Photography Is…A New Art Show


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Bronze Fountain – iPhone capture

I am so excited to be launching a second art show at our local coffee house, KenapocoMocha. My previous (and first official) art show at the KMocha featured what I call images of found art. Candid situations of flowers, landscapes, sunsets etc. I’ve always been influenced by and in love with “The Decisive Moment” that Henri Cartier-Bresson mastered and shared with the world of  photography.

“Photography is not like painting,” Cartier-Bresson told the Washington Post in 1957. “There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative,” he said. “Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”( Bernstein, Adam (August 5, 2004). “The Acknowledged Master of the Moment”The Washington Post. Retrieved May 4, 2010)

Union StationMy first most successful “Decisive Moment” was captured in the Chicago Union Station during a very, very bitterly cold winter. It was a class assignment to do street photography. I caught these two strangers sharing a smile and conversation. Once I saw this print come up in the developer in the darkroom, I was hooked on capturing more of those moments.

This new collection focuses more on what photography is to me and how it has evolved for me.  A photo rambling from work to travel to personal to digital to iPhone. Photography as a business has been important to me for over 15 years, but it has really always been a part of my life, and I might even guess yours in some way. But it took me quite a while to have the confidence to show my other images. The stuff I shyly call Art. So…Photography is…about Sharing. Learning.Teaching. Inspiring.

Aunt Rosie

Aunt Rosie

My aunt on my father’s side became a studio portrait photographer back in the 1950s. She photographed all of my sisters and me when we were babies. These professional, hand painted wall portraits hung on my parents walls my entire childhood-never changing. Becoming the symbols of our childhood. Dad, being very proud of what his sister accomplished, was more than happy to buy me a 35mm Minolta X-370 camera for my big High School graduation gift. So Photography Is…a Gift. Family. Beginnings.

The Thought Share Space.

The Thought Share Space.

20150225_KMocha-SetUp_1028Another element to this art show is to encourage some interaction between me, the artist, and you the viewer. We’ve created an interactive Thought Share Space where you can post a note about the art or a response to the week’s topic. Photography is one art form that seems to touch almost everyone in our culture in some way. Now with the smart phone technology seemingly at everyone’s fingertips, young and old, we explore what this means to us. Our first topic is Photography Is…(insert your comment here.) I would add…Photography Is…Connections. Constant. Ever-changing.

Meet LeighAnne, Shonda & Chanda (hiding in kitchen)

Meet LeighAnne, Shonda & Chanda (hiding in kitchen)

I hope you have a chance to stop by, enjoy a coffee and view the images. Mark your calendars, we are also planning a fun Introduction to iPhone Photography class March 14th. If you are in the neighborhood, sign up and join us.


Michele Marie

Liquid Key West


It was a dark and stormy night… Remember how Snoopy, as the writer, leaning over his typewriter on top of his dog house, always started his novels this way?  Ok maybe not, but the entire weekend did have its moments. It was liquid.  Rainy, overcast kind of weekend. Typical Key West – looks stormy, but you never know exactly when it’s going to pour. As in buckets & sheets of rain. So, you go out anyway, it’s Friday after all. It was also time to wander. Tonight’s theme is Liquid Key West – a theme that is not hard to substantiate or articulate in Key West.


We started our walk in the Key West Bight area.  The fish were swarming by Turtle Kraals.  I have never seen so many Parrot fish around the docks. Beautiful.manatee-beach-4-1

Continuing down along the water, past Conch Republic Seafood, we ran into some tourists who had sighted a Manatee and had access to a hose.


Okay. Floridians and locals know it is illegal to feed water to a Manatee. However, it is not illegal to take pictures and enjoy the wonderful sight of watching a Manatee enjoy some fresh water. As we kind of battled with what a wonderful sight and our need to tell the guy to stop, another person informed our wayward tourist. Thank you. That could have been a buzz kill moment.manatee-beach-1 manatee-beach-2

Wandering on we wanted to check out the beach bar, Lagerheads. It’s our new hangout for sunset pics. Closed. For a month.


Seeing a sign saying the “Beach Closed” is so up north and so sad. So end of season.  But we know that the construction will be done in a month. “Beach Open” will be the new sign. Happy day.

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Next stop – we popped into the new Shameless Lounge on Greene St. Chatted it up with new owner Sarita Bandita (Sara), her handsome son, Justin, and their brand new, just adopted, 10 year-old Puppy!

Sarita Bandita & Justin

Sarita Bandita & Justin


Signature cocktails from Shameless Lounge.

Rain makes me hungry. And the big olives only got me started.

Amigo’s Tortilla Bar usually fixes that problem. Always fun to sit along the sidewalk bar, enjoy salsa & chips, a bean burrito, a sweet margarita and watch tourists try to throw coins into the big grouper’s mouth at Captain Tony’s. Tonight’s view is wet. Wet tourists. Wet sidewalk. Wet cars. Wet bars. Rain.


