Forever seeking to be heard.

For a brief time that I remember – my mother truly escaped herself & the confines of her mind and the limitations that it imposed on her being – this was many years ago. It’s when that freedom ended again that I had decided that I needed to explore and to be free and never be trapped by my own mind and the fear of all the limitations that life, other peoples opinions, and this false set of rules that age builds like a massive wall – like a prison.

My mother struggled with depression and anxiety, and the drugs that she was told kept her feelings normal.  When she died of cancer this past year – I haven’t wanted to really talk about it – because cancer wasn’t the thing that I felt killed her.  I went to one of her oncology appointments after she was diagnosed.   The day before this appointment we had a very long talk about what she wanted… she had already been through some chemo at this point with no results.  Yet we sat there with the doctor to discuss her options going forward.  As the doctor was talking, her eyes glassed over as I could see her giving up and going back into whatever everyone else wants.  The Doctor stopped talking and my mother clearly said she did NOT want any more chemo.   See – the chemo that they were trying was not proven in any way to help my mom’s type of cancer but the Doctor said we should still try it.  But as she spoke those words I do NOT want any more chemo… nobody in that room heard her except for me.  They may have heard her words, but they quickly dismissed them as un-true or not valid.  The Doctor immediately pipped up saying that by not continuing to at least try with chemo it was like she was committing suicide.

MY HEART STOPPED WHEN I HEARD THOSE WORDS OUT OF THE DOCTORS MOUTH…. and I was screaming the top of my lungs from the inside that he had no right to say that and this was NOT anything like suicide… all that I muttered out was “I don’t agree with that statement at all” and then I squeezed my mom’s hand and told her “that isn’t true, and you make your own choice”.  It was the most unprofessional thing I have ever heard and I will hear his voice ringing in my head for the rest of my life.  He played the bully.  He did not know her, and did not understand that she did have an opinion and a reason for her opinion – and that everyone has a right to choose for themselves.  He pushed off her feelings of not wanting to continue with chemo as her depression talking.  I don’t care how many cancer patients he has been through – he not ONCE asked her why she felt that way or tried to consider her feelings or understand that what she wanted actually had thought and purpose behind them.  He boasted that “if it worked” instead of 3-6 months to live she could live 6 months -5 years longer.

STOP. But at what cost?  Why wasn’t this part of the conversation? Why was everyone pushing off her feelings as invalid? Because she suffered from depression?

My mother describing her cancer to me is one of the most grueling horror stories I’ve ever seen.  But… it wasn’t much different than what I pictured when she talked about her depression.  She spoke to me about this dark hand that was reaching up from inside her and crushing all of her organs so much so that she couldn’t speak and nobody could see this or hear her screaming for relief.  Her voice didn’t matter – all that mattered is she needed to make as many people happy as possible.  Her pain didn’t matter.  Her voice didn’t matter.  Her thoughts didn’t matter.

She talked about her death like this all my life – she even had told me how old she was going to be when she died – and she was right.  The last two months of her life were miserable, she wasn’t eating well, she wasn’t sleeping well… and all she said was I do NOT want any more chemo.  She continued with the chemo because her Doctor and others said she had to at least try once more.  She died 2 months after our meeting with her Doctor (with the additional chemo treatment).

I know this will be very disturbing to people and will be upsetting to others.  My point in sharing is we need to become better listeners… and not just to a persons choice or reply – but to understand what is bringing another person to their choices.  Not just for major things like  life and death decisions – but LIVING decisions.  We don’t all have to agree, and we don’t all have the answers – but listening to understand means that you value that person.  Valuing their methods or madness to any decision affords that person value in themselves.

My mom was a strong woman that had many hard life situations to deal with from a very young age.  MY MOM WAS AN ARTIST, A THOUGHT FILLED WOMAN, A SURVIVOR, A LISTENER…. she was just finally broken because she had to be strong for too long.  She has given me strength to make life decisions that are best for me, and the strength to know that falling down means nothing if you get back up.  I will forever be a  seeker – and spend my time enjoying the journey instead of focusing on an end.   ~love you mom


Artist: Sandra Cragin                                                                   Title: Listening



The number 1 way to keep a flower alive.


