So when I leave here on this earth, did I take more than I gave?

Today marks not only the summer solstice - today is one month since we lost our beautiful father. Though nothing feels "normal" (as we know this is a sorrow that now accompanies us through our mortal journey) a talk with a co-worker today finally inspired me to write a few of my thoughts down.

One of the few photographs we have of "young dad" - and my current favourite.

One of the few photographs we have of "young dad" - and my current favourite.

Death is as natural of process for us on this journey as birth is - yet (most of us) ignore it and it feels like no one can talk about it in any proper way. But the whole talking piece is really necessary. So I'll share with you my thoughts; when this day comes in your world, just know that we are out here! Loving and ready to hold you in this space.

The people who arrive in these situations - and those who disappear - are surprising. When the dust settles, you will very clearly be able to see who stands with you. This is a (hidden) gift. Experiences of this magnitude will push you into a new space, and there isn't room for all of your old life there anymore. Outside of these few "angels" - the rest of everything feels like useless chatter and it just falls away. What used to stress me out a mere month ago - no longer has any effect on me. I know exactly where my heart lies.

When I see my siblings now, it literally feels like my heart is exploding out of my chest because I see so much "Dad" in them. I see his giant grin, his love of laughter and life, his generous heart - I see all of him. And I know that having twenty-seven great years with Dad and a lifetime with this stunning family marks me a lucky lady. If I wasn't quite sure of eternal life before, I am now. 

"I heard you die twice, once when they bury you in the grave
And the second time is the last time that somebody mentions your name."

Soul spill + verbal garble. I will tell you right now - that it is your job as a good human to wake up every morning and do the very best you can. Tell all the people you love that you love them, every single day. Do the absolute most wicked job at your work as your can. Make an impact. Create community. Spread the love. This life is so short, each day wasted is already too much. There is so much inane, negative content out there - I hope this post stops you and makes you reflect, even for a moment. 

This day came as a shock for us. Now I pour over these old photographs with a renewed and deep love for the job we've been gifted as photographers. We are invited into peoples lives for a day - voyeurs with fancy lenses. We create the images that they display at future weddings, family dinners and clutch onto in death. It's incredible. And overwhelming. All at once.

I got my breath, I got my faith and I remember why I came.

Heather and Ben - Country Love at Home

I was blessed enough to meet Heather through our beautiful mutual friend Dani White (a killer hairstylist from Rock It Out Salon if you're in the market!) back at Bridal Fantasy in January. Heather and Ben are getting married next summer in New Brunswick and wanted to capture some cozy at-home snaps for their engagement photos. Their adorable dog Opey couldn't resist stealing the spotlight! Thank you both for welcoming me into your home, it was truly an honour to spend the afternoon with you both!

Sunday Cozy

Smoke on the Mountain

My dearest dreamers, this might be my favourite memory of the year! Three days ridiculousness and wedding magic at Jasper Park Lodge! How does the story start?

It starts back in April with my first meeting with the FaBLOOMosity team. Every now and then a moment will stop you in your tracks, and you know that life will be different from here on out. And this was one of them. Finding a team of local madhouse geniuses that see magic in the mundane, live to create and have dark romantic souls just like you... well that's one in a million. We were instant friends and this Bridal Fantasy magazine shoot marked our first project out together!

Next up, the Bridal Fantasy team... holy BANANAS! Words do no justice for how much I love you all! I remain in a state of sheer gratitude for getting to join the team on this project. Meeting you all was the best part of it all! Glass Stone Cinema Brandie Sunley Grant Olson Photography you are all major rock stars, major

If this trip was a flip book, you would see: frozen models in elegant furs, a rose garden of dreams, two stunning grooms roaming the grounds, giant bouquets straight from a dreamland, sun-laded days to snowy mornings, Janine scaling a mountain, pastel smoke bombs and Janine scaling a mountain, a herd of mountain sheep, more of Janine scaling a mountain and the entire team creating a confetti storm of rose petals.

The cherry on top of this all was that I got to share this experience with my photo warrior and sister, Donna! We've travelled the globe together. We got bed bugs together. We drink too much whiskey, laugh and cry together. This was the ultimate way to end of the wedding season together! Until next time, XOXOX!

Huge thanks to Harrison from Glass Stone Cinema for this amazing video! Immortalizes the memories, forever! Check out his Vimeo channel here.


