People and Portraits

Stout Maksimowicz Carmel Valley Wedding

A year and one day ago, I photographed Courtney Stout and Nick Maksimowicz in Carmel Valley, California. Their friends organized the wedding, rehearsal and reception. Courtney and Nick have good friends, and by the time I left the Monterey Peninsula, I felt that I had many more good friends too.

Courtney Stout and Nick Maksimowicz were married in Carmel Valley, California on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (Bryan Farley)


I often feel blessed or lucky to be allowed to document important moments. I rarely photograph want to photograph weddings, but weddings are important community events. People have often chased a dream since childhood hoping to find someone who they can trust. Weddings build families; families build communities.

Courtney Stout and Nick Maksimowicz were married in Carmel Valley, California on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (Bryan Farley)


When I edited the pictures, I listened to Kris&Alix, the same musicians who performed at the wedding.   “…tired of reaching out, tired of all the doubt… ”


Courtney Stout and Nick Maksimowicz were married in Carmel Valley, California on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (Bryan Farley)


When I reviewed last year’s photos, I rejoiced watching Courtney’s friends help her prepare for the ceremony.  I laughed again as eight women celebrated at the photo booth.… Read the rest

Beatitudes Society Fellows and Rev Anne Howard

When I first met Anne Howard, I lived in Santa Barbara, California and attended Trinity Episcopal Church. She served as the Associate Rector and I sat in the back of the church.  I would watch the Trinity families imagining the easy Sunday mornings when I could bring my future family to church. I left Santa Barbara before meeting my wife. I miss Trinity. Sometimes, I miss those easy Sunday mornings when children magically arrived at church and happily greeted their parents.

Last week, my daughter finally met Anne Howard in Berkeley, California outside Pacific School of Religion.

As the Executive Director of The Beatitudes Society, Anne mentors emerging church leaders across the country. This role seems a natural fit. Whenever I am near Anne, I realize that I am in a constant state of emerging. She is one of the few people who can mentor me, just by staring at me a certain way.… Read the rest

Therapy Dogs and St Francis

Today is the Feast Day of Francis of Assisi.

Saint Francis is associated with nature and animals. Next Sunday, many churches will bless animals during Sunday service. Dogs have become increasingly important for people with epilepsy and other illnesses. I referred to dog therapy in my latest featured blog post for the Epilepsy Foundation of America.

In the blog post, I also included photos from my last visit with my wonderful neurologist.

In other epilepsy therapy news, the Epilepsy Foundation and The Epilepsy Therapy Project announced a merger today.Read the rest

WFTDA West Region Sun Delay

Delayed by the sun…

The final two bouts of the WFTDA West Region Playoffs were postponed by an hour, because the sunlight interfered with the skaters’ ability to skate. Sporting events have been delayed and canceled for many weather related incidents, but I have never photographed one postponed by sunlight. When it happened Sunday, everyone was happy (and everybody was laughing), except for me. I love natural light and the players at the Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, California appeared regal.

When the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) postponed the final until 7:00, many photographers began using off camera strobes and on camera flashes repeatedly. Since I have photo-sensitivity, I am easily disturbed by strobe lights. The strobes bounced off Craneway’s tall windows, white walls and reflective derby surface adding to the strobe effect. Fortunately, I captured magical light before games.

I have yet to process several hundred game images from the weekend.… Read the rest

Laura Gilbert Portraits

Laura Robertson Gilbert has been my friend since our older children attended the same preschool. Laura is friendly and engaging. I always enjoy talking with her. When Laura asked if I would be available to photograph her for a new project, I was excited. At a minimum, I would be able to spend more time with Laura and learn about her professional background. During my visit, I brought my camera. These photos were taken during the final part of my visit.

Many people are uncomfortable having their photo taken. (I become self-conscious too.) Despite the discomfort, people are more likely to engage in authentic discussions when having their photo taken. Since I enjoy talking, I usually talk to people while I take photos. I find people interesting and hope that my pictures begin to capture Laura’s dynamic and natural personality. … Read the rest

Mothers of an Angel Year 4

This week I photographed the Mother of an Angel Friendship Network. It was the fourth consecutive summer visiting the support group. I have grown attached to these women. I have collected great memories and gained insight each visit.


Each year is different. This year felt more like a family reunion. We met at Woodward Park and somehow organized the group into photos. Everyone seemed to enjoy the sessions, but this would be oversimplifying the meaning of the support group. More photos to follow….

 … Read the rest

Before I Die

I want to smile more (maybe even laugh).

Earlier this month, I found the “Before I die” mural in downtown Reno. The Black Rock Arts Foundation installed two interactive murals in downtown Reno and I photographed one with my phone. This phrase was a variation of the question I have been asking myself on the eighth anniversary of my father’s death. “Now what?”

