spirit session

in my line of work (you know, self-employed maker/designer/teacher/writer/farmer) i am often asked to provide a bio and photo to give a little background on who i am. the bio is no problem; i have one that i use as a base that i can tailor to suit the particular class, venue or article it accompanies. up until recently though, the photo was the trickier part. i’d sort through my files, looking for any random pic in which i wasn’t blinking, laughing so hard you could see up my nose and down my throat, or having a terrible hair day. hoping for a photo that actually encapsulated who i am and what i do was beyond the scope of possibility; i really just looked for the least embarrassing snapshot i could find. and once i settled on something and sent it off, i’d make a mental note to try to take some useful shots to avoid repeating the scenario. ahem.

enter thea coughlin. i met thea 2 years ago, at the place where i’ve met many of my most favorite creative souls: squam, of course! thea is a photographer who has built a career doing gorgeous portraits of families and children. and because she’s one of my squam sisters, i’ve seen her photographs of several lovely people i know, some who claim to have absolutely no ease in front of the camera. yet in these photos, they are shining. glowing. radiantly expressing their true, creative, confident selves. clearly, this photographer has a gift, i thought, that she can bring out the inner creative spirit we all have inside of us. so when thea told me she was developing a new style of portrait session, visiting artists and creative professionals in their own spaces and shooting them doing what they love, i knew this was the answer to my dreams! she calls them “spirit sessions”.

we had a fabulous time, and the hours felt like minutes. it was like having your best girlfriend over for a tea party, then playing beauty parlor and dress-up. i was worried that i’d feel nervous and awkward, but forgot about my fears the moment thea arrived. and i love the pictures. i feel like they look like ME. now, when asked for a photo, it’s a joy to select which one to send. and knowing that for many prospective students, readers, or clients, one of these photos will be part of their first impression of who i am, is so comforting.

if you are a creative business person, you know that shaping your visual presentation, your image, is all-important. i don’t think there’s any more i can say about how thrilled i am to have thea’s photos representing me. the pictures really say it all! read about thea’s account of our session and have a look at some of the other lovely souls and stories whose spirit she has captured. if you are coming to the Spring or Fall session of Squam this year, you’ll have the pleasure of meeting this talented woman yourself, and if you’re VERY lucky, you’re already enrolled in one of her sold-out workshops.


Filed under business

i am a maker, designer and teacher, living in the catskills/hudson valley region of new york. i sew, crochet, make patterns, spin, embroider, dye, knit and more...


  1. Cal, you look happy and beautiful! Love Thea’s shots of you. She is incredibly talented, but she also had a great subject! Wish I was headed to Squam again this year… soak up some Squam love for me!

  2. Oh Cal it was so magical, our time together. I was so sad when time ran out. I am so happy you have images you love and that I was able to take them is the icing on the cake. It was so fun. I am eager to photograph some of your new designs soon.

  3. Cal — I always think you look beautiful, but these truly capture your spirit … I love you, mumsy.

  4. Those are amazing photos. I just saw the one with you holding your chicken on the Workroom site. So smiley and brimming with Creative Power!!

  5. They are all so good, but I especially love the first one. The one where you look so comfy on the couch. It makes me want to come curl up on the couch too and stitch. And the sweet chihuahua looking right at you. How perfect.

  6. oh yes yes yes– now you KNOW– now you KNOW what I have been telling people– she makes magic– she sees the essence and gets it in the shot. LOVE these Cal– love seeing your beauty SHINE.

    oxoxox, e

  7. thanks camille! thea deserves all the credit. she can find the beauty lurking within us all!!!

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