T + T | 10.15.16 | Minneapolis, MN

By definition, to unmoor is 'to bring to the state of riding with a single anchor after being mooredby two or more.' While surely this has a nautical undertone, the definition itself paints more a picture of deep love to me.  And when I think of a couple that this embodies, I look no further than Tom and Tali.

This past fall on a crisp, quintessential October afternoon, these two said 'I do', with a backdrop of a dusty sky, crimson leaves, and the very skyline that holds every chapter of a promising story. Two of my favorite memories from the day were not even necessarily ones that Tom and Tali had together, though there were plenty of those that I look back upon so fondly. But instead, they were the separate fleeting occasions that I got to have with them individually. Tom's sincerity in his anticipation, as he waited for his bride before the first look, and Tali, who gave me the most endearing wink not two seconds before stepping foot down the aisle with her dad. These were small pockets of the day, but they depict the kinds of characters these two are. Both are so grounded in who they are as individuals that when they come together, they only need but one anchor indeed. As a unit, they are strong enough.

A ginormous thank you to Tali + Tom's families and friends, who were paramount in making the day seamless, a riot, and making us feel like one of the crew. One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting the tribe from which the couple comes from, and these two have roots that run deep and run proud--I am honored to have been a part of it all.

And infiinite gratitude to the 'A-team' of vendors I was lucky enough to work alongside all day-- this community continues to blow my mind with the talent it holds and the humble humans behind it all.

Venue: The Machine Shop

Planning: Blush and Whim

Florals: Munster Rose

Catering: Chow Girls Catering

Gourmet Popcorn: Maddie and Maize

Dress: Che Bella

Shoes: J. Crew

Second Shooter: Lauren Richards

taylor + bryan | minneapolis engagement

It's hard to come up with the right words when describing my clients – I often feel like a broken record. But I cannot emphasize enough just how much I adore them, every new one.

I recently met up with Taylor and Bryan, whose wedding I have the honor of documenting next summer. We first met at Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, a place very near and dear to their hearts; one of their favorite date spots and their very first home just a stones throw away (and in the background of many of their images). It's safe to say that anyone who has a love for a dog that runs as deeply as that for their partner is likely an incredible person, and Taylor and Bryan are proof of this notion. After winning Lucy in an auction bidding war (that story deserves a blog post all it's own), it's clear that when these two fight for love – each other or a canine – the rewards come back in spades.

There's just a certain cadence to these two, one that you want to hear and be a part of. I am so thrilled and grateful that they've allowed me along the way to capture the very notes of it all. Next July can't come soon enough.

lately.

There's no doubt that it's the thick of busy season and all that comes along with that over here. Thankfully, life is never, ever boring and I am constantly blown away by the people I get to meet and places I get to discover.

Here's a peek into what life has been like lately, from behind the lens.

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andrew + sarah | minneapolis engagement

A peek into my time with Andrew and Sarah as we capture them in their neighborhood of the North Loop in Minneapolis.  These two quite possibly one of the most grounded and likable couples I have ever gotten the honor of photographing. Every once in a while you meet individuals and no introduction need be done, it's clear that you were meant to know one another.

I am so grateful that my friend and talented videographer Ali Rogers sent them my way –– cannot wait to document this story's wedding in Lutsen next summer!

mini sessions : q + a

 

I often get requests for mini sessions, and truthfully I don't offer them too often because I like the time to connect with my clients.  I don't ever want an experience that you are investing in to feel rushed.  However, every year that I continue to shoot I learn more and more from those very clients and listen to the needs, as well as the community around me. That's why over Mother's Day weekend I am offering up what you've been asking for for one weekend, and pairing it with a touch of philanthropy.

A percentage of the proceeds will be going towards a donation to Everyday Miracles.  Their mission is to improve birth outcomes and reduce health disparities by providing evidence education, compassionate and culturally competent support. 

What better way to celebrate Mothers than with photo memories and giving back to Mothers?

With all of that, I've received some valid questions, so I thought I would help you out here, and perhaps shed some light on why this may be a good fit for you.

Q. I am not a mother yet, but would love some updated head shots. Can I still sign up? 

Absolutely! This has been the most common question I get, because it is indeed in honor of Mother's Day weekend. However, while we are honoring it, I want this to be available to all. The 15 or 20 minute time slot may truly be all you need to get the photos to update your website or resume. Or maybe you and your partner have a milestone anniversary coming up --what better way than to document these times without feeling like you need an entire session?

