesome people, I get to photograph people getting married (or fake-married in this case), and it’s always AMAZING.

 

Makeup: Raney O’Keefe www.raneyokeefe.com
Reception/Table Design: Roundabout http://roundaboutblog.com/
Ceremony & Portrait Session Design: Project5A Events
Location: LeahAndMark.com Private Residence
Brides: Theresa Weisenberger & Roddas Workneh
Groom: Christopher Bupp

 

Atlanta. Wedding. Photography. Workshop. Internship. LeahAndMark.com | +Luiza Chelaru Atlanta Wedding Photographer

Versatility | by +Luiza

Why would you shoot only family portraits? Or only weddings? Or only events? Or only any one thing?

There is so much world to see and so many photos to be taken, and limiting yourself  to only one or only few things seems so… foolish.

On every shoot I go to, no matter what, I have one recurring goal. I need to learn. If at the end of a shoot I don’t walk away with new knowledge, new ideas, or a better or different way to do something, then it wasn’t a successful shoot. No matter how awesomelyamazing the photos are, if I don’t become a better photographer from a shoot, I wasn’t successful.

And that’s why I always want to try new things. shoot new things. challenge myself. Because when I do something I haven’t done before, I’ll learn.

 

What’s the point of only shooting weddings? Or only shooting portraits? They’ll all start to look the same. Things will get boring. A lot of times, specializing in one thing means specializing in boring. And I hate boring.

So do the opposite. Be not-boring. Try something new every time. Sign yourself up for something unfamiliar. Climb a tree and shoot from there. Hang upside down. Do some video. Bring in some zombies. Shoot some not-weddings and some not-portraits.

And go do. And learn. And be good at everything.

Work and Life Balance | by +Krisandra

Have you ever been so wrapped up in something that everything else just seemed to ….Disappear.

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Something like a new companion, school, a project, or WORK? Everything else like family, friends, but mostly YOU? Where you don’t realize what day of the week it is you just know what you have to do that particular day because the calendar says so. Where you can’t seem to remember when the last time you talked to your friend actually was. Where you can’t remember if you answered that text message. When you are at a red light and suddenly remember you had better cook that chicken that has been marinating in the fridge or it WILL go bad.

This is where I am. RIGHT NOW.

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This past weekend was busy for me. I auditioned for a television commercial, I photographed a family at the Atlanta fair, I snuck into an abandoned building and finally did a shoot that I had been planning for months, I spoke at a photography workshop, I even photographed a sideshow event. But, you know what else happened? I heard (more than once I might add) from friends, “Where have ya been? Why don’t we talk anymore”.

….dang

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Mark (I thought was joking) said a while ago that the only time friends get to see him is if they are at the event he is photographing. He wasn’t joking. While I can sit here and justify it to myself that this is a good thing, it really isn’t. Yes, this means I am working hard at mastering my craft. Yes, this means I finally feel like I am in a good place with my photography career. Yes, this means I am producing great images. Yes, this means I am finally doing what I love full time. But… this also means I have neglected friends, I have neglected my house chores, I am so tired a nap turns to anxiety because I am not sure if it is 6:30 a.m. or p.m. when I awake. I have forgotten ME.

I can balance this! Work and life! Even if it means I have to start putting my friends, chores and ME on my calendar. If that is what it takes, then so be it.
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I wouldn’t be where I am today or who I am today without you. I can’t forget who modeled for me before I really knew what I was doing. I can’t ignore the ones who supported me when I was 48 hours straight without sleep because I was working on my portfolio in school. I can’t neglect those who care.

This blog is dedicated to you.

 

 

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I’m not kind of photographer who’s going to blog each and every shoot as the “greatestbestest, most favoritest (insert: family/wedding/donut/etc.) shoot EVER!” because, really, what are the chances that each successive shoot is going to top the one before it every. single. time? not bloody likely. (sorry. I’m on a Downton Abbey kick. I’m british in my head this week.)

but… let me tell you about this wedding. it was small and intimate and absolutely lovely. somewhere in the georgia mountains in a cabin. and a ceremony that started with a walk on a dirt road that turned into a path through the woods down to the water’s edge. bare feet. a creek. waterfalls. then-intern-now-creative-director Joy bounding around like a gazelle. a couple who knew each other when they were young. then, relationships and children later, there they were again. together. and so incredibly joyful.

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as a parent, you’re not supposed to have favorites. but the truth is I do. it may change from day-to-day or moment-to-moment, but still. there it is. sort of the same with shoots. so with all that being said, this wedding it was one of the warmest and most sincere that I’ve ever had the privilege to photograph. and my favoritest. so far.

Making a Photo | by +Luiza


A camera is used to take a photo, right?

