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People in Glass Houses shouldn’t throw stones (ahem, Woodhams)

Throwing Stones Reflections on a dumpy chair, flunky college student hacks, typos, poor judgement and the man who held them all together By Christine (Verges) Gacharná The way I remember it, there was nothing special about that chair. It wasn’t particularly inviting or comfortable. The room

a writer impersonating a photographer

“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.” — Rainier Maria Rilke I wasn’t always a photographer. That is to

the San Juan mountains

Another page in my collaboration with Steve Fleming, I spent some time this fall working on the project while still enjoying my time kicking around Ouray. Nestled in the spectacular San Juan mountains in Colorado, there are a gazillion postcard replicas of these same haunts in Ouray, and creating

drippy trees

I found myself free for a couple of hours on Magazine St., so I walked over to Audubon Park to check out the Spanish Moss, which is the subject of a collaboration I’m working on with Steve Fleming. I was in the wrong shoes, but ventured off the paved walkway anyhow to truly explore.

Lakeview in monochrom

The kids and I kicked around small-town Oregon for a week this summer, where I spent my free time working on two personal project collaborations: a landscape project with artist Steve Fleming, and an architectural challenge with Mark Harrelson. I limited myself accidentally on purpose (by nature of

Chef Carl

Chef Carl Schaubhut | Leica M Monochrom | ISO 3200, 50mm Cron (B+W 040M Orange), f/2.8, 1/500 sec In my work as an editorial writer and photographer, everything I shoot on assignment is with my Nikon as the publications I work for only run full color images. Even so, I rarely go out on assignment

Steve Fleming, artist

Several years ago, a burned-out photographer stumbled on a brilliant painter. That’s how the story began. Since then, the photog moved from D.C. to New Orleans and put her photo business on sabbatical and bought a yoga studio, yadda yadda yadda.  Meanwhile, the painter continues to paint.

from stuck to success (or, there’s an ostrich in my bathroom)

By Christine Gacharná In my bathroom, I have globs of peanut butter jamming up the sink drain, 0s & 1s raining from the shower head and a raincoat hanging where my towel used to be. Oh — and a hungover ostrich propped over the toilet. Why??? Because I’m reading a new book, The Plateau


It’s NOT possible NOT to love a girl named Jingjing.  Seriously.  (I know, double negative.  But I’m serious.)  She’s like a fabulous little porcelain doll.  I want to scoop her up and put her in my pocket and carry her with me everywhere.    Not literally, but you get what I

Certified Professional Photographer. !

When I was in college, I made up a list of things that I wanted to do with my life.  Somewhere in the Top 3 was to learn — really learn — how to use my camera on manual mode. As an undergraduate, I enrolled in a photography class in the Art Department (something I now advise beginners not to do)

From the Archives | Bob Sullivan in Holgamod

Today, I was combing through old hard drives and came across countless forgotten images, including a very quick evening’s worth of work with Bob Sullivan that never even made the cut for his author shot (original post here.) I’ve found that it generally takes me 30ish frames to warm my


Lauren is a personal trainer and a power yoga instructor at my studio (click here to see her schedule!)  She’s a former collegiate runner who discovered she could prevent injuries by practicing yoga.  She’s also an actress, an aunt and she makes a mean homemade peanut butter cookie.

the Rowell family

How lucky am I?  I fell into this beautiful, lively, friendly, interesting family simply by moving in! the Rowell family And I love my job.    


Baby Eliza is my very special, first official portrait session in the Big Easy.  Giving credit where credit is due, she came with confident parents who never ran out of stamina.  Eliza is flashing her best grin not for the photographer but for the studio soundtrack — her Mommy’s amazing

So…I bought a yoga studio yesterday. !

Three weeks ago, I set out as an aspiring student in search of a yoga studio. Today, I bought it. The journey from Point A to Point B was every bit as whirlwind and/or crackpot as it must sound, plus some. The short story version begins with the move to New Orleans. First things first: find a new

Jay & Michelle | Cozumel

Jay & Michelle | Cozumel

Coach Lou

Coach Lou is my daughter’s swim coach. He holds an MS in Astrophysics (among other impressive achievements) and is strikingly intelligent and personable. Last summer, he spent all of 10 minutes showing Lexi some stroke tips that were so simple it almost blew our minds, and the following

Family Portrait Marathon | 11.20.2010

Family Portrait Marathon | 11.20.2010


I first met Adrienne when she was just a toddler, way back in the day when my then-boyfriend was in UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) with her Daddy. The class graduated and scattered; fast forward 15 years that seemed like 5 and suddenly Adrienne is all grown up! We spend a chilly fall morning

New Orleans brass band

just a random street-corner grab last night … New Orleans

Family Portrait Marathon | 10.30.2010

I started the day with four boys under 5 and ended with six stair-step siblings ages 6 to 16; sandwiched in between were 49 people with crazy busy schedules, coming and going from all directions (including a couple of Trick-or-Treaters!) Many thanks to my assistant, Peter Frustaci, who helped me

shooting with Kate (St. Augustine’s best!)