Eight years ago, my father died. He actually died on the 16th, but since I uploaded the photos three days ago, I have still been searching for the answer to the now what question. In the months before he took his life, I smiled often. My daughter was born six months before he died and she was a happy baby. I was a happy parent. After my father died, Death seemed to follow us. Sadness consumed our lives.

I rededicated myself to being the best father possible.  I fail often and I try hard.… Read the rest

The New Masters of Educational Technology

Four years ago today, I completed my Master’s Degree in Educational Technology. I submitted my research project and final thesis on August 8, 2008 to coincide with the twenty year anniversary of Marshal McLuhan‘s book “Laws of Media: The New Science.” McLuhan was a popular media or technology critic in the 1960’s.

His arguments are still relevant.  

“Today the business of business is becoming the constant invention of new business.” Marshall McLuhan

In the last four years, Facebook has gone public. Twitter is no longer a joke. Skype has become a verb… with a smart phone application.  Steve Jobs died and the iPad was born. Instagram became a thing. My kids play with technology and adults use FourSquare.

How did this happen? How did it happen so easily? 

In the rush to create new business, education is often an afterthought. Google recently released Curriculum: Understanding YouTube and Digital Citizenship.… Read the rest

Napa Valley Oxbow Public Market

Napa seems far away from Oakland.  Napa Valley is not really part of the Bay Area, but Napa is closer to Oakland than other Bay Area cities. If traffic is light, I can make it to Napa in about an hour. On Friday, I went to Napa to spend the night with my wife. We worked during the day and visited downtown Napa on Friday and Saturday.

I have been experimenting with my new cell phone camera. At the Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa, I photographed an interesting French antique at Heritage Culinary Artifacts. I returned the next day with my real camera, but the piece was being packed for a new buyer. The blackberry photo was also taken with my Android cell phone.

The Oxbow Public Market hosts a Saturday Farmers’ Market. My wife and I found some of the most colorful food, flowers and farmers. On Friday, we ate an amazing lunch at one of the restaurants.… Read the rest

On a Mission to Santa Barbara

I attended UCSB and lived in Santa Barbara for twelve years. Two weeks ago, I returned with my daughter to meet many of my good friends. I wanted her to meet the people who shaped me and to learn how to create community. We visited my old school and my old church. My daughter met my old friends. It was one of my all-time favorite weekends.

I planned the trip around Sarah Fenstermaker’s farewell party. Sarah was the Women’s Studies Chair when I became UCSB’s first male Women’s Studies major. She is leaving Santa Barbara for Ann Arbor where she will direct the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender.  When Sara and I first discussed my becoming a Women’s Studies major, I do not think we realized what I was giving up. I also did not realize the life-long relationships I would gain and that my own daughter would meet Sarah’s daughter.… Read the rest

Vapiano Restaurant – Washington DC

About three years ago, I changed my diet. I forgot how much I enjoyed restaurants until my recent visit to Washington, D.C. when I ate at Vapiano three times. The last two times I photographed the chefs.


In 2011, during a family visit to Washington, DC, my wife and two children found Vapiano.  My kids still remember it. When I visited this year for a late dinner, the atmosphere was more energetic. Perhaps the “European lifestyle” encourages families and young adults to enjoy the same restaurant.  I love the healthy food, happy chefs and open light.

Light is important.… Read the rest

Famous Wayne Shoe Shine

Kenny has been shining shoes in downtown San Francisco for more than thirty years.

Famous Wayne Shoe Shine is “world famous.” Famous Wayne lives across the San Francisco Bay in Oakland, California and commutes into the city. I had my shoes shined during a Society for Photographic Education conference. The SPE national conference was in San Francisco this year, but I did not travel far to attend. I live in Oakland, the same town as Famous Wayne.

 (bryan farley)


Tomorrow I am flying to Seattle, Washington for the Journalism Education Association  and National Scholastic Press Assocation national conference. I will present a new workshop about photo stories with Dave LaBelle. I might use slideshow photos I took of Famous Wayne to generate conversation.

How do you read a photo? What photo is the best first image for the story? Where does the story start?

Where does this story end? What images are missing?… Read the rest

Penn Station Baltimore Maryland

Just as I am about to lose faith, I meet someone like Tyrone.

I am in the Washington, D.C. Metro area for the 2012 National Walk for Epilepsy. Yesterday, I flew into Baltimore Washington International Airport.  I spent the night in Baltimore and took the MARC train this morning from Baltimore’s Penn Station to Union Station. Since I visited Baltimore last year, Penn Station celebrated its 100 year anniversary.

