2013

Portraits of a Lady

When we woke Sunday morning to thick snow and a chilly sky I was grateful for our cozy indoor plans with Katy. This was our last shoot of the year before we head to Budapest for the holidays and I couldn't think of a lovelier way to wrap it up - a deep soul in an large window, Katy is such a treat to photograph. She's so laid back and so poised all at once, you wouldn't guess she spends her days in the muddy trenches of construction sites as a Quality Control Manager.

So, to celebrate a great year we raise a glass in gratitude - to Katy and all the loveable and inspiring people we've photographed this year, may the road rise up to meet you!

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Love & Light,

Angela & László

The Faryna Family

Photographing the Faryna family is a little like going out to photograph the running of the bulls - you have to be quick on your feet, ready for anything and try not to get knocked over. Not only do Becky and Tim have two energetic boys who are athletically agile but this year they decided to challenge my skills by adding a 120-lb Great Dane named Thunder to their family tree. Becky prepped me when we set the date - "Ange, please!" she begged, "No set-up, no lights, just shoot! You have to be quick," she warned me, like I was being briefed for a top-seacret spy mission. "They won't last long." Last year I wrapped them in Christmas lights and positioned baby Austin as the cowboy who had lassoed his unsuspecting family! Hilarious, right? Not for four-year-old Josh apparently, who didn't appreciate the ironic humour of a family restrained in twinkling lights by the resident baby. So this year I was ready. Two cameras strapped to my body like Dirty Harry, I sauntered casually into the yard and pretended I was there to photograph the clouds, the dirt, the fence - anything but cute kids at play. My stelth paparazzi skills are better than I thought, I guess. Sometimes the kids even looked over at me. Score! From my perch in the leafless bushes I managed to gather a few photographic keepsakes for two of my dearest friends and at least this time, outplayed the players. Mission accomplished!

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Love, love, love and light,

Angela

Faryna Family Photo Shoot {Dukát Photos: Aurora Wedding and Portrait Photographer}

The Ontario Historical Society Turns 125! {Queen's Park, Toronto}

I LOVE surprises. The kind that no one plans for you. The kind that just happen in life that fills you up with inspiration and energy. This week I was hired by the Ontario Historical Society to photograph their 125th Anniversary Celebration held at Queen's Park, Toronto. The OHS has been around since 1888 - a fixture of Canadian History as much as a purveyor of it. They are a non-profit corporation, publisher and registered charity who work inclusively to bring people together in the interest of preserving Ontario's history.  As an honorary patron of the Ontario Historical Society Lieutenant Governor David C. Onley hosted the celebration in the Lieutenant Governor's Suite, where I fell in LOVE. The LG Suite is home to a stunning exhibition of portraiture called  "About Face: Celebrating Ontarians Then and Now." It is inspiring and flawless in its gorgeousness. It features dozens of striking portraits of notable Ontarians spanning 150 years; from Pauline Johnson and Robertson Davies to Dre, Jian Ghomeshi and Chris Hadfield. I revelled in the few minutes I had alone with the portraits before the guests arrived  - I stared and studied, overwhelmed with the feast for my eyes and my soul, unsettled on which wall moved me most.  Any lover of portrait photography could watch these walls for hours. And what a perfect venue for a celebration of history. Isn't that what every photograph ever taken does? Perhaps we don't hang them all on the wall for public admiration but every image we take and preserve is the doing of history. It's that person's presence in that moment documented for as long as that photograph lasts. I was speechless and taken and filled with new desire to take more pictures and make more art. I walked home in the rain that night with a big smile on my face. I couldn't have cared less that it was wet or freezing. It reminded me of falling in love. Yes. It's THAT good!

The exhibition in the Lieutenant Governor's Suite is accessible to the public until March 31, 2014 and it's free! If you're interested in visiting, you can get more information on the City of Toronto website, here.