I spent a lovely long weekend in St. Augustine, Florida, second shooting a wedding for Kate Gardiner. Kate was recently voted “Best Photographer” in the 2010 Best of St. Augustine Contest, so it was a great honor for me to shoot alongside her at Ponte Vedra as Kristofer and Nichole


Elijah was 1 day shy of 3 weeks old for his newborn session. I found him especially amazing to watch as he moves seamlessly from the calm, soothing, peaceful and controlled arms of his parents to the lively, colorful, roughhousing world of his three big brothers. Elijah

Family Portrait Marathon

Family Portrait Marathon | 10.30.2010 Q: What is a family portrait marathon? A: For me, it’s a marathon day of shooting!  For you, it’s a chance to get a family portrait for the upcoming holiday season at a special session price. Q: How much does it cost? A: $50/family (up to six


Look closely at her medals; yes, one of those is from football season! Lovely athlete…


Kendall, I’m so excited for you as you embark on your adventure to spend your senior year of high school in Germany!  Have fun!

Shelley & David | Northern Virginia wedding

Shelley & David | July 3, 2010 David and Shelley celebrated both their first date and their engagement at Vintage Ridge Winery. “They pair their tastings with food, which altered David’s plan of surprising me with an afternoon picnic,” Shelley says.  “So we had an evening

Katy & Kyle’s engagement | Annapolis

Katy & Kyle’s engagement | Annapolis


Annalise is a rising senior at West Springfield High School and both she and her mother are girls after my own heart: Annalise is a shoe girl and loves fun scarves, and her mother wants only black and whites for a family portrait wall dating back to the great-grandparents. Of course, I

Reading is Fundamental

Today, the Summer 2009 issue of The Key fell through the mail drop and this was on the cover: This is the first time an editor has used me for both the cover photos and the cover feature story! That’s my daughter in the picture, my son holding an SB 800 Strobist-style to camera left. On the


Alyssa is the youngest of three girls; she sings, dances and plays soccer; she just graduated from West Springfield High School, where she earned her letterman’s jacket on the football field; she’s a pro gamer and rumor has it she’ll win faster using only her elbows than most of

beginning figure drawing with Lisa Semerad

I didn’t take any photography workshops in 2008. Instead, I enrolled in a figure drawing class at The Art League mostly as a tag-along to my bona-fide artist friend Suzanne. (We didn’t know one another in Tucson, but she was an art major at the University of Arizona during the years

Catherine, Anthony & Olivia

Here’s my workflow for kids: first get the photos Mom wants; then get the orthodox photos for grandparents; then get the unorthodox photos for my portfolio; then get the best funny-face photo for the kids. This is my second Christmas photographing Catherine, Anthony and Olivia, and they


Katy is a very interesting and impressive young woman. She has four brothers, one of them her twin; she loves running marathons and white water rafting; she just returned from a year in Uganda; she’s a junior at the United States Naval Academy; she has a long to-do list of goals for her life

Oh, and don’t forget the shoes!

Joyce is nine months pregnant and in F A N T A S T I C shape! [Why is it, we wondered, that nobody tells you until after you’re pregnant that it really takes 10 months to grow a baby?]

bugs at f/2.8

It’s not to say that the flowers on my front porch from summer were dead; let’s just that they were no longer thriving. So I went to Home Depot to look for something fall-ish, and came home with these locally grown Mums. I chose them because one had a fuzzy white caterpillar crawling

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

There is enough water in Crater Lake to give each man, woman and child on earth 700 gallons of the purest pH balanced water available to drink. (Shhh, don’t tell California!) It’s the deepest lake in the United States and the seventh deepest lake in the world and, believe it or not,

Love, life and the importance of the perfect pair of jeans

Michelle and Chuck are expecting their first child… #gallery-5 { margin: auto; } #gallery-5 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 100%; } #gallery-5 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-5


an•gel•ic |an’jelik| adjective of or relating to angels : the angelic hosts. • (of a person) exceptionally beautiful, innocent, or kind : she looks remarkably angelic in her First Communion dress. And then, of course, angelic turns to giggling, and giggling leads to shadow puppets, and then


There are so many facets to the people I photograph. Take Chris, for example: young Airman, engineering student, athlete, bike enthusiast, uncle, brother, son…just an all-American kid. I call him a “kid;” he calls me “Ma’am.” Both make me laugh! When I was

DEA Special Agent and Castle CEO

Today I photographed a Drug Enforcement Agency Junior Special Agent and a Princess. Emma and Dominic were a lot, lot, lot of fun!

Gotcha Capitalism by Bob Sullivan

[UPDATE] No. 13 on the New York Times bestsellers list is “Gotcha Capitalism”! I got an email today from author Bob Sullivan telling me he was on a radio show the other day with Louie Free, who complimented him on the author photo that I took (Louie Free must’ve liked it, he put

New Client Inquiry.

