I'm Summer, and I am a portrait and fine art film and digital photographer, based out of the North Shore area of Chicago, Illinois. I specialize at shooting in natural light, and whenever I make a photograph, I strive to capture the energy, serenity, and magic of the moment; highlighting details, movement, nature, and emotion. I aim to create portraits that are close, personal, intimate, true (whether intentional or candid), fun, and tell your story. I prefer small cameras, small lenses, small crowds, high quality film, and immensely meaningful conversation.
I think I had been taking pictures in my mind my whole life; long before my first film photography class as an undergrad student at New York University. I just didn't know it yet. Having spent most of my childhood moving and traveling with my missionary parents, I got the extraordinary privilege of seeing some amazing things first-hand: from the stunning landscapes and wildlife in Africa, to the speed of life on the packed streets of Tokyo, to the visual array of architectural wonders and museums throughout Europe, to the fashion and cultural fusion of life that is New York City. Most importantly, I love the mix of people I've been able to see, meet, and talk to along the way. They have given me dynamic snapshots in my mind that I carry with me always. Through the volunteer work that my family was involved in, I was exposed to a lot of global poverty that much of the world experiences. I am forever inspired by the strength, grace and resiliency that I witnessed in so many of the people facing the most dire of circumstances. Today, their stories are my best definition of true beauty. They, along with my two favorite little people on the planet, my kids, are what truly energized me and led me to photography and portraiture as a career.
I crave traveling to new places, and exploring the great outdoors. I try to see elements of God's handiwork in everything. I love to laugh...a lot...and find it impossible to be too serious for too long. I also enjoy reading, like, all the time (I work as a teacher-librarian as well), going to the movies, eating anything that is simultaneously salty and sweet , being generally silly with my kids while talking in funny accents, dancing to Michael Jackson or any cheesy 80's music in my car while the people next to me in traffic roll their eyes, attempting to keep my house plants alive, sipping tea out of real teacups, all things COFFEE (especially if served by some hipster with a man-bun), attending barre/ballet dance classes is pretty much my zen ...and writing run-on sentences. Obviously.
I'm also very passionate about finding ways to use my photography skills to promote awareness and donate to organizations that are doing great work to empower, educate, and improve the lives of women and children around the world. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunities that I have been given, and as a teacher, I believe that access to education (and books!) has the power to change everything, for the good. Every year, I hold special sessions or fine art print sales events called "Portraits for a Purpose" that will benefit organizations such as HOPE Worldwide, Stories of Autism, Kiva, Malala Fund and others. It is a joy for me to donate profits from the fine art photographs that I take "along the way" in my daily life. Every time I snap a photograph, it is usually because whatever I am seeing makes me feel something; and it is the most uplifting thing in the world to have those images contribute to helping a great cause. Please ask me about this if you are interested in participating, and finding out more. Thank you!
See you soon,