home…

My gut was hit with something harder than a feeling, it was a sickness.  On day 14, I decided that my microbes had adjusted to Mongolia and chose to eat fresh cabbage, tomatoes and cucumbers.  My body was craving green, but my gut felt otherwise, I was green instead.

Leaving for the Gobi desert that morning, the rain had cleared and I was blessed with a sun rise that let me know that everything was going to be ok.  Traveled by plane back to Ulaanbaatar and crashed in a cushy hotel, ordering broth that tasted like love was sprinkled in it.   I begged that this would be under control by the time my taxi arrived to take me home.

My tummy decided to cooperate and my journey home was peaceful, calm and restful.  Once I hit Chicago and boarded my plane to Little Rock, I started visualizing my kids and Chris.  Knowing that I could smell their scent, touch, hug, kiss and snuggle with them.  I had missed “touch”.  I had experienced heightened sensations due to a new place that my eyes had never seen, smells that were foreign to my American senses and people who I learned to communicate with using my hands, as very little english was spoken.  The Buddhist monks and their work that I was on assignment for, hugged by touching foreheads.  Our days together would be filled with food and learning about their lives and beliefs, as well as many, many laughs.  They are so joyful,  it is difficult to not be affected with their contagious flow of energy.

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Its true, whether you have experienced it or not, it is real.  You can deny that it exists, or that the ENERGY of another human does not effect you, but it does.  I am not here to prove this with science, philosophy or spirituality, only to share with you my human experience with it.  It opened my eyes to how as a Westerner, even as I would consider myself open minded, I was still surprised how real it was.  It was not a sensational moment that you will read me writing about, it was still and soft.  I began to be more aware, of everything!  I began to notice how I was being so very present without being conscious of it.  Whatever I was doing, whether it was shooting a ceremony, eating with my colleagues or resting in my room.

 

The present could be described as this:

-not thinking about the next day or the future

-not having racing thoughts

-not having anxiety, at all

-seeing people’s needs quicker

-noticing that meetings were coordinated spontaneously, accomplishing more than if we had prepared for it

-all parties, being open and a true desire to hear and understand one another

-no overwhelming feelings when the plan seemed uncertain

 

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Now, that I am home, I will share in my next post my real life challenges to remain in the  present, but still live as a wife, mother, friend and business owner.  Remember, that I am about real life, so I will commit to share the struggle, as one does exist.

 

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On a Divine Assignment: My Mongolia Experience- post 1

LeIMG_4664aving  Little Rock,  I was emotionally, mentally and logistically ready to go.  There were moments in the process leading up to boarding the plane that I had wells of joy spring up as well as moments of uncertainty on what to expect.

Korean Air was amazing, on time, friendly and large beautiful planes.  An interesting note, was that as Americans we drink way more water than other nations, so after asking my flight attendants for the sixth time for a bottle of water, she was a bit frustrated with me, as well as the woman  I was sitting with.

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Monk, Lama Tenzin

We were greeted with top-level security and a monk named Lama Tenzin   (he will be a main character in this amazing journey) .  An oxymoron,  needing security for those who are for peace.   Lama Tenzin was our protector and friend, I know that I will work more with him in the future,  supporting his mission to save little girls and educate them in India (more about that later).   Actually,  the governmental escorts and security while I was in Ulaanbaatar was due to the election,  that happened days before my arrival.  The “peoples leader” was elected,  preceding a president that had ruled since the 90’s when Mongolia became a free democracy.    The newly elected President was a student of the man who was hosting me, The Oracle of The Dalai Lama,  Ven. Thupten Ngodup, who goes by Kuten la. ( in layman terms,  he is The Dalai Lama’s wise man).

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Susan and I arriving after 32 hours of travel.

The young , vibrant newly elected President, Khaltmaagiin Battulga, supports religious freedom and aspires to continue peace, integrity and allowing the people of Mongolia to have a voice.  Therefore, my arrival came at a very exciting and celebratory time in the history of Mongolia. Capturing this on film/digital/video,  my images and recordings would be apart of the transitioning history of Mongolia as a country.  Such an opportunity that I became passionate about.

 

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The newly elected President with Kuten la

The new president owned the hotel where we all stayed and the new President resides in his home behind our hotel, as his palace was being renovated.  Knowing that the floor where I slept was directly below 15 monks, Lamas and other dedicated souls praying and meditating for our world was unbelievable.  Their dedication, determination and commitment to love was felt through the walls.  Kuten la,  would spend the next week being available to blessing and prayer for those in need.  People drove from all over the country to go to the 12th floor of our hotel just to be heard and loved.  So, needless to say, I was able to be in this sacred place, photographing his journey to Mongolia.  It’s hard to describe what witnessing this was like.  I can just say that I was grateful to be witnessing such a beautiful encounter of humans.