While I was photographing Jonathan Borofsky’s Male/Female aluminum sculpture in front of the train depot, a homeless man approached me.  We both saw an opportunity.

Penn Station in Baltimore is the 8th busiest train depot in the country. A homeless man who called himself Tyronne wanted to be photographed after I told him I take pictures and write about people. We also shared common stories about living with epilepsy. (bryan farley)

I probably over share. Sometimes this is a character flaw, but other times, I meet people with stories they want to share. Tyronne needed money, but he probably wanted me to take his photo even more. He wasn’t begging for attention, but he appreciated the interaction. He appreciated the food and change too.… Read the rest

Three Birthday Parties

I have two little kids. My kids have friends. Their friends have birthday parties.

 (bryan farley)

For a few years, I attended  birthday parties nearly every weekend. I often brought my camera. One of my son’s friends, Vivian, has had three parties at three different East Bay birthday party hot spots.

 (bryan farley)

Each year, she wore the same shirt.

 (bryan farley)

Vivian changed a little each year. Some of the parents changed too. You can see the photos of parents and children here.Read the rest

Leon Family Portrait Session

On Sunday, I photographed the Leon family. During Alice and Rich Leon’s 35 year marriage, the couple has created a wonderful family.  Alice and Rich have two daughters and a few grandchildren. All three generations were at the house for the photo session. Alice wanted to reproduce a family photo taken about twenty years ago in the same room.

When I returned home and viewed the photos, I was amazed that nearly every photo was excellent. I did very little as a photographer. I mostly sat in one place and watched an amazing family.

 (bryan farley)

 I was more impressed by the Leon family than my own ability as a photographer. I am a competent photographer. I could become a much better family man.

 (bryan farley)

Alice Ross Leon contacted me, because her family might not have many more family photo shoots.  At some level, we all know that our days are limited, but some people know this more than others.… Read the rest

Snowboarding at China Peak

When I was a child, I loved the snow… or at least I loved the idea of snow. Once my ears froze, I wanted to play a different sport. I was afraid. I was afraid of failure and falling. I did not understand ski culture, even though I realized that many of my friends enjoyed skiing. Every four years, I watched the Olympics and imagined that I would “Ski the Peak.”

 (bryan farley)

My children are creating different memories.  On Presidents’ Day, our family visited China Peak.  (We purchased a special lesson and lift ticket plan, so they children received lessons before snow boarding.) My five year old son was fearless. His older cousins and eight year old sister were successful. I was both proud and envious… but more proud.

 (bryan farley)

See the gallery of the day… especially the face plant.… Read the rest

Return to Pigasus Mountain

Last week, my family visited “Pigasus.” Pigasus is Brenda Morgan’s horse ranch in Auberry, California. In November, I photographed Brenda and the ranch. (The ranch is not named PEGasus.) On Presidents’ Day weekend, we visited again.

 (bryan farley)

Brenda also instructs local 4H students. When I was in high school, I never participated in 4H. Farming was out in the country. (The country was only a few miles away.) Agriculture has changed a great deal since I was a child. It is comforting to know that people still connect with animals.

 (bryan farley)

For those of us who live in the Bay Area, this foothill retreat was both relaxing and affordable. We have priced other horse riding lessons closer to Oakland, and the cost is not the same. Perhaps the service is just as good, but we hope that Brenda starts a summer camp.

To view the entire gallery from our visit, please click this link.… Read the rest

Birthday for a Tweenager

Early this morning, my wife and I were reminiscing about our early parenting days. We remembered our first night at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, California.  Our tiny daughter screamed for hours. We finally allowed a nurse to take Emily so that we could rest.  The next two weeks were just as exhausting… except we did not have a nurse to help us sleep.

I hope my wife and I are able to reminisce about today too. My daughter’s voice still exceeds her size.  She is also opinionated. Loud and opinionated. We like her that way.

The photo gallery is a collection of photos from her eighth year.  I am often asked by friends and family for recent photos of my children, and I usually respond that I will upload newer photos soon…. Well, I am finally posting some more recent photos. These photos will probably make their way around the world to our family in South America, Europe, and all regions of North America.… Read the rest

Photographing Diversity

When I was an undergraduate Women’s Studies major at UC Santa Barbara, I often questioned if imagery reflected or reinforced stereotypes.  As a school teacher, I always searched for positive diverse images for my students. Later, when I worked for Brooks Institute, one of the world’s premiere photography colleges, I learned about the technical problems of creating diverse imagery. I will discuss my lessons below.

