Category Archives: Personal

5 years


In the past 5 years…


ushered in new life

watched a loved one pass away

witnessed loved ones wade through the depths of grief and heartbreak

watched a loved one’s beautiful mind leave us

felt the deep meaning and connection of family

walked with several friends through heartbreak and divorce

learned of the many reasons why affairs happen

watched in awe as my children learn and grow and fight and play and love

lost my brain as I thought I knew it and am learning how to use the one I actually have

lost my body as I thought I knew it and am learning how to love the one I actually have

crashed against rock bottom

felt the deepest rage

felt the deepest love

have been courageous

have been way out beyond my comfort zone and feeling of safety

tried to support and then watched a family fall apart and fall deeper into poverty

have been to places in our own city/country that not many dare see

saw vistas so beautiful I cried and my heart sang

photographed most of them all

communed with poetry and music and nature

heard of and supported close loved ones battle their own minds and emotions

lost a friend to a deep and unknowable abyss

went through a midlife crisis without shaving off my hair

(The best lines my hair defender said, “It’s not your hair. Focus on self care, your body, your self-image instead.)

pierced my nose!

got drunk too many times to count

danced like no one was watching

sang at the top of my lungs

felt damn sexy

laughed for no good damn reason

said way too many stupid things

overshared then overshared some more

apologized and apologized and apologized

met and participated in multiple new life giving and affirming communities

found and lost a career?

felt heartbreak several times over for not only myself but especially for many thousands of people I don’t even know

shook my fist at God and asked God why?

tried to seek answers that I still can’t find answers to

became okay with not knowing

participated anyway


got high


fell out of love and in love all over again

felt deep and utter suffering and despair

battled addiction

battled sleep deprivation

cried and fought over money

gave money to those who need it more

made the best love

felt profound compassion

swore because it felt good

learned how to ask for and receive help

learned how to stand up for myself

learned the meaning of saying no

learned to recognize and acknowledge when I need to speak up/out

played, laughed, rejoiced, delighted, renewed, gave up, let go

sought the right and best help and let go of the no longer needed help

fell in love with several cameras and film

fell in love with countless photos and photographers (Salt of the Earth!)

felt my desire/talent deeply acknowledged

met artists and accepted my place as an artist

learned the meaning of “yes, and”

kicked shame to the curb and told it to go F itself

grew passionate about wolves and graffiti and mothers and babies

spent way too many hours on the internet

spent way more hours with my people

sought and sought and sought and sought some more

spiraled down and spiraled up

felt spirit move within and around me

grew exponentially

In essence:

I have loved.

I have lived.

I know who I am.

I know my worth.

I know my purpose.

I listen to the Secret that sits at the middle and knows.

I may forget, but will constantly seek to remember.

I am deeply satisfied.

Black and White: A Simple Story


My little snuggle bug. I couldn’t believe I caught this pose with harsh Rembrandt lighting. Shot on a cheap point and shoot with cheap 35mm film and converted to black and white in post.


The simple remark came out of the blue this morning. My son likes to tell “jokes” about things he thinks are funny. He is the youngest child after all; it is his duty. I see the smile flash and his eyes light up. I know one of his little jokes is coming, and I smile in anticipation:

“Mommy! Isn’t this funny? I saw someone with BLACK skin yesterday! Even their face was black and also on their fingers! Isn’t that funny?”

Oh, boy. That punch in the gut hurt. Didn’t see that one coming. Recover, pause, breathe.

Thinking quickly:
“Honey”, I said, “Who else do you know that has black skin? Does teacher ——- have black skin? What about teacher ——–? Doesn’t my friend ——- have black skin and your friend ——–?”

Grins sheepishly:
“Yes! …but isn’t it funny?”

I look away, infuriated by his innocence. He doesn’t know, I remember. Deeper breaths, longer pause. I’m going to have to go deep.

Serious of all serious mother tones:
“Actually, it is not funny. Because they were born with that color skin and there isn’t anything they can do to change it. Can they change the color of their skin?”

