On July 8, 2016, I went to bed devastated. So worried about the future of this world for my son. I never watch the news. NEVER. I only subscribe to local news stations on Facebook in the case of a weather emergency. But that day, I was horrified. It was all over Facebook. The first thing I thought about and the only thing I kept dwelling on was the mamas of the victims. Those murdered were all in their 30s and 40s. The prime of their lives. Probably fathers. AND THEIR MOTHERS WERE PROBABLY GLUED TO THE NEWS STORIES JUST LIKE I WAS. HOPING IT WASN’T HIM. NOT MY BOY.

Five Dallas Police officers murdered BECAUSE THEY ARE THE WRONG COLOR.

The next morning, as I was heading into the studio for sessions, there was a nagging in my heart that I had to do something. But what could I do? Give money? Be angry? Turn to Facebook and rant about the hatred? Call the victim’s mothers and cry with them? None of that seemed right. Because it couldn’t bring these dead officers back and it couldn’t change anything. Not really.

I kept thinking about the mamas. And their babies. Dead.

I knew that the only thing I could change was me. What I teach my son about race, judgement, unconditional love and the Gospel. I tried to teach him the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. All those people who call themselves Christians and then spew hate. That’s not what Jesus was about. He loved the whore just as she was. He loved the crooked tax collector who robbed people blind. He loved the sick and the fowl. He LOVED unconditionally. And so should we.

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I moved to Southeast Texas in October of 2009 and about 6 months later, was hired by Patricia Lambert to teach Junior English at Central Medical Magnet High School. In my interview, she leaned over her desk with a very serious look on her face and said, “What makes you think that a pretty white lady like you can handle a bunch of kids like ours?” I was stunned. It’s rare that I don’t know what to say, but I had to gather my thoughts. I told her that love sees no color and that even though I’m white, I didn’t have a Leave It to Beaver childhood. I got in a LOT of trouble as a teenager and I was confident I could hold it down in my classroom. I guess she liked that answer, because she hired me on the spot.

When I told a local white friend how excited I was to teach there because it was an undeserved, at-risk population, she was horrified. She told me to call her back RIGHT NOW and tell her you can’t take the job. Those kids will slash your tires! You’re going to get shot! You can’t work there, Yvette! I couldn’t believe my ears. What if I hadn’t taken that job? Things might be very different for B.I.S.D. at this moment. God had plans for this assignment and He wasn’t playing around!

And I LOVED my job. Correction….I LOVED my kids. I wasn’t too keen on policing dress code, all the stress about testing and reports. But I loved my kids. 

I taught there for four years and I’ve never seen such rampant racism in my entire life. BOTH WAYS. It disgusted me. All I knew to do was to show these kids that I was different. I wasn’t the token white lady who looked down her nose. I loved them. Like they were my own. I went to church with them, I brought them to my house. I went to their baby showers. I loved everyone of them. For who they ARE.

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Once I arrived at the studio that day, I knew I had to use these God given gifts I have of telling a story to help, in some small way, remind us that the mamas are grieving their dead babies and the only way we can try to keep our babies safe is to teach them to love unconditionally. Just like Jesus.

I knew what I wanted to do. I sent out a model call and over 100 people applied. This image, that I photographed today, represents all of this hope I have in me that YOU CAN BE THE CHANGE.

Be The Change

These mamas want to be the change. They want to teach these babies to love unconditionally. Because that’s what these mamas want for their babies.

WON’T YOU JOIN US?

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If this post or image resonates with you, I would be forever grateful if you would share. Share it from your heart. And share it with your children. Maybe you can’t read it to them, but you can teach THEM to #bethechange

P.S. Thank you to each of these mamas for taking the time out of your days to #bethechange

Since I’m a mother, a certified teacher and a professional photographer, it makes sense that I should offer photography classes to moms, right? Well, I am!

Mom Tog 101 is for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and anyone who wants to capture the everyday goodness of the children in their lives.

PLEASE NOTE: This class is NOT for aspiring photographers or professional photographers. I do offer mentoring and classes specifically for photographers, so please inquire if interested).

THE NEXT MOM TOG 101 BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY CLASS WILL BE HELD SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH FROM NOON – 3PM AT MY STUDIO IN DOWNTOWN BEAUMONT.

We will spend the first hour of the class going over the technical aspects of basic photography. Camera settings (for DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras), exposure, posing, and lighting and then we will spend the rest of the class in practical application. You will have the opportunity to takes notes and you will be provided with a copy of the class presentation that includes a summary of the technical information and some great resources to help expand your knowledge at home and inspire you!

Students will model for each other and my backgrounds and props will be available to practice with. I will also teach you some of my tips and tricks for engaging children to achieve authentic emotion in your photographs. I will work with each participant individually using your own camera to teach you how to use it most effectively and what settings will work best for capturing your children in their every day lives.

The tuition for this class is $195 and the fee is due in full to hold your spot.

To register, please click HERE and let us know you would like to book a seat for Mom Tog 101! Hope to see you there!
Mom Tog 2

First, a disclaimer

This is a long post….but at the end is FREE STUFF!!!! So keep reading, it’s worth the wait and all the in-between is really good too!

My first passport

When I was 8 years old, I put my first stamp in my passport for a trip to Tahiti to visit my grandfather. I remember how boring the plane trip was that seemed to last an eternity.

