North to the Future

One of the questions you hear more than any other, as a senior in college is, “So, what are you doing after graduation?” and I can finally, with confidence, tell you all that I know what I am doing after college!

I AM MOVING TO ALASKA!

Yep. You heard me. Alaska.

I am glad to announce, that my mother has accepted a position to be a pastor in Anchorage, and so we have decided to all move up there as a family, myself included. So, after I graduate on the 27th of May, we will be packing my apartment back up and….. driving back to Montana. You didn’t think I would leave without saying goodbye to one of the only homes I have ever know, did you?

Yes. That is the truth of it. While I have lived in Oregon for the past four years, Montana truly is the only real home I have ever known. When I say that leaving Montana is going to be hard, I cannot really fathom yet what that means. Of course, by moving away, that in no way means I am never coming back. The Big Sky Country will absolutely always hold a place in my heart. But now, it is time for a new adventure in America’s Last Frontier.

If you wish to make plans to shoot with me before I leave Montana, know that I would LOVE to do that. Please email me at john@jsanderphotography.com, or message me on any of my social media*. I will be around for most of the summer, but time is limited, so schedule early!

*all social media links at the bottom of the page

Fear Itself

You and I know this feeling very well and often run away from it. We sense it in our throats, sometimes our chests and sometimes our shoulders. When we feel it, our instinctual response is to turn around and run away from whatever is causing this feeling. As living creatures, this feeling is one of our greatest teachers. It can teach us discernment, it can sharpen our moral compass and even show us where we need to move forward.

Taken by Emilie Skladzien


The feeling I’m referring to is fear. When we feel it, we instinctually want to run away. Like when we were kids, we were encouraged by our mothers and
fathers to turn the other way when we felt fear. Fear is an instinctual response that has kept us alive for, well, up until now. Fear has served us well, letting us know when predators are approching and when we are lacking vital necessities, like food and shelter.

Perhaps, though, not all fear can be treated equal. Perhaps, the fear that we were once trained to run from isn’t the same kind we should embrace and move towards. But is there such a thing as fear that’s worth moving towards? Am I supposed to tell my kids not to run away from a stranger who’s coming towards them? No, of course not. In that situation, there is an actual threat. That’s the kind of fear that’s worth running away from. But what about the other kind of fear, the kind that arises when we do something different, when we change a pattern or have the opportunity to go deeper into something. For example, going deeper into ourselves. This piece of writing is just as much for you, the reader, as it is for me, the writer. I notice how often I feel fear and how easy it is to be controlled by my instinctual response to it. Sometimes, I run in the other direction before I differentiate which fear is present. When I ask which fear is present, I realize I’m often dealing with the kind that is showing me where I need to move forward. Fear was what made me realize I needed to let that relationship go. Fear was the feeling that told me to leave Portland to travel to Peru. Fear was the feeling that encouraged me to go on that date. Now, fear is what’s telling me to go deeper into myself. So, perhaps, it’s not a matter of asking if we feel afraid, but about which kind of fear we’re dealing with. If we treated fear like a tool, one that shows us where to go, perhaps we could change our reaction to it and more easily go where we needed to. Instead of fleeing from everything that scares us, we could use fear as an indicator for change. We could celebrate when fear arrives to show us where to go.

~ Emilie Skladzien ~

Creative & In Love

I feel that an introduction is in order – Hello to the fans of J. Sander Photography and anyone else who may find their way here, my name is Kenna Allison. I am an artist based in Butte Montana who at the moment specializes in visual arts (Photography, Mixed Media, ect…). I co-own Krowned Clothing Co. with my boyfriend Kal. If you have been following John for some time now on any social platform I am sure you have run into our work from time to time.

John and I met my Freshman year of high school in our Montana History class, little did we know we would still be great friends 6 years later.  John has been a continuous supporter of Kal and I’s work and is always there to cheer us on. For that we owe him great love and gratitude.

Today is Valentine’s Day, and while mostly overrated I do find joy in celebrating it anyways- is there really any bad excuse to celebrate love?  Kal and I will be celebrating our fourth Valentines together this year, and it has me thinking a lot about what we have been through and the lessons learned. Being with someone who you share the same passions with is a special and very rare bond. There really isn’t much Kal and I do not do together, and for the last 4 years we have always been by each other’s side. I met Kal when I was 16 and he was a 19 year old college student who reached out to me about taking photos for his clothing company Krowned. As a budding photographer at the time I jumped at the opportunity but had absolutely no idea to the extent of what this partnership would blossom into at the time. We clicked instantly and after a few months of working together became inseparable. Today we live together in our dream first apartment with our cat Kouteh in what at times feels like a fantasy land of opportunity and bliss. Chasing our dreams side by side, creating the world we want to live in everyday.

