April 2010 Blog / Newsletter

Dear friends,

I hope you and your family had a wonderful month of April. Spring is a lovely time of year because it beckons us outside to enjoy all the treasures of new life. My azaleas, tulips and creeping phlox greeted us this month with their radiant blooms. Flowers have a way of capturing our attention, making us pause our busy lives to take them all in. Their beauty is amazing. I love bringing my camera outside in the evening to photograph our flowers and my children playing. Each flower is unique with color, texture and design. I am like a child in the spring, in awe of the beautiful world we live in.

We enjoyed spring break with our children. We played outside, did yardwork, and went to the beach. My best friend Carrie and her son came to Topsail Island with us. We had fun relaxing on the beach and watching our children play. A surf fisherman caught a Stingray and we got to see it up close before he threw it back. I had never seen one in the ocean, so I was very excited to see it… and a little more careful about where I stepped in the water! When we returned to Raleigh, we were greeted with pollen everywhere!  Carrie’s white Honda was now yellow. It looked as if yellow spraypaint was all over the cars, houses and driveways. My least favorite part of April was working on taxes. I’m glad to be finished!

David was mowing the grass one evening and my two-year-old son ran into the garage. He came out with his toy lawn mower and began “mowing” parallel with his dad. When David would turn around, he would turn around. Thankfully he kept his distance. It was so cute I had to take a picture! He wanted to be just like his daddy and mow! I know what his job will be when he gets older!

I was inspired by the movie “Christmas Cottage”, a semi-autobiographical story about artist Thomas Kinkade. Glen Wessler (played by Peter O’ Toole), was a famous painter who lived next door to Kincade and became his mentor. Wessler didn’t teach Kincade HOW to paint, but WHY to paint. Wessler encouraged Kinkade both to tie his art more directly to emotion, rather than observation alone. He said in a very moving candlelight scene….

“Record the people you love for posterity. It could change the way they see themselves. Art crosses all borders, surpasses all languages, it’s a place where we are one family. And if you were willing to REALLY see with your eyes and your heart, one image can change lives. You can introduce men to their souls… Give your very best always. Always the finest your heart has. It’s the only way an artist knows.

I feel very fortunate to record people through the art of photography. When I am commissioned to photograph a person or a family, I try my very best to capture their personality… the heart and soul of the person. I approach every order with a perfectionist’s eye for detail and make it my goal to create a masterpiece. Although the process is time consuming, I can’t accept any less because “it’s the only way an artist knows.” When I heard that line in the movie it rang true with my heart and I understood myself better. I’ve always had an inner drive to do my best and now I know it’s the artist in me. Thank you for entrusting me to create masterpieces of your children to decorate your home and to pass down for generations. I take your trust very seriously.

Love to you all,

For the month of May only, Susie Gilmore Photography is offering a NEVER BEFORE discount of 55% off 8x10s, 5x7s & wallets for any portraits you have purchased before. This is an amazing discount, so you can get reprints of your favorite portraits for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Call today 919-662-5541.

Award Winning Photographer Susie Gilmore is working on several new inspirational art books and is looking for models of all ages. (Baby, Children, Family, High School Seniors, & Maternity) Participating models will receive a discount on the book. Call today to secure your spot 919-662-5541.

Client of the Month: Chris and Kathleen Cavanagh

I consider everyone I’ve photographed to be a part of my “studio family.” I have photographed many wonderful and interesting people over the years and I wanted to give you a glimpse of their stories along with portraits we’ve created. So come meet the rest of the family! This month’s featured client is Chris and Kathleen Cavanagh. I met Kathleen and her mom Sandy when she brought her newborn baby Charlotte for a photography session.

We had such a fun time and we captured the most delightful portraits. We chatted during Charlotte’s feedings and enjoyed getting to know each other. Kathleen shared the most hilarious embarassing story…. Sorry I can’t tell you in the blog. But if you know her you’ve probably heard the story. It’s funny when someone shares something about themselves… particularly embarassing things…. how it stays in your mind and brings down walls. There’s a deeper level of understanding about that person. When I lead groups, I sometimes use “share your most embarassing story” as an icebreaker. Now just a disclaimer, there are some people who are not comfortable with that type of transparency, so then you can always resort to “share 2 truths and 1 lie about yourself” and the group has to guess which one. But when I think of Kathleen, I’ll always smile because of the story she shared.

Kathleen joined my baby plan, so I am so excited about photographing all of Charlotte’s milestones…. sleeping, pushing up, sitting up, cruising and walking. It’s amazing that all these things occur around the first year of life. I feel so honored to be invited to capture these moments.

Here is Chris and Kathleen’s story in their own words…

My husband, Chris, and I met while in high school in Hendersonville, North Carolina. While we weren’t high school sweethearts, we did start dating shortly after starting college.  We both attended North Carolina State University.  I studied chemistry and he was a business and finance major.

During college, Chris was a reservist with the Marine Corps. He was activated, and sent to Iraq.  After he left, I knew then that he was the man I was going to marry.  The thought of never being with him again was unfathomable.  I couldn’t image life without him.  He was my best friend.  We had so much fun together and he was always so encouraging and supportive.