Smile wiped from face:

“And what if they who have black skin turned to you and said, ‘Look at him! He has WHITE skin! Isn’t that so funny! He is soooo different.’ Would you like that?”

Clouds forming behind his eyes, oh this sweet boy just got it:
“No.” he says, his lip quivering.

The mother softness returns, and before his tears come I pull him in for a hug:
“I know you wouldn’t like it which is why we never say that the color of someone’s skin is funny. I love you, and now you understand.”

He is four years old, and has just had his first informal lesson of many on empathy between races.

St. Vincent’s School for Boys

Marin County, California is where I was raised. One of the more beautiful churches and stunning wedding venues in Marin is St. Vincent’s School for Boys. Here are some images I took recently after a family portrait session there.

The cows at the end though… I asked them to line up for a family photo, and they obliged! Silly cows.

KristenPapacPhotography_stvincent-3stvincentSt. Vincent's School for Boys Marin County CaliforniaSt. Vincent's School for Boys Marin County CaliforniaSt. Vincent's School for Boys Marin County CaliforniaKristenPapacPhotography_stvincent-7stvincent3St. Vincent's School for Boys Marin County California  KristenPapacPhotography_stvincent-15KristenPapacPhotography_stvincent-16 KristenPapacPhotography_stvincent-17 KristenPapacPhotography_stvincent-19St. Vincent's School for Boys Marin County California KristenPapacPhotography_stvincent-21

Also posted in Marin County, St. Vincent's School for Boys Tagged , , |

If I could…

…make pictures on Black and White medium format film all day, everyday, and twice on Sunday, I would die happy.

I cannot even describe with words how much these images mean to me.

Los Angeles Portrait Photos Los Angeles Portrait Photos

Ilford HP5 shot on a Hasselblad 500cm

Also posted in At Home, Portrait Photography





the threads of our selves before there was a we have become entwined

we are a strong knit, having been tightly knit


to whom that holds the knitting hook, I am forever grateful

as we were woven into a quilt of love larger than the sum of us


the early craft was easy

we were inseparable in our lust

separated from our previous selves we became us


when we came up to breathe

we found we had already been woven into a tapestry

perfect in its newness, the yarn sleek and shiny


the tears began as we tested our love’s limits

testing how strong the weave was

small tears that were easily reparable with words of sorry

and kisses


as the years have gone on, however, the rips and tears have grown larger

more mature, our knit more stressed and frayed

not so easily knotted back under and over with words


we have learned that only

continued kindness

constant contact

making an effort

putting each other first

can overcome the tests to our thread.


our love is comfortable and warm,

no longer shiny but worn and repaired


to whom that holds the knitting hook, I am forever grateful

to those that have taught us how to repair, I am forever grateful

to you, my fellow thread, I am forever grateful

Tagged , , |

Do you use your Smartphone, mama? So do we professional photographers!

Oh, did you know?

I have two children and I snap photos of them on my iPhone incessantly? What, you haven’t been following my Facebook posts or my Instagram feed?

Do you have an iPhone, mama? A Smartphone, mama?

I think as a modern parents we are programmed to want to capture every instance of our children’s life. However, I cannot be toting around my Nikon DSLR everywhere, people. Even though I love it to death. Almost as much as my children.

For day to day life my iPhone wins. It is always with me, takes truly good pictures, and even video! What more can a parent ask for?

So yes, you can take amazing photos on an iPhone. Most top photographers I know are on Instagram, and they even tell you when the photo they’re sharing is captured with their iPhone or Smartphone.

Without further ado…here are a few of my faves from the last couple of months. Maybe this will become a new weekly blog thing? You know, in case you missed my personal Facebook posts, or Instagram feed. or… Gah!

Let me be clear lest you misunderstand…this is only for day to day usage. When it comes to taking photos for that wall canvas or for Christmas cards, and iPhone just doesn’t cut it for me. Maybe I’ll explain why in the future…but for now, enjoy these cuties!

Kristen Papac Child Photographer

In their Sunday best!

Like what you see? Contact me!


Also posted in Family Photography, Family Photos, Los Angeles Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |