girls essenza models

i had put the word out that i needed sweet models for my new line of essenza- 

essenza girls

we had such a beautiful day on saturday to shoot all our special girls that had signed up.

lindsey from Honeydew Vintage came and designed the two sets that we used for shooting. 

moms decked their sweet ones out in outfits and dresses that WERE TO DIE FOR! 

on Facebook, i had used a quote from the book, The Help.  :

"you is kind.  you is smart.  you is important. " aibileen clark.

these precious souls:

it is not just a photograph anymore.

i have spent the last few hours, judging "Reflections" entries for the National PTA.  this is my second year to participate in the national judging.  the category that i work with is, of course, photography, and the age group that i am involved in judging is middle school, grades 6-8.  

this year the theme was, "the world would be a better place if..."

i judged roughly 50 entries from all over the united states.  

i was inspired, convicted, and achieved a new clarity on my particular craft as i judged. it is too much on my mind to not share - lucky you!

the judging rubric clearly calls the judging to be centered around the interpretation of the theme for the year, how creative one is interpreting the theme throughout the photography entry, and then the level of skill shown with the entry.  

time and time again, i was amazed at how i would judge a piece completely differently if i did not reference the judging guidelines continually.  how emotionally, i may get caught up in the arist statement and then start to have that emotional connection carry over into an image that didn't portray great artistic skills, and vice there may be a lackluster artist statement, but a deeper knowledge of the artistic skill set forth in the photograph.  

the critique that i needed to offer, needed to be set by following the rubric intentionally.  

ok...hold tight with me...i know...what does all of this mean? and why am i blogging about it?

for me, i so clearly was able to insert this beside the photography industry of today,  how "i" fit into it, and what i am called to do. 

fact.   many many people own great, and even expensive cameras.  consumers have high quality labs at their fingertips, enabling access to prints and products only professionals could produce even up to a couple of years ago.  the amount of self labeled "photographers" in the community today is enormous!  

so where does the value or the "scoring" in the photography industry come from?

why would you choose to pay me for a visual that more than likely, someone else out there could give to you.?

the answer is simply found in WHY. 

looking back, i believe i have always had a why.  i delivered emotion.  i delivered artistry.  i delivered a feeling.  my photography skill level has grown tremendously over the past ten years.  but if i do not continually refer back to my "why", i have a very good chance of not achieving what i intend to.  

just as these students who have reached a national level with their photographic entry, need to be scored specifically according to the rules, i need to own my skill, delivery and intent in every job that i perform and commit to.  

simply said, i need to be dedicated to my "why."

from here i could give you example after example showing and proving why this is so important.  

however, i am going to just offer you this:

i know i take incredibly artistic, beautiful images. 

i know my God given plus educated talent together is valuable.  

i know i have the studio facility, and the latest state of the art equipment to create high quality, beautiful images for you. 

but the single most, unmatched value i can give to you is this:

every time i raise my camera, i embark to create an uncompromised, invaluable photographic and emotionally tied memory for you.  i will strive to show you as a woman, no matter what age you may be (ages 8-88!),  that you may see yourself as the unique, treasured woman that God has created you to be. that the time that you spend with me and my team, will bring you to a deeper understanding of yourself...your purpose...your confidence...your self perception.  that you  will walk away from the complete experience with portraits to cherish for all time...for all generations, but also will have a new carved out place in your heart to hold dear and commit to as you never have before.  

and what will happen from there?

your photograph will no longer be just a photograph. 

your arms will stretch wider, with more possible strength than you knew you had within you. 

you will be supercharged and renewed to embark, create, do, be...

you see, it truly is NOT about just a photograph any more. 




matchless beauty...treasured memory. another reason for you.

my dad's mom died when he was fifteen.  

my dad's sister was 8.  

the lives that my dad and his sister endured because of this death, is a story in itself.

what i want to share with you today is what i learned from this life changing experience for my dad and aunt....and it has to do with a photograph. 

growing up, my dad's mom, was always spoken of and thought of with the utmost love and reverence.  

when we moved from pittsuburgh, to a tiny town, troutville, in 1983, my dad set out to make the attic of this new, old house of ours, his office.    