Lovers Alone Wear Sunlight

A little more than a year ago I met the most talented, ridiculous, kind-hearted, genius, metal/history buff couple that you could EVER FIND. Legitimately, I tell everyone that Amy and Tanner of Paragon of Design were born in the wrong lifetime. They are the definition of "Renaissance" in the modern day! Masters of All Trades, there is nothing they can't do! Back in the summer we were chatting about how rad a goth wedding editorial would  be (stick with wouldn't be this far if you too didn't have a dark soul!) Picture Apocalyptica meets wedding! Before you know it, the team was assembled and as per usual we were already too far off into our photoshoot dreamland!

This is Amy's wedding dress, can you believe it! Top hat, cake topper, guest book, entire outfits, accessories and styling all handmade by Paragon of Design. You just don't meet people who have this many incredible skill sets anymore! Special thanks so my forever teammate Donny Lynn Photography for shooting this with me!! You always keep my laughing and keep my energy checked when I am spinning out. And to you, sweet Kaespo, thank you for painting my cello! I know that was a terrifying, nail-biting experience! You did a stellar job. Even more amazing now that I get to keep that as a memory to tell my kids about when they pick it up! Stunning makeup by Ashley Skrocki and hair by Stephanie Herwynen. Enjoy XO!

Bold Will Hold

My love for tattoo culture started young. Even though I grew up playing classical instruments, I idolized Brody Dalle of The Distillers, Kat Von D and can still recite every Bad Religion lyric ever written. So I suppose, my niched obsession for portrait photography inked gals and ghouls was in the stars.

There will never be enough great coverage of these alternative beauties, but I'm proud to contribute my small body of work to the cause! I love you guys, I'm so lucky to have you all as dear friends now. Thank you for gracing my lens! One day we will walk around with our ink-laden bodies and will no longer receive the comments, "You know that's permanent right?" "What are you going to do on your wedding day?" "You kids will think you are scary looking!" Keep on rockin' LOVE YOU ALL. Horns up!

70s Inspired Hair Collaboration - Kaitlyn Lumgair

I absolutely ADORE hair collabs, I live for them in fact. Especially when we find each other through the Instagram waves and bond as sisters over strange cocktail combos at Earls! Kaitlyn is an extremely creative stylist from Eveline Charles and had wanted to do some create some grunge-editorial portraits with gels and vintage styling. The location was set for Hotel Macdonald and Kaitlyn's team of mega-talented women was assembled! Not to mention our gorgeous models Anya, Joyce, Emily and Brandi... I mean, look at them... this city is full of the most gorgeous creatures! Thank you to everyone for joining us on this adventure - it was a cold long day, but my soul is completely spilling out everywhere in joy at these images! XO


The Chad.

I met Chad Hepditch from MODE Models a few months ago at our Bridal Fantasy runaway-shoot in Jasper and was absolutely charmed by him! Hilarious, obsessed with Amy Winehouse, killer jawline and the King of Posing - we couldn't resist stealing him back on home turf for a Friday afternoon shoot with some cool graffiti walls. Eternal thanks to my love Donna Lynn Photography for the crazy laughs and endless willingness to hang out with me and engage in some off-colour banter. Chad, I cannot WAIT to see you in Gucci ads and NYC billboards one day. Big dreams, baby. For even bigger destinies. XO

DragonHaus Magazine Volume 2

I truly cannot say enough beautiful things about our city. Everyday my heart is overfilled by all the stunning people that I meet. The story behind this magazine is no exception! I met Jen Hammer years ago in Renee Robyn retouching workshop. Flash forward a couple years and we're both off working in our respective fields photography and she contacted me to inquire about a feature in her new magazine, DragonHaus. It's an awesome local spotlight on the subcultures of our city! Cool alternative artists, musicians and tattooists. Please check it out and send her all your love and support! Thank you Jen for this double editorial + cover feature, you have my endless gratitude!

Goth Bridal: Florals by FaBLOOMOSITY | Dresses: The Bridal Boutique  | HMUA: Emily of Blushed Beaute \\ London Fashion: Styling by Miss Aniela and her infamous team (Endless FSE Love!) |  Location: MC Motors

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FRENCH FAIRYTALE Opalus Magazine: Issue 9

If you live in Edmonton and have had the pleasure of meeting Malorie Shmyr, you are a lucky one. This woman is completely loaded with enough charisma, talent and ambition for four humans! One golden star amongst her list epic accomplishments is creating Opalus Magazine. This is a stunning, wonderfully off-centre fashion and art mag. You must click through and check it out, you will not be disappointed! Thank you Malorie for the interview and including my images in this issue! Truly an honour - you are a gem to our city. 

I leave you with the images from my French Fairytale feature. XO!

Opalus Magazine Volume 9
Opalus Magazine Volume 9
Opalus Magazine Volume 9
Opalus Magazine Volume 9
Opalus Magazine Volume 9

A Surprise Proposal, Matt + Jaimi.