Black Calla Lily

Black Calla Lily by Jeanine Thurston

I’m going to tell you straight off… I KILL FLOWERS.  Not on purpose, but if you leave them in my care… well – they don’t last long.  And… I’ll attribute that to my LOVE of flowers – you always want what you can’t have, or in my case what I can’t maintain.  I find them fascinating!  The shapes, the colors and because I can’t grow them or keep them alive for long, I have decided that photographing them and hanging them on my wall is my only option.

So the number 1 way to keep a flower alive?  Hang a portrait on your wall in a print or canvas… PERFECT FOREVER.

Go ahead – comment below – what is your favorite flower?  It may be the next one I photograph!

Floral Series

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston



Photographer: Jeanine Thurston


Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Pure imagination

I have always been in love with this song since the first time I saw Gene Wilder sing it in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when I was a kid.  It is a great set of lyrics to think about when you are in a creating mode.  I’m so lucky to have such an amazing team of “creatives” that help me play and make images while having fun.


These are some images from our Alice in Wonderland styled shoot…. a perfect theme for imagination.

Jill Scott Hatter

Jill Scott Hatter

Lyrics to Pure Imagination –

Hold your breath
Make a wish
Count to three

Come with me and you’ll be
In a world of pure imagination
Take a look and you’ll see
Into your imagination

We’ll begin with a spin
Traveling in the world of my creation
What we’ll see will defy explanation

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanta change the world?
There’s nothing to it

There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination
Living there, you’ll be free
If you truly wish to be

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanta change the world?
There’s nothing to it

There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination
Living there, you’ll be free
If you truly wish to be

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Jill Scott – MUA/Stylist

Samantha Koch – MUA/Stylist

Susan Dillon – Beautiful hat & Alice’s hair piece

Melissa Schans – Alice & Hatter Muse


I cater to rock stars.


“I cater to the Rock Stars.”

The people who own their imperfections and know that these are the very things that make them who they are.  The people who may know or not know that they are Rock Stars every day of their life.  The people who will look me in the eye and stand proud that they are special; as well as the people who don’t know… because I’m here to tell them, to show them, and to be their biggest cheerleader.

See, we are all rock stars at some level in our life.  What we see as rough around the edges can be years of trying to define ourselves or years of trying to escape our definitions.  The boy who is called crazy, the girl who is called self-centered… labels are useless pieces of information.  But what I like to do is see those things that make you different, show you that attitude and smile that you rarely see… and hope only to point out that YES, you are different.  You are different from everyone else on this earth… and if we were all the same, how boring would that really be.  So I feel honored when I get the chance to photograph you, because I study your face, your gestures, and the way you move and react to me any others around you because I’m searching for an expression or a “thing” about you that is different… I’m looking for you.




If I could give you one thing in life.

Life passes us by so quickly, and I woke up this morning to a “quote” on Facebook by some unknown that I really had to share.

“If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes, only then would you realize how special you are to me.”

As much as it applies to loved ones, it is why I love photographing so much too.  People in general are so unaware of how beautiful they are, and how other people actually see them.  As does everyone else, some days I wake up feeling a bit ugly and yucky, other days we feel ok or don’t even think about it.  A few days we feel amazing here and there.  But I think if we all actually had a chance to see ourselves how others see us we would have so much more confidence in who we are and how amazing we actually look to other people.

So when I photograph you, that is what I’m looking for… I way to give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes.  Because you are special.Image

VALENTINE: for the love of life


Painted feet, and crowns, vintage cards, hugs and kisses… we are making these Valentine’s sessions all about the love and loves of your life.  Fully styled set that will be beautiful and fun for kids, couples, or families – and the PERFECT images to customize some Valentine’s Day Cards too!


January 22nd (a Wednesday) from 10am-2pm

January 26th (a Sunday) from 9:30am-2:30pm


$99 mini-session.
30 minute session + $50 print credit

1 hour session
2-digital files
$50 print credit

to book your appointment call 720-566-9770

or e-mail us at


MY STYLE sessions


Over 25 years in the industry and I’m here to tell you – there are only so many ways you can spice up a studio session on a plain background over and over again.  Clients are becoming well aware that their portraits need to mean something.  Their children should have a fun experience during a photo-shoot.  Most of all – parents need to enjoy it as well and let go – because the best photos are the ones with children being themselves.