Captain Tony's

Captain Tony’s & the Lucky Grouper

To end our evening of wandering and story gathering, we had a great discussion with the two visitors sitting next to us, Dammit Janet and Tourist Guy Wearing New White Hat. It was Tourist Guy’s first time to the Rock. His friend said, ‘hey I’m going to Key West this weekend, want to join me?’ Tourist Guy beat his friend to the island. The question? “What’s up with ‘Captain Tony’s Saloon — The Original Sloppy Joe’s’ vs. Sloppy Joe’s across the street? Do you know the story?” We gave him the short version that the media provides and added a few details of our own. Hope they were entertained.

sloppy joes

The rain water reflections on the sidewalk really just lights up the corner of Duval and Greene St. Enjoy your liquid walks in Key West. It may not always be sunny & dry, but it is always Key West.


Michele Marie


Shameless Lounge Wall Art by Thomas Filipkowski.

Oh Bats. Batgirl to the BatSuitcase!


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Bat. Bat. Come out wherever you are.

Last night my daughter woke me while I was snoozing on the downstairs couch – I love falling asleep on the couch. “Mom I can’t sleep – wake up.” Then as I slowly woke up, there was another surprise. “Mom there’s a bat!” Swoop. Swoop.

I’m just too tired for this. Mia said call the police, I said no, we can do this. So I suited up. Leather gloves, long sleeved shirt, baseball cap, beach towel and tennis racket. (I’ve done this before.)

“Quick! Open the front door.” I watched the bat swoop and circle the room. Plan A is for the bat to escort himself out. Plan B is for me to quietly sneak up on him when he lands and scoop him up in the large towel and then rush him out the front door. We were forced to enact Plan C. After losing sight of the Bat, we went upstairs, closed all doors leading to the bedroom and went into a restless bat filled dreaming sleep.

The bat continues to tease us. Waking up late for school is never a pleasant feeling. Then throw in the fact that the bat moved into my daughter’s room sometime during the night and was now preventing any access to the closet. WE ARE LATE FOR SCHOOL BECAUSE THERE WAS A BAT IN THE BEDROOM. Seriously, I’m grabbing clothes from the closet like it’s going to bite me – or suck me into a dangerous bat infested vortex– and throwing them in the hallway at my daughter – can you wear this?

“Long story short” as I sometimes say, I cannot find the bat all day – it ducked into my daughter’s closet and I could not for the life of me find the flying terror. All day.


My daughter comes home after school to pack an overnite bag for a sleepover…She declares that she is never going into her bedroom until I guarantee that the bat is gone. Not going to happen. So, she finally is convinced to go into the room and pack. I have her back. Leather gloves & tennis racket. She grabs her suitcase from the top shelf of the closet. “Mom! The bat is on the suitcase! Mom! The bat! Suitcase!” It figures. 

So I grab the suitcase, with the bat firmly attached and scuttle – yes I scuttled – down the stairs and out the front door…mumbling to myself the whole time.  “Come on Mr. Bat…let’s go  outside. Hang On. Outside for you Mr. Bat.” The bat remained intact on the suitcase, like he owns the suitcase. Hanging on like it is his carryon bag.

I’m guessing he was fast asleep and bit annoyed that we were waking him up and sending him packing. Yes, we sent that Bat packing 😉  Kind of. Sort of. I think he wanted to steal the suitcase. Oy.

 Bats-01 Bats-02 


Still sleeping. Kind of.


Then we wake him up….He is not happy!.

Crazy times. Batty times. He is fierce! .Bats-07  

This is what I call “Batitude”!


Recovered the suitcase. Sent him packing. Bats-09

Happy ending. He promptly flew away once he woke up and stopped bat-freaking out.

Cheers y’all.

Michele Marie



Key West Music Wanderings

You know another thing that is cool about Key West? The music scene. Like most things in Key West, it is relaxed, yet classic. So many places to choose from with live and fantabulous music playing seemingly nonstop everywhere.

Saturday I had my first SCUBA lesson at the beach at the end of Simonton St. Lagerheads, the new destination beach bar there has live music every Saturday afternoon. The Robert Douglas Band was playing their mix of ‘Southern Fried Classic Rockin’ Blues’. I felt like I was on an island getaway trip learning to SCUBA. Oh, wait, technically I was, but, hey, I live here. And really, how often do you feel like you are on vacation when you are home?

LUNG Live at the Quarterdeck

LUNG Live at the Quarterdeck

After the lesson we wandered around the block to dinner and had time to catch a few songs from our new fave band and friends, Chris & Ric of LUNG. They were set up at the Rum Barrel. They play a groovy mix of trop rock, originals and classic electro indie tunes. Chris’ sultry French accent is a bonus and makes the blend that much more intriguing, especially here in the Keys.