Q. I'd love to give this as a gift-- is that possible?

YES! And what a great idea it is.  Please note in the checkout notes that this is a gift, and I will be sure to use the email associated with the sign up when contacting, as to ensure it remains a surprise. I also happen to be a very big believer in surprises, so whatever I can do to help orchestrate that, please do tell !

Q. My kiddos are wild and crazy -- do you think the time slot will be enough to capture them?

As a nanny for over ten years, aunt to five, and all around big fan of kids, I find that this time slot is not only great for their attention span, but allows us to capture them in their essence. My style is much more candid, with a photojournalistic approach.  Therefore I will help guide them into things, but ultimately let them show me their personalities. 9 times out of 10, I see the photos that clients blow up and frame in their homes, and it's of their little one(s) with dirt on their face or head tossed back in laughter. I aim to capture them exactly as they are, in this moment in time.

 

Q. How do I receive my images? And am I able to print them on my own?

Within one week, you will receive an online, password protected gallery with the images from our session. These will be edited, high-res files and I will attach a copyright release so you are able to print on your own.  I also am more than happy to send along both local + online printer recommendations that I love to use myself.  My goal is to make it as easy as possible for you.

Q. How do I sign up?

Simply head to over to this link, choose your day + time from the available slots on the drop down menu, wrap up payment, and that's it! I will be emailing you a few days prior to check in, see if there is anything you need  from me, and to confirm your time for that location.

http://www.sarahhrudka.com/mini-sessions/

A reminder that there are two different date and location offerings:

  • Outdoors on Saturday, May 7th for 20 minute windows in the Metro area (by Wed, May 4th)
  • Sunday, May 8th for 15 minute windows at a natural light, airy and cozy new meeting space above the Golden Rule in Excelsior. 

Have a question not answered here? Please don't hesitate to email me!

 

 

 

 

 

gripping the oar.

It has been a long time dream of mine to have a print shop, in some capacity. I suppose this initial desire was borne out of a deep fondness for paper goods -- stationary, artwork, you name it. There was in fact a period when I was about seven years old in which I would borrow my Aunt's stamp collection, then emboss and decoupage greeting cards, only to then place sets in Ziploc baggies and sell them to my (tolerant and generous) neighbors. I had forgotten about this memory until only recently and could not help but have a seriously hardy laugh at the thought; not your average child yet everything now makes so much more sense.

It was never out of the desire to be a businesswoman necessarily, or even driven by hope for any monitory gain.  It was wholeheartedly that I had (and still have) a penchant for creating and sharing.  Yet, somewhere along the way into what appears to be the fibers of becoming an adult, seams get torn and I felt less compelled to send my work out into the world. Dare I even say, fearful. That's the thing about any creative pursuit, though, and especially when you combine it with getting older in general. It can feel as though you are always paddling up stream a bit : one half of the oar being made of your hesitation, the other your trust in it all. Nonetheless, you're paddling with an indefatigable mite, only to realize you haven't moved an inch. Something's got to give, and likely it is the sheer fiction you have made up in your head; the one with a thick plot that relies heavily on a less than favorable outcome from choosing to 'put it out there'.  

Once I realized that sharing my work with whomever felt peaked to see it was not only a dream but a deep yearning, rooting clear back to a single digit age, I tossed my doubt in the trash. While it still tries to pry open the lid from time to time, telling me that there are others doing this thing too, and doing it more successfully, I'm tuning it out. 

When I look at the artwork hung in my own home, there isn't a day that goes by in which I don't grin to myself when I think of the soul that took it. Or am inspired by how every time I walk by it, it takes on a different story, letting the bones of the piece be entirely up to interpretation. It is not hung there to be ostentatious, and that is exactly what I can only hope my photos can do/be/are.

With rotating work in and out at the first of every month, my hope is that I am able to curate a shop that appeals to the hearts of many, without aiming to please all.

Perhaps you find the perfect 'just because' gift for your friend who is dealing with some ruthless emotional deamons. Or to serve as a talking piece around your kitchen island for that inevitably gaush guest, and even to give your monochromatic cubicle a story to tell. 

a fragrant reminder of honest and true.

Far too often, more so as of recently with the constant inundation of information via social media, marriage gets the bad rap.  Wedding platforms are both skyrocketing in popularity due to creative freedom and inspiration, yet in conversations marriage is spoken about with a somewhat beguiling voice. 