 

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    Kuten la

    My invitation here to Mongolia is kind of long story, but the story revolves around the very revered man Kuten la which he is the Dalai Lama’s  “main-man” and lives in Nechung Monastery in India.  He is the Dalai Lama’s wisdom counselor and mystic.  Facilitating peace projects around the world.  I was introduced into this project by one of the most enlightened woman I have ever met, Rev. Susan Smith of Little Rock, Arkansas and her mission is so big yet so simple……love everyone.  Her desire for understanding and respect between different religions across the world is what sprouted the Inter Faith Center in Little Rock.  The motivation for this “seemingly impossible” and whoo-hoo idea has taken on a form of its own and now these projects are actually coming to fruition.  I am honored to have been invited to capture this very momentous time, especially since you have probably not heard about it on the news or in the media. You can follow my blog, as I am flying home now and will be sharing more about my journey,  with hope that it will bring you hope for our world.

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Rev. Susan Smith

a bit more style

We are so proud to have James Grimes apart of Carper Creative Photography.  What did we do without him?  He began with us in 2017, though it seems like he has been with us forever, intrinsically a perfect fit!  He is our in-house stylist. We are in love and so are our clients!IMG_9132

He consults our clients on clothing, feel and concept of the photo shoot.  It’s amazing how our clients are responding to this service, seeing the value this service is seamlessly providing for them. James consults on clothing styles, which helps, especially when coordinating a large family in a shot.  Owner Amy Carper, is proud to be offering this service to all of her clients, from corporate to kids.

James is a graduate of Little Rock Central High and continued his education at UCA as a fine art major.  For the last 10 years he may have helped you at The Gap, as lead merchandiser.  His laid back approach makes every person that he consults feel at ease.  Amy loves that he is a bit of a minimalist, which parallels her style of photography.  Not to mention that his energy is contagious. We just want him to stay around and weigh in on all of the creative projects that we are working on. It’s also a nice change to have a man working in the studio.  It’s a fun balance (plus he is so tall, which is handy)!

For those who have gotten a chance to work with James, your appreciation for his services have made him feel welcome here at Carper Creative Photography. We are honored to have him apart of the team!

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magical

This is Helen and she is nothing short of wonderful.  At the age where her front teeth are missing and she still gets to live in the middle of wonder, I was captured.  Her chicken’s name is tennis ball, its the white one, with fancy feathered feet.  When I spent time with Helen, I left feeling better than when I came, she swept me away in her wonderland and then I had to pack my things and go back to real life.  My days are spent with pre-teens and teens, which I actually love this season, but as they are growing closer to adulthood, some of the wonder fades.  Thank you Helen (and mom) for inviting me in to your castle, where a bit of magic exists19_k440_helen-teeter32_k440_helen-teeter

365 days old

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The first big milestone, the transformation from a baby to a child.

This is an age that I love!  They are very mobile, yet but can be lured in to doing what I need them to.  The new teeth, the slobber and poofy pants.  It’s a pace that I must prepare for, because when it starts is when they are the very cutest.

We are seeing an increase in ONE year old shoots and parents are wanting a timeless image printed to last.  Then we do the next baby at one, then the next, soon we are matching frames and tones to match as they hang in a special space in their home.

This makes my heart sing…

May I introduce Lucia, I had the honor of spending some time with her on her birthday.  She decided to walk for the first time, too.  It was an exciting day at Love Life Stories studio.  I wanted to share her with you.  She had such an incredible personality and captivated me.  Thanks Lucia, for being awesome (her parents, great people,too).

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Bonded with family, it just is.

“It is not always fun to be tightly bonded with the people who you share each day with, forging through what appears to need work, sighing when it all ended up ok.  Wading through is difficult, but it is not what you will remember down the road.  We trot down life’s everyday road, through our story, with these people, our family.  One day we will lose someone and it will change everything.  Until then , I will live in the presence with these people, knowing that it will not be forever, changes how I approach the small stuff.

I am passionate about capturing families together, seeing it live on paper preserves a feeling that you  will never forget when you look at it.  I prefer it organic. staying true to the lifestyle.

I will be launching a couple of new lines in 2017, that will revolve around families.  For those who have shared with me a chance to get a glimpse of your life, thank you.  I honor it and I am proud that you have taken the time to pause and allowed me to archive the thing that means the most to you”.

 

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Delightful

Their names are Christoph and Laura and they both emit an energy that is irresistible.  Together as a couple, they are unaware of their power.  Bets are, they are going to do life together beautifully, shaking up the ordinary, fearlessly and effortlessly we will watch them glide through life’s transition.  The factors that are thrown at us in life and relationships, they will fare together.

