Our awesome friends Ashley and Chandler recently brought Paxton Orion into the world! We're so excited to be witnessing this new adventure in their lives! Paxton's name was inspired by his dad's lifelong love of Transformers - specifically, the original toys and comic series (not the terrible Michael Bay movies that keep getting greenlighted). We loved getting to meet Paxton and hang out at their home for this photo session!
We had so much fun with Jeni and Gautam for their engagement session that we knew their wedding day would be a blast. Because of the misty rain that morning, the wedding ceremony was relocated from the patio to the inside of the Civic Garden Center, but we were still able to capture their first look and some portraits in the lush green surroundings.
Jeni had henna painted along her hands and arms as an homage to her husband's Indian heritage. And she had Gautam's name hidden within the design – it was fun to watch him search for his name during their first look!
Seriously, what a gorgeous fairytale setting!
Jeni and Gautam's reception was at MadTree Brewing in Oakley. They infused some Indian culture into their dinner – cardamom lassi drinks and saag paneer pizza served up fresh from Catch-a-Fire Café inside the taproom. Instead of the usual flower arrangements, they decorated each guest table with a perfectly curated selection of board games – including Cards Against Humanity, Cads About Matrimony, Jenga, Uno and Operation! Their cake was decorated with an intricate floral henna design. And the highlight of the night was their surprise first dance / Bollywood mashup!
On the eve of the 2018 Womens March, so much has happened over the past year, and so much remains the same. I regretfully posted only 5 of my photos a year ago from the Womens March in Cincinnati... so of course in the wee hours of the night I felt compelled to dig back in to the archives for more images. And I found a good selection of worthy photos that are still relevant. Stay tuned for a blog post from this year's event. #peace
Tess and Mo had their engagement session in Eden Park (my favorite Cincinnati park!) on a not-too-humid August evening. They got to know each other through a running club in Rochester, NY, and soon realized their friendship was more than that; the spark between them was mutual. When we met Tess at Coffee Emporium (Mo was busy in Rochester finishing up his residency), we bonded over running stories and a shared appreciation for coffee! Kyle and I are looking forward to capturing their upcoming January wedding - we're hoping for some picturesque snow!
We had a blast hanging out with Jeni & Gautam during their engagement session while we hit up several sentimental favorites from their getting-to-know each other phase. Our first stop was Highland Coffee House, where they had their first date – and where their conversation went on long enough that they lost track of the time! Our second location was in the Clifton Gaslight District at a semi-secluded park bench at the intersection of Middleton and McAlpin. Jeni and Gautam used to take walks here to sit surrounded by wildflowers and gaze into the nature preserve... and, probably, each others' eyes! Had to say it. Right down the street at Mt. Storm Park, we finished the session just before sunset, where Jeni and Gautam had shared their first kiss!
Sidenote - it was a bit of a sentimental evening for me and my second photographer/assistant/life partner as well - we spent five years together in the Clifton Gaslight District during our various relationship stages. There's just something magical about that area!
Ashley & Kevin had an intimate June evening wedding at the Eden Park gazebo in front of their closest friends and family. Luckily, the infamous Cincinnati humidity gave us a break and the weather was perfect. Beforehand, the guys chilled out at Ashley & Kevin's house and we managed to get some cute portraits of Kevin with their dogs! The ladies got dressed in a luxurious room at Hotel Covington that had a view of both the Queen City Building and the Ascent at Roebling Bridge. The flower girl was a little photographer – she had a blast capturing moments with a Fujifilm Instax camera! After the ceremony, we wandered up to the overlook for more portraits - had to seize that golden hour light!
Cincinnati Centenarian: Artist Anne Wainscott
Living life to the fullest is a mantra that many ascribe to, with varying degrees of conviction. Wrapped in faux fur and sporting on-trend aviators, a charm bracelet full of mementos lovingly curated by her close friend Michelle, and a smile framed by vibrant red lipstick, Anne Wainscott is someone who epitomizes this. At 100 years young, she has lived a storied life. Born to immigrants, a seamstress mother and a father who was a tailor, she grew up in Cincinnati and early on had a strong interest in fashion. She dreamed of moving to New York to pursue this, but remained in Cincinnati. She funneled this passion into a long career of making illustrations for the Cincinnati department store Shillito's. Elegant women with striking eyes were her trademark, and they almost always bloomed from her imagination. She rarely used models. Being witness to the latest women's trends, she infused this into her innate sense of style and altered or created many of her own clothes. At a time when photographs had not yet replaced paintings and illustrations in advertising, Anne's artistic visions undoubtedly drew customers to Shillito's, who hoped to be as chic as the women in the newspaper ads.