One of the very reasons I continue to document these significant days is because of couples like Dan and Stacie; two individuals whose love is inextricably abundant.  Where everything you heard to be tried and true about the goodness of matrimony is not only reiterated, but imbues hope. 

On a crisp fall day in October, these two vowed to one another in a setting that's juxtaposition was as beautiful as the individuals themselves. With the enormity of the Minneapolis landscape behind us, enveloped in a familiar buildings and the palpable buzz of city patrons, the ceremony took place with only 6 people as witnesses. The intimacy of the group was emphatic enough to cancel out any surrounding noise; it's as if the world paused for these two. It's clear that intention and loyalty are common denominators in the couples' arsenal, as made clear by not only the vows spoken but those they chose to witness them.  Without a doubt, they have learned by humble example.

As the ceremony wrapped up, we simply crossed the bridge to join Dan and Stacie's 100+ closest friends, who would welcome them into Aster Cafe, where the couple had their first date some time ago.  Just as noteworthy as the evident love just moments before, the hand chosen guests woven together created a sheath of history, with noteworthy influences in Dan and Stacie's life in every corner, as well as those who know the two as a couple -- who know them as an entity in themselves.

This was the last wedding of the 2015 season for me, and I can't help but believe that it was for a reason. While I continue to choose to turn an ear to anything other than positive notations about the sanctity of what it all means, it's still just as refreshing to find couples like this one.  Nothing contrived and every bit purposeful, it was a wedding that directly followed suit to the couple.  

For me, that is reason enough to continue keeping the faith.

coming up for air.

I know that they say the time before a wedding is the "busiest of your life" and "stress city", which is most definitely true to some degree. I always have stood true to the notion that it is only as stressful as you make it.  But never could I imagine the magnitude in which I would feel buried, both in love and in anxiety.

photo courtesy of our wedding photographers and two of my greatest creative influences: Paper Antler

photo courtesy of our wedding photographers and two of my greatest creative influences:
Paper Antler

In the last nine months, I left my corporate job, started a temporary teaching job, was robbed at gun point almost losing all of my work (more on that later), left the teaching job and went full time freelance with not one but two businesses, moved, bought a house, faced a lot of questions, answers and realities with long-pending health concerns, dealt with two very scary incidents involving ill parents and challenging family circumstances, became a Godmother, had near death experiences with both of our dogs whom are, as it turns out, made of steel, and then went and got hitched to the cute boy I met in Driver's Ed 13 years ago last week. Why do I tell you this? For starters, as a friendly heads up that this is not for the faint of heart and will likely just leave you with unintentional dreadlocks, a thin wallet and large therapy bill.  Only slightly joking, but in all seriousness I tell you this : Not in the least for a pity party, recognition, not for a comment, albeit a well intended one I'm sure, and most certainly not as a cop out to mask any moments of brain fog or forgetfulness I have had all too often lately. In fact, all just the opposite.

I say this because with the exception of a few difficult times, I am fully aware that these are all 'first world' problems. And in all actuality, I am the happiest I have ever been.  I am doing what I love and with the ones I love, sincerely, for the first time in my life. No fluff, no obligatory jobs, no guilt trips to steer the wheel in my life.  And with that also brings paralyzing anxiety, many-a-sleeplessness nights, and staring at your truest self square in the bloodshot, unnerving eyeballs sometimes.  On an inhale I can think to myself "I am not cut out for this" and quickly start spiraling down the rabbit hole of comparison; a vicious and familiar black hole we all have paid an unwelcome visit to.  And immediately, on the inevitable exhale, I am filling that very patch with the dirt I dug and proudly uttering "this is where I am meant to be."

Why would I chose to share this intimate post, especially when I haven't the slightest clue as to who may read this? To let you know that I am 'back', refreshed, and never more ready to stand proud and rooted as a creative.  I am owning the title, yet not letting it define me wholly, looking at my work with clear eyes, and finding more comfort in vulnerability, because telling stories through a lens is just that.  It is holding uncomfortable space for individuals to be themselves, so if I ask that of you, you can have that of me. It can only bridge the gap, I figure.

I am coming back up for air and I have to say, it tastes much sweeter this time around.  

Stay tuned for many more updates on this pocket of space in the near days to come.

 

lately.

Lately, I've been re-reading Traveling Mercies by the unparalleled and legendary Ms. Lamott, as a means to recharge my batteries in an otherwise blurry yet exciting few months. This nugget continues to hit home:

“It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do'. And mostly, against all odds, they do.”

happy july. looking forward to sharing more work, as well as upcoming projects with you soon.

