Hiding out by Shana Berenzweig

"Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen."

Brene Brown

 Self-portrait with my girl | Austin, TX | Jan 2018

Self-portrait with my girl | Austin, TX | Jan 2018

Last April, I wrote about how I was gonna show up and be seen.

Inspired by the quote above, I promised myself I'd do better by setting some intentions for 2017. 

More blogging. 

More self-portraits. 

More vulnerability.

I thought about writing more blog posts and taking more self-portraits. 

I thought about showing up and being seen.

But instead.

I hid out.

 Self-portrait in my new home | Austin, TX | Oct 2017

Self-portrait in my new home | Austin, TX | Oct 2017

Well, here we are.  Another new year.

Another attempt at intentions.

At doing better.

And more blogging and self-portraits and showing up and being seen.

So, here I am.  Again.

I can only go up from here.

Right?

 

XO

 

P.S. At the time, I hated it, but this self-portrait has really grown on me.  I almost love it now.  Maybe in a year, I'll feel the same way about the one here.

P.P.S. Dear sweet and loyal clients.  I really am planning and hoping to find time to do more client blog posts.  Y'all are all so lovely and deserve a moment to shine.

'South Austin Gothic' Portrait Series by Shana Berenzweig

My dear friends, Jeri Lynn and Ian Ingram, are both creative, talented, and beautiful --- both inside and out.  And traditional family portraits aren't quite for them.

 Sept 2017 | Austin, TX

Sept 2017 | Austin, TX

So, for almost 10 years now, and waaay before I dared to call or even think of myself as a photographer (which, to be honest, still feels strange), we’ve been doing collaborative, stylized family portraits. 

We call the series South Austin Gothic

 Sept 2016 | Austin, TX

Sept 2016 | Austin, TX

 Aug 2015 | Austin, TX

Aug 2015 | Austin, TX

Besides having so much fun creating them, what I love about this series is how it marks the passage of time and reflects all of us --- the Ingram's growth as a family and mine as a photographer.

 Dec 2014 | Sayulita, Mexico

Dec 2014 | Sayulita, Mexico

While this kind of stylized portrait may not be for everyone, what it represents is most definitely for all.  So, whether I take 'em, another photographer, or yourselves, just do it.  Just take those family photos in a whatever way means the most to you.  You won't regret a single shot.

 June 2014 | Austin, TX

June 2014 | Austin, TX

 Aug 2012 | Austin, TX

Aug 2012 | Austin, TX

 Jan 2012 | Austin, TX

Jan 2012 | Austin, TX

Both Jeri Lynn and Ian are very talented artists.  You can shop for Jeri Lynn's gorgeous jewelry here.  Every piece of her beautiful, fair trade jewelry collection is hand-beaded by the Huichol people in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.

Jeri Lynn's husband, Ian, is a remarkable artist and teacher.  See his incredible work here, and for those of y'all in Austin, Ian has recently started offering drawing class for kids.

I only posted a few of my faves of the series here, but I love the photo below of the Ingram kiddos in front of all the portraits (although I didn't take three of the photos). 

 Sept 2017 | Austin, TX

Sept 2017 | Austin, TX

 

Texas Stong by Shana Berenzweig

 
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Y'all, my heart breaks for all of my fellow Texans who are suffering from Hurricane Harvey. If like me, y'all have been feeling helpless, check out some of the many ways we can get involved from afar.  While Houston has received much of the attention, there are other small towns along the coast, like Rockport and Port Aransas, that took a direct hit and are almost completely destroyed. So many Texans will need help in the months to come, please don't forgot about them after the media leaves.  If you can, please consider donating to one (or more!) of the many charities below doing good work.  Know of a worthy charity?  Please leave a link in the comments.


Greater Houston Community Foundation

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking those hoping to help Houston to give to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Pets

Austin Pets Alive is helping evacuate and house animals. They're looking for donations and foster volunteers, as are the SPCA of TexasHouston Humane Society, and the Animal Defense League of Texas.

Texas Diaper Bank

People in crisis are often in dire need of supplies for their kids. The Texas Diaper Bank provides diapers provides items to meet the basic needs of children and the elderly. Donate here.

Food Bank Donations

Specific Aid for Communities of Color in Houston

Colorlines has a wonderful list of Texas-based charities and organizations working to keep immigrant, Black, Latinx, and other populations safe after Hurricane Harvey. 

Austin Disaster Relief Network

The Austin Disaster Relief Network is collecting items for survivors at the Hope Family Thrift Store at 1122 E 51st St. The group is requesting the following items:

  • New undergarments (all sizes, children and adult)
  • New socks (all sizes, children and adult)
  • Toiletries (i.e.: shampoo, face wash, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.)
  • New bed pillows
  • New blankets
  • Cleanup supplies
  • Black trash bags
  • Mops and buckets
  • Utility knives
  • Leather work gloves
  • Inflatable mattresses
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Box fans
  • Clothing is not needed; ADRN will distribute the abundance of previously donated clothing to survivors.

Families who need support from ADRN should call 512-806-0800. For info on donations or volunteering for ADRN, go here.

Monetary Donations

Several local and national organizations are collecting donations for general disaster relief efforts, including the United Way, Americares, Save the Children, Global Giving, Direct Relief, and Heart to Heart.

The Texas Tribune has a great list of resources for those in need and ways to help and give here

Here in Texas, and I imagine in city and states across the country, there are many local businesses are holding benefits and donation drives.  Too many to list here, but I linked to some aggregate city lists below, and social media and a little googling should lead you to many others.  Please feel free to list any benefits in the comments.

