Falling Into Winter

Changing Seasons inspire us. Nature transitions all the time (sometimes all in one week, like in NW Indiana...ha ha!), revealing ever changing beauty for those who are looking. Fall is one of our favorite seasons, especially at the very end when you get the sense that Winter is coming...


The trees are almost bare, revealing their skeletal structures.  Bold leaves have faded to more subdued, somber shades of brown and gold until the last leaves have fallen. Then nature turns a sombre gray and is resting.  Isn't there something beautiful in that?  We don't know who said it but we agree;  "Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let go." As nature lovers and photographers, we are very in tune to the changing surroundings and watch every little nuance unfold. It inspired us to do this collaboration.

We absolutely love shooting in abandoned, crumbling places.  We find beauty in the fallen bricks and chaos. Nature finds its way here too, shooting up through the cracks and crevices.  

And in great decay comes great renewal. Life finds a way out of the darkest spots.
— Tyler Knott Gregson

One of our favorite, not so secret, abandoned places to shoot is the City Methodist Church of Gary.  It was beautiful in it's prime but there is something so striking about the structure that remains with it's gaping walls, falling ceilings, shattered windows and piles of bricks. The church stands in defiance of time but ever changing, jutting out of the city streets like a scene from an apocalyptic movie set.

Carmen was dreaming of incorporating the current season with the the decaying church, using elements from the actual rubble that surrounded us. We also knew we wanted to work with Kaitlyn, a former High School senior of Jamie's.  We thought her striking features, like her black hair and light eyes, would stand out greatly alongside this majestic church.


It didn't take much convincing to get Maddie Raspe and Ami Bangalan on board for hair and makeup.  They are spontaneous, Creatives themselves and love exploring new ideas and looks.

So with an inspiration board shared and a quick trip to the craft store, we were able to whip up our vision.  Even though the day was so sunny, it was freezing cold.  We all suffered just a little for the art.

The morning of the shoot, the warm sun was gleaming down on the thin crust of frost that had settled upon the fallen leaves.  It perfectly encapsulated what we were about to create and capture.

chaos, leave me never.
keep me wild and keep me free.
so that my brokenness will be,
the only beauty the world will see.
— R.M. Drake

We all had so much fun styling the shoot with a few simple details and working together. Maddie and Ami even came on location with us and lent a helping hand, whether to adjust the hair or wipe Dakota's involuntary tears due to the cold. Dakota looked more amazing than we could've imagined and she was a true warrior! While we were bundled up, she stood there in a strapless gown, willing to freeze in the name of creating art.

We love the eeriness of the images that still show warmth and beauty, symbolizing the transition between something that is ending and something that is blossoming into a new beginning.


Thank you Kaitlyn, Maddie and Ami for working with us - it was a perfect way to end 2017. Lately we might've been hibernating a little but feel so inspired for our next collaborations!

Here is to growth and evolving! Cheers to an amazing 2018!

- Jamie & Carmen | T.O.A.D.