 

j + j | sneak peek

a peek into one of my favorite weddings to date, this past April in Naples, FL.

 

Jason + Joey, you two are the real deal, and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to documented your day and call you family for years.

More on this day to come.

Nashifornia : Born In The Nash

At this point, I have talked about the Nashifornia journey at ad nauseam, it seems.  However, I have yet to share the photos on here from the journey; the full stories and portraits of the incredible individuals I got the true honor of coming across and documenting. The real core of the entire trip in the first place.

It only feels appropriate that I kick off this series with the Bennett Piispanen, the founder and brains behind the irreplicable B.I.T.N., also known as Born In The Nash.  Not only was my shoot with Bennett the very first on the entire trip, but it was, in all sincerity, one of my favorites of them all.

Born In The Nash began as a means to fill a great, gaping void.  Bennett began to notice that there simply were not enough places for local artists to house their creations.  Bennett, connected to a plethora of makers, knew that a fire within him could not be tamed.  At a crossroads in his own life, Bennett too was searching for more.  Living in a city of utter gastronomy, insatiable artists and music layering the air on every square block, he knew where he was geographically was exactly where he was meant.  Born and bread in the midwest, contrary to the company's name, he quickly was enveloped in the prominent culture, as was all of those choosing to reside and create there.  Where the crossroads came was, as many twenty-somethings face, in the junction of careers.

With the help of good friend and craftsman, Nick Georgiou, the two came upon a 1974 airstream trailer.  This was it, and they both knew it to their core.  This would be the artistic asylum for anyone yearning for something handmade, and handmade in their very own zip code.  Allowing customers to have peace in knowing that the hands they are shaking in the community are the very ones that worked to create the pieces their very own hold.  So with some grit, gumption and gusto, the two began gutting the trailer down to it's bare bones, and did so for nearly five months.

This past winter the rolling retailer began opening it's doors to the city; traveling from anywhere to the farmer's market to a pop up shop event that Bennett put on himself. With easy accessibility to the shop and carefully selected artists who rotate often, Born In The Nash quickly has become the buzz about town.  Case in point, when I told the barista I was on my way to visit the Bennett and the trailer after grabbing my coffee, he assured me that I "couldn't be headed a better direction or to visit a greater person." The impressions have run deep and it was clearly that this community is thick as thieves.

 

Bennett's philosophy and passion render so much more than even the community can say.  Not only is his eye for curration one worth recognizing but his humility is discernible.  While BITN is still in it's infantile stages, it's growth and adoration is bursting at the seams, and with a promising future in sight.

And if his charming warmth and the handcrafted goods weren't enough of an incentive, there's also Zoey, the four legged mascot whom Bennett rescued years ago. And whose snuggle is worth the visit all her own.

Follow along where B.I.T.N. is headed to next here!

 

McKnight Award : Sandy Spieler

Many artists' core are enveloped in a kind of humility that's so strong, it can often be mistaken for lack of concern.  Some are not given this gratitude gene much at all, and instead feel a sense of entitlement to recognition for their work. 

And then there's Sandy Spieler. Whose grace, benevolence, and inherent humility are in a category completely on it's own.  

The McKnight Foundation is an organization not unbeknownst to many people, nor is the award that accompanies it's notoriety. Every year, one artist of any medium, is chosen to win this acclaimed honor.  Their art is outstanding, their contributions knowing no bounds, and though they could share their talents anywhere else geographically, they chose to remain in Minnesota and grow where they've been planted.  

A generous $50,000 joins the highly respected title as a McKnight Foundation Award winner, though this capital did not seem to phase Sandy much.  In fact, at one moment over coffee when shooting in her home, I remember her saying something along the lines of how "the theatre can use this money the most", without batting an eye.  (Always thinking about her craft first.) That theatre, of course, is one of Minneapolis' greatest movements.  In the Heart of The Beast Theatre is a landmark, dream, and pioneer of a (much needed) social shift.  Also the founder and producer of the annual and beloved May Day Parade, Sandy opened the theater with a vision that has remained steadfast and true since the doors first busted open with love and vigor in the late 70's.  Acclimating to the social changes and a strong finger on the pulse of everything currently relevant, each show manages to tug the heart strings (pun intended) of all walks of life, as the puppets and characters are intentionally made to tell a story we're often too afraid to hear. "Sandy Spieler understands the power of art in context" , said the President of the McKnight Foundation, Kate Wolford.

