REVIEWS FROM PAST STUDENTS:
"The Family Historian" was just what I needed to get back to the heart of my "why". Even before I had a family of my own, I took photographs and journaled as a way to record my story. Now that I have kids, leaving a legacy for them has taken on even more importance, but sometimes my enjoyment and appreciation of the process gets lost in the chaos of everyday life and with running a business. This class was a wonderful reminder to slow down, let my kids be little and savor these days. The added writing component has inspired me to take on a new personal project next year that will combine photographs and written word, and also to start writing letters to my children to keep with the yearly family photo books. Heather's materials are incredibly beautiful and inspirational, and she is an open book about discussing anything and everything. I highly recommend this class.
"I signed up for the Family Historian because I loved Heather's work and I wanted to learn how to better document my family. What I was not expecting was a deep, beautiful journey with myself and classmates to examine ourselves and explore life as mothers and artists. Throughout the course I often found myself in tears...whether it was from watching an inspiring video, discussing shared struggles and experiences with classmates, or from baring my soul through writing exercises. I've taken many workshops over the years, and the Family Historian is by far one of my favorites. It was like a mix of a soulful retreat with a kick in the pants to start documenting life as it is, right now, perfectly imperfect and hard as it is."
"I was a fan of Heather´s photos and writing long before this class. For the workshop I got a silent seat only, but it was nevertheless an extraordinary experience. The class material and Heather´s critiques of the active member´s photos were such a gift. (she also commented on some of our submissions) With this workshop, my photography climbed to a more meaningful level, I feel more connected to my photos now. The workshop is so thoughtful and Heather is such a dedicated teacher. I could not recommend it more."
“As a passionate hobbyist with novice ability, I found Heather's class to be inspiring, thought provoking, and exceptionally put together. She explores documenting your family legacy from all angles and approaches the subject matter with a vulnerability that makes you feel like you're talking with a friend. Whether your expecting your first child or raising teenagers, this class will have you asking yourself all the questions you wish you had thought of in preserving your story. Come as you are and don't wait to start. The future you will thank you.”
“I loved this class. I cannot recommend it enough! Heather poured her heart and soul into it. I loved her thoughts, personal shares, and ideas she included in the material on how to document my own family's history. I am so excited to add more personal writings to my daughters photo books. This class was the push I needed to make doing this for my girls a priority. Thank you so much Heather.”
“Heather completely smashes the myth I sometimes tell myself that solely documenting my family limits my ability to make art. This class's daily materials and conversation inspired me to think about what I document, how and why. Heather is a relentless truth teller of all the beauty and reality of family life. As a teacher, she is thoughtful and gentle, yet called on her students to dig deep. The dialogue with liked minded photographers was filled with soul, candor and emotion. If you wish to think more deeply about how you are documenting your family, push your ability to create images infused with drama, emotion and heart and have your socks knocked off by all of Heathers beautiful work, this class is for you.”
"The Family Historian will help pull you out of the chaos that is the everyday and show you that it is not the forced smile moments that your children will want to remember. Heather helped remind me to step back and take it all in so that when my kids look back at their childhood they will remember that it wasn’t perfect. Beds remained unmade, dishes unwashed, mom and dad became unglued but all of that was within the embrace of family love and warmth that will live within them throughout their lives and be preserved in the photo legacy I create."
"I loved this workshop. I was inspired not only in ways I can improve my photography, but my connection with my family. It completely changed my perspective and gave me a newfound purpose in taking pictures every day. I'm excited to capture the everyday special moments with my kids and share them with them. I loved learning techniques for honestly capturing memories. I also realized the importance of adding thoughts and feelings to those photos by adding words to them. I am excited to take what I learned and create my own Family History. It was a inspiring and delightful to be able to learn from the photos and words shared by Heather. Best class I have ever taken!"
