The importance of a print

A picture of my Grandpa and Grandma

I have been meaning to write this blog post for quite some time. Yet, for what ever reason, I just never got around to it…. Maybe it was because I needed a bit of distance from the subject. Maybe I was too busy or just said that to myself as an excuse for laziness. Whatever the reason, now is actually the appropriate time for this post. You see, one year ago today, I was in a condo in Beaver Creek Colorado, getting ready for a big wedding to shoot that day. Courtney was prepping Avi, talking to her about the babysitter who was on her way, and I was drinking a cup of coffee thinking how I should be getting in the shower. Looked at my phone and saw a missed call and a message from my Mom. On the voicemail, there was a crack in her voice. It was the sort of message where you knew that when you called back it wasn’t going to be good: your Grandpa died today. I kept my cool. Stayed calm. Made sure my Mom was okay. Asked about Grandma. My mom apologized for calling saying that she should have known that I was going to be off to shoot a wedding, but I assured her that I would have wanted to know right away. I thanked her for calling and letting me know. I told her I loved her. Hung up, teared up, and hugged my daughter. I cried in the shower, but then got dressed and went to work. That is how my grandpa would have wanted it anyways.

grandparents and avi

It was strange to be invited into people’s lives on one of their happiest days while inside you are grieving. A hand shake here, a congratulations there, and click click while you hide behind the camera. Honestly, it was an amazing wedding. One of our best of the year. I was grateful not to be shooting in LA though. Being in the mountains seemed appropriate. In between the chaos of the day and the festivities of the night, I took a few moments here and there to look out onto the view of the Rockies and to wish my Grandpa well. The client never knew. Early the next morning before Courtney and Avi woke up, I walked in the crisp air, down to the river, and waited for the sun to rise. My grandpa loved to fish. I sat there looking at the small pools in the river wondering which one he would choose to drop his fishing line into? Then I took a few pictures.

Eagle River, Colorado at sunrise

Ever-since my grandparents moved from California to Oregon, I hadn’t seen them very much. In the twenty years since they had moved out of Los Angeles, I had been up Oregon four or five times. It is so easy for life to get in the way: girlfriend, city life, college, marriage, work, child. I took for granted the fact at 36 years of age, I still had all four of my grandparents. Most people I know are usually lucky to have one or two grandparents when they are in their mid twenties while I still had all of mine into my mid thirties. They were always there. All my life I had known they were a phone call away or less than a day’s drive. I was lucky. As I write this, I realize that I should have been more grateful.

My Grandpa's hands

However, the point of these thoughts is to put perspective on the power of having photos of your family. My daughter will not remember ever meeting my Grandpa, but she has a picture with him. In a sense, she’ll never be able to say she met him as she is too young to remember such things. But as she grows into an adult, she’ll be able to know him through the photographs that I had taken on my last few trips to Oregon. She’ll be able to understand that he was a hard working man, an avid trap shooter, and competitive when it came to fishing. She’ll learn that he was stern, and not with out faults. But, she’ll learn that he was loyal to family a was a loving man despite his hard shell. Hopefully I learned a thing or two from him that made me a better person, and I hope that will make me a better father to her. She’ll learn all of then while being able to see him in a photograph. Photographs that Courtney and I took.


Being a photographer has its challenges and being a wedding photographer means having to sacrifice the weekends when many of our family and friends get together. Courtney and I have missed out on many fun times over these past five years. We missed out on out daughter’s first birthday because we had booked a wedding before she was born thinking she wouldn’t actually be two weeks late. We’ve missed out on family reunions, barbecues with friends, birthday parties on the beach, and weddings of people who are close to out hearts. All of that being said though, we are grateful to live such a life. We are able to spend more time with out daughter than most of our friends are able to spend with their own children. We are grateful that we can be somewhat spontaneous through out the week. We are also grateful when a client chooses us to document an important time in their lives and tells us how much they love their photos. But, we are humbled when we learn that a client’s grandpa had passed and that one image that we captured between him and the groom meant so much to them. We are grateful that we were there, that the light looked nice, and that the warm embrace between loved ones happened in front of our lens. We are grateful to be photographers.