Austin

DFW area

San Antonio

 

 

A Texan measures distance in hours, not miles. by Shana Berenzweig

In late June, Frankie and I packed up the car and headed west on our third annual roadtrip to LA to visit family and friends.  Each time, I've made the 2-day trek solo, which seems to confuse some people.  Despite what they think, there are lots of great reasons to travel/roadtrip solo.  And as a single lady, sometimes you can't wait around for the right time and travel-partner-in-crime. 

The road calls and you must answer. 

 West Texas | July 2017

West Texas | July 2017

Growing up in Texas, the youngest in a veteran roadtripping family, I have a fondness for the bittersweet nature of the long drive.  It takes Texans a while to get anywhere around the state, which is why we tend to measure distance by hours, not miles.  Many curse the trek across the miles and miles of Texas roads.

But I love the drive.

The solitude.

 White Sands National Monument, NM | June 2017

White Sands National Monument, NM | June 2017

The stillness of dawn.

The way the land slowly flattens out from the hill country outside Austin to the wide open spaces of west Texas.

The picnics at rest stops.

The little roadside attractions.

 White Sands National Monument, NM | June 2017

White Sands National Monument, NM | June 2017

The way Frankie curls up next to me.

The lull and sway of the road.

The genius, beauty, and simplicity of cruise control.

The knowing glances and synchronized back-stretching from other road-weary travelers at rest stops.

The mundane stretches of nothingness.

 West Texas | July 2017

West Texas | July 2017

The freedom to stop whenever and wherever I want and as many times as my heart (or bladder) desires.

The simple, yet healing powers of having the windows down and the music up.

The giddiness when you cross another state line.

The relief when you get to your destination.

 Las Cruces, NM | June 2017

Las Cruces, NM | June 2017

The good fortune of making it without getting a ticket.

The gratitude of my privilege to travel and explore.

The inevitable daydreaming of living on the road.

The comfort of returning home.

The sense of accomplishment in doing it all by myself.

The highs and the lows. 

I love it all.

These are just a few of my faves from the journey to LA and camping in the Sierras.  Hope to have more images posted soon. (But let's be real, it'll probably be a while.)

XO

 
 First Lake, John Muir Wilderness, CA | July 2016

First Lake, John Muir Wilderness, CA | July 2016

 White Sands National Monument, NM | June 2017

White Sands National Monument, NM | June 2017

 Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu, CA | June 2017

Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu, CA | June 2017

 Sequoia National Park, CA | July 2017

Sequoia National Park, CA | July 2017

 Tonto National Forest, AZ | July 2017

Tonto National Forest, AZ | July 2017

 Inyo National Forest, CA | July 2017

Inyo National Forest, CA | July 2017

 White Sands National Monument, NM | June 2017

White Sands National Monument, NM | June 2017

 Sequoia National Park, CA | July 2017

Sequoia National Park, CA | July 2017

 Big Pine, CA | July 2017

Big Pine, CA | July 2017

 Big Pine, CA | July 2017

Big Pine, CA | July 2017

 John Muir Wilderness, CA | July 2017

John Muir Wilderness, CA | July 2017

 Sequoia National Forest, CA | July 2017

Sequoia National Forest, CA | July 2017

 Sequoia National Park, CA | July 2017

Sequoia National Park, CA | July 2017

 John Muir Wilderness, CA | July 2017

John Muir Wilderness, CA | July 2017

 White Sands National Monument, NM | June 2017

White Sands National Monument, NM | June 2017

 

At home with the Hewitt Family by Shana Berenzweig

Lucky me has had the honor of working with the lovely Hewitt Family for several years now.  Fun, laid-back, and oh so nice, they are one of my many wonderful longtime clients.

Usually we meet at out and about at a park or some place else outside, but with a tiny new member of the family, I happily met them one morning for an at-home session.  The Hewitts had just moved back into their recently remodeled home, but we also wanted to capture sweet Mei Mei while she was still little, so we worked around the boxes and hung out in their new upstairs.  Who needs furniture when you've got a room full of love.

Here are some highlights of our time together.  It's been an honor to watch this beautiful family grow and I look forward to our next time together.

At home with the Tune-Loeb Family by Shana Berenzweig

I first met my friend, Tara, during summer school at UT - Austin.  I can't recall the class, but I do remember we clicked instantly.  But like many friendships, the relationship ebbed and flowed over the years as our lives took us in different directions.  We reconnected while we were both living in NY, but lost touch again soon after.

So, I was so happy to bump into her at the park a couple years ago, but such is life that we didn't actually get together for a session until almost a year after that.  Now we have two sessions under our belt and I couldn't be happier to have reconnected with my old friend once again.

I happily met them one early morning for an at-home session at their beautiful home, located in the historic Clarksville neighborhood in Austin.  We played.  We read.  We blew bubbles.  We took a walk around the neighborhood.  We did it all.  As you do when toddlers are involved.  Here are some highlights of our lovely time together.  I'm already looking forward to our next session.

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Showing up by Shana Berenzweig

 

 

 

"Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen."

Brene Brown

 Self-portrait with my squad | Austin, TX | April 2017

Self-portrait with my squad | Austin, TX | April 2017

I wrote about this on Instagram yesterday, but since I'm trying this whole blogging thing now, figured I should share here, too.  Right?

So, I'm not really big on resolutions, but at the start of the year, I was inspired by the quote above to set some intentions for 2017.  Not really big on self-portraits either, but since growing as a photographer was also on the intentions wish list, here I am, showing up and letting myself be seen.

Confessions: I only took this photo because of a workshop I've been taking and should be posting it simply because I like it, not because of the teacher's positive feedback (and confidence it gave me). I also took an embarrassing amount of shots to get this halfway decent one that I only kinda sorta like. That nice gallery wall is the only wall decorated in that room.

While only a baby step, gonna keep trying this whole showing up and letting myself be seen in all its good, bad, and ugliness. 👊🏻

XO