When someone submits a request via my website for more information regarding portraits, it shows up in my inbox with the subject line “New Client Inquiry.” They all follow the same generic format, answering pretty basic questions. But they’re not always as entertaining as the

I handed a girl a flyer advertising my photo business…

…last summer at Seussical, and here’s just a handful of the fun that it led to this week:

John Stuart Hunt, Wall 7 West, line 129

I met John Stuart Hunt on Wall 7 West, line 129, of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. I was giving my friend Miette the walking tour of downtown Washington D.C., and we stopped to look up her brother-in-law. The book we referenced gave us his name, rank, branch of service, date of

Me Danny P

Dan is a Groover, a member of a group of my husband’s best friends from The Zoo (they call it); he’s a happily married father of two; he’s a pilot; he’s the son of a cancer survivor; and he has a brain tumor. I wanted to photograph him, and he indulged me by showing up with

beyond grammar

“I disagree; I shouldn’t be teaching grammar.” :gasp: I actually heard that sentence come out of my mouth when the Director of Academic Affairs (i.e., my boss’s boss, the man who runs the entire college campus where I teach) asked me to add grammar exercises into my writing

Need to update your family portrait? Check us out at JayFest 2014

    Win-win: Mom gets a collection of photos to frame and share on Facebook AND makes a charitable contribution at JayFest 2014, a celebration to help Jay Rink and his battle against ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.) All proceeds go directly to Jay’s Defensive

G is for grammar (and also for groan)

A 15-year-old boy slides confidently into the driver’s seat, careening the seat adjustment waaaaaay back. His body language is cool and confident as he checks himself in the rear-view mirror before adjusting it to his eye level at the back window, but his mind is racing in anticipation of

M9 — M as in mmm…

M as in mine. first shot — straight from the box, didn’t know how to work metering system, guessed on exposure (good enough) missed on focus Leica M9, ISO 200, 50mm Summicron, f/2.0, 1/125 sec. M as in muchos, manifold, multifarious thanks to Ken Hansen who under promised and over delivered.

Protected: Merry Christmas! xoxox

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shooting tennis

I am not properly trained or practiced in sports photography (weddings and portraits are more my focus) so I really had no expectations going into Saturday’s tournament. My goal was simply to try to get individual players a shot of themselves on the court that made them smile. If I fail, no

Facing the Blank Page

By Christine Gacharná I learned by accident how to face the blank page. At 24, I was working in Arizona as a newspaper reporter. My deadline was 11 a.m., at which time I had to submit 7 stories to my editor. Surprisingly, 10:59 a.m. was the most satisfying time in that job. I might still be

The Blank Page

“We see the brightness of a new page where everything yet can happen.” — Rainier Maria Rilke For the last two+ years that I’ve had my photography business on sabbatical, I’ve been teaching college writing courses. I’ve been told that teaching will clarify just how

focal length lens comparison (in-studio)

Despite answering this question at length in a previous post, I still get a considerable number of people who continue to ask the question: What kind of camera/lens should I buy? My answer hasn’t changed much in the last decade: What kind of photos are you trying to take? In the thumbnails

today, I went for a run

I spent today packing up the yoga studio and moving it from W. Esplanade Ave. to my garage. It was a strange day, a surreal mix of past, present and future. Instructors and students stopped by, called, sent emails, lit up my iPhone screen with texts … most of them had encouraging and kind words to

intellectual property

December brought me an interesting mix of battles over intellectual property. Background: toward the end of my first year in business as a photographer, I was at a friend’s house for a Christmas party and was surprised to see one of my images on the ‘fridge.  I had spent considerable

I <3 NY

My trip to New York City this week seems like both a whole week and a really long day all wrapped up in a surreal experiment in time.  My assignment was to photograph two co-authors for a book due to hit the NYT Bestseller list in May — I’ll post more about them and the book when it’s

Yoga Booty Ballet

We do the best we can at the yoga studio to introduce Yoga Booty Ballet with words: “Yoga Booty Ballet is a fun, sexy and spirited workout that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired. Work your body, engage your mind and lighten your spirit as you practice this East-meets-West amalgam


I’ve had some fun the last few months photographing instructors from my yoga studio.  Brooke is the first of these sessions:   Brooke Brooke teaches at Namasté and 5 other locations in New Orleans.  She is the owner of YogaLagniappe.com and serves on a local alumnae board with me, which

Protected: Merry Christmas!

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Christopher and Colin

Adventures in holiday family portraits isn’t just for kids — it’s fun for the whole family!  Just ask the parents of any 2-year-old boy, and their stories will make you laugh.   Christopher and Colin

Congratulations, LtCol Gacharna

Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus MS, 1996 At Carlos’s retirement party, I got a good long hug from Meg (TN), whom I met during pilot training; Katie (FL), who became an Air Force spouse when she married our son’s Godfather and assumed her role as Godmother without missing a beat;

Move Day | The New Orleans Chapter

Long gone are the days when I could load everything I own into my little Honda, uproot and move in a few hours.  Even still, there’s something strangely cathartic about the stress of a move.  I think it has to do with the purging of stuff — the shedding of unneeded, unnecessary, unwanted