Expeditions & Encounters with Life. . . by Jewel Anderson




Jon & Benita!

Some of you may remember me posting about The Nobrega family last Fall. Well, if you didn’t catch that post I talked about Jon’s far away move to Bahrain, but what I hadn’t mentioned was one of his intentions on moving. . . her name is Benita : ). I could write for miles about how amazing their story is and all the details that lead up to their marriage but I believe it is their story to tell, so I will briefly tell a few thoughts. Jon’s journey leading up to moving to Bahrain was not easy, but because of his perseverance the aftermath now feels like a breath of fresh air. I know all of us Kansas City folk sure do miss Jon, but we are glad he married the most wonderful woman and can now call her our friend. Very few people from the States could attend their wedding in Bahrain, so Jon and Benita made a visit to the states to celebrate with family and friends here. I felt so lucky to have taken pictures for them not only because I was thrilled to document some portraits and moments for them, but because I was able to spend time with just the two of them, which was a scarce thing considering everyone wanted their time while they were here on their short visit. I loved getting to know Benita in the short moments we spent together. I kept thinking to myself “this feels so right, they are perfect for one another.” . . . Here are a few moments for you from their wedding reception.
Doesn’t Benita look like a beautiful Indian Princess? I love that Jon & Benita wore their traditional Indian clothing. Let the party begin.Benita and her sister are very close, so she Skyped in for some of toasts and excitement of the party. The rest of these images are why you stay till the very end. Some of the best moments happened after everyone had left but family. I love this moment between Jon’s uncle and his daughter. What a beautiful & loving picture of a father and daughter.Somehow almost the entire family ended up jumping and playing on Mr. & Mrs. Nobrega’s bed. Once again, the best things happen at the very end.Amazed at all their gifts.Benita fell in love with all the kids she met here, particularly Jon’s nieces. Here she is relishing in love while one of Jon’s niece’s cards is being read to her.And, they’re spent.

Love you guys. Love. Jewel


Obviously the thing illuminated cannot be lighter than it’s illumnator. –Annie Dillard

2011 Wedding Favorites

Documenting weddings is such a privilege. I shoot weddings with Becca Spears & occasionally on my own alongside my husband, Gregory. I wanted to skim through this past year of wedding photos to remind myself how lucky I am to have a job that aligns with my talents and passion. Don’t be fooled though, shooting weddings is not all roses and rainbows–it’s hard work, dang hard work. I am so proud and lucky to have landed a job with Becca because I believe she is one of the hardest working moment-go-getters there is. She’s serious when it comes to sticking to documentary photography and as an effect of working with her so am I. “Story” has always been important to me, knowing people’s stories & telling and reading good stories, so I’m not surprised God dropped me in front of Becca over 3 years ago. My deep belief in the importance of stories has grown and been deeply refined as I have learned how to better shoot as a documentary photographer. My goal as a photographer, whether I am shooting weddings or portraits, is to convey people’s stories. So, here’s to another year of story-telling! Cheers to 2012!

These photos are a combo between weddings I have photographed with Becca as well as my personal weddings.

This first image is perhaps one of my all time favorites. I love when sweet tender moments happen amidst a beautiful backdrop. Here I love the combination of warm light and cool blue sky.
I especially love this photo because before Eric and Laura’s wedding day began Becca told me “keep watch for Laura and her sister’s relationship–they’re really close.” When I took this I remember being ecstatic about capturing the story of Laura’s sweet relationship with her sister.One of my favorite times of the day is when the bride is with her dad right before she walks down the aisle. Emotions are usually expansive. Here Amy and her dad laugh/sympathize as they hear the flower girl fall down as she’s walking down the aisle.Brides are not immune to needing to. . . “go.”

You Don’t Have to Understand It to Go With It

Sometimes I don’t know why I take certain photographs, but I go with it, trusting. A few months ago I saw one of my hero photographers, Emmet Gowin, speak at the Nelson-Atkins. I believe no one is 100% original or inventive, but I do think people are creative and awe-inspiring. Emmet is one of those people for me. Among the abundant notes I took while at Emmet’s lecture there was one particular thing he said that pertains to this blog post. He said sometimes you aren’t going to understand why you are drawn to something, but you just have to go with it trusting that it will thrust you forward in your talent and creativity. For me there is something about this first self portrait I cannot get enough of. I don’t necessarily see me in this photograph rather I am more interested in the soft folds on my dress, the light skimming down the line of my arm, the way my hand gently rests against my leg, and the gradation from dark to light.

Contrary to the similar self-portrait I posted awhile ago from this same scene, these two images were taken with our Hasselblad. My husband can attest to this, but there is something different about shooting with that camera. It takes time and patience. I often come back with soft semi out of focus pictures, therefore I was ecstatic to see these came out sharp. I’m proud of that considering I had to pre-focus with no subject…So, here are a couple of my favorite self portraits from the roll of film I took that day.

Kyle Blake & his Baldwin Denim

I took these photos of Kyle on a whim at a fall breakfast one morning. I loved the variety of color on his shirt and how it stood beautifully against the green of the outdoor backdrop. So, I decided to just out-right ask him if I could photograph him. I only had my film camera, so I shot the last few exposures available. I’ve decided that if I become inspired by something I have to act on it, quick. I remember my photo professor, Kathleen Sanker, say “You should never wait to take a photograph” if you see something you need to act on it, otherwise you’ll miss your opportunity. I do believe in balance though. I sure would miss out on a lot of life if I was continuously concerned about making photographs. But, on the other hand. . . I am a photographer. I experience beauty and life through photography. So, I have to discern what a good balance is. The thing I hate though is regretting not acting on an opportunity. It’s easy, for all of us, to say “Oh, I’ll see that person again” OR “I just don’t feel like it right now” which can lead to missing opportunities. All that to say, I want to challenge myself by acting on the things which evoke a creative or inspiring feeling in me.