As part of a fundraiser for Melrose Leadership Academy, some of my images are being displayed at Farley’s East Coffee shop in downtown Oakland.  (The shared name is coincidental. Who knew someone would choose Farley for a business name?) When selecting images to display, I intentionally chose photos that demonstrated the school’s commitment to diversity. Besides being a Spanish bilingual dual immersion public school in Oakland, California, half of the students are native Spanish speakers. The school values people from different backgrounds and cultures.… Read the rest

Kimberley Libecki Mother of Photgraphy Project

I wanted to honor my friend Kim Libecki on her birthday today. I often describe her as a “Mother of an Angel,” but she is also a wonderful mother to three other children. She and I have been friends since high school. When I left for college, she started a family and our lives went in different directions. A few years ago, tragedies brought us closer.

 (bryan farley)

After her son died, I offered to photograph her support group. I had some experience about grieving in isolation, so I thought I might help with the mothers’ grieving process.  I did not realize that I would gain more from the experience. I learned about photography, parenting, story telling and human relationships.

 (bryan farley)

When I saw the first photos of Kim with her son’s skateboard at the skatepark , I questioned whether my photos were any good. I still doubt the the technical quality of those early photos.… Read the rest

Epiphany for The Beatitudes Society

In some cultures, January 6 is Epiphany. As with personal epiphanies, the holiday is a little more complicated. The holiday can last several days or it can start on different dates. Epiphanies rarely start when expected, even when placed on the calendar.

Last Fall, I photographed Rev. Anne Howard and The Beatitudes Society’s leadership team while they were “rebirthing” the organization. The team visited from many different parts of the country to guide the organization into its next period of growth.

The Beatitudes Society's leadership team studied the future of the organization at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California on October 26, 2012. Executive Director Rev. Anne Howard trains emerging Progressive Christian leaders across the country. (bryan farley)

When the organization has been redesigned, the changes will appear seamless. New members will experience epiphanies, but if we are not careful, the emerging leaders will miss an essential part of the epiphany process. Epiphanies are not simply revealed. They are often created with intentional, dedicated focus.… Read the rest

Stout Maksimowicz Wedding Day Portrait Session

NOTE: These photos were updated on 12/12/12, primarily because of site changes that a viewer can’t see. All of these were outtakes from the wedding of Courtney Stout and Nick Maksimowicz on December 10, 2012.

Last weekend, I photographed the Carmel Valley, California wedding of Courtney Stout and Nick Maksimowicz. I also photographed their rehearsal and portrait session. One gallery is at the bottom of the post. Other photos can be found on my website.

Courtney Stout and Nick Maksimowicz were married in Carmel Valley, California on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (Bryan Farley)

If every wedding were like Courtney’s and Nick’s, I would shoot weddings more often. Despite the Monterey Peninsula location, the wedding was more about friendships and commitment than it was about wealth. The couple’s friends organized the wedding. I was recruited by the bride’s childhood friend.

Courtney Stout and Nick Maksimowicz were married in Carmel Valley, California on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (Bryan Farley)

I spent two days with the couple and their friends. After two intense days, I have new friends too. When I left, I missed Nick and Courtney and the other people who attended.… Read the rest

Photo Booth and Facebook Tagging

The last two months, I have transitioned from my old TypePad blog to a new WordPress blog. I am still sentimental about my TypePad blog, but I wanted an application that would continue improving. With my new BryanFarleyPhotography WordPress blog, my images are sharper and my posts are easier to locate on the internet. While I have been learning WordPress, I have spent hours staring at widgets, plugins, themes, statistics, code, categories and so many other options that I wondered if I would ever solve my problems.

Then I saw photos from a makeshift wedding photo booth and it did not matter.

Courtney Stout and Nick Maksimowicz were married in Carmel Valley, California on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (Bryan Farley)

The bride and her friends gathered around a laptop and a makeshift photo booth. I photographed the women as they took photos of themselves. As we took photos, we all laughed.  I have not stopped laughing. This simple photo booth application motivated me to solve my WordPress problems and my Facebook struggles.… Read the rest

Pigasus Horse Riding Ranch

When my wife and I drove up to the Pigasus Horse Ranch for our children’s riding lesson, I asked my wife if she had ever wanted to ride horses as a kid. I was surprised by her response. “Of course, every girl wants a pony.”

My mother and step-father live a few miles from the horse ranch. This summer, my children took their first lessons. Yesterday, my wife took her first lesson. (Click on the top photo to launch the slideshow.)

The first photo reminds me of Dave LaBelle’s The Great Picture Hunt cover. There is another photo in the slideshow that is more similar, but this photo seems like the “before photo.” Mom and daughter were beginning to connect to the horse and the horse had not decided yet.

Even before I started shooting, I also thought about one of my favorite photographers, Bill Frakes, who always seems to catch the perfect lighting and shadows while telling a great story.… Read the rest