I wrote this on Instagram and had to share here too:

I like to ask my clients where they feel happiest and most like themselves, or have them take me to one of their special places. It adds so much meaning and personality to the session. This Momma grew up going to the beach in San Clemente and was visiting with her family, so we went to T Street and made some new memories. It just so happens, this is one of my special places as well. Weeks before, on a walk with Jeff, we passed the bridge and I thought, I have got to take that very shot. Stars aligned for the perfect reason to do it.

These twins were so inspiring to photograph because they are so identical it’s astonishing! I am FASCINATED by family genetics and faces.


Last July, we road tripped up to Tahoe for the first time, to stay in a cabin with my brother’s family. Here are my film images from the trip, taken on an old Nikon One Shot point and shoot camera with Kodak Ektar. This was the last time the camera worked.

More from this film project can be found here.


I was happy to do her bidding when she asked for this photograph on our way out of town. Her red vintage carry on, purchased at a garage sale in the third grade, carrying road trip essentials such as candy, tissues, lavender satchel, and special blanket. The hat I used to wear all the time when she was a baby and just pulled out because I thought she might like it. And my old Ben Folds t-shirt. Minutes before falling asleep that night, she told me in the sweetest way, “you always like the weird ones,” as we compared what we liked from this set on my phone. And she didn’t imply weird meant bad. And I was like, YES.


Steak at a bowling alley.


Halfway to Tahoe, we stopped to sleep. We took our chances. This was the dirtiest motel I have ever been in, but the bathroom window was beautiful. All five of us in one room. The adult sized children had to sleep on the ground, which was tile. When we turned on the ceiling fan, so much dust got kicked up I that it was like being in a blizzard. We turned off the ceiling fan and went to sleep as fast as we could.


Made it to Tahoe. Met up with the Duffs and Madame Ellie.


First things first, get that wifi password.


Saw the sunset over the mountains our first night.


The day we almost ran out of gas, had our boat rental stolen from underneath us after waiting for two hours, and dove into the icy water for the first time.

Taken from an Instagram post about the experience:

“One second I was on the dock with husband and son under me, treading, begging me to join them but not believing I would and my other two were behind me, watching what I would do, and the next second I dove, I was under, and my heart was pounding wildly from the shock of icy cold and there was nothing but water around me for feet and feet and feet and it FELT SO ALIVE and my arms and legs took up their familiar jobs and then we all flopped onto that floating dock and I couldn’t stop smiling because I knew I had just shaken the status quo right up.”

tarawhitney16_794tarawhitney16_795tarawhitney16_796Relieved after making it to the gas station.

tarawhitney16_797tarawhitney16_798tarawhitney16_799tarawhitney16_800tarawhitney16_801tarawhitney16_802Family portrait on Rachel’s birthday.


Goodbye group shots.



When we did this session, Nick was one week away from telling his children that he was going to transition to a man. When we began emailing each other, I had a feeling that might be the case. I had a feeling because I have watched my brother transition over the last two years, and they reminded me of each other. My youngest sibling is now a man named Anthony. We call him AJ. (This is a story for another blog post. We did a series of photos that have to be shared, but the right words need to come.) ….So, I had this feeling but didn’t say anything. A week before our session, Nick emailed to tell me, and my heart opened up so big and wide for all seven of them. I wrote back and shared my experience with AJ, and it was just one of those amazing and wild coincidences and connections that makes you so happy that it happened to you. It was just right for us to meet and work together.

Nick and Anna are like, in love. In love in the way that anyone can see it. And the love they share spills over onto their blended family. The children are so lucky and picked me up into their chaos and acceptance and made me laugh for two hours.

I felt protective of these images and these people and so I have kept them to myself. But it’s time to share them. Trans people need to see trans people, AND SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE! You are not alone. You are everywhere and I LOVE IT. You have my support and the support of my immediate and extended family. If anyone out there needs someone to talk to, or any of you know someone that needs someone to talk to, please reach out to me, I can connect you/them to good people.

(I’ll put links to both Nick and Anna’s blogs, which share their stories in more detail, at the bottom of the post. It’s a beautiful story, how they came together.)

PS – Nick and AJ recently met in person, after I connected them via Instagram. How cool is that?



Nick’s blog here
Nick’s Instagram here

Anna’s blog here
Anna’s Instagram here

PPS Something I just saw on Anna’s blog and wanted to share here as well:

‘Here are five things that some people might not know regarding how to talk to someone who’s trans. As a PSA, I share these with you, because none of us know what we don’t know until we know it.

1. It is perfectly polite to ask someone what pronouns they prefer.

2. It is never acceptable to ask someone about their private parts. This is true for everyone, though, not just trans people. Just like it’s not ok to touch a pregnant woman’s belly without her consent, politeness is still politeness no matter what someone is doing with their identity.

3. Anything that happens in a doctor’s office is also something that is no one else’s business. How would you feel if you were asked loudly in public about your prostate meds or your diflucan or viagra prescription? Manners.

4. By the time someone is ready to tell the world that they are transitioning, it is safe to assume that they have already pondered, researched, and agonized about their decision. They have certainly talked to a psychologist and a medical doctor at a bare minimum, and probably sought all sorts of wise counsel over a course of months or years. They have, without a doubt, considered deeply and with great angst the way it will influence the lives of those they love. Therefore to ask if they’re sure, or if they’ve thought about how it might affect their children, is unhelpful and insulting. (Unless of course they have a history of cooking meth or making other rash and impulsive decisions that endanger their loved ones.) Otherwise, assume the best.

5. The bathroom is the most terrifying place in the world for someone who is trans. This is a place where you can be an advocate, a champion, where you have the chance to be human kindness in action. If someone looks out of place in a bathroom, you might smile kindly at them. You can assume that only the most dire of physical needs and the most unfortunate of circumstances would force someone to go pee in a place where they will likely encounter cold looks, rude words, and worse. You can make a safe place with your energy and your presence. Out in the larger world, you can champion gender-neutral bathrooms everywhere, ones equipped with handicap access and changing tables while we’re at it. You might step up and educate the poor security guard who has gotten called to haul some poor mortified soul out of the place where they do their most private business. And you can accompany your trans or androgynous friend to the bathroom without being asked so that you can be their backup and their safety should that be necessary.’