Engagement Philadelphia Style

I am Aunt Francie to Mark…my tall and handsome nephew who recently announced his engagement to Kelly. This is the second wedding in the family and I wanted to create the tradition of doing an engagement shoot for each niece and nephew (selfishly, it gives me a full day to spend with them and the person who won their hearts!). Mark and Kelly had their first date at the Philadelphia Zoo so I thought that would be the perfect place to start and then continue with the city as the backdrop.  I asked Kelly what she loves about Mark and she said that he makes her laugh…she loves his sense of humor.  Then I put Mark on the spot and he related how much he appreciates Kelly enjoying his wit! How can a relationship go wrong when  the couple totally enjoys being with each other ?  They tease, they laugh and they love …all of which I tried to capture.

I couldn’t be happier for my nephew and his new bride.  They have found much happiness in each other and it is contagious to all of us lucky enough to spend the day with them!

Much love Mark and Kelly,

Aunt Francie!

I also want to extend my sincere thanks to my very talented student photographer/assistant, Intel.  He is developing his vision and helping others at the same time!  Much appreciated.

My Work and My Hope


A Mother and Her Child







The Past and Present


Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Silk Weavers


John Denver made famous the term, “Rocky Mountain High” (little did he know how high Colorado will be starting today!) but he also created another song which I recently heard and the words keep repeating in my mind as I stand at this threshold of a new beginning with hopes for a life well lived.

“There are children raised in sorrow on a scorched and barren plain

There are children raised beneath the golden sun

There are children of the water
And children of the sand
And they cry out through the universe
Their voices raised as one

I want to live I want to grow
I want to see I want to know
I want to share what I can give
I want to be I want to live

Have you gazed out on the ocean
Seen the breaching of a whale?
Have you watched the dolphins frolic in the foam?
Have you heard the song the humpback hears five hundred miles away
Telling tales of ancient history of passages and home?

For the worker and the warrior the lover and the liar
For the native and the wanderer in kind
For the maker and the user and the mother and her son
I am looking for my family and all of you are mine

We are standing all together
Face to face and arm in arm
We are standing on the threshold of a dream
No more hunger no more killing
No more wasting life away
It is simply an idea
And I know it’s time has come

I want to live I want to grow
I want to see I want to know
I want to share what I can give
I want to be I want to live”

This past week did not take me to far off lands.  I was local with a camera in hand.  I was invited in to capture the tender moments of a family, a wonderfully happy  engaged couple, a 99 year old mother and her daughter keeping memories alive and getting her mom to enjoy an afternoon. Then, I was with a courageous, generous woman who is a breast cancer surviver raising two beautiful daughters.  At the same time all of this was going on, I was working on a story about silk weaving in Cambodia and the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalogue arrived from those  who live on a commune in Virginia and are dedicated to saving the past for the future.  Whether far or near, all so unique and yet we are all seeking the same …health, happiness and prosperity. So many are voicing their longing for world peace, but I believe it comes one person at a time…one person who opens and tries to understand another, one person who reaches out, one person who looks within and decides not to take themselves too seriously and try to find the humor in the midst of humanity. As a photographer, it would be my hope that my visual images and storytelling will act as a path, a bridge bringing one person together with another, dispelling those boundaries and borders which serve to negatively separate us.

A friend sent me a wish for 2014 that I think we all share…”May your eyes continue to see beautiful and significant things, and your soul dance to good music!”

Happy New Year everyone!


Engagement Shoot, Phillies Style!

I love to do engagement photo shoots because I always have such fun being with the couple and the focus is just to have fun. My goal is to capture those special looks, the shared laughter, the touches and embraces that have become second nature to the couple. Tiffany and Vinny were so easy going and flexible, getting up for an early morning shoot without even having a cup of coffee! We did several looks at several
spots but couldn’t get to that breakfast until the Phillies shirts came out and this moment in time was immortalized with their love! Thanks so very much for a great time!

A Love Letter to My Niece

Hey baby girl!!!

Where does the time go? A little over 20 years ago, I can remember very clearly sitting on a rocking chair beside your crib holding you in my arms. I was so taken with you and I have no idea how long I just sat watching you. (I even tried singing knowing that you would not hold it against me!)

Fast forward to this past week, and here I am watching you again…totally taken with what a beautiful and talented woman you have grown into. I am so very proud to be your Aunt! Taking your engagement photographs, I just loved watching you and John interact and seeing how happy he makes you! (Welcome to the family, John!) May the respect, playfulness and deep love you both share just continue to grow and carry you through the amazing adventures of life! Hold close to each other as we hold you both close in love.

Congratulations and Best Wishes on this new journey!
Much love,
Aunt Francie

Bethany and John from Frances Schwabenland on Vimeo.