our house sat in the middle of what i would describe as an amish town.

quite honestly, i thought that i had went to sleep and woken up as laura ingalls wilder.  

the horse drawn buggies, the sled riding with our amish friends, the sound of horse hoofs on the pavement at 5am on sunday mornings, as they made their way to church...

oh, but again, that is another story. 

back to my dad's office. 

in this new old home of ours, the attic was completely, utterly, abandonly, unfinished. 

wooden rafters, floor joints with exposed insulation laying between...

lights hung on cords then from hooks on the ceiling...dangling above the makeshift desk he made so he could do "the bills."

as a family of 7, living on only dad's extremely modest income of a loan officer, and my mom selling world book part time, i'm certain the job of doing the bills, and budgeting was another full time job...geez lousie...again, it's another story.

i'll take a big breath and get on with it...

i remember the was of exposed wood, insulation, my dad's aftershave, big sharpie markers and paper...i think.

we would knock on the door before we would enter and go up to his special place. 

more often than not, i was chicken to go up there...there was the occasional bat, and mice when the hay field next door would get chopped down.  

but even with those fears of critters, i was still drawn to visit him up there...i'd sit at his desk, perched on a red milk crate.  his desk was a huge plywood board planted firmly on 2 sawhorses.  i loved to sit there as he punched the numbers in his adding machine...hearing the swish clicking sound that it gave off as the numbers printed themselves out onto the roll of paper.   i would sit there smelling (cautiously) those huge red and black sharpie markers that he marked everything with, and i would her. 

it was a picture of my dad's mom, dorothy kwiatkowski muirhead.  (her polish maiden name, Kwiatkowski, translated to when she opened her own beauty salon, she went by dorothy flowers.  there was still much criticism toward the polish at that time. ) 

my dad told me all of this, and i would take these moments in his own little sanctuary and stare at HER.   the picture was an 8x10, lovingly framed, and sat full on center at his desk.  remembering this image, i can only imagine the thrill the photographer had the moment his finger hit the shutter with her image.  my grandmother's eyes, they were connected.  her neck, long and lady like.  her smile, perfectly peaceful - real.  i know that this was dad's first and foremost earthly possession until the day he died - the treasured beautiful image of my movie star look alike grandmother, dorothy.  

muh conversation resulted from this photograph, and from an early age, because i had this image of her, she became almost life like to me.  and i know to him, in a sense, it kept her alive - he had her face...he had that precious image. 

and today...

dad passed in 2006.  he left a box of photographs.  i can't seem to find the portrait that he had treasured so.  

maybe he gave it to one of my siblings...or his sister...i don't know.  

i have a lot of candids to look through yet.  

candids of her dancing and smiling and laughing.  all of which i treasure immensely.  

but that perfect portrait - the one that memorialized her for me, the complete essence of who she was-seems to be lost.   


i remember that portrait and what it meant to my me.  

and i can't tell you how many times when i look through my viewfinder, after i have strategically placed my subject, and i turn to look at the pose - i see her.  the connection, sincere smile, the unmatchable beauty.  

THAT is what makes my heart jump when my finger hits my shutter.  

the memory i  am creating...for you.  for those you love. 

your connected beauty, your  legacy, your  portrait FOR ALL TIME, to leave for those who love. 

my grandmother was not yet 40 when she passed through this world, onto the next.

and without sounding like gloom and doom, our days are not promised!  

make and take this moment when it is here. 

make plans for this date. 

announcing the brand new portraiture line - essenza, and an incredible opportunity for you!

it's happening again....

it's time that joelle watt studios expands yet once more, and i am so very excited to announce a brand new line of fine art portraiture that has my heart all over it. 

for years now, i have been drawn to developing relationships with women, through all stages of life.  i love to encourage women of all ages.  i have done this in the past with "Be Your Own Beautiful", with my Essenza Intimate portraiture and through almost any other area of my work.  

girls, teens, seniors, women - of all ages and circumstances, need to be nurtured, encouraged, and empowered.  and i truly feel that this is a calling in my life - to do this - with my voice, my heart, and my camera.  