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A Fall Photo Shoot with the Steele Family {Scanlon Creek}

Re-meeting old friends and school mates after years have passed is good for the soul. Not only are you reminded of beautiful people you used to know but you get to celebrate with them the amazing things that life has brought in the years that have passed. For Jayme and Robin, that includes two loveable little girls who keep them permanently poised on their toes. And yes, we parents might roll our eyes when we talk about our kids - it's obligatory when you talk to other people who have children - because they spread us thin and run us ragged! But, when the day is done and we finally sit, we're thankful for them and how much they enrich our lives. We know that someday, all our little babes will go off into the world to be the beautiful and kind people we have taught them to be and we will sit and remember the way they fought with one another and chuckle. We'll reminisce about the way they hugged one another and it will warm our hearts. After my morning with Jayme and Robin and their girls, I drove home to my own family grateful for the reminder that our kids are growing fast. When I got in the door I snatched up my two-year-old and smothered him with kisses. He fought to escape my grip... I rolled my eyes. Sigh!

Thank you Jayme, Robin, Teagan and Rhianne! I'm better for re-meeting you :)

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Love & Light,

Angela

Jaclyn and Pete's Maternity Shoot {Toronto Brickworks}

Yesterday I got an email from Jaclyn. With baby Kissel's arrival only a few short weeks away her nesting instinct had kicked in at full force. The other mothers among her recipient list likely smiled the same smile at their computer screens - the one that says, 'Yes, little mama, this is normal.' It's a sympathetic smile because we all remember that final month of waiting - the desire to clean everything, to put everything in it's place, to think of everything in advance of knowing you even have to think of it. In my ninth month pregnant with Ati I rearranged the furniture in our apartment,... several times. Laci would come home in the dark and curse my new arrangements and the new bruises he acquired on his shins. But it has to be done! If it doesn't need to be done for baby's arrival, it has to be done for the sanity of a patiently waiting mothers. So, part of Jaclyn's nesting project included an email to her circle of mothers asking advice in advance. Now this is VERY Jaclyn ;)! Why don't we all do more of this? Aren't the women around us an endless well of experience and love and support? "I figure who needs a book when I have amazing Mom's around me," she wrote. So true! We ARE amazing! :)  Truthfully though, we should follow this lead more in our lives. Let's drop the books and the web pages and the expert advice on daytime television that contradicts itself week to week. The women around us are our strength, our support systems, the cultural centers of our families. Our mothers are the guides, the manifestors the never-ending fountain of love and self-sacrifice and there is nothing and no one in the world that compares.

Sit tight little mama - It's all coming together and you are never alone.

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Love & Light,

Angela & Laci

Karyn and Dan's Bloor West Village Engagement Shoot

When we photograph Karyn and Dan's wedding next summer they will have been together for ten years. Wow! But when you meet Karyn and Dan, it's not such a surprise. The way they move together, the way they fit together - even the way they hold hands - you know they've been doing it a long time. An early morning walk through Toronto's Bloor West Village with these two gorgeous people was like hanging out with old friends. They are so chill, full of laughs and up for anything - even standing in the middle of Bloor St. with oncoming traffic! Can't wait to photograph their June wedding at the beautiful Spencer's in Burlington. The only thing more stunning than that venue will be, of course, Karyn and Dan!  

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Love & Light,

Angela and László

Hope is Born

Late Friday afternoon I got a surprising call. A familiar voice from my grade school years was on the other end - his first babe had arrived days ago but it was already apparent that the wee wonder was going to grow quickly and something had to be done to freeze the moment - even if only in a photo. I was happy to solve the little dilemma of documenting his daughter's first days and we quickly made plans. I stepped into their home on Monday morning and there was proud Papa Paul with his tiny balled up baby - he stretched her out toward me. "Do you want to hold her?" Did I ever! The moment i nuzzled her into my inner elbow it all came back like a wave - my baby girl was this size only four months ago, but I only barely recall it. Yes, new parents are sleep deprived and especially when there are other children to care for the day is hectic and blurred but the truth is, even if we had every moment free to stare at them breathing they would still transform before us at a mind-blowing rate. And then nature plays this seemingly benign game with our memories, leading us to believe that our four-month-old baby is still as small as when she was born. I came home from my time with baby Hope and her beaming parents filled with their joy and squeezed my chubby babe and smelled her hair with a big deep breath and took in her blue eyes which are slowly turning brown and tried to remember if she was ever as little as Hope. "Of course she was," I thought, but I had to rifle through my pictures to see it for myself.

Thank you Paul and Jessy and newbie Hope for letting me document this moment in your lives. It's gone in a blink!

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Love & Light,

Angela

Sonia and Paul's Beachside Engagement Shoot

Paul and Sonia's beachside engagement shoot is the epitome of what we love about specializing in outdoor photography. The beach isn't just a dreamy backdrop, it speaks volumes about Sonia and Paul, the kind of people they are and the relationship they nurture. This lakeside has grown with these high school sweethearts. They've been coming to the water for years to sit and be together (and perhaps to exchange a smooch or two ;). The place a couple chooses tells you a lot about them. Their calm, passion, wonder with the world and willingness to sit still and think. Our landscape gives back to us too if we spend time in it.  It speaks to us in deep ways about the beauty and mystery of life and if one is willing to reflect, the landscape will also reveal us to ourselves. I'm really glad we could document these two beautiful people in one of their favourite places. Our art is richer for their history there and I hope these images are a reminder to them of all the hours they spent arm in arm by the water together.

 Love and nature go so hand-in-hand, don't they?

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Love and Light,

Angela and László

Care Bear Countdown to the Guinness Book

It's a rare and wonderful thing to meet someone with passion - especially when that passion involves friendly woodland creatures with painted bellies. So rare indeed is this passion that Colette Larsen is petitioning her caravan of caring colleagues into the Guinness Book of World Records. At a whopping 589 pieces, Colette's Care Bear collection has been growing since her teens, but not everyone shared Colette's love of the little bears. It wasn't uncommon to find one of her furry friends held hostage by friends or siblings, who are super lucky that Colette has a sense of humour! Some of the most interesting pieces of her collection include ice skates, a bicycle, a sleeping bag and Care Bear gummy candy, which would require the will power of a true collector not to eat. You don't have to think hard about it to see that Colette is a lot like her Bears - she's colourful and caring, friendly and giving and even without a heart painted on her belly, hers is always glowing.

I wish you love and light and a dozen Good Luck Bears as you make Care Bear history!

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Angela

Portrait of a Mother and her Men

When we arrived at Kim's house to photograph her family a few days ago Kim greeted us at the door in a white robe, hair aglow and eyes wide. She was excited. It made me excited. Her teenage son Evan sprawled out on the couch looked at me like I was his math tutor. (I know the look because I used to BE a math tutor). Why do teenagers dislike having their pictures taken? I hoped to convert him with an edgy portrait.

Photographing this family was a treat for many reasons but something particularly strong and soft and beautiful emanated from them - for a small family of three there was enough love for a tribe. They hugged tight, smiled from the heart, stayed in the moment. A glance arm-in-arm shared by Kim and her husband Bruce had me stunned during editing. I so admired it - Kim, lost in her husband's blue eyes and Bruce staring back with a comforting smile. Do we have these moments enough? I hope so.

At the end of the shoot we spent some time photographing Kim in a little white dress poolside. A little bit of vintage tintage for a gorgeous mother. These portraits are a secret indulgence of ours - they are so fun and so forever. When we take these portraits I always think about how timeless they are, how many times they will get pulled out and how many stories they will prompt. I hope in forty years Evan will turn to his mother and say, 'I didn't want to take pictures at first, but I'm glad you made me do it."

A mother can dream! ;)

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Wishing you all love and light,

Angela and László

Olivia Rose's Baptismal Bash

Baby Olivia Rose is a lucky little girl to be born to parents like Teresa and Paulo - because, if we're honest, nobody does it quiet like Teresa. Of course, I'm talking about throwing a party! Teresa arranged Olivia Rose's special day down to every last pink detail and Olivia Rose was nothing shy of impressive! The morning began with a houseful of guests, then off to the church, pictures galore with her giant Italian family and a reception that rivalled any wedding. People ate, danced, cooed at little Olivia and she pulled it off with smiles and flailing arms thanks to her uncanny ability to nap no matter how many people or how loud their racket! It truly was a beautiful party put on by the heart... and perhaps a small group of elves that Teresa employs to work through the night.

Congratulations Teresa, Paulo and Olivia Rose! May the road rise up to meet you.

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Love & Light,

Angela and László

Forbes Magazine and The Orange Dress

Four seconds before this photo was taken at yesterday's photo shoot with the inspired folks at Event Spectrum  Inc., President Cynthia Richards threw up her arm and shouted, "NEXT YEAR THIS PHOTO IS GOING TO BE ON THE COVER OF FORBES!"

Goosebumps ran up my arm. YES!, I thought. THIS is how it's done.

If anyone understands how the universe delivers on our declarations it's this team. Dynamic, fun and innovative, ESI Inc. has been rocking the world of business communications for seventeen years. They are an always-smiling force to be reckoned with who have turned the old business cliché on it's head - apparently you can mix business and pleasure. Their signature orange dresses not only turn heads on the street, they symbolize a key underpinning of their business philosophy - they are family.

So,  the declaration is out you gorgeous gals and guys of ESI - the cover of Forbes is yours for the taking. Cheers to the year ahead - may it be as fabulous as you are!

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Angela & László

Little Domenic's Visual Diary

Today is the day that little Domenic's mom returns to work. No doubt bitter-sweet for both of them, it is a momentous day for a mother and child. It gives them room to spread out and grow and deepens their love for one another. I imagine at this moment that they are missing one another deeply as they each gain their bearings. This evening when mom arrives home from work she will scoop up her wee man and hug him tighter than ever and he will hug back. A beautiful moment. One of those pause-and-be-exactly-where-you-are-right-now kind of moments.

In preparation for mom's return we put together this visual diary so that they would always remember the special things that made Domenic's first year distinct. Here's to another stellar year little man!

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Love and Light,

Angela

Divya and Deepesh's Forest Maternity Shoot

Sometimes you meet people for whom the photos almost take themselves. Divya and Deepesh are so thrilled about the upcoming debut of their little girl that they just couldn't stop smiling - especially when they looked at one another. It didn't bother them that it was raining or that the bugs were buzzing. They were arm in arm and loving each moment. Divya and Deepesh filled the woods with romantic cuddles and belly laughs. It was evident that they have been long-time loves. After thirteen years together these parents-to-be are welcoming their wee babe into a relationship filled with friendship, respect and mutual admiration.

We wish you love and light on this beautiful journey!

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Teresa and Paulo's Maternity Shoot

Only a few short weeks remain before Teresa and Paulo welcome their first wee babe into the world! Shakespeare had it wrong, I think. It's WAITING (far more than parting) that can be such sweet sorrow. Luckily, Teresa and Paulo are almost never sitting still... and likely never will again ;) We met Teresa and Paulo at their home where the bustle is at it's best - renovations rolling, a baby's room coming together, unpacked closets giving way to baby clothes and gear - all the tell-tale signs of a babe on the way. Always up for a good surprise, Teresa and Paulo don't know if they're having a girl or a boy -  As you can imagine, bets are flying and the family is rumbling with excitement. Old wives tales are being swapped across kitchen tables, superstitions are being shared and her belly, scientifically admired for shape and protrusion. The only one's who don't seem obsessed with the baby's gender are these two parents to be. Here are some favourites from our visit with my beautiful cousin Teresa and her hubby Paulo as they await their little......... girl! There - I said it!

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Love you three,

Angela and Laci

Leslie and Dan's Beach Maternity Photo Shoot

It's a beautiful thing when you can tell by looking that two people are joined at the heart. Although quite young in years Leslie and Dan have known one another for more than a decade and it shows. They move like they know where the other is going, they laugh before the joke is told and their mutual adoration is heart warming. Now, after oodles of schooling, a collection of travel tales under their belts and enough moving to exhaust a migratory bird, Dan and Leslie are opening their lives to a little son who will join their family adventure. Even over one cup of coffee it became clear that any child of theirs will have to be up for anything because this beautiful couple is only going...well... up, up, up! We met Leslie and Dan and their baby-boy-to-be at the Beach on a sunny but shivery Saturday afternoon to celebrate the lead up to one of life's most beautiful adventures.

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We wish you love and light in all that comes.

Angela and László

{Leslie and Dan's Beach Maternity Photos Shoot with Dukát Photos: Pickering Beach, Ontario}