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  • Hello. Welcome to my blog!

    Please check out our new fine art photography and graphic design business! www.paulandjewel.com

    This blog is no longer active but it is a great chronicle through my initial first few years as a photographer. The blog started while I was at photography school in Massachusetts, covers my time working in Florida and Georgia, and chronicles our recent 6 month adventure working with orphans in Thailand. Thanks for visiting!

New Business!

Thank you so much for following my photographic journey. I’ve kept this blog for three years, but now its time for a change.

I hope you’ll follow us to Santa Barbara, California and beyond as my husband and I grow a new fine art photography and graphic design business, Paul & Jewel Studios!

www.paulandjewel.com 

www.facebook.com/paulandjewel

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6 months in Thailand + exciting next steps in America

Paul and I have been back in America for two weeks and we’re already missing our dear young friends from The Home of Joy like crazy. Its pretty difficult to paraphrase 6 full months of living and working in Thailand. It changed us.

Through the highs, lows, communication barriers, laughter and tears we connected with some truly incredible young people. The children taught us how to live more in the beauty of the present moment. They taught us to really appreciate the simple joys in life every day. We acquired a new sense of gratitude. We saw the horrible dangers of apathy.

140 children found their way into our hearts and helped to strengthen our faith, our love for one another and our commitment to a life together full of service. I’m so glad that we were able to spend our first months of marriage having this experience. More photographs to come.

What are our next steps? For the next few weeks we’ll be visiting with some of our much-missed friends and family across the U.S. and re-adjusting to the Western world. Then, for the next couple of months, we’ll be in Oregon working hard on all of our new business plans and materials. In a few months we plan to move to the Santa Barbara area to plant roots and start a new photography and design company together! We will never forget our friends in Thailand and hope to return for a visit someday. They will always inspire us. I hope you enjoy seeing some of their beautiful faces in these portraits that I made! Love and peace.

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Little Artists + Only One More Week – Our Thailand Home

In our six months here at Baan Unrak Children’s Home, I have spent many joyful hours creating art with the kids. Our drawing sessions are one of my favorite activities, along with the weekend river trips and our teen photography classes. Whenever I bring in art supplies after school, the kids go wild! A small mob of little ones will surround me, excitedly asking, “Teacher, paper please!?” as we have taught them. Occasionally I give them assignments to stretch their creativity and share their emotions, but usually I let them run wild with their amazing imaginations. One of my friends and colleagues sent us a big box of art supplies for the kids, and in their minds (and in mine too) Teresa Earnest is a real live angel. Aren’t these little artists beautiful?

Paul and I only have one more week left of our six month commitment and then we will be flying back to the U.S! We really can’t believe how the time has flown by and have such mixed emotions about it. I have so many more precious images of the kids to share and will post again soon. Love and peace.

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Thailand Mon Wedding – International Wedding Photography

We were honored to attend our friend Abbha’s wedding here in Thailand. We wish Abbha and her husband every happiness as they begin a new life together and we hope they love their photos! The wedding ceremony was performed in the Mon tradition (the Mon are an ethnic group from Burma / Myanmar). The small celebration was unique and joyful; everyone was so welcoming. I’m really glad I was able to borrow the busy couple for a moment to do some posed portraits in front of the bedroom window with the Thai morning light shining in afterward. Here are a few of my favorite images. Isn’t Abbha a gorgeous bride?!

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day – Our Thailand Home

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! These are a few of our precious friends here at the Baan Unrak Children’s Home. I hope their sweet faces will make you smile big. If you want to keep on smiling, there are some more adorable black and white portraits in this post.

Since I haven’t had a chance to post the past couple of weeks, here is a little update. Alayha, one of of my very best friends in the world came all the way to Thailand to visit me last week! It made me so happy to see her and to share this experience. Paul and I are both feeling under the weather at the moment, but we are so happy to be together here on the Thai-Burma (Myanmar) border. This is our third Valentine’s Day together (see what we were up to last year and the year before), but our very first as a married couple! We have now completed five of our six months of work here and can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by. Will post again soon. Love and peace.

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Orphanage Photo Class Progress – Our Thailand Home

Paul and I decided to spend 6 months in Thailand to help the Baan Unrak Children’s Home in any way that we could. Since October, we’ve been involved in lots of different projects and tasks here (with varying success) like relief work, sponsorships, fundraising, communications, IT, video-making, teaching, social media, art projects, supervising, etc. But planning and teaching our own Teen Art-Photography Class has really been what makes my heart sing (besides making the little ones giggle, of course). When you’re passionate about something, its such an amazing feeling to be able to share that joy.

After receiving enough used cameras and supplies from several generous sponsors a month ago (thank you, again!), we started the class. We will be teaching it for two more months before we need to leave. The group of 12 students meets twice a week. During the week we meet for an hour and a half for a lesson in the library, and on Sundays we go out for a three or four hours on field trips in the area. The students have trance-like concentration and their faces often light up so beautifully with joy and pride throughout our sessions.

Below are some photos I took of the teens during our past couple of field trips, but what you should really see is their own stunning work on the Baan Unrak facebook page. We have also started an etsy page for them to sell their very best art prints, profits going directly to funds for the young photographers. We hope that you enjoy their work and that you will help spread the word about their etsy shop. Love and peace!

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River Day Cuteness – Our Thailand Home

Is it possible to look at these adorable faces without smiling? I don’t think it is! These are some photographs I took over the weekend. Every weekend the volunteers take the Baan Unrak Children’s Home kids on day-trips. Usually we walk to the lake, drive to the buddhist temples, or drive to a nearby river on the Thai-Burma border. As you can see, they absolutely love their river days! This time we were able to rent some inner tubes; for most of them it was their very first time ever using one! They didn’t quite know what to do with them, it was pretty cute. After three months (three more to go) with these kids, they have become so precious to us. I hope these photos bring a smile to your face! I added more to the Baan Unrak Facebook page if you’d like to look. Love and peace.

 

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Koh Rong, Cambodia

These are the last photos from our 2-week Cambodian adventure. The island of Koh Rong is now one of my favorite places on earth. Its one of several small islands off of Cambodia’s southern coast. The islands are a bit hard to get to, but most definitely worth the trip. They’re wonderfully undeveloped (for now), equipped simply with small docks, generators and natural-materials bungalows. There were only a few dozen people on the island, so we had whole stretches of beach completely to ourselves. We spent a few days on Koh Rong reading books, playing scrabble, lounging in hammocks and swimming in the warm, clear water. We also made the jungle-trek across the island to an amazing 7km (!) beach. It was a slice of heaven.

All of these photographs were taken by Paul one evening. He has become a fantastic photographer! I have been teaching him how to use Adobe Lightroom and he edited these images as well.

We are still enjoying the simplicity of living and working in Thailand. I will share some photos from our daily life soon. Love and peace.

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