evan… on the hunt.

Evan and I shot a wedding this summer.

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Wading through the over 7,000 photos to select and edit, I was way more joy-filled than I ever thought I would be. And partly it was because I came across this sequence of Evan so in the zone. So excited about working like this together. So excited to capture love.

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I can’t explain exactly why… but I love it.

[so so much.]

to be counted present.

I was obsessed with #ALLMYMOVIES. In exactly the way you’d expect of me, I was obsessed—thought it was beautiful/brilliant.

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I watched it constantly and stared at Shia LaBeouf in a way I have never stared at him… or any celebrity… or maybe any human…

I stared at him like the emotional project that it was. I cried once when he cried. I laughed so hard when he laughed with the whole audience whilst watching The Even Stevens Movie. I took screenshots. [like the whole internet wouldn’t.] I kept one of my computer screens at work constantly streaming Shia. [sorry work internet.]

Imagining being there for the whole process—as Shia—was something I desperately dove into. How must he have been feeling? Was this just the most narcissistic thing ever? Is he okay? Is he not okay?

And then a friend sent this article about it all: http://www.ew.com/article/2015/11/16/shia-labeouf-all-my-movies-interview

“You just don’t want anyone to hate you. I walked out loving myself. Not in some grandiose, you’re f—ing awesome way, but in like, you’re a part of a community. You’re part of this human thing. You’re in this human thing.”

I loved these things he said about life, art, work. And the joy of being a part of a community. And the hilarity of looking back and feeling those times. And the darkness of life and shitty work and shitty art…

“When the movies started getting sh– and they knew that I felt it too, it was the shared secret that we all had… not just because I’m in it… I’m in the same boat as you, I’m a viewer in this and this is hard for me to watch too,” he said. “In fact, I’m gonna go take a nap cause I hate myself, not cause I’m tired, but because I’m dying right now. And nobody had a problem with that.”

How painful. How honest. It makes me look at my life and wonder how much of my work is for the Michael Bay’s of Montana. Not much, I believe. I could sit down and watch it all in a row and be proud of it… most of it.

And—honestly—most of it would have so much of me in it, as the star. Me or my better half. And I would watch on in the narcissistic way I do and [hopefully] love it. Find myself liked.

In looking for some kind of visual for all of this and found a comical outtake of a video that never [hasn’t yet?] happened. I set up a shot in our van [one you’ve seen many times before] and then proceeded to look at myself in the display, checking for how I looked. Evan caught me and started mocking me and I died. I love this. Because without Evan, I’d just be staring at myself in screens… and it wouldn’t be half as funny/joyful.

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And in it all, with it all, making it all, sometimes my scars of damage show more than not. Sometimes it’s all commercial. Sometimes it’s ridiculous. Sometimes it’s from the heart. Sometimes it’s not. Sometime’s it’s exhausting. Sometime’s it’s exhausted.

But I want it to be there. I want to be able to sit in a room of people and watch my work, my life, and laugh/cry/pain-sleep/be embarrassed/be joyful/reflect. Because that means there is enough work, enough life, to be held accountable. To be counted present. You’re in this human thing.

And with that, an all-time favorite music video:

Strong work, Shia. I like you.

[this human thing.]

 

I know there’s gonna be good times.

If this here blahg is good for one thing, it’s to look back. And looking back is usually a bit embarrassing and demoralizing. Half of these links are broken! Why the hell can’t I listen to this playlist anymore?!

You had to be there. When we were there, things were unbroken in so many ways.

Life seems to find four year cycles with me. It’s easy to find similarities in where I am now to four years ago. Semi-new to a job I am over the moon over. A new mountain town that taps into a favorite part of myself. Finding friends all over again and missing the incredible ones only 3-4 hours away. Finding me again. Finding new step in my relationship with Evan. [we’re married now.] It’s all so familiar in such different ways.

I do still take photos of myself with computer cameras. Less, now. It used to be taking dozens upon dozens and posting them on this here blahg on the regular…

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From this post. Which was nothing! But something. Something that was acceptable for four years ago. Those posts were—honestly—grasps at something much lesser than relevance. Existence. It’s like I had to look into that Photobooth camera to make sure I was there. I exist. I’m here.

Now I take photos one at a time. Just one-offs. At my desk. Mainly to send text messages to Evan when I’m drinking at work…

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Tonight, after driving to and fro Helena for a presentation and then many [many!] more hours in the office, I found myself texting Evan another photo taken from my computer. To describe where I was at. To show I was tired. To show I found work wine.

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And I could not get over how sad my eyes look! I sent it and immediately looked myself in the eyes. And as I was figuring out that I am not sad… I am tired… happy and tired… Evan texted me back…

– Your office is like a Highlights “Find These Objects” Illustration.

It made everything light. Happy and tired and smiling. Yes and yes. And then I put on so many Jimmy Fallon Lip Sync Battles and cranked out the rest of the work.

Playing this song on repeat helped as well:

Here we are. Four years later. Graduated from that time. Just in time for this time. These dance moves. These ridiculous computer-selfies.

Here we are.

[so there they were.]

fall, y’all.

I totally got called out by a friend at work the other day. After biking to work, I bounced in the door wearing my buffalo plaid jacket and my scarf and my boots, smiling and excited for coffee. My friend looked at me and said,

– You love fall, don’t you? Look at you! You say, “Ugh. I hate the cold” but you love fall so much. I bet you already had two pumpkin spice lattes today!

I have not had any pumpkin spice lattes this season… yet. But — crap — I think I love fall, y’all.

Especially when exercise = leisurely strolls with friends and sneaky wine and beautiful sunsets.

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crunching leaves. actually having time to read. or watch a documentary or appreciate some rad art-vertising. [those are basically the same as reading, right?] espresso galore. new [lovely] music.

walks for the hell of it. podcasts on podcasts on podcasts on podcasts. dates with my husband where the couple at the next table shares their ah-mazing bottle of wine with us.

dammit, I’m a cliché. I love it all.

quittin’ time.

I gave up on my project “July Today.” Yep. It was mid-July and my friends were in town for about twenty minutes and I knew I wasn’t going to keep doing it. And I’m not sorry. I feel a little bit sad in my heart, but I’m not sorry.

Fast forward a week and a half. Some dear friends are in town and wanted some pictures of their family. Naively, I said, “Of course! I can take family portraits!”

It is comically hard to take photos of children. I’m sure you all know this. I know little to nothing about the real world.

It was a lovely Montana night and Emma + Trask + the girls were beautiful subjects, but I didn’t seem to get the Christmas card capture…

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I did find some beautiful times between this sisters. Their dad singing “We can dance if we want to…” behind me over and over. Hilarious. Amazing.

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But my favorite photos came when the shoot was over. The girls were promised popsicles at the end of it all and they immediately cashed in. As soon as they were free, they stripped their clothes off and tore open their treats. I laughed and told Emma, “You can’t blame them. I do the same exact thing at 5 o’clock every day.”

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They were the epitome of quitting time. Phew… Rough day.

Good days. Good summer days.

[oh, summer don’t leave us!]

Also, can’t stop listening to this:

Thanks, Ashely!

engagement photos.

Evan and I have spent the two months of our engagement driving back and forth from Missoula, Bozeman, and Jackson. Things have been a little more insane than usual with us both finishing up our semesters (my final!!!!) and moving and new jobs and new communities and whatnot.

But being engaged has been amazing. I really thought nothing would change from knowing I was going to spend the rest of my life with Evan and then it being official by me wearing a beautiful ring… Things are different. Things are brighter. There is an excitement in this comfort of commitment that I did not expect. Being engaged rules. (I know that might sound braggy… not sorry.)

I never thought I’d be the person who wanted engagement photos, but when Danford Photography posted on Facebook how they were looking for newly engaged couples for a portrait session, I thought, Well, I love being engaged… And let’s throw one more thing into the mix for this crazy time!

Karen and Jesse chose us for a session and I was beyond excited! Evan traveled over to Bozeman for the weekend just for the shoot and we. are. so. glad that he did.

It was a blast driving down to the Madison River area and walking around in the wind, having our photos taken. Karen and Jesse are so awesome: totally casual and sweet and encouraging.

And we are in. love. with our photos…

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I cannot speak highly enough of Danford Photography. Karen and Jesse are incredible people. After the short time we spent with them, we consider them friends! If you’re in the Bozeman area and need any photography in your life… hit them up!

And all of my jewelry (in the photos and basically in general forever now) is Laurel Hill Jewelry. She is also incredible. Ahh, such amazing artists in my life!

thank you thank you, all! xxo.

really looking at ourselves.

I’ve been thinking about this blahg and how it’s funny that I’ll just wait and then spill all of this stuff on you… on the internet… on record… so much just comes out and it leaves everyone involved bewildered.

But that’s how my life is now. I’ll meet a friend for quick coffee and in a flurry of lattes I’ll divulge current fears laced with darkest secrets and pepper in recent comical embarrassments. It’s amazing that these friends are still around. Obviously, I’m insane. In the same vein, thank you for being here.