Well… yes and no.

I used to think that’s all you do with a camera. Take a photo.

I’d go out and take a photo of this, take a photo of that, and take a photo of them.

And then I read something somewhere where a photographer mentioned how he made a photo. And I thought that sounded so weird. “I made this photo….”  Because to me a photo always seemed like a capture of what’s already there. You take what’s in front of you and preserve it on your roll of film or your memory card.

And then I saw that wording again and again. And it still didn’t sound right at the beginning, but it started to make more and more sense after a while. And now I understand the difference between taking a photo and making a photo. And the difference between taking a photo and making a photo is also the difference between an average photographer and an amazing photographer.

Because you can set up a shoot, send 10 photographers in there, and they’ll all come out with different photographs. Some of them will be okay, some good, and some great. Some will take what’s in front of them and that’s it, and some will make it into their own scene and capture what they – and only they – see. And if they’re really that good, you’ll be mesmerized when you go through their photographs because you won’t believe that the photos you see in front of you were made during that shoot. Because you were there but you don’t remember it being like that. Because you don’t remember it being so. freaking. awesome.

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And I’m not talking about tricks and illusions. It’s not photoshop and it’s not acting. A great photographer will make a photograph and convey so much through it. A great photographer will see something no one else does and capture what no one else can capture. Sink into the ground or reach above everyone’s head to get the shot. Show a different side of the scene that’s in front – the same scene every one else is photographing. Make a photo different from any other photo taken that day.

It’s a very different thing to take a photo and to make a photo.

An Artist | by +Luiza


I’ve been struggling lately.

I love what I do. All of it. I really really do. Every shoot.

There are some that I love a whole lot, and some I love a little less. But there’s nothing else I’d ever rather be doing.

That being said, I’m really starting to miss the way I used to work. the way I used to shoot. for me. just me. not for a client. not for a paycheck. not for a blog post. but because there’s an image in my head and the only way to get it out of there is to make it happen.

Ever since I was an intern last March (it’s been almost a year already!), I’ve done events and portraits almost exclusively. Which is awesome! Really really really awesome, because I hadn’t done much of that prior to the internship, and I loved challenging myself and shooting outside of my comfort zone. And that’s why I learned so much.

But that’s not what made me fall in love with photography.

I love the personal projects. The ones where I’m with my camera for hours and hours and I pour as much as I want into each photo. The photos that will tell you exactly what I want to tell you without me having to write a single word. The shoots where I can experiment as much as I want and get as weird as I want without worrying. The shoots where I’m not aiming for a “pretty” picture or a flattering picture, but an honest one. a meaningful one.

It’s really important for me to work on personal projects from time to time. Making images like these is what keeps me sane. It’s what keeps me creative. It’s what keeps me interested. It’s what allows me to keep falling in love with what I do. Because you should already know how much I love to experiment. How I like to push boundaries. I’ve already told you I tear up my photos just to sew them back together. I paint on them. Draw on them. Write on them.

And I haven’t done any of that in a while. But I really want to. So I’m challenging myself.

For every shoot I do for someone else or of someone else, I’ll also do a personal project for myself. And I’ll fall in love with my photography all over again every. single. day.

Falling down | by +Krisandra

So, what happens when the words don’t come? I sit in front of my laptop and get distracted by anything and everything because I can’t come up with something interesting to say. Something that makes you ponder. Something that makes you say, “wow, yea, I get that!”

I have youtubed the Gang Related soundtrack and wound up on New Kids on the Block music videos. Listened to the Ghost World soundtrack and ended up on Christmas songs- yes, Christmas songs. I tried to convince my boyfriend we needed to go and have a nightcap somewhere… on a Sunday… at 11pm. Anything to avoid writing; anything to avoid getting personal.

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The truth is… during a shoot this past weekend my whole week came into summary by way of a mud puddle. I fell down. I literally fell down. Not only did I fall down, but I did one of those movie type splits down- in mud. Luckily, my client was behind me and didn’t do the same graceful maneuver. I got up and found a stick to scrap the inch thick mud off my behind, leg and shoes and answered “YES, I am ok!”

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[enter cheesy metaphor here] The truth is… the last couple weeks have been a roller coaster for me. I was laid off  (laid off?!) from my “day job” of 3 1/2 years, I took on the role as photo editor with LeahAndMark.com (yay!), and it took me actually landing on my behind to realize- I AM GOING TO BE OK!

I am one of those people who worry about every little, and not so little, thing. It has always been preached to me not to quit my “day job” until it affected my photography or vise versa. So, you can imagine my worry. This is not how I planned things. It wasn’t suppose to happen like this! Or maybe, just maybe, this is the way it’s suppose to happen.

