Please meet two of my dearest friends


Thank you, Scott Thomas, for the portraiture assignment.  Thank you so much.  Without this assignment, I would have missed the opportunity to photograph two of my dear friends.

Thank you, dear Catherine and Jan, for agreeing so readily to allow me to fiddle with the camera and take at least twenty photos of each of you.  Thank you for not fussing if you don’t like the results!  (ha ha, you know I won’t be taking senior pictures any time soon!)

Thank you both for our years of precious friendship.  For stopping by to read this blog at times.  For being your own precious magnificent selves.

Catherine poses again

All of the rest of you blog readers, let me introduce Catherine first.  How to describe a friend of a quarter century?

Catherine is a warrior for the earth, a warrior for truth.  She loves the earth and nature with a passion.  She’s spoken for its survival, for its health, with passion and zest. 

She’s done many things in her life.  She’s milked cows (yes, ran a dairy farm!)  She’s introduced her grandchildren to the outdoors, showing them frogs and trees and puddles.  She’s worked at a Shelter Home.  She’s helped form an environmental group in our area that prevented a paper mill from draining its toxic chemicals into Lake Superior. 

She organized four of us together in an Artist’s Way group last year.  We met once a month, sharing our art and deeply discussing our creative challenges.  She pencils beautiful drawings.  Truly she has an artist soul, a gentle soul, far-seeing eyes.

She eats slowly.  She writes slowly, consciously.  She drinks in the world deeply.  She feeds chipmunks and finches.  She owns one of the most beautiful old farmsteads in the county.

Catherine's gentle laugh

I snapped these photos on the way to the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin Saturday night.  She is wearing a fishermen’s knit sweater knitted by her boyfriend’s mom.  Isn’t that precious? 

(Don’t you suddenly want a handmade fishermen’s knit sweater?  I do.)


Then there is my friend, Jan.  I call her Janna Maria half the time. 

I met Jan spiritually before I met her in physical form.  (Oh dear, didn’t know this story was coming out.)  Jan was involved in a severe accident back in the 90’s.  Her vehicle flipped on the Skanee Road and she was injured beyond belief. 

I happened to accidentally come upon the sight up the accident after a Solstice prayer ceremony up near Catherine’s house.  I knew it was vital to pray for this accident victim–and did–for a long time after returning home.  As I prayed, images arose.  Images about this accident victim…

…which years later, when we met, proved to be true images and scenes from her life.

Jan the Imp

Jan’s survival from this accident was a true miracle.  Many of the bones in her body shattered; she suffered brain damage.  Yet she lived to speak and walk and share and be a beautiful friend to those who know her warm melting hug and ready laugh.

Jan works closely with children, leaning down on bended knees to guide them, deeply present with them.  She works as a teacher aide at our small school and has taught Sunday School for many years.  She’s always ready to volunteer, assists her parents, opens her house to those in need.  She, too, loves the earth–especially rocks from Lake Superior.  She loves to garden and create beauty. Her spirit shines like a bright star.

Jan's famous laugh--around these woods, anyway!

I could write on and on about both of my buddies, but you get the picture.  They’re wonderful friends.  They even stop by this blog–as I’ve said–so be kind if you start analyzing my first attempts at portraiture.

It seemed more important, somehow, to display their spirits–their laughs–their quirkiness–than to produce picture-perfect portraitures to hang on the living room wall.  (OK, OK, I suppose the really good photographers can do both.  Display the spirits of their subjects AND get magnificent quality.)

Shake hands everyone.  OK, hugs are allowed.   🙂

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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28 Responses to Please meet two of my dearest friends

  1. jeffstroud says:

    What a beautiful and wonderful tribute to your dear friends! The photographs capture, the joy and beauty of both of these women, their spirit and trust shines forth!

    Nice meeting both you Catherine and Jan!

    I am Love, Jeff

  2. Susan D. says:

    Oh, these are lovely photos of Catherine and Jan. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Catherine, until now. How nice to meet you, Catherine! You’re a beautiful lady, inside and out. Love your sweater!

    And Jan Lady. Hi! Kathy captured your beauty and spirit perfectly! I can hear your wonderful laugh. Missing you!

    Thank you, Kathy. Precious treasures!

  3. OM says:

    A+ Kathy! I feel as if I have met your friends. Catherine and Jan, you are both such marvelous women, I am honored to meet you this way.

    Kathy, a perfect blend of words and pictures. I like your approach of showing the laughter, spirits, quirkiness, not “picture-perfect” which is not at all so ALIVE!!! It’s a far far “better” photographer who can convey the living-ness, the real-ness. But then, you’ve been doing that a long time, with your pictures, even of leaves and rocks, haha.

    Underlining what Jeff and Susan said!

  4. barb says:

    The smile says so much about a person, don’t you think? I see a quiet calm in one and an outgoing exuberance in another. They are definitely very good friends if they allowed you to “experiment” on them!