"My family is the reason I photograph. I have taken a few classes about documenting my family's life, so I was not sure I would learn very much new info from this class, but I love Heather's images, so I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did because I learned so much! Heather presented new material everyday! There was a mix of written material and videos. She gave so many inside tips, especially about the way she gets her amazing shots. The variety of the materials is incredible. Heather is a wealth of knowledge and she does not hold back! I highly recommend this class for anyone who photographs his or her own family as well as other families. Unfortunately for me, full participation sold out very quickly, but I was lucky to snag a study along spot. Hint: register immediately; I did and still missed full participation."
"Heather guides you in finding the beauty amongst the mundane of ordinary life, and helps you have the courage to transform it into extraordinary images that radiate with light. However, the greatest gift she gives is the tools to fearlessly tell your own story and to embrace the unique identity of your family. This class was perfect for any stage of photographer as she taught so many ways to see and capture our lives- a total inspiration!"
“The Family Historian was an absolute game changer for me. Working with Heather and alongside the other workshop participants was motivating, inspiring, fun and moving. Heather took meticulous care to scaffold our learning and open us up to sharing depth in our visual and written work. She did this by getting to know us and talking to us about our lives and her life and how our collective stories intertwine. As the nature of this class is personal memoir photography and writing, it was crucial that the workshop space be a safe haven. Heather navigated that space beautifully and inspired honesty in me that I didn't know I could share. This has been a literal blockade for me in tackling personal writing and photography. How do we handle the hard stuff in our lives? She addressed it both elegantly and pragmatically throughout the course of the workshop through her prepared materials and spontaneous discussions. She encouraged and fostered an environment where we could be vulnerable and share our stories with each other, which inspired so much confidence and improvement in the work. I didn't want it to be over. I might have to take it again!”
“The "Family Historian" class was beyond just photographing your daily life. It was about documenting, inspiring, and being an important part of your family record. By combing real world examples, inspirational video, and constructive feedback, this class will push to be a better photographer and even get out from behind from the lens to become part of the your history.”
"Heather has brought a wealth of experience to this course - not just as an artist but as a mother and human being. Her class materials prompt good, rich discussion among students as well as the sort of "a-ha" moments of self reflection that (for me) are often the springboards that take artistry to a deeper, more articulate level. Her assignments push you towards more sophisticated camerawork - use of unique vantage points, layered compositions and low light - but also to photograph with more intention, vulnerability and heart. As a silent participant, I did not expect a great deal of feedback or interaction but was completely blown away by the level of engagement and rapport among students - oftentimes, i couldn't keep up with the level of discussion! Even alumni or active students made their way over to the silent section to offer their insight and encouragement, which was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Heather has created an environment, for silent or active students, that is welcoming, warm and honest. She an engaged, thoughtful and responsive teacher. She lays herself - as an artist and human being - completely bare and encourages her students to be vulnerable in their work as well as contributions to the class. The class is intense - full of opportunities to grow technically, artistically and even as a parent. I strongly recommend this class to anyone looking to go deeper into their work as the family historian."
"This class was incredible. It was the most meaningful, well organized, relevant, and full of content classes I've ever taken. I've taken a lot."
"Inspiring, emotional and well written. I have taken several online workshops and this one has by far been my most favorite experience. You can feel Heather's passion through each lesson, it was a real treat to wake up to a new love-filled lesson every morning. Heather has changed my outlook on documenting my own family for the better, can't recommend this class enough."
"I absolutely loved this class! Heather's lessons are full of information and examples. She shares openly and is vulnerable which in turn invites the students to do the same. This is by far one of the best workshops I have taken (online and in-person). I'm so happy I was able to have an active seat too because her feedback was so kind and helpful. I would recommend this class to anyone who truly wants to create a family heirloom of memories through images and narratives."
“Heather opens herself up completely raw in this incredible and intimate course. I was incredibly inspired by her and encouraged to apply the same honesty in my own images. She is so attentive with students and even answered some of our (silent students) comments, which was so nice of her, considering how busy she must be! Overall I am impressed by Illuminate and by Heather's course. I will definitely be taking more classes, if I am quick and lucky enough to get in.”