Erika Ray Photography » blog

“Take your broken heart, make it into art” -Carrie Fisher

Social media and 24-hour news channels can make the world seem bleak.  What can we do?  Postcards, phone calls, talk to your neighbor, educate your kids, donate.

Repeat the next day.

But one day I hit a wall.

Sweatpants, wine, “Cops” marathon all under the guise of #selfcare.

And then an inner pep-talk happened.  An inner ass-kicking occurred.

“C’mon, Erika. You’ve got skills.  Get up.  Don’t fall for this crap.  Help others.  Do it.  You’re lucky.  Don’t squander your luck.  Remember when Ma said, ‘If you’ve got talents, you have to use them’?  Remember?!  Keep the sweatpants on but do something! Ok, fine…  Finish that glass of wine first.” 

The next day I went to a protest rally with a talented friend.  We marched.  Chanted.  Listened to brave speakers.  And photographed it.

Afterwards, I had several people ask about purchasing a Hi-Res file of a “Love is our Resistance” photo.  “I’ll pay.” they said.  Right now, I’m not interested in profiting.  I’m ready to give.

Some people are new to our country.  They’re starting over.  They need basic necessities.  They need to create a new home.

Let’s remember America’s values.  Let’s remember to love and accept everyone no matter their religion, race or nationality.  Let’s love.  It’s can be that simple.

Let’s give love unselfishly and let’s give it often.

Send a donation via PayPal to:  erika.ray1@gmail.com.  Give whatever you can!  Pick your price!


With your donation, I’ll send a hi-res file of “Love is Our Resistance” photo.  You’ll be able to print up to an 8×10 photo.  If you’d like something larger, please send me a PM and I’ll send the preferred donation amount.  Unless specified, the file will be sent to the email used to donate.

All proceeds will go to CRIS.  It’s a local organization that helps refugees and immigrants reach and self-sufficiency and achieve successful integration in Central Ohio.  Basically CRIS helps refugees and immigrants create a home in Central Ohio.  And trust me, home feels good.

You give.  I’ll give.  We’ll give.

Love.  It’s that simple.

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Dear Ladies…

I just wanted to thank you again for this weekend.  I got home to a super clean house (always a plus) and lots of questions from the boys.  All of a sudden my emotions caught up to me.  My eyes filled with tears.  And this continues to happen when I think about the love, kindness, and power I experienced this weekend.

Truth be told…  I’m not really comfortable with lots of women.  I doubt many would find me a Girl’s girl.  I’m happy with a few strong souls.  This weekend, I rode with and was hosted by those kind of souls.  But also as important, I was surrounded by 500k other strong, beautiful, passionate, and powerful souls. Go on and count the marchers in other cities and countries.  Add those to my list.  Not to mention to touching messages filling our phones from proud family and friends.  We were surrounded by strength.

Prior to this weekend, we weren’t longtime or close friends.  But we shared something that I will always be grateful to have experienced next to you.  For years I will remember our slow and steady steps in an unclear direction.  I will remember losing you in the crowd and the excitement of seeing your faces pop up.  I will remember our first battle cry that was a loud yet shrill “yay!”  And I will remember our decision that a deep “FUCK YEAH!” was more appropriate.  I will remember seeing families march together, sons standing shoulder to shoulder with their mothers.  I will remember the faces of older women asking, “Why am I still fighting for basic rights?”  I will remember the smart woman who came up with a Bathroom Number system, the woman sharing her toilet paper and the odd comfort a Porta-Potty provided.  I will remember the festive after-party hosted with food, drinks, facts, family, and love.  I will remember laughing through podcasts and personal stories about bathroom malfunctions.  I will remember the different view points of topics, but the common thread of compassion, empathy, and strength.  I will remember our conversations about our next steps.

I will remember the moment I decided this wasn’t a party or a weekend thing.

I will remember the moment I knew this was simply the Beginning.
And that I had Sisters standing strongly together to continue the mission.

Sincerely from my heart,

Erika

p.s. first set of photos found here
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  • Carol Sinski - Your photos speak to me. I am partial to the black and white photos, but I always have been. I love the back shot of two women in the pink hats. Could that be done in black and white but the hats in their pink glory. It would be so powerful and warm at the same time. You are truly an insightful and talented artist. Thanks for sharing.January 21, 2017 – 10:09 pmReplyCancel

  • A simple thank you » Erika Ray Photography - […] p.s. first set of photos found here […]January 23, 2017 – 11:32 amReplyCancel

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You’ve been in this tricky position.  I know it.  You’re warming up some soup in the microwave.  The bowl is supposed to be microwave safe, but you know it’s a lie…  But still!  Still?!  You reach to grab your soup and immediately burn your fingers.  Now a Smart Adult would leave the bowl and wait.  But you’re smarter than the average adult.  You’ve got this…

You start the dangerous maneuver of trying to get the scorching hot bowl out of the microwave.  You grab the very top 1/4 inch of the bowl and quickly move to the counter saying, “Hot. Hot.  Hot.  Hot.  Hot.”  You plop it down, fingers on fire, and a smug smile that you didn’t drop it.  But then you realize that you’re an adult and you shouldn’t do that again.