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Truth is… I want to show you images, but I want to tell you stuff too. I don’t only want to talk about f stops, ISO, and other technical mumbo jumbo. I want to tell you stuff too, perhaps personal stuff. Like how I can get so caught up with everything that is happening around me (work) that I don’t see what is right in front of me (a BIG mud puddle). I warned you about the cheesy metaphor!

Atlanta Boudoir Photographer | Krisandra Evans | LeahandMark.com

The truth is… sometimes you just need to find a stick, scrape the mess off and keep going. It took me falling down to realize it’s just stuff. And guess what? I’M OK!

do SOMEthing | by +elaine

I’m just coming off an amazing weekend. life affirming. life altering. fun, exhausting, exhilarating. if any of you have been paying attention, I’ve had the privilege of photographing Girls Rock Camp Atlanta and Ladies Rock Camp Atlanta. it’s inspiring to watch and be a part of all that energy. but let me tell you, it’s nothing compared to being an actual camper.

it was hard for me to let go at first. I’d always been there as a photographer. I even packed my camera to bring with me, then deliberately took it out at the last minute. I didn’t want to observe. not as a professional, anyway. I wanted to be a part of it. IN it. without the detachment of composing images in my head and having my camera as a shield. I did that in-my-head thing anyway, but was able to just use my phone to snap some shots, just like normal people do, and let it go at that. eventually.

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here we were, 24 women, mostly strangers. we met on friday afternoon, chose instruments to play (for some of us, for the very first time), formed bands, had lessons, named ourselves, wrote songs and lyrics, rehearsed, rehearsed, and rehearsed some more. somewhere in there they managed to feed us well and often, and set up time for some serious bonding and a few performances. there was a lot of laughing and crying and hugging and cheering. and rocking and badassness, of course. then finally (all too quickly, in fact), on sunday night we performed. such a simple word, performed. but it was everything. excitement and attitude and love, and this beautiful energy exchange that I swear you could actually see dancing around the room.

and now that it’s over (we rocked it, by the way), I’m able to analyze the hell out of it, hold it all up to the light and see where it fits in the puzzlebox that is my brain. people met, lessons learned, what I’m taking away from it all, and if or how it’s going to color all things that come after.

some top-line things? I learned about Preferred Gender Pronouns. that I’m perhaps too cynical and snarky than absolutely necessary, even if only in my head. that the world is filled with kind, supportive beautiful beings that will help you along if you ask it of them. that you can teach this old dog new tricks. that I still have to ability to surprise myself.

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I was motivated to attend this camp, yes, because after all that watching, I wanted to DO. but maybe it’s also part of that mid-life panic. I don’t want to be “just” a wife and mother of three. don’t get me wrong, that’s probably THE best thing of my life. but it’s not all that I am. or not all that I want to be. I will not go gently into that good night. because frankly, time is running out. maybe not soon, but certainly there’s less of it than there was before. and I still have things I want to learn. to discover. to enjoy. I want to not be bored or boring. I want to challenge myself and be vulnerable and redefine myself. I want my sons to see all of it and learn from it as well.

so do something that scares you. something that thrills you. something you’ve never even considered. take up lessons, go to a drag show, schedule a boudoir shoot, jump out of an airplane (parachuted, please). it doesn’t have to be big. buy a vegetable you’ve never seen before, then hunt up a recipe on the internet. try something new. revisit something old. finally tell someone that thing you’ve always wanted to say.

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as my father would say: “do something, even if it’s wrong.” I’m not saying that’s always the best advice, but you get the gist, right? get up off your ass. get going. do SOMEthing. I won’t promise that it won’t be mortifying or embarrassing or painful, whether physically or emotionally. you may fail. or cry. or throw up. or be rejected or laughed at. I’m not saying that any or all of those things won’t happen. I’m only saying it just might be worth every bit of it.

Moving Right Along | Goodbye from +Krista

Today, I’m posting on LeahAndMark.com for the last time.

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I have a story for you. I moved out on my own two days after my 18th birthday. Two! DAYS! Now that I’m actually a grown-up (because let’s face it: when you’re 18, you’re not a grown-up), I can say with complete and utter certainty, that that was nuts. So much could have happened to me. Bad stuff. Mistakes. Poor decisions and no money to pay bills. Failure. BUT.