I remember his home on the top of what seemed to be the highest mountain in the world. I remember his grapefruit trees and the bouncy ride in his jeep and his thick, French accent telling me to put my seatbelt on. I remember feeling terrified of the vast ocean, even though I could see all the way to the bottom into all of the twists and turns of the coral reef. My mother spent much of her childhood on those beaches and she told me about her best friend stepping on a Moray Eel while harpoon fishing, which ended in her leg being amputated from the knee down. At almost 40 years old, I still won’t walk on the floor of a body of water if I can’t see my feet!

When I was 15 years old, I put another stamp in my passport for a month long trip to Belgium to visit my grandmother. (These grandparents were married to each other and divorced twice. Literally, a hemisphere separated them for the rest of their lives.)

We rode trains through France, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. It was such an amazing summer and my heart aches for just one more summer with my Mimi.

Love

Since then, I’ve visited Mexico, Nigeria, Israel and embarrassingly little of the United States (although I have a trip in 2 weeks to Seattle and I can’t WAIT for my sunset sailboat tour of the San Juan Islands!!!!).

This is a very rudimentary video I made of some mission work my husband and I did in Port Harcourt, Nigeria in 2009.

My photographs (and videos) of these trips are some of my most treasured possessions.

Before I became a mother, I dreamed of spending my adult years traveling. My bachelor’s degree is in Journalism and I dreamed of writing for National Geographic Magazine. God has had other plans for me for the last 14 years and I don’t regret a single second of these precious years with my boy, but I am now in a season of life that I am free to roam this great big world once again and I’ve got my bags packed!

The old adage, “Do what you love and you’ll never work again,” is so very true. I love my work and the only thing I can think of that would make it even more satisfying is to do it abroad.

But let’s talk about your family

If you’re anything like my family, when it comes to planning a family vacation, it can be so fun…and overwhelming! Where to go, how to get there, where to stay, what to do, WHERE TO EAT! So many decisions, so many questions. All the worrying, planning and spending are so worth all the memories that are made. Often, those memories are all you have left of the fruits of your labor – except for some cheap trinkets from China that you may have caved on.

What happens to those memories? Did you take snapshots on your phone or DSLR camera? Did you print them? Will you children be able to thumb through them when they’re 39 years old, reminiscing about that annual vacation to Florida?

If you’re like most families, they won’t.

And I aim to change that! At least for 12 families a year, that is.

Have Camera + Will Travel

Beginning September 1, 2016 (my very last birth client is due August 17th!), I will be available to travel with your family to document those vacation memories and give you a keepsake you will truly treasure. Actually, about 45 of them!

Travel Sessions include up to 4 hours of shooting time PER DAY you book and a minimum of 45 full-size digital negatives and corresponding 4×6 prints PER DAY. And you decide how those 4 hours are spent.

Before your session is booked, you meet with me at the studio (or via Skype or email) so we chat about your plans for the trip and when the best opportunities will be for photography. You’ll let me know if you want me to be a quiet observer, giving your family space and privacy to be yourselves or if you want me to be more of a participant on the trip, interacting with your children for more dynamic family images. We dream together about what you want documented and I can help decide on locations for shoots and the best time for great lighting. After our shoot for the day, I go back to my room and give your family the opportunity to enjoy each other.

My day rate for these sessions is $1250 and you cover my travel expenses. Nothing fancy is required, so economy seating on flights is fine and so is a Holiday Inn (see the above video of my trip to Nigeria as evidence of how fancy I am not!). For destinations less than 4 hours from Beaumont, TX, I’m happy to drive and you just pay round-trip mileage.

About 2 weeks after I return from your vacation, I’ll have this gorgeous French velvet print box with a minimum of 45 – 4×6 prints and the corresponding full-size digital negatives for each day that you booked my services ready to deliver!

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The Possibilities

These sessions can be booked for a day at Crystal Beach or a globe-trotting trip around Europe. You decide! Have friends or family joining you abroad? Split the cost of my travel and accommodation expenses and you can each book me for a day! The possibilities for these sessions are really endless and I can’t wait to blog about these trips! (If you prefer privacy, I’m happy to only blog my own adventures while abroad.)

And Now for the Best Part!!!

Because I’ve been waiting so long to be able to travel again, I’M OFFERING THESE SESSIONS FOR FREE from September 1, 2016 to September 1, 2017!!!!

You heard me right! You get me there and give me a place to sleep and I’ll give you 4 hours of my very best portrait work FOR FREE!!! French velvet box, full-size digital negatives and 4×6 prints included!!

Because I will still be returning to my own private dream world full of bumps, babies and children in Beaumont, I’ll only be able to book ONE Travel Session per month, so if you’re interested in booking, ACT FAST!

Know someone who is a travel bug like me? SHARE THIS POST PLEASE. Because friends share FREE STUFF!!

Have Camera Will Travel

Courtney McDonaldJuly 14, 2016 - 10:06 pm

Our family is traveling to Coeur D’alene over the Thanksgiving holiday. I would LOVE to talk about having you with us for a couple of days. Seriously onemail of my most favorite places in America!!

Ashli BrownJuly 14, 2016 - 10:09 pm

We have our Brown family reunion in Galveston Texas the weekend of Sept 9-10-11 if you’d like to come spend 4 hours with my family

MorganJuly 15, 2016 - 10:46 am

This is awesome!

CONTACT US!

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