I’ll fix that for you…  I’ll help you become an full-fledged mature adult with fingers intact.  The Microwave Bowl Holder.  Place your bowl of soup in this cozy contraption and begin to warm up your soup.

Could it get any better?!  YES!!

All proceeds will go to a Us Together, Inc.  They work to support and resettle refugees and immigrants.

Save your fingers.  Help some people.  It’s really that easy.

If you’re local,  it’s only $8.  But if I need to ship your order, each will cost $10.

Paypal to erika.ray1@gmail.com  Please send it as a gift and we’ll be able to give more to US Together, Inc.  Include how many and your shipping address.

We’re getting pretty close to the holidays, so while I’d like to guarantee shipping before Christmas…  I’m not sure if that’s possible.  So let’s say I’ll try really hard.

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A friend’s birth is a special thing, but it is different.  There are some pros and cons…

Here are the cons: I’m very aware of my role at a birth.  It’s to be quiet and photograph the story.  With clients, it’s easy.  They don’t ask about my boys’ school year.  But a friend knows my kids started new schools.  So I try to be very quiet, but if they ask questions,  I can’t NOT talk back.  That’s rude to a woman in labor.  You should always be polite to a woman in labor.  But every time I talk, it feels intrusive.  In a client’s birth, I’m not worried about where I stand. Even though I realize my friend is not worried about what I see, I still like to give her some privacy.  I always remind myself, “She asked me to be here.”  But I still worry that she’s worried about what I’ll see or experience.  My worry is only for about 4 seconds because truly Ladies, I can’t stress this enough: this is my job.  Everything is 100% normal and comfortable to me.  I won’t see you at a BBQ and think of your placenta.  When I’m at a BBQ, I hope my birth photography gave you memories for life and a tangible vision of your love and strength.  So at the BBQ, I think about the Pros of shooting a friends’ birth…

I got to see you at your greatest and most beautiful.  Prior to your birth, I thought, “Those are some nice Folks.”  After the birth, I think, “I knew they were nice, but WOAH they’re amazing!”  I witness the sweetness and love usually reserved for private moments.  I get to hang out with their family and see exactly where that sweetness and love comes from.  It’s taught, learned and genetic.  And I get to witness it from the source: their parents.  I also see my friends’ love for their first son.  And how important it was for them to include and remind him, he’s still their baby.  I’m able to hear that little boy exclaim, “You’re finally here!  I’ve waited so long for you.”  And I melt along with every other person in the room.

Watching a friend give birth is a true honor.  It amplifies what I already knew: their goodness, bravery, strength, humor, and love.  At the next BBQ and I see little Charlie, I’ll always remember his first loud cry, his Daddy’s smile at his first glance, and how his Momma’s heart swelled the second he was born.  I’ll remember his grandparents’ adoration and how his big brother couldn’t wait to meet him.

Kid, you are deeply loved and it was beautiful from the start.  I’ll never forget it because I was lucky to be there.
And at a future BBQ, if you want an extra cookie?

Ask me, Champ.

I’m a sucker for kids I’ve known from their first seconds on Earth.

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View More: http://erikarayphotography.pass.us/schmidt

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  • jodiK - You sure made that look easy, Mama! Gorgeous family and photos.November 8, 2016 – 2:36 pmReplyCancel

For years, I spent November blogging/photographing once a day about Gratitude.  Some days it was easy to rattle off a number of gratitudes.  Some days it was all I had to be grateful that the day was almost over.  I’ve skipped it for the past two years.  Part of me was thrilled and the other part missed the practice.

A few weeks ago, I thought “Maybe I’ll bring it back in 2016.”
A few hours later, I thought “I can’t do it.”

And then a couple of days later, my lovely and very talented friend, Xanthe Berkeley, announced that she was going to make and share her films every day in November.  I love this idea.  As a photographer, there’s something so beautiful about watching a film I’ve created.  My kids move and talk for once in my art!

A few minutes after reading her post I thought, “I can do THIS project!”

A few seconds later, I thought “Nope.  That’s a lot of editing and posting and that’s NOT happening these days…”

But I miss the Gratitude project.  I miss pushing my vulnerability limits.  I’m not real smooshy with my People.  I miss what even the shitty posts gave me: a chance to be happy even during boring/dark/meh days.

Picking up my big camera still isn’t a priority, but I need to complete a Gratitude project this year.

What’s a Lazy Gal to do?!

Think, Erika.  Think…

<light bulb moment>
I’m bringing back my One Second a Day project for November!
One Second of Gratitude!

I can handle that!  Just find one moment of happiness/gratitude and film it for the whole month.

Easy!!

Want to search out your own gratitude?  Want to play along?!

You do?!

Perfect.  Here’s an FAQ on how to make a One Second video.

Round One
Round Two