jo ann manolis photography

Welcome to the blog of Jo Ann Manolis Photography! I’m a wedding, portrait, and fine art photographer based in Santa Cruz, CA. I’ve created this blog as a means of sharing my work and life with my clients, family, and friends. I’ll be updating it regularly with my latest work, thoughts and ideas regarding photography and art, and links to many fabulous artists and vendors. So, take a look around, enjoy, and leave me a message here if you’re inspired. I can also be reached directly by e-mail via my website:, or by phone at: (831)359-7948. Thanks for stopping by!

Monthly Archives: February 2010

The little opening

I found the most amazing photographer the other night and was combing through her blog and taking it all in when I read this:

“We know so little of our connection, anyway, as people marry and move on and you don’t never hear from them again. It’s like in all our blood ties of cousins and aunts and uncles and ancestors and descendants we don’t see but those near us. Why children, your children will have children I will never know, and their children’s children will never have heard of me. No use to deny it. Looking backwards I don’t know more than my Grandmammy and Granddaddy on either side, and all the rest is just a name here, a fact there, a rumor. All the people stretching back two or three generations to Pennsylvania and Wales, and back to Adam, are just lost in the fog and dust. We are isolated in the little clearing of now and all the rest is tangled woods and thickets nobody much remembers. I always said it’s how you enjoy that little opening in the wilderness that counts. That’s all you have a chance to do. That’s why I’m telling you this story.”

-Robert Morgan, The Hinterlands

It made me think of the stories that my dad told me about his Grandmother (my Great-Grandmother), Sophia. She got married when she was 12 and legend has it that she spent the wedding reception in the corner of the room playing with her dolls. Her husband, (my Great-Grandfather) became the village priest and they went on to have twelve children. After one of Sophia’s sons died of pneumonia and left a wife and six young boys, she was regularly on the scene. My dad, one of the six boys, recalls Sophia chasing he and his brothers through the tall grass and rocky island terrain. They would play and frolic for hours, giving my Grandmother a much-needed reprieve from single parenthood. My dad would speak of Sophia with a twinkle in his eye and although she was gone long before I was born, I can picture her petite frame running with endless energy through the same fields that I played with my cousins.

I hope that he has been able to see her again.


Peek Aren’t You Curious Pre Spring Shoot

I’m still playing catch-up and posting shoots from late in 2009. I was unable to be at Peek’s recent spring shoot because I was with my family in Ohio, but these images are from Peek’s pre-spring line, which we shot in San Francisco in late November. We lucked out with the most amazing weather…70+ degrees!

Making the most out of some really tough light…

Thanks to Tina and Erin for making the shoot such a success and thanks to all of the little ones who made it so much fun! After the shoot our family stopped at the most delicious Middle Eastern place for lunch (the little guy ordered pancakes) and then we went straight to the awesome playground in Golden Gate Park for the rest of the afternoon. Even I can’t get enough of that playground…

It is nice to be back!


90 years

Back in November I had the unusual honor of photographing a 90th birthday celebration. I normally don’t do birthday parties, but how could I pass this one up? The guest of honor was simply amazing…she never stopped smiling.

The party took place at the beautiful historic Rengstorff House in Mountainview.

Mariachi Tequila (408-455-0923/ was quite a hit (note the birthday girl’s expression while they played in the first image).

It was really wonderful to see all of the generations together.

Happy Birthday, V! Many thanks to both you and Tony for having me. I was deeply touched by the love that surrounded you on that warm November afternoon. It is a testament to the incredible person you are. May your every day be filled with love.

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”  ~Douglas MacArthur


As I’m reviewing my work from 2009, I’m realizing how much I didn’t blog. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting images from some 2009 shoots that for whatever reason (usually not enough time) never made it to this blog.

I second-shot a really sweet wedding back in October for my brother-in-law, Kevin and just ran across the images (as a second shooter, all you really have to do is hand the cards over at the end of the night, so I’ve barely looked at these). This one jumped out at me and made me smile for so many reasons.

More soon.



Back at work

I made it home and today is my first official day back at work. It feels good to attack my “to do” piles (yes, I’ve made “piles” plural on purpose…there is way too much to fit neatly into one pile, I’m afraid). But I’m in catch up mode, nonetheless. I know that I’ve been slow to fulfill orders and answer e-mails, but know that I haven’t forgotten about any of you and will be diligently working to get myself back up to speed this week. I am so grateful to all of you for the many e-mails and words of support and for your amazing patience. I send you all much Love.

Thank you.

This is one of my faves from a shoot back in November. He missed the beach while we were gone.