I spent an afternoon with Anne and Michelle in the Riverside Historic District of Covington, KY. I observed this tiny, lovely woman gazing across the Ohio River at the Queen City, where she made a career for herself while married to a fellow artist and raised a family (two sons who also happen to be artists). Her home is decorated with many of her original paintings, drawings, and other artwork. She painted her entire Frigidaire pink. Fresh flowers adorn every table.
Over the course of a century, Anne has seen an unbelievable amount of change. She and her husband contributed their artistic skills to WWII pamphlets distributed to African-American soldiers. She remarked that her husband made the bold decision to depict the soldiers and their families true to life, not Caucasian, as was the standard. She knows in her heart that relatives who did not make it to America perished in the Holocaust.
Born in the U.S. before women could vote, she cast her vote for a woman presidential candidate for the first time this past fall. I met Anne and Michelle at the Women's March in January. Exuding 100 years of wisdom (but looking much younger than her age), Anne captivated me, and that's what inspired me to capture her in these portraits, which of course do not do justice for her beauty and her strong yet gentle spirit.
Cincinnati Women's March
A sampling of my best images from this historic day, January 21, 2017, when millions of people of all genders and ages, races and religions came together in unity to peacefully protest the new administration at the Women's March in Washington, D.C. and in cities around the globe. At the Cincinnati sister march, I even met a radiant 100-year-old woman exercising her right to protest; she was born before women had the right to cast a ballot. The march grew into a worldwide stand against inequality in all its forms. Here's hoping for a brighter future where we are all equal.
Here's a little peek at what I've been working on, photographically speaking, in the last couple of months: a lakefront wedding in Michigan; a 10-year wedding anniversary shoot (in which the bride wore her wedding dress and the couple's two kids tagged along); a one-year-old's portrait session; and a Cincinnati wedding of one of my childhood best friends.
People of all walks of life came to the Cincinnati Pride Parade to show their support for the LGBTQ community in Cincinnati (and worldwide). I tried to capture the energy of the parade participants and crowd, while also enjoying the event (as in, taking in the experience and purposefully putting my camera down here and there). Every year, I've been either out of town or busy during the Cincinnati Pride parade weekend and this year I was finally was able to attend. It was especially moving to see participants carrying signs honoring each individual who perished in the horrific Orlando nightclub shooting. It was a very thoughtful way to honor these victims.
I recently drove across the great Midwest and onward into the Wild West with my sidekick/husband to the tiny town of Tucumcari, New Mexico. Here we experienced a fun four-day festival, Rockabilly on the Route. And, we traveled alongside (and sometimes ON) old Route 66! (We saw parts of Route 66 last year as well, on the way to and from the Grand Canyon). Needless to say, we LOVE road trips and all things Americana. I'll be posting photos soon on this blog and over on our new joint venture, Pop Rocket Creations.
In the meantime, here's a sneak peek.
Look for the rainbow after the storm.
I'm so, so sorry, Orlando. It's been a horrible week for Americans, and for humanity in general.
But we are better than this.
Walk with pride. Jump over puddles. Look for the rainbow after the storm.
Good will always prevail!
A rainbow-painted crosswalk is pictured in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis, MO, on May 30, 2016. / © Melissa Doss Sliney
Recently I had the opportunity to photograph a couple of artists in their element at the Cincinnati non-profit art center, Neusole Glassworks. It was visual thrill - check out my gallery on CincinnatiRefined.com!
For classes, events, and gallery info: http://www.neusoleglassworks.com
Mark Gilsdorf is an artist-blacksmith who also happens to be a bird enthusiast and Irish history buff. He seeks to balance aesthetics and functionality in his pieces, which he refers to as "house jewelry."
Gilsdorf mainly works with steel, a more stable alloy of iron. His scrap pile, "a blacksmith's biggest resource," is filled with roadside treasures, railroad spikes, and old pipes.
Aside from commissions, he sells his creations -- pieces like fireplace gates and hand-forged, skull-topped bottle openers -- at Bromwell's and local events like Summerfair and the Hyde Park Art Show.
Legendary comic book artist Allen Bellman!
Sneak peek... gallery coming soon!
Full gallery of adorable Ellie coming soon!