Essenza in italian, translates to essence.  

as we move through life, our essence changes.  

through every stage, and every circumstance, we evolve.  and more often than not, these life changes aren't always easy for us to embrace.  even so, we MUST.  and as i have seen time and time again, a portrait has a spectacular, almost magical way of showing us the beauty that we forget is there...the essence of the moment that needs and deserves to be cherished.  

with that in mind, i have branched a new line fine art portraiture geared toward every women - from ages 8-88, in so many different ways that each life stage will have it's own title.  

this studio overturn, will have so many opportunities for YOU in the near future.  

i will be looking for models, faces and stories in the coming months, and will be reaching out to you for help in doing that - so stay alert!  there is excitement you will not want to miss.  

to begin, i would love to have you meet jenna.  jenna is a strong, beautiful woman that i have had the honor of knowing since she was a young teenager.  today, she is a mother who has overcome trials that justifiably could have broken her.  she is a mother of 3 children under the age of 4.  she is most definitely at a stage in life, that she could forget the beauty and women that she is.  

i will share more of her story with you in the coming weeks.  

this past saturday, i also shot my beautiful sister shannon.  

again, mother of 3 children, extremely talented, and an overcomer.  

two young mothers, who needed to reconnect with their soul - their essence.  

and now you....

drum roll is the first opportunity for you:

and YES, you are reading correctly - by choosing to a take part in a complimentary portrait session, you can possibly receive unlimited family portrait sessions for an entire year, and i will waive every session fee.

essenza mothers of young children

if you are a mother of young children -

mark your calendars, for friday, april 10th from 4-7 pm at my studio.

i will give you all the information that you need - and we can plan your shoot, to show YOU, the beauty that are today!



winter is dead -

winter is dead -

it goes without saying, i do think, even if you do not live in northwestern pennsylvania, that this winter has been one of the deepest, hardest, coldest, unrelenting winters in a very long time.  

if you know me, possibly even casually, or from Facebook or my blog, you MAY have picked up on the very same scenario occurring in my life.  

see, there is something about a freezing winter that i think  in this life, that feels worse than hell.  for throughout my personal freeze, at times, i could not feel anything.  and then, at times, the cold served me to the core, so that i could not speak...sometimes so deep and close to the end, that even my shaking would stop.  slowly but surely, the freeze that had settled in, literally began to immobilize me...but even then, in the depths of my heart, the place that was the only place left alive - my soul, where my creator and savior lives - i could still feel a trace of warmth - the trace of a heartbeat.

 this has kept me going.  this has kept me alive. 

friends....the freeze is beginning to melt.

have you noticed?  all around us.

as i type, i hear the pitter pat of the droplets hitting the roof from the icicles giving way to - wait - is it the WARMTH of the sun?  as i type, yes i feel it....the sun, shining through the windows above my desktop.  the sun is is trying to stay, and it has entered back into my home and heart in a way that i have missed, so very dearly.

i won't comment on the hurts and trials that i and those around us who love us, have endured these past two years, but i will tell you that the extent of pain and weariness that these trials have  brought into our lives have been nearly delibitating - even deadly.  

i will tell you that prayer works. 

i will tell you that God loves, heals, blesses and lives. 

i will tell you that i just last week, looked into the mirror, and was astounded at the person staring back at me.  who was she?  i look different - what we have lived, has changed me.  to put it mildly, i look worse for the wear.  my house, it needs a huge, good needs the windows opened and aired needs painted, it needs renewed.  

but just as life, this change, in order to be successful - sustainable, it must be done correctly, through the correct processes and with the right materials. 

this winter will need to be CLEANED up, good riddance.  i think my poor puppy sinks into more road cinders than mud on our potty outings.  

my life...we are airing out, cleaning up...regrouping.

and so is this business....which i do hope you all know, is a huge part of my heart.  

and as this ice gives way to cool spring, rushing waters, i am beyond anxious to share with you what has been stirring in my mind and heart...a new/old revelation that i plan to implement - plan to share with you -plan to bring to you...

today, enjoy the transition.

as i just did, go ahead....shed your thick, warm, fleece sheets for cotton..your flannel pjs for knit...

adjust to the change...let it settle in..

the sun is on it's way...

friends, the best, is yet to come.

Lamentations 3:22-23English Standard Version (ESV)

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.