Some of you know, and many of you don't... but I get the great pleasure of having dual careers and packing my weeks with a ton of different projects! Variety is truly the spice of life. My day job introduced me to this amazing couple back in the summer and I've had a (minor) obsession with them ever since. They're wonderfully smart, quirky, talented, hilarious and they share the most charming romance I have seen in a long time! So when Matt asked me if I would photograph his surprise proposal I was "100% head and shoulders" in! It was a very chilly Friday afternoon in December and the stage was set by my beautiful boss, Kristin. We had tricked Jaimi into this adventure by telling her I needed lifestyle winter couple photos for some ads coming up in January. This is what happened next:

The Setup
Congratulations Matt + Jaimi - I couldn't think of a more perfect match! XO Bre

Congratulations Matt + Jaimi - I couldn't think of a more perfect match! XO Bre

Tatiana + Adam, Engaged.

There's nothing quite like Canadian winters. Unpredictable, bone-chilling and breathtaking. This gorgeous couple reached out to me and asked for an engagement session that included all their favourite spots: a coffee shop, a book store and the Legislature. Our day rolled around, it was -27 and snowing and they rocked it! Here's some of my favourite snaps of the day. XO Bre!

Love of Mine
Dream a Little Dream

Jane + Oleg. A Splendid Romance.

It's not everyday I meet BEAUTIFUL intellects who love travelling, laughing and metal as much as I do. In fact, it's never. Until I met Jane and Oleg! These two are truly some of the most special souls I've met in my time yet here in the city. I have dreams of all of us making it to Wacken together one day! Though Jane + Oleg had married in the summer before we met, I had the pleasure of photographing them again in all their splendour (in the dead of winter!) Special thanks to my sister, Kaitlin, for accompanying me and making a wee video compilation of our journey this day! Sending my love your way (and waving my devil horns in the air!)

Videography by Kaitlin of 1290 Creative

Source: oleg-and-jane

It Was A Hot, Hot Summer! Melissa and Phillippe

My sweetest, Melissa and Phillippe - what a treat to relive this day as I write this! 

I'm not kidding when I tell you, this was one HOT wedding day! 

It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the #YEG Marathon was weaving it's way through the streets, I believe one bridesmaid got herself a lovely marathon parking ticket! Everyone was sweating as they got ready but it truly couldn't have been a more perfect day for an outdoor wedding! Gatorades and champagne were flowing in perfect harmony! From the golf course to the classic Legislature grounds, this group kept us laughing the whole day through! Scroll on through some of my favourite snaps of the day and share the love with us! XO

Source: melissa-and-phillipe

An Autumnal Dream - Terry and Sydnie

Remember how I promised all of you that I would blog more with the rebrand? I swear, I try! This is a THROWBACK to you Terry and Syd! For you both on your anniversary trip! Last October I had the honour of photographing this BEAUTIFUL union on one of the warmest fall days that has every existed I am quite sure!

Sydnie and I grew up together in our tiny small town, one street apart! We rode the bus together, she was a great friend to my brother through their high school, and it's been nothing but amazing to watch her and Terry's relationship grow into what it is today! Here's some of my favourite snaps of the day. Rad local vendor shout-outs to The Parlour for lending us the space for our photo session and to Fabloomosity for the drool worthy florals! Yeowza!

Sigh! Look at these two!

Sigh! Look at these two!

Wishing you both the best as your journey on through married life! XOXO

Wishing you both the best as your journey on through married life! XOXO

Source: terry-and-sydnie

Atop a Foggy Mountaintop

I sincerely wish wedding season / utter life chaos left me with a lot more time to write... but it never does! But I promised myself I would take more time to share some photos and thoughts this year, so let's try keep that up - shall we?

Panorama has always held such a special place in my heart. It's the place we learned to ski, snowboard, drink beers in the hot tub, hit jumps and run straight into trees. I think my best "growing up" memories with my cousins reside at the top of this mountain. Thus, you can imagine how giant my heart swelled when Kara and Corey asked me to photograph their mountain getaway wedding - with group photos at the top of the chair lift!

This ghost fog. It's too much for words.

This ghost fog. It's too much for words.

I know I always "mush on" about how much I love weddings. But it's seriously the best job in the world. And THIS DAY. This rainy, foggy, love-filled, new-friends-everywhere day was no exception. Total highlight of the summer! Getting to share this magical day with all of you was truly special. We laughed, we cried, we scoured the candy bar, and we definitely drank too much (that's not even professional, is it?)

     “I love you as high as the sky and as deep as the sea.”

Thank you, Corey and Kara for letting us share your special day with you! Panorama will never be the same. XOX

Move on over, Valencia. 100% necessary selfie.