Tonight I walked to the pub theater again to watch The Skeleton Twins with a few lady friends…

I loved it. The review “heart-crushingly real” resonates. And Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader together in a dramatic comedy? I die. I loved it.

So much so that when I was walking home and realized it was game five of the world series and stopped in a dive bar to watch the rest of the Kansas City slaughter, I had to write about how much I felt The Skeleton Twins. But I didn’t bring my journal, so I had to write on the back of the movie ticket. Don’t worry. Don’t worry I still glued it in…

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Speaking of amazing films that I cannot stop thinking about…

Ida. GO WATCH IDA.

It might be one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Every single frame is frame-worthy. It is beautiful.

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Plus it’s about a young religious woman and a drunk aunt… both forces I deeply relate to. It is amazing. You can rent it via Amazon. It comes with my highest recommendation.

Also, I think Lynne Ramsay is becoming my favorite filmmaker…

That link may not work as embedded, because it’s a serious, award-winning, short that is inexplicably on YouTube. So just go here, if it doesn’t work. Do yourself a favor. Trigger warning: I would’ve appreciated knowing that there’s a minor OD scene.

When I was young (I can’t remember how young… 12?… 10?… unclear.), we had this old towel that lived in the cupboard. I believe it was a towel of my grandmothers. It had this amazing vintage pattern on it. It was a pattern that I thought was so beautiful; the kind of pattern the movie stars would wear on the red carpet or for interviews on the Jay Leno show. Here’s the embarrassing admission that my family (or myself) was a Jay Leno fan, instead of David Letterman. (I did have an aunt who pointed this flaw [and many other flaws] out at any opportunity.)

I would sneak that towel into my bedroom and wrap it around me like a dress. It was glamorous. I would then use the full-length mirror in my room as the stage of the Late Night Show. I would be in my make-believe-world pretending that someone wanted to interview me about something on national television. My make-believe fame was hilarious. I was famous for “being a really nice person.” THAT’S what make-believe-famous Rachel was famous for. This is comical for two reasons: 1. I’m not even the nicest person in this room. I’m not the worst asshole in the world, but I am certainly not nice enough to write home about. 2. Even at a young age, I was skeptical about my talents. At age 11, I couldn’t even make up a plausible dream-reason for me to be interviewed.

A few weeks ago, I hung up the phone after talking with PBS about 20/Nothing. I immediately texted my best friend, my mother, and Evan…

“I just got off the phone from talking about a film I made with the people at PBS… so, I think this might be some sort of life-highlight. had to share/brag with my bf, bff, and mom. xxo.”

It’s not Jay Leno and I wasn’t wearing a fancy towel, but it felt like something. It felt like something I had rehearsed for. It felt like something I was dreaming about… even though that dream wasn’t specific. It was surreal.

The interview lives on PBS’ website now: http://www.pbs.org/pov/20nothing/interview.php An excerpt…

POV: How did you come to the last scene in 20/Nothing? Was the plan always for the film to end with a shot of Evan without his eye?

Rachel Stevens: The theme we were given was “Behind the Curtain,” so we knew we were going to have to have Evan take his eye out. People are usually either grossed out or fascinated by this scene; both reactions are a win for the film. I think the last scene in 20/Nothing is what being human is all about. Sometimes really looking at ourselves (or each other) makes us uncomfortable, but there is real beauty in fully embracing the “imperfections” in us.

I am insanely proud and insanely grateful for this PBS love. This is a dream that came to fruition almost before I knew I wanted it. I couldn’t have done it without an incredibly talented and incredibly supported group of people. Thank you, Sarah, Caitlin, and Tuna. (And [obviously] thank you, Evan… my muse and my rock.)

Have I bragged enough? No? Oh, well, by nothing of my own talent, a photo of me appeared on National Geographic’s website this past week…

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I really thought my parents would love this fame. This one’s for y’all!

A couple months ago Evan and I went for a van trip. An overnight that was filled with some of the biggest smiles. We took the Polaroid even though it’s been on the fritz. I took a photo of Evan standing in/next to the van… Evan in his happy place… in his element. The photo didn’t come out how we wanted. It broke. It’s broken. But I. love. this. photo. I’ve been waiting to share it…

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In the error of development, Evan still has a cheshire-cat-esque smile, which is shockingly on-point when compared to a true capture. Do you see the thumbnail crescent smile of his? On the broken film? Amazing. I love it so.

This post was brought to you by listening to Stars’ album “Set Yourself On Fire” twice in a row. And by two weeks worth of listening to this song on repeat and being mildly obsessed with its video…

Y’all take care. Thanks for the ramble.

[the ramble.]