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 Stay Creative & Cheers!

 Michele Marie

Key West Sunset Wandering

Lagerhead sunset-2


Friday night’s wandering took us in search of sunset. Our first stop was the Island Dogs Bar – Ringo insisted. He likes their martinis. Shared a few laughs. Watched the peeps stroll by to sunset.


Next stop was Lagerheads Beach Bar at Simonton Beach. But don’t tell anyone about it. It’s our secret spot. It has been transformed from a ratty little beach/boat launch into a cozy beach spot complete with tables, beach chairs, a fabulous veggie burger and fish sandwiches…and of course beer and wine for sunset chillin’. 

Lagerhead sunset-3 Lagerhead sunset-1


The sunset finale:

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Cheers and stay creative!

Michele Marie

Decorating with Pictures

So, it is almost time to take down the Christmas decorations. Yes, I keep mine up until the end of gloomy January. Well, I love Christmas lights.  (I used to be really bad and leave stuff up until late February…well, that was just lazy!)

Anyway, I realized that as a mom and a photographer, I have a collection of framed and favorite holiday images both personal and professional. And now these framed memories have become part of my holiday decorating mix.  No holiday is not photographed. Either by my camera or iPhone. It’s so easy. Shoot and share on Facebook, so why not make them a more permanent part of my holiday decor?  Nothing replaces an actual printed and framed image. Timeless.
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I mean, it’s a no-brainer to decorate your home with formal family portraits…but that seems so permanent.  What about printing a few images each holiday to re-use, remember and enjoy year-after-year as holiday decorations?
And now it is so easy with all the different website resources like,,, etc. Not to mention the great frames and scrapbooking items found at your local Michaels Craft Store.
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Tips for creating and using holiday photographs to decorate:
  • Christmas is a great time to find holiday themed frames for your images at local retailers.
  • Pastel colored frames are great for Easter
  • Black anything works for Halloween, red for Valentine’s day, Green for St. Patrick’s day, etc.
  • Online photography resources can make custom hanging decorations (,
  • Do-it-yourself family project:  Scrapbooking papers and decorations make any holiday fair-game from Valentine’s Day – St. Patrick’s Day to 4th of July to Kwanza…
  • Not a framer? Consider starting a holiday album – add a holiday-specific image to it each holiday season every year – keep it on your coffee table to enjoy year-round.
  • No wall space – try using easels to make great table-top displays.
Time goes by so fast. Make it a habit to print your images and preserve your family memories. It’s old-fashioned, simple and it works.
Michele Marie

Keep it simple. relaxed. classic.

Beru-Christmas 2011

Beru-Christmas 2011


October is Family Portrait Month at Studio 303 – North Manchester

So if you know me a little. You know that every year I like to participate in my association, Professional Photographer’s of America’s annual Family Portrait Month benifitting Operation Smile.  This year I’m a little more low-key, but still participating, just not doing a lot of advertising. I am so excited to introduce you to Studio 303 – my outdoor studio at my home in North Manchester.

Lynn and Eli very graciously volunteered to come over and do some shots around the outdoor studio last week.  Enjoy!

fyi – Appointments are available throughout the month of October. Just call (305) 501-0711 to schedule. Special portrait packages are available. Cheers!

Best Summer Weekend Ever in North Manchester!


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 What did you do on this lovely first weekend of August and countdown to the end of summer?  I hung out with my daughter.  Here’s a little recap:

 Friday – started the day with mega-Yard-saling.  This was the big weekend in North Manchester. My daughter and I were ready. We scored a few treasures. Said ‘hi’ to everyone because everyone was out!

 Friday Nite – Pizza at the Farm. We have a local Farm-preneur who has been operating a Friday nite Wood-fired pizza & picnic nite on the farm. My daughter’s first time for a visit to the farm, seeing pigs up-close and the great pizza. Next Saturday is the last nite for the season – check it out if you are around:  Hawkins Family Farm.



Saturday – North Manchester Farmer’s Market. Wore my new, hand-tie-dyed dress a la Cheri, bought some tomatoes. Said ‘hi’ to the few people we didn’t see Friday 😉

Saturday nite – a little crafting, painting with my side-kick and favorite daughter. Enjoyed a cool rain storm and a most awesome sunset.


Sunday – Oh my. The perfect Sunday- sunny & warm. Slept in.  Listened to Vivaldi. Went to breakfast at the Apple Diner.

Shopped till we dropped at the Green Oak Antiques Annual Yard Sale. So many treasures & so much eye candy 😉

Could the day get any better? Why yes, yes it can when you stop for a root beer float at a B&K Drive In in Rochester, Indiana. My daughter had never experienced the drive in restaurant and thought it was so cool to have our food brought to us on a tray that clipped to our car window. And the rootbeer float was fabulous!


Summer is wrapping up – get out there and enjoy the simple things with your favorite peeps!