Move on over, Valencia. 100% necessary selfie.

England, Keep My Bones

"Our history runs down our rivers
Down our rivers to the sea
Reminds us of the things that matter
Home and heart and history."

Around here the sky is a little closer, a little closer to the ground.

Hello darlings - welcome back to another much belated round of adventure stories! In case you just came for the photos or don't like to hear about the ridiculousness of two Ukrainian ladies in foreign lands, I'll summarize some of the main highlights from our London + Iceland runaway. 

1) MC Motors. HOLY GODIVA. Check out this crazy set location right now and let your heart explode. If I had it my way I would have every photoshoot from now until eternity there. I would have my wedding there. I would curl up on one of the many couches and live there.

2) Kai Mayfair with the super-pac photo family. If you like colossal-sized GORGEOUS fine art prints and the world's best Wasabi prawns, this is for sure A MUST when one is in London town. Those prawns have haunted my dreams. Seriously!

3) Indian food on the Sabbath with our favourite Polish export, Gzregorz! After fully indulging ourselves we ordered enough vodka doubles to kill a small horse. (2 Ukes + 1 Pol in London, what else did you expect?) We learned very many important Polish terms to utilize for future adventures, such as "sperm absorber." Very important. Sometimes these moments flash back to me at the most absurd of times and I burst out laughing.

4) London Tower. LONDON TOWER. We checked out the Torture Chamber, we hung out in the church where Anne Boleyn is buried, chilling and remarkable. For any other Tudor nerds / dark hearts who know Henry VIII was nothing more that a severe, SEVERE romantic - this is an obvious must.

5) The GREAT GEYSIR in Iceland! We cackled like witches, but it's truly magnificent to see. You can't help but feel like a Viking here. Seriously. The land is so barren, the people are so lovely. I think I'll start my black metal band now.

6) THE BLUE LAGOON. One of the 25 Wonders of the World! We dipped our little hands into buckets of clay to slather on our face. We then proceeded to get beers from the poolside bar to enjoy as we soaked. I will take this image to the grave: Donna floating through, mud on face, beer in one hand, Devil Horns up rockin' the other hand saying, "This is how I'm going through the Pearly Gates." SISTER, me freaking too!

Now, more musings for the rest of you. I feel like I always get really over sentimental whilst reminiscing about these trips - but it's because it still kind of blows my mind! This big, fashion family has moulded my young adult life so immensely, I feel eternally grateful to Matt and Nat for giving me the family I never knew I needed so bad!

Traveling to new places and getting rid of all the monotony of our day-to-day lives is so important because it realigns our heart + mind and shakes our perspective back to where it is supposed to be. Days before leaving for this trip, the most wonderful of men dropped into my life out of nowhere, like a pinch of magic. I remember sitting on that IcelandAir flight en route to London, watching Donna laugh at her TV screen, listening to the two drunk chicks from Castlegar  in the seats across from us laugh their asses off, my heart feeling more full of romance than it ever has, and I thought - "This life is actually, fucking crazy." Because it is. My life already at twenty-six is absolutely nothing I ever expected it to be, but at the same time everything I could have ever hoped for. "I didn't chose, no I was chosen by a life that must be lived in passing through."

My last, rosy-shaded musing for you all from this journey comes from our cab ride en route back to the airport for Iceland. Our driver was a rugby player and a driver in the off season. His demeanour was soft and kind; and he took a liking to us rock n' roller Canadians. We got to talking and he was telling us that his dream was to save up as much money as he could in England so that he could live on a Greek island (he's already bought the house!) and to start a little cafe that he could manage into old age. He told us, "Life. It's really simple. It's us that overcomplicate it. Find the people who love you. Love them back. Cut out everyone in your life that doesn't love you. Work hard. Raise a family. Enjoy life. That's it."

Now this, none of this is rocket science. But you know when you hear some things and it totally knocks the wind out of you? This was one of those moments for me. If we spent all our energy in the day into loving all the good people in our life, focusing on our work, on our contribution to this life - you know how much better humans we would all be? There's way, WAY too much drama in all of our North American stressed out lives. And I for one, will be following in the footsteps of this young chap, because it's 100% on point. Or, if Donna was writing this - she would say, "Sometimes you just have to tell people to fuck off. We don't do that enough." So, here it is, my silly heart pouring out to all of you, thank you for hanging out with me for this little London dream! All the love in the moonlight XO

Client Love Stories: Nathan + Natasha

Nathan and Natasha Lastiwka's beautiful wedding at Jasper Park Lodge from this past summer holds a really special place in heart. They might be two of the sweetest, most innocent golden hearts I've met in a long time - and they're both from my home town! Even though we didn't know each other very well growing up, I felt really connected to both of them right from our initial coffee date. I am now proud to call them both great friends, the result you always wish for from wedding clients!