So, because of the whim here are a few photos of Kyle. Kyle is one of those guys who loves good fashion. He always looks good, and he kind of intimidates me because he knows more about good clothing than I do (although I’ve never been a fashionista kind of gal). Also, he’s great buddies with my husband. They have many things in common & their love for great denim is just one of them. Here Kyle is wearing a pair of Henley Baldwin jeans, one of Kansas City’s finest fashion accomplishments. If you get to talking with Kyle it won’t take long before he convinces you (& everyone) why you need a pair of Baldwin jeans. I can jump on that band wagon. Supporting local business is good. . . and don’t you good people forget, I am a small local business ; ) . . . Check out Baldwin Denim HERE.

Cheers to looking good!

Brandi Carlile

I feel deeply about a lot of things in life, particularly when I experience art and music. This summer I stood in front of the only Leonardo di Vince painting on this side of the world. A month ago I hiked under the endless number of Virginia stars. A few weeks ago I heard one of my hero photographers, Emmet Gowin, speak at the Nelson-Atkins. Last night I listened to Brandi Carlile live. Each of these experiences are vastly different but create the same feeling in me. When I witness dense amounts of beauty all at once I can’t help but feel the Spirit of God. He is all things beautiful and all things good, therefore when I am a part of art, even for a moment, He consumes me. The other day I read the story of Moses on mount Sinai. He spent 40 days and nights with God on top of a mountain and when he came down from the mountain the people of Israel were blown away by the shine of Moses’ face, “It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai, that Moses did not know the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him [God]” (Exodus 34:29) I believe experiencing beauty, here on earth, is a bit like standing in the presence of God. There is a light that overtakes me. Some would argue that beauty is found in a separate entity called the “sacred.” I believe the sacred can weave and seep through the profane of this world overtaking even the dingiest most ugly bits and make it holy.

I’ve seen Brandi play before with a full band at a large venue, but last night she was solo and in an intimate setting. Raelyn and I were close, maybe 15ft from the stage, and sat right next to the aisle. I couldn’t have chosen a better seat.
One thing that is particularly important to me is good writing. I am jealous and also thankful for naturally talented lyricist. I also value honest lyrics. Brandi Carlile encompasses both things. You know an artist is good when they can perform alone and still rock your spirit. Her voice belts through your body and just shakes you. She is so good. One of my favorite moments of the evening was her very last song. She stepped to the edge of the stage, all the lights turned down, and she sang Amazing Grace a cappella. She brought her opening act out, The Secret Sisters, who sang 3 part harmony with her. Although it was dark, there was light beaming throughout me.

I love not taking a camera with me to events like this, but I just had to document this moment for myself, even if it was with the silly hipstamatic app on my iPhone. : )

Anthropologie Used my Photo!

Most of you know I document weddings with Becca Spears, who is so beautifully talented and her heart and work is GOLD. I’m both honored and humbled I get to learn along side her and document people’s sacred wedding days with her. I just saw on Becca’s Blog that Anthropologie posted one of my images from a wedding I photographed with her on their blog. Wow! So excited to see.

Check it out! Anthropologie::Etymologie, featuring {Light}

It Has Come To An End. . . Finally.

The Weatherford Family

Meet the Weatherfords!! Steve, Amanda, Claira, Charlie, and Evelyn are the coolest family ever. Steve, papa of the Weatherford clan, is one of the most hilarious people I’ve met. My husband and I first met Steve while on a week retreat in Colorado, and honestly I wasn’t anticipating how funny he showed himself to be. There was a conversation that was surrounded by talking about “dying for food,” for instance, “I’d kill for molten chocolate cake right now.” Well, in the midst of our hyperbole filled convo Steve says completely straight faced “You know what I’d kill for (Silence). . . my wife and children.” Ok Ok, maybe it’s one of those “you had to be there” moments, but I can assure you he’s funny. Amanda and Steve are incredible parents. I believe it takes one experience around a family to pick up on their over-all demeanor, particular when there are young kids. The way Steve and Amanda love their kiddos and tell them how important and lovely they are is encouraging. Three young kids can be a handful, yet these two parents make parenting into a playful, adventurous, love-filled role. They make me excited to be a mom. Another really beautiful aspect I see about these two is their love for one another. I once heard the best way to love your kids is to love your spouse, and I see that with Steve and Amanda. I will never forget that advice because I believe it is so true.

I really loved this session, not only because of how fun the Weatherford’s are, but also because of why they wanted these taken. Steve and Amanda really wanted pictures of the two of them for their kids to have one day. What a special gift for your children. Although they may not understand or appreciate the importance of them now I know they will one day. Steve and Amanda both said they don’t have a lot of pictures of their parents or individual pictures with their parents, so it was just as important to photograph Steve and Amanda’s love for each other as it was to document their entire family together. THIS is the reason for photographs–they are a documentation for the years ahead, and for your children and grandchildren to keep in frames and on their walls.

Thanks for such a great day. I loved playing with you guys.
This cracks me up.