Away with cheese – leave it for your wine.

It’s time to play, live, love and have professional images that show us how we were and who we were during our amazing childhood.  And not just your iPhone photos – professionally styled portraits that you want to put on canvas and hang on your walls.  Because the iPhone photos may stay on your computer way too long to appreciate.  An album or a wall portrait is something you use to recollect those feelings and moments all the time.

Professional Styling by: Nicole from Worthwhile Style                                                           Solid wood A-frame tent by Function 4 Design


Dear photographers and future photographers


Dear photographers & future photographers.

This a tough business, and you may(will) spend many nights crying or wondering why some people don’t value your work.  If/when you make the choice to be a full time photographer – just know it is not a get rich in your pockets business.  You will have your ups and downs with extremely high-highs, and rock bottom lows if you are in the business for any length of time.  Sometimes you will have to skip paying your rent/mortgage for a month or more and make it up late and just eat the late fees.  Sometimes you will eat ramen noodles for a week because a client is late paying.  Sometimes you need to take your child out of karate/ballet because you have client accounts past due.

You will never be able to convince 98% of the people, that portraits are valuable.  It is one of the most difficult things to communicate that the portrait may hold all the love that is left for some, and spark memories and feelings 10 years from now that were thought to be long forgotten.   The phrase “Portraits are more than just paper” is silly to most when they can get a $2 8×10 at Walgreens, Costco, Wal-Mart… 98% of potential clients believe that you take a photo and that’s it.  98% of clients don’t consider that you have debt, families, lives, and have to pay your electric bill to edit and store their images – as well as to survive.

98% of people think that you are silly, that photography isn’t a real profession – it is a hobby and all you need is talent.

75% of your spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends – will support you only 50% or less of the time and the other 50% of the time will beg you to get a real job and quit fooling around with a dream.

If you are getting into this business because you want to make money and not work.  STOP.  You will NOT be worth anything and you will not survive.

However, this is one of the most emotionally gratifying businesses there is on this planet.  If you can survive the sweat and tears, the continual emotional upheaval, the emotional abuse… this is what you get.

Those 2% of the people you connect with that love you and your work will be your pillars.  They love you and they are your biggest advocates.  You get to spend your life as a part of theirs. You get to have MANY families that you feel apart of, and many of them will stand beside you even when your actually family may not.  They display your art,  your life, your work on their walls and in their albums with the greatest pride.  These people are the most beautiful people in the world and you need to hold them dear as if they are your very own family.  You will cry with them, for them, celebrate their greatest days with them – and you will be there for them when they need you as well.  

There are very few professions like this in the world and you hold the key to how our industry is received and perceived.  You are the only one that can make YOUR client feel special, feel beautiful, and feel loved by simply looking at a portrait…. yes… just a piece of paper.

On a side-note to any of my clients that read this, please know how grateful I am to have you in my life and to be able to create memories to look back on for you and your families.  You mean the world to me. ~Jeanine


A head of stars.

His head is made of stars, but not yet arranged into constellations.

~Elias Canetti

I find freckles fascinating.  I use to have freckles as a child and wondered why people would continually comment on them.  As I grew older, I didn’t hold onto mine… they became faint or disappeared entirely.  Once in a great while under the sun for too long I can see faint markings that just lightly appear and disappear again almost as quickly.  I have come to realize that they are so fascinating because they are actually stars, that connect into constellation – and constellations are stories waiting to be told. What can be more beautiful than a story?

~Jeanine Thurston


Love Inspired: In a little girl’s world


Little girls are precious gifts wrapped in love serene, their dresses tied with sashes, their futures tied with dreams.

It’s so much fun watching little girls dress up and play.  Skip the playgrounds and letting them explore a set that is entirely new to them.  Letting children be themselves and use their imaginations, lightly guided by our suggestions – and watching them fueled by the smile on your face watching them as you once were.



Image1Z3A4101bPhotographer: Jeanine Thurston ; Stylist: Nicole – Worthwhile Style