Avi in puddles

A month after my grandpa passed, we headed up to Oregon to his memorial. A chance to say goodbye amongst family and friends. I told a story about how I used to love riding in his old Dodge truck on out way to our family fishing trip. The windows would be rolled down in the summer heat. I would stare off into landscape of the high desert along Route 395. I shook hands with friends of his whom I hadn’t met before. Saw family whom I hadn’t seen in years. There were tears, but there were smiles too. When we got back to my grandma’s house that afternoon, Courtney and I let Avi run around and splash in some puddles. It had rained a bit earlier. The air was fresh. I was happy to be with my family. As we walked between old trucks and trees, I took a few pictures.

My Grandpa.

A Family Breakfast

There is nothing better then to have a family tradition, so when Wakako and Frido contacted me to shoot there favorite tuesday morning family breakfast of home made crepes I was so happy. They have been our great friends since 2007 which makes this even better to photograph, as we have watched their family grow and expand!

Mostly all Film with a few digital shots. Cannon and Hasselblad. Kodak 400

Inspiration shoot {modern cocktail party}

We just love collaborating with the ladies of 100layercake and BrownPaper Designs on inspiration shoots. See our past two shoots Here and Here! This was another favorite filled with rich and beautiful color schemes. View the whole feature over at the 100layercake blog Here.  

Photography: Erin Heart Court / Design & Styling: 100 Layer Cake / Flowers: Brown Paper Design / Stationery, escort cards and menus: Bliss & Bone / Cocktail poster + Calligraphy: Anne Robin Calligraphy / Catering: Taste of Pace / Table linen and napkin: La Tavola Linens / Frill garland and marbled balloons: Geronimo Balloons /



Still shooting Polaroids

If you have been a follower of our work for the past year or so, you'll know that Courtney and I have a 16 month old daughter, Avellana. Over the course of the first year of our daughter's life, I embarked on a photo a day project where I took at least one polaroid a day of Avi. It was quite a project and I ended up taking over 700 polaroids over the course of a year. You can see the final post of the project here. While I am no longer taking a Polaroid a day of Avellana, old habits are hard to break and I am still documenting her life in instant film. Here's another four months worth of Polaroids showing how fast our little girl is growing (with a few cats and landscape shots too).

Avi: Months 13-16

All images taken with various folding SX-70 cameras and instant films by The Impossible Project and old stock Polaroid.

Jessica + Jake {Ojai wedding}

Better late then never is our motto for blogging these days! This was one of our favorite weddings of last summer! Those girls at Bash Please out do themselves every time and it is always an honor to shoot one of the weddings they design. Not to mention the rad couple!! We couldn't have asked for a better day to capture!

Mix of film and digital: Hassie, Mk111, Kodak

Meryl + Jon {the wedding}

LOVED this one!! Beautiful setting, crazy in love happy couple, and gorgeous details! It was almost to simple to shoot! :) Thank you to Green Wedding shoes for featuring it here!

The best first look ever! 

I just love how they greeted their guests at the reception!! So fun!

Mix of film and digital: 5dmk11 and 111, Hasselblad H2, Eos 1v, yashica twin lens. Kodak 400, illford 3200

Suthi {soon to be mama}

In honor of mothers day I wanted to share this soon to be mama's (and papa's) maternity photos! Baby Asha is due any day and I am dying to meet her. Suthi is a wonderful friend and I know will be just an even better mother! Happy Mothers day to all the mamas out there, especially our moms!:)

 Here are two Polaroids I also took that day

Mix of both film and digital. Mostly film: shot with a H2 and Yashica Twin Lens: fuji 800z, Kodak 400 & 800, Illford 3200

Meryl + Jon {Western Rehearsal Dinner}

We are so excited to share Meryl and Jon's wedding weekend with you. We absolutely LOVED this wedding. It was filled with so much emotion and beauty that it was a blast to photograph and can we say easy too, no pushing for some love from these two!! We will start with the fun rehearsal dinner they had also at the Alisal Ranch in Solvang, a new favorite venue of ours! How can you go wrong with a western themed rehearsal dinner with lassos, horseshoes, and of course carne asada!   The wedding is coming up next! 