Moving away from home when I did was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in all my twenty-seven years of existence. And not because I hated home, or hated my parents, or hated the safety and comfort of my cozy little bedroom. I had one of the happiest childhoods I’ve ever heard of, actually, and my parents have somehow, in that weird full-circleness of life, become some of my very best friends. I left home not in spite of the lovely things I had surrounding me but because of them. I needed to be on my own. To make decisions myself. To risk mistakes and crappy judgment and empty bank accounts. To chance failure. And I wasn’t entirely alone anyway- I brought along my tall, dark, and handsome high school sweetheart to chance those things alongside me. I had a partner, yes, but the experience was all my own. And it shook me and shaped me into the evolved version of myself that I am today: strong(er), smart(er), and even more fiercely independent than I was even as a kid. That experience of jumping into the unknown is what did it for me.

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So now, I’m leaping from the nest again so to speak- still shooting, still blogging, still growing as a photographer every single moment, just over at KristaTurnerPhotography.com instead. It’s weirdly parallel to how I’m feeling now and how I felt when I was 18. Excited, anxious, impatient, and scared shitless too. Applying for the LeahAndMark.com internship was the single greatest thing I’ve ever (EVER) done for my photography, and right up there in my top ten for best decisions of my life. Coming onboard as an Associate Photographer- with that fancy little + sign in front of my name- has been equally life-changing, and soul-shaping and mind-bending and FUN. The things I’m coming away from this experience with, well… they’re things you’re not going to find anywhere else. (Trust me. I looked.) And the best part of it all is the camaraderie you’re building with these other incredible photographers- it’s awesome because you’re surrounding yourself with so much creative energy, you can only go up from where you started. And it’s because of Leah and Mark that I’ve been able to experience this.

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And so, thank you, Mark and Leah, for bringing me into your family and showing me who I am and how to appreciate it. Knowing you both has changed me forever, and there aren’t a whole lot of people I can truly say that about. Thank you for helping me. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for everything.

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Thank you to my fellow Pluses– they’re beautiful, talented photographers and you should definitely continue to follow their journeys too. Also, they know what it’s like to wrangle Mark. These ladies are simply amazing.

I’m not delving into this new chapter alone. My tall, dark, and handsome high school sweetheart is now my husband, and he happens to be my very favorite person in the world to have next to me when it’s time for a new adventure. Plus he makes me laugh and fixes me coffee late at night whenever I ask. (I’m so very lucky.)

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I remember on my first night as a new Intern, a million years ago it seems, Leah was talking about the importance of our blogging. She said we’d have readers, even if we didn’t realize it, and so it was important to keep writing (and shooting) for them too. And she was right: so many times, I’ve felt like I’ve been talking to myself in my blogs, which is totally cool because writing is a ridiculously therapeutic habit to get into. But then I’ve been out, and people I’d had no idea were even paying attention would start conversations to punctuate whatever I’d talked about in that week’s latest blog. And that has never ceased to feel really really neat to me. So thank you for reading along. I guess I like talking to myself a little, but I like talking to you so much more.

xo,

Krista

Adrienne + James | by +Luiza

Let me tell you a secret.

I’m kind of shy. Ok, really shy. Like, I might have a panic attack next time I have to speak to a crowd (and two people count as a crowd).Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. But still. I keep to myself a lot. Even though I love meeting people and I find everyone infinitely intriguing.

And I think that’s one of the worst traits to have as a photographer. I’m so comfortable using a camera that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be on the other side of it. I sometimes forget how helpful is to get  some direction or feedback. To hear that yes, that pose is awesome! You look so good! Or move this way a little and that way a little and put your arm there…  perfect.

Sometimes it’s a little hard for me to just speak up, and I don’t really understand why. I guess I’m just shy. But every morning I tell myself to suck it up and get over it. To push myself out of my comfort zone. And it usually works. And I go out and tell myself to speak and interact and do things I don’t think I actually want to do. And then I do them and the world doesn’t explode just because I said actual words and everything is okay!

And sometimes (well, a lot of times) I get to work with ridiculously wonderful people that make me forget all of that. People who I have such a great time photographing that I don’t feel like a stranger. I don’t feel awkward. And that’s really really good, because if I feel awkward then you feel awkward and we just get awkward photos. And I really don’t want awkward photos, I want AWESOME photos, and you probably do too.

Like Adrienne and James. I went to meet with them for this engagement shoot and I was a little nervous. But after about 2.7 seconds with them I saw how totally awesome they are. Because they are so good with each other, and were laughing and smiling the whole time, and were so comfortable and so sincere. Instantly all my awkward and nervous melted away and the awesome and amazing took it’s place.

And that’s just one more thing I totally love about what I do. It pushes me. It pushes me so far out of my comfort zone, I usually have trouble finding it again. It pushes me to speak and do. It pushes me to dance around with a red scarf in a photobooth in front of 10,000+ people walking around. It pushes me to climb railings and chairs and tables and whatevers just to get the shot because who cares who’s staring at me. It pushes me to do things I wouldn’t dare do otherwise, and I freaking love it.