One day, while I was in class, Chris called me on a satellite phone from Kuwait. At the time, the military did not allow the Marines to call home very often. He was able to call me about once a month on a military satellite phone.  I remember running out of class – I was so excited to hear from him.  During that phone conversation, I told Chris I wanted to get married when he returned home.  He was shocked!  We had never discussed marriage before – but he agreed.  Thankfully, Chris returned safely and we were engaged shortly after.

After graduation, I enrolled in law school in Florida. During this time, Chris was working at an insurance company and saving money to enroll in flight school.  It has always been his dream to be a commercial pilot.  In fact, he trained and received his private pilot’s license when he was just 16 years old.

During the winter of 2006, we were married at a beautiful basilica in Asheville, North Carolina. Seeing all of our family and friends made us realize how much we missed North Carolina. So, after graduation from law school, I took a job in Cary, North Carolina as a patent attorney and Chris was finally able to attend flight school.  Soon after, Chris became a commercial pilot for U.S. Airways.

After being married just two years, everything was going great for us.  Chris and I were able to buy a beautiful home and we both had started wonderful careers. We even had a sweet dog named Piper to greet us when we came home from work.  We decided that this was the perfect time to have a baby. We were overjoyed to find out I was pregnant in May 2009.  After finding out we were having a little girl, we started to discuss names.  We could not agree on any names – nothing seemed perfect enough for our perfect angel.  In fact, it wasn’t until 24 hours after she was born that we both agreed on Charlotte Anne.

Charlotte Anne is a beautiful baby. The first time I saw her, I thought she looked just like her dad.  And, she looks more and more like him everyday. The joy that all parents feel bringing home their new baby was short lived.  Just 5 days after Charlotte was born, Chris and I knew that something was wrong.  She wasn’t eating well and we had a hard time keeping her warm.  After going to the Emergency Department at Wake Med Raleigh, Charlotte was admitted for observation.

Soon after, we found out that she had a very rare metabolic disorder called Propionic Acidemia. We were transferred to UNC Children’s Hospital where she received care and treatment from the best metabolic doctors in the state.  Children with Propionic Acidemia are not able to metabolize proteins effectively.  This disorder is very serious and can be life threatening if not properly treated.  We are so lucky that Charlotte received the treatment she needed.

After ten days in the hospital, we were finally able to take Charlotte home again. She is doing so well – Chris and I couldn’t be happier.  However, because Charlotte’s metabolic system is so fragile; we did not feel comfortable putting her in daycare.  We wanted to avoid exposing her to any cold virus or flu. So, Chris has decided to stay at home with Charlotte.  This was the best decision for our family and I am so thankful for his decision.  Although, I must say that I am jealous of him every morning that I leave for work.  She is so happy in the morning and her smiles and giggles make it so hard to leave her.

I first saw  Susie Gilmore’s photography at my obstetrician’s office. Dr. Brannon’s walls are full of beautiful maternity and newborn photography.  We waited until Charlotte was 10 ½ weeks old to bring her to Susie’s studio.  Susie was amazing with Charlotte.

We wanted photos of Charlotte in her baptismal gown and Susie had the perfect backdrop and props.  The pictures are amazing! Susie also had a ton of ideas for pictures of Charlotte with flowers and pink fluffy tutus.  Susie even posted one of my favorite pictures on Facebook.  It is a picture of Charlotte lying in a sea of pink tulle.  Her blue eyes pop right out of the picture.  My friends and family are still commenting how beautiful the picture is.

About a week after our photography session, Susie invited us back to her home to view a slideshow of Charlotte’s pictures. My mother attended the slideshow with me.  We all (even Susie) started tearing up as we watched the slideshow. I ordered an album and several stand alone pictures.

Susie has a wonderful plan that follows a child from newborn to one year old. I plan to fill the album with pictures of Charlotte has she grows throughout the year.  I know that this album will sit on our coffee table for a while.  Our family and friends are going to love looking at the photos over and over again.  Several of the stand alone pictures I plan to bring to my office.  Since I cannot be with Charlotte during the day, it is essential that I have some beautiful pictures of her at work.

These images of Charlotte are very important to us.  Not only is she our first child, but we almost lost her. Now that she is home and doing well, we will never take a moment for granted.  She is so special and we want to document and remember as many special moments as possible.  We will treasure these photos for the rest of our lives.  And hopefully, one day Charlotte will be able to show them to her daughter.

-Chris and Kathleen Cavanagh    Fuquay Varina, NC


Thank you Chris and Kathleen for sharing your story and for giving us a glimpse of your beautiful portraits and your lives. I’m so glad Charlotte is doing well and she received the care she needed to flourish. It is true what Elizabeth Stone said about becoming parents. “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Charlotte is such a beautiful baby and I look forward to photographing your family in a few weeks.

Have a great month everyone.

Blessings to you!

To see more of my work, go to http://www.SusieGilmore.com

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To offer you the finest in portraiture, Susie is an active member in Professional Photographers of America, Professional Photographers of North Carolina and Photographic Society of the Triangle.

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