Of course our little Avi crashed the party! She is 6 months old here! :)Mix of film and digital.

365 +1 days of Avellana on instant film

If you have been a consistent follower of our work, you'll know that Courtney gave birth to our beautiful daughter last year. Prior to the birth, I knew that I would want to do some sort of art piece to honor and document our child. I had gone on a buying spree of folding SX-70 cameras early in 2011 with the launch of The Impossible Project films. Early images weren't that great, but the film had improved, so I decided (originally) to document the first 100 days of our daughter's life on instant film. However, 100 days had past with out me even realizing it, so at that point I decided to extend the project to one full year. Dedicating one self to a 365 day project to one subject on one format is pretty difficult. Compound that commitment to the challenges of learning how to be a father, learning ever changing shooting materials (Impossible Project and later old stock Polaroid film), and using old unreliable cameras, I had days of where I really wasn't sure if I could pull it off. Not to mention the times I suddenly realized that I hadn't taken a picture of Avi and would delay her bedtime for a picture. Not the best thing to ask of a tired baby or mama. But, persistence and support from Courtney paid off, and here I am writing this blog post. One might ask, why instant film? Why 30+ year old cameras? Why the Impossible Project? The answer to those questions really was that I didn't want this to be easy. I could have simply saved a whole lot of money and toted one of our digital cameras around. But, that wouldn't have been enough of a challenge. Taking pictures with a digital or traditional film camera would have allowed me to shoot too much. With this project, I would have to learn to take the good with the bad and accept that the one shot might not be technically perfect. I will admit, that I didn't limit myself to just one shot a day as I have accumulated about 700 polaroids over this past year.

Shooting this on instant film allowed me to explore an area of photography that I swore was lost. I had taken Polaroid for granted. Even with the rise of digital photography, in that back of my mind, I had always thought Polaroid would be around producing instant film. I figured over time the prices would go up, but not that Polaroid would stop producing film in 2008. This project not only allowed me to photographically witness my daughter growing up, but also allowed me the opportunity to take part in what I thought was a lost tradition of modern americana, stoping and snapping off a polaroid of your family.

While I could go one about my thoughts on the various films and get technical about things, the reality is that none of that stuff matters with this project in the end. What matters is one's ability to look at the pictures below and see a story of the first year in our daughter's life. This starts with a blurry shot on Courtney's chest moments after her birth, through naps, pee pee accidents, visits with family, visits with friends, travels across country (in planes and cars), experiences with a space shuttle, snow, doctor visits, messy dinners, toys, walks, Santa, our cats, to the morning of her birthday, and finally to a shot the day after: Avi at 365 +1 day... an image where Courtney was holding Avi and asked for a hug. Avellana squeezed back and I was able to get a shot of this while she looked out the window. The last image is first day of her new year.

For this project I made a 3x3 grid of pictures for each week of Avi's life. I have posted all of these on our blog through out the year, but here is a summery of those posts. Fifty-two 3x3 grids totaling 468 images in all. I have more beyond these from this past year, but I feel these tell a good story. I hope you enjoy.

I love you Avi! Your dad, Erin.


Thanks to family and friends who allowed me to take their photos with my daughter. Thanks to The Impossible Project. Thanks to my wife, Courtney. Thanks to my daughter, Avellana. 

The final weeks of my year long polaroid project with Avellana

It is somewhat hard to believe that our little girl is now a few days past one year of age. It is also hard to believe that, within a year, I have taken over 600 instant film images of our daughter. Below are the last weeks of this project. I will followup with another post about the project as a whole soon. In the mean time, please enjoy weeks 47 through 52 of Avellana Polaroids!

Week 47

Week 48 Week 49

Week 50

Week 51


Week 52 {+1 Day}

All images taken with various folding SX-70 cameras and a mix of The Impossible Project films and old stock Polaroid film.