To my delight, I share with you Laura and Christoph Keller’s royal like affair.  Many hands were involved in creating this, I was the one that was able to attempt to capture what the human eye saw and the human heart-felt.  The team of vendors will be listed at the bottom.

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Love Life Stories by Carper Creative Photography

Amy Carper – Owner, Photographer/ https://www.facebook.com/carperphoto website: www.carperphoto.com

Event Planner:  Rachel Haynes/https://m.facebook.com/RachelHaynesEvents website: Rachelhaynesevents.com

Hanks Furniture Rentals: www.hankseventrentals.com/

Floral : Tanarah Luxe Floral/https://www.facebook.com/Tanarah-Luxe-Floral-299119830142019 website: tanarahluxefloral.com

Cake: TracyCakes/ www.tracycakesar.com

Catering:  Simply the Best/  website: http://www.simplythebestcatering.com

Soulsation:  http://thesoulsations.com

Lepops:  http://www.lepops.com

Vintage Motor Cars

Arkansas Arts Center:  https://www.arkansasartscenter.org

 

 

My Joy

Reading about where joy comes from, was where I was led to this week.  After too many sad stories of broken dreams, hatred, cutting lives short.  I became overwhelmed with sadness.

I remembered a book that I had fallen in love with a couple of years back, “One Thousand Gifts”, by Ann Voskamp.  She wrote about the true meaning of Joy, what it means and specifically where and when it decides to emerge.

Ann, in her own unique use of words says:

“Fullness of joy is only discovered in the emptying of will.  I hadn’t known that joy meant dying.  All these years, these angers, these hardening, this desire to control, I had thought I had to snap the hand closed to shield joy’s fragile flame from the blasts.  In the storm of struggles, I had tried to control the elements, clasp the fist tight so as to protect self and happiness.  But palms curled in to protective fists fill with darkness.  I feel that sharply, even in this…and this realization in all its full emptiness: My own wild desire to protect my joy at all costs is the exact force that kills my joy”.

This hit me hard, as it was truth in my life.

I do not have control of how much joy I feel, but I can do two things that instantly evoke it in me:  dancing to music that I love and being around kids.  You are the lucky one that there is not a dance video of me attached, but I am fairly sure that it would bring you a laugh.  I do want to share an image that shows my joy, it is my sweet client Penelope sitting with me in the middle of the shoot when everyone needed a small breather, so her brother asked if he could take my picture.  If you know me really well, you will know that this is something that is hard for me.  I am really uncomfortable in front of the camera, I will be working on this at some point in my life, but it wasn’t going to be that day.  Joseph, the brother was maybe six years old, my camera was on a tripod, what could it hurt?  All of the reasons I have liability insurance, Joseph snapped away and Penelope wanted to sit with me.  Joy, there it is, unbridled joy.

 

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Beauty with age

Recently, I had a dear friend ask to buy one of my prints.  It was an image that “he had to have”. Actually he said, “I need it”.  I understood this feeling well, when I see something that moves me.

This is the image shot, in northern Italy,  in front of a home built in the mid-1600’s.  The woman was the kind home owner that allowed us to photograph on her property.  The shot was at the last frame of the day, hosting us for a bit of cheese, figs and their estate’s wine.  I will never forget this experience.

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My beautiful associate, Stacy Kinzler was our model/stylist for our Italian excursion.  We were working on building a portfolio  for an estate that is seeking American brides, but on the days were we were not shooting the wedding, we created, and created and created…

 

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This has been a dream of mine for a very long time and to have it come to fruition, well it’s hard to put in to words.  It’s emotional, it’s raw and it is vulnerable. Ciao!

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Heart of a location

IMG_7651 with b07wo font_1I was able to move into a studio of my dreams last year.  It was time, as the company was being run out of 700 square feet and had to get really creative on where to shoot, it was time.

My sweet husband who can visualize in the brain, knowing I needed it to be at least 2d, he made me a pop up (a literal 3d model made from paper, scotch tape and scissors.).  All of the reasons he is the Ying to my Yang.

We began the remodel and here we went.  Trip to Dallas, Home Depot and vintage lumber yards, it was coming together great!

Then the day before we moved in, the main sewer line broke that was underneath my slab in the middle of my concrete floor.  I decided to hide under my covers that day and hoped that it was repairable.  All was restored and we moved in the next day.  As they were digging, there was something very precious found, a sliver spoon.  We dated it back with the markings and it was manufactured in the mid 1800’s.  We carefully placed it in a shadow box and shared it with my lovely building owner.  I will always wish a silver soon on the first day of business.

So as I journey, it is still a journey and on the journey I go.

amy carper

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