  5. Elisa's Spot says:

    Jan the Imp is my most faaaaaaavorite way of engaging Jan! How nice to see a ‘real’ face. (considers asking if we might need some easy off).

    Catherine, I think all I experience are the tinkles that are in a certain kind of her laughing times.

    Thank you very much for sharing these! Thank you brave posers for allowing!

  6. Carol says:

    I think your photos capture their essence and their beauty. What more could you want?

  7. Oh my gosh, their smiles jumped off the screen and straight into my heart. Kathy, not only do you take amazing photographs, you have AMAZING friends. Thank you so much for introducing them to us!

  8. Karma says:

    I think you’ve captured some beautiful light and beautiful spirit of your friends. I’m sure at least part of the reason that their faces light up the way that they do is because they were having their photos taken by a dear friend.

  9. Robin says:

    These are beautiful, Kathy! You’ve done one of those things with portraiture that I think is often missing: You captured their spirits. Or at least a bit of their spirits, enough so that these are two women I know I would very much like to meet so I thank you for introducing us to them.

    Just beautiful… 🙂

  10. K Odell says:

    I just Love Catherine’s sweater!

  11. Dawn says:

    Beautiful. Hugs to all of you.

  12. Kiah says:

    You portrayed both Catherine & Jan’s personalities wonderfully! When I’m home you’ll have to take my portrait! I wonder what my spirit will look like…

  13. Kathy says:

    I am glad you all had the opportunity to meet my friends. The next order of business is to track them down (well, I’ll see Jan at work in a few hours so it won’t be difficult to find her) and see if they’ve stopped by. If they’re happy with the blog or ready to kill me. lol! I will make sure they read your comments. It means a lot that you felt their spirits were captured…it is a joy to even bring forth a little of essence. Blessings & gratitude for all of you.

  14. Colleen says:

    Kathy, oh my….there is magic in that heart and that camera of yours. And in your wonderful words. Amazing women…all of you! So lovely to meet you Catherine and Jan 🙂

  15. Cindy Lou says:

    Everyone else has said it all…..beautimous friends! 🙂

    PS – I’d really like to see what you capture of Kiah’s spirit?!?!?

  16. bearyweather says:

    Thanks for sharing your friends and this photo assignment. I twisted the idea a little bit to fit me … here is my “natural” take on the photography assignment … (you know I just had to include a bear ;0)

  17. Carsten says:

    It is good you took up Scotts assignment.
    You got an excuse for taking pictures of your friends, and we got an image of whom they are. Thanks to you and your dear friends.

  18. mimi says:

    Beautiful in every way!

  19. Kathy says:

    Thank you all, again. I am happy you were able to meet Catherine and Jan!

  20. Nye says:

    The stories about their lives are very touching, and thanks for sharing. I like the closeup images of both portraits. I see the leaves already changed colors in your area.

    • Kathy says:

      Nye, I just received a beautiful card in the mail from Catherine thanking me for this post. It is so precious! And Jan’s boyfriend wants copies of the photos. It was good to do this. And yes, many autumn leaves everywhere!

  21. Pingback: Assignment 9: Recap « Views Infinitum

  22. Debra Joy Collins says:

    I would like to say you have captured the essence of my sister Jan. She is one of God’s angels in disguise. I wrote the words to a song in tribute to her but she deserves much more. She has been inspiring to many and is very loved by many. She is an amazing woman and I love her so very, very much. By the way I love the pictures of her you took !

    • Kathy says:

      Debra, your words are a tribute to your sister, Jan! (I think I have heard your song a while ago…it was very beautiful.) I think she is a very special being who does inspire so many. Glad you liked the photos…

  23. Julia-Joy says:

    Hey there Kathy! I really enjoyed your blog. The picture of “Jan the Imp” is a wonderful capture of her spirit. When i think of my mom feeling happy and free, this is how i picture her in my mind. She doesn’t usually let people take pictures of her. Did you bribe her with rocks? This is a precious shot. thanks for sharing 🙂 Julia-Joy

    • Kathy says:

      Julia, I am so thrilled that you stopped by to read this tribute to your mama! Didn’t that photo capture her spirit so well?? You would know! So you want to know the secret of how I convinced her… lean close. I told her I was desperate. That I needed to do a portraiture assignment. Would she please, please, please, be a guinea pig? She couldn’t say no!

      • Julia-Joy says:

        Thank you for sending her pics. I did want them! I actually had copied the images from your blog. I can almost hear you pleading for her help. She probably said, “oh stop it, come on.” I love that you can see her silver cross in your picture. Has she told you the story behind that cross she wears? Ask her, it’s a nice story. Take care Kathy and thanks again 🙂

        • Kathy says:

          Julia, I have heard the cross story…and love it so much. I told her today at school that you and I are having a love-fest on the blog. She laughed! You take care, too…hope to see you again one of these days.

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