Finding someone who you feel is your twin flame at such a young age and running wild with them, having your whole life ahead of you and dreams to be fulfilled may seem like a fairy tale. However, it takes much more work than what can be seen on the surface. It’s conflict in interest when working on a creative project. It’s struggling to hold each other up at times when dealing with your own mental war and theirs at the same time. It’s pain and sacrifice.

“Behind every beautiful thing there’s some kind of pain.”
Bob Dylan

 

Through the hardships at the end of the day the good will always outweigh the bad. We learn and we live. Fall down and get back up again.  Being creatives in love will always have its shadow aspects, but with dedication they are bonds that can never be broken.

 

My top ten lessons on being creative and in love:

 

  1. Communication is the key to understanding.  Understand, empathize, forgive, repeat.
  2.    Have solutions, not problems.
  3.    Finding balance in life will give you harmony
  4.    Practicing self care together is essential. Know each others needs. Take space when necessary.
  5.    Always be able to admit when you are wrong.
  6.    Honor each other.
  7.    Trust is found in action.
  8.   Tell your story together through your art and it will always be authentic.
  9.    Change is inevitable, embrace it.
  10.   Hold each other to a standard that accepts giving up is not an option.

Today, focus on love. Radiate it from your being and set the intention of continuing to radiate that same love everyday for the rest of your life. Practice self-care and remember that loving yourself is always first. If you too are in a relationship (especially a creative duo), get out of your comfort zone with your feelings. Tap into your creative abilities fueled by love, the best work tends to come from these places.

P.S. Never give up on what you are passionate about. Ever.

Happy Valentines Day,

Kenna

Kal & Kenna

 

Check out Kenna + Kal’s work here:

Instagram:

@kennaallison
@thekrownedking
@krownedkrew

 

Many Voices

If you have been a patron of this Blog for any amount of time, you may realize that while my intentions to get regular content up here are good, sometimes real life stuff gets in my way.

As last year came to a close, I started realizing how many of my friends and fellow artists have their own blogs with their own messages and their own personalities, and as a part of my 2018 intention to find ways to lift up those around me, I wanted to be able to share their content with you in a way that was not only consistent, but also engaging and inspiring.

Thus, each month, regardless of whether or not I have the time come here and say something that I believe needs to be said, I will be having guest bloggers come to this platform to impart some bit of their experience, knowledge, or life to you. I hope that, through this, readers and bloggers alike can find and be inspired by one another.

I will not be releasing a schedule at this time, not because I can’t, but because I want you to come back here each month, hungry for a taste of something new, fresh, and interesting, for as Carl Jung once said, “Ultimate truth, if there is such a thing, demands the concert of many voices.” So listen up.

New Year, Same You

“New Year, New Me!”
We say it every year. But how many times has that actually been true? Is it every truly true? What makes it so we can only think about going to the gym, starting up a new hobby, breaking a bad habit, or starting a new list of goals, when one calendar year flips to the next? In all honesty, it is because we are all too damn comfortable in where we are now.

We may know in our hearts that we need to stop smoking, lose a few pounds, eat better, stop talking to that one girl who broke your heart in high school, go to the gym, start calling our parents more, or whatever it may be, but don’t have the actual desire to change our ways, so when January 1st rolls around, it is said to be a fresh-start.

That being said, if you have to wait until the calendar says you should make a change in your life, don’t bother. And if you really want to make a change in your life, dont wait. Change is inevitable. But that doesn’t mean it will just fall into our laps. True, real, lasting change takes work. It will not always be easy. Somedays you’ll want to quit because it just feels like nothing is working, or nothing is getting better. Those, especially, are the days to push through. Progress is not a straight line, but it is up to you to keep it headed in the right general direction: forward.

So as this you look ahead to this new year, I wish you all the best, but know that if you truly want to make a change in your life, putting it on your New Year’s resolution list is not enough. Progress takes consistency and consistency takes practice and practice takes proactivity. So, if you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution this year, make it this one:

“I resolve to take what life gives me and make the best of it & cherish all that life has to give to me.”