With a love this sweet, it only makes sense that they had a day as such! The weather was unbelievably warm (+33 or more I do believe!) The lake was glittering, the mountains with the perfect hazy background, and the day went off without a hitch. Every detail was perfection and they had me crying  many, MANY times... (This reveal was one of the most emotionally charged ones I've ever captured. The tears flooded my eyes so fast I was just hammering on the shutter, hoping to get the shot because I definitely couldn't see!) They happily went along with all my crazy photo demands, including getting in a canoe that only Goliath could row, and followed us all around the grounds despite the sweltering heat. When we went to bed that night I knew we had captured a really special day. Major thanks to my soul sister Donna Mansfield for accompanying me on this adventure! You were such a trooper and the perfect companion to me on this rocky mountain trip! Enjoy these snaps from this incredible wedding. X

Love Boat

All the New York City Angels

4 months have passed since this epic, ridiculous fashion runaway adventure. This marks my third trip to Manhattan, and each time I return it's even more incredible than the last. Why? Because that city is built of magic, obviously. This year is also the year I found THE BEST travel photo buddy ever! I finally have a home-grown Canadian to slug camera gear and whiskey around the globe with! Donna, I'll eternally thank all my lucky stars in the universe for you. 

What spurred the plane jumping this time? Our first BREED Academy conference with the one and only Melissa Rodwell! The best thing about these conferences is not the skills you learn, it's the people you meet! Melissa is a bad ass, punk rocker whose slaved in the fashion industry for decades - her edgy personality and "all heart + hustle" work ethic is truly something to behold. Our success as creatives will never result from "who has the most talent!" It grows with time. Whose passion drives them to work the hardest. Run the farthest. Sleep the least. Love the most. Grow the strongest. 

I also got to reunite with my NYC sister, Jeiran, on her roof top in the West Village! Legitimately, everytime I see her it becomes a highlight of my year. When I die, I'll remember meeting her in Los Angeles thinking "this might be the most vibrant woman on the face of the earth." I'll remember walking along the Seine at midnight in Paris with her, laughing and crying as we shared our personal histories. And I'll remember THIS moment, looking out onto all of Manhattan, drinking Rose and thinking, "This must be what life is about."

From the rooftop patio we went to dinner and Saturday night gospel choir at the Trans Church in the West Village! Caught a few more zzz's and back to Studio 11 for our day of editing with Tyler Mitchell! The day was done, we were all wiped, but yet our day with our new friends was not done! We went out after the conference to the most perfect hipster Brooklyn hotel bar. We showed all our new friends from all the great fun that comes with a night of Pickle-Backs. We bowled until 4am in a grungy punk alley and arrived back home to Soho at... 5 in the morning? The city that never sleeps! The next day we were greeted by "Fashion-Week-Leftover-Bed-Bugs" and ran through our hotel in towels looking like characters from The Shining, cured by many hot showers and no more sleep. Our NYC adventure finished with a day of street shooting with our favourite hometown homie,  Randy Cusak (coincidentally also traipsing through Manhattan!) and drinks back up on our hotel rooftop. September 2015, may my soul never forget you!

If we could bottle up these moments and save them for a rainier day, we all would. But that's the beauty of travel. The significance of our insignificance, the romance of our whimsy, dreamer lives always comes back in full force with each new plane ticket. Enjoy these snaps from our time in Gotham City. X

SKROCKI for Gilded Magazine Issue 7.3

Back in October I received an email from "Paragon" inquiring about a fashion collaboration. Paragon of Design? Just the name had me intrigued! Next I flipped through the website and was greeted by image after image of elaborately crafted leather & metal wears with the ornamentation that only an old soul has eyes for. Delighted, I sent back a quick "YES!" expecting "Great! We'll ship you the stuff from our home in Northern Europe." Except the response I got was, "Let's meet for coffee Friday night in St. Albert!"

Wait a minute, you guys live in Edmonton?

Where have you been hiding all my life!

So, for coffee we met. In love, we fell! Amy, Tanner and their daughter Seraphim had me smitten! We chatted about our love of old churches, iconography, history and dark imagery. By the time we hit the bottom of our coffee cups we had a date, models in mind and a story created. (I'm a FIRM karma believer! Universe always brings you the people you need, exactly when you need them.)

Next we rounded up all our favourite locals, a giant bag of smoke bombs and were on our merry way! I hope you enjoy the images from this beautiful day just as much as we do! Check out the full issue here!