In conjunction with this award, a beautifully, unique-to-them and impeccably designed book is created by Velvet Peel, and fine tuned over a long period of timeby the best editors in the city, who also happen to be a part of the McKnight Foundation themselves (because it takes a village, folks).  I had the deep honor of doing the photography for this labor of love, as I followed Sandy for a day and a half in her home, her studio amidst art of the last four decades, and in simple, ordinary moments that proved to be anything but.

There is so much more that could be said about the effervescent Sandy Spieler's contributions to this city, the arts, and beyond, and truth be told I could go on for much, much longer.  Instead, I will let you read more about just why she was 2014's Distinguished Artist  here.  Or here. 

The McKnight Foundation and In the Heart of The Beast Theatre both continue to raise a bar to a much more impressive, yet still attainable height as the years progress. They are creating a breading ground for artists and humans of all varieties to be recognized, and a platform to share their voices.  

Again, a strong element of the Distinguished Artist Award's chosing is that commitment to reside in Minnesota after all is said in done, regardless of talent or status. But with the opportunities that they and Spieler continue to birth, why on earth would anyone look anywhere else?

//A very special thank you to Joanne Grobe, Tim Hanrahan, and Colleen Frankhart for your consideration (and support) in allowing me to have a hand in this incredible project.//

//An additional warm thank you to Megan Donnellan + Carly Jo Hougen for all of your help and assistance in the documenting process!//

 

 

 

 

I finally understand what it means.

As the world's beloved Mary Oliver once (so poignantly) said :

“You can have the other words-chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I'll take grace. I don't know what it is exactly, but I'll take it. ” 
 

After the Nashifornia journey, and in large part finally meeting this incredible soul, the notion of grace seems so much clearer. Our time together, taking photos and sharing lofty thoughts with candor, Lyndsey provided a fragrant reminder that luck and coincidence are naught; grace and humility are the atoms of it all. I think I finally understand what it means to walk through life, wading in the grace, whether it's clear what that look like or not at the time. 

 

She has taught me this, and I cannot wait to share more with you on this effervescent human. 

JD.

 

 

Some individuals gain notoriety for a specific look. A behavior, phrase or even hand gesture. Very few people are equipped to hold the weight that comes with being inimitable for more reasons than one can count, furthermore for being themselves; especially one that has undoubtedly been referred to in her day as a "pintsized powerhouse".

   

 

 

 And with such an eminence, one may think aloof to be synonymous. This couldn't be further from the truth of my dear friend and crony in all things creative, Jenni David. (Also known and referred to as 'JD'. As recognizable a name as any individual who need only go by an acronym or one name to suffice, a la Madonna.)  Immediately after my very first meeting Jenni a few years back, I found myself having coffee with people before I remember agreeing to.  Reaching out to professionals before fully devouring their resume to ensure I was first in line. Receiving opportunities for shoots and collaborations that felt entirely too high up on a shelf where I had placed them in their proverbial mason jars of "hopes".  All because if Jenni said its worthwhile, no arguments. It must be true because she never proves it to be any other way.

But that's just the affect JD has on people whom she seems potential in, often times seeing said potential much before they are able to themselves.   Nothing in the realm of clairvoyancy, but instead one of the small handful of people who cross your path, who hold the match with enough vigor and experience to strike it well before others would see the need for the heat.  I've never quite understood how I got so lucky to have such a person in my corner-- her resume is truly one to write home about, as well as anyone else you've got in the roladex of "people to mention all great things I've done or have thought about doing to".  Spending over a decade as a producer at the well-acclaimed Fallon, as well as many other notable collaborations and an ever-growing roster, Jenni has recently stepped out on her own, proving that resilience and a why behind your decisions are only as powerful as the voice behind it. Stand rooted in your own two feet, and be scrappy as all hell. Take the experiences, meet the strangers.  She continually reminds me to speak up and with intention, because even the most prominent mistakes are worthwhile when there is genuine effort and a lesson to be had.  She has taught about the dignity that comes with risk, and I cannot imagine what other bits of advice I will pick up along the way as our friendship grows.

Whether it be subtle or blunt, no smoke is being blown. She may very well be currently plotting out who she can connect next to fill in eachothers' gaps with their talents, likely resulting in a booming and necessary business that is yet to be invented.

And soon enough Kevin Bacon's degrees will become less and less; if only I could find out that I was lucky enough to have her in my very own gene pool.