Madison + Gunner | Lebanon, Ohio

52 Weeks Project | Week 37 | The Fighter


The Fighter



Paul and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this weekend! It's crazy to think about how much time has passed. And of course my natural documentarian came out and I started going down a rabbit hole of old notes, letters, and keepsakes that got my memory excited. 

In doing this little mini search, I found an old journal of mine. And in that journal, I found an entry I wrote when I was 20 where I took some time to evaluate my life at the time.

At that time, I was living in the basement of my parents house. I was working at GameStop, part time, trying to grow my photography business but had no direction of where I wanted to go with it. Paul and I were mending our relationship after a little separation. And we were barely making enough money to afford my car payment and the little bills that we did have back then. But, I wrote this:  

I may be weak, but my will is stronger. 
I may be naive, but I am open. 
I may be young, but wisdom will follow. 
I may be alone, but I am unique. 
I am human. And I am alive. 

My own 20 year old self inspired me today. And reminded me of my strength I just recently found again after swimming through the dirt of adult life these past few years. 

So cheers to you, baby Brooke. Cheers to you. 


Mr + Mrs Mattingly

It's hard to know where to start for this amazing summer wedding! Because it was so different, unique, and just totally authentic to who Dan + Chanel are as people, and as a couple. 

I remember first meeting Chanel and getting SO excited when she was telling me details about their wedding. Her rock n roll theme reception at the iconic Redmoor Theatre in Cincinnati. All the colored makeup she wanted her and her girls to have. And all the littlest details that she put so much attention to was such a breath of fresh air to make a wedding unapologetically THEM. 

But also, she put such a focus on what I might want to do with photography and gave me complete and total creative freedom. Which isn't something I get to come across very often! 

For their engagement photos, we drove out to Hocking Hills to do an epic trail hike through a gorge and finished it off with smoke bombs and DJ lights in the woods at night (see their engagement session here!)

And for their wedding, they wanted to dedicate an entire section of their day to relax and take fun photos at Eden Park with their friends which involved music themes, confetti, and a first look through the AMAZING Khron Conservatory. 

And honestly, it was such a blast to capture them with all their friends and family who came out to celebrate such a fun loving couple who literally bring the best out of each other. 

Enjoy these <3


First Look Location: Krohn Conservatory
Ceremony + Reception: The Redmoor
Flowers: Tommy Horan
Makeup: Abi Krick
Hair: Sandra Keyser, Brenda Hamilton, Andrèa Pack
Dress: European Bridal
Girls Dresses: David’s Bridal Vera Wang
Suits: Men’s Warehouse
DJ: Party Pleasers
Donuts: Holtman's
Cake: Ele Cake


I'm also SUPER happy to announce that this wedding is being published in the next couple months on Rock n Roll bride!! This will be my first official publication and I cannot express how thankful and excited I am about it! Follow me on instagram for updates about that feature! 

52 Weeks Project | Week 36 | I Found My Light


I Found My Light



She had stars behind each eye
and a galaxy in her soul
that drew people to her endless heart, 
like the pull of a black hole.
She was made of earth and fire, 
of wishes cast on shooting stars, 
she was a brand new solar system, 
unlike the ones they'd known so far. 

With constellations ever changing, 
no one could memorize her skies, 
and they thought the thing for them to do
was to bring her to their size. 

They shrunk the universe within her, 
told her her vast expanse was wrong. 
That she should make her life much smaller
if she wanted to belong. 

As they collapsed her world around her, 
she felt her inner stars grow cold. 
Until her life was far too heavy
for her once strong arms to hold. 

You might wonder how it happened, 
but I guess that it makes sense
because a life becomes much heavier
when its the universe condensed. 



They say the average person goes through depression 5 or 6 times in their lifetimes. And if I'm being completely open and honest here, this project was started as a sort of modern walkabout to redefine myself again after going through my postpartum depression. I plan on doing one of my last posts with this project talking more about my personal experience with PPD, so I'll save a lot of that talk for then. 

But this week I really wanted to create something that showed my journey out of depression. Finding light in my own darkness and in that light, finding myself again. But I feel as though my personal PPD lasted longer than the average 6-8 month span because I had underlying sadness I never dealt with before getting pregnant. Becoming pregnant just brought it all to the surface. And then my crazy birth experience and weeks after (you can read that whole story here if you want) sent me into a deep state of depression that I could no longer hide. I cried at almost everything. Triggered often by insignificant things even in public. And felt alone while facing a great deal of change into motherhood. 

Before getting pregnant, I spent some years with some intense night terrors, body dysmorphia, low self esteem, and the worst of it... a huge level of aloneness

I read a book recently called 'A Road Less Traveled' by Scott Peck and in the book Peck defines aloneness as a feeling one encounters when there is no one else who is at the same level of awareness as they are. And I realize as I have crawled my way through this project and taken so much time in dissecting my own life, experiences, and my own depression that aloneness is what I have felt almost my entire 20's.

It's that feeling that makes you feel lonely in a crowded room. That no body can truly understand you. But also that because you are at such a heightened awareness, it makes it hard to even level with people without having to tear yourself down. But the empathy and compassion that I naturally carry tell me that it's not a total waste of time. It tells me all people deserve to be at a heightened level of awareness amongst themselves. To feel the sort of completeness I do.

But because most people I have met don't even want to face themselves directly, it will consistently be a feeling that I will have to learn to live with. One that will be easier to live with in this renewed sense of strength that I have found this past year.  But I also want to say that regardless of that fact, having come out of my own depression and faced a lot of my own demons, I've chosen to continue trying to show people that the light is worth chasing. And that the rewards of it far outweigh the pain it takes to get there.