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!

he inspires me

I love my 6 year old. I’m not sure where to begin or how exactly to put it into words, but everything he does and says seems to take on a larger meaning these days. This has probably always been the case, only now I’m paying attention to it all. Not just the perfect, well-adjusted things that he says (“You know, the food I’m eating right now needed rain to make it into my mouth” or the latest: “my new plan is to leave the girls on the playground in peace and I just need to figure out how to convince the other boys to do the same”…not sure if this statement holds any merit whatsoever, but it was a heart-sweller) but everything that he says…the good, bad, ugly, and undecipherable…it all seems to make sense to me these days. It is as if after six years, I’ve finally cracked a code. Learned the language. I watch him and wonder how I ended up with this teacher. Both humbling and inspiring, I cannot help wanting to bottle it all up somehow so that I don’t miss a single lesson.

These days I am tired. Happy and satisfied and loving my life, but tired. The baby is six months old in a few weeks and as much as I love our days together, bedtime can never come soon enough. I always wake up wishing that I had another four or so hours to sleep. Any parent reading this is surely nodding his or her head right now in understanding. Lately I’ve been waking up feeling uninspired. I am supposed to be working on some creative projects but couldn’t even muster up the energy to open the laptop this morning. I have a stack of “inspiring” books on my nightstand that I haven’t touched in weeks. They are buried in diaper rash cream and baby wipes and may or may not be hosting a spider or two. I was groggily changing a diaper and he came bounding into the room with an idea. He wanted to paint a huge piece of paper black and then wait for it to dry and then paint orange, green, and purple polka dots all over it and wrap his friend’s birthday present in it. Back in December, he saw a present at his cousin’s house with polka dotted wrapping paper. It had been on his mind ever since, he said…and he wanted to have a go at it. I began fumbling all around the house in my pajamas in search of black paint and a proper paintbrush. Painting supplies haven’t been unpacked since we moved in August and before long I was tearing boxes open. I finally found the paint, brushes, paper, and his old painting apron. He gazed at his apron, stained with every color of paint and almost too small to fit over his head and gave a half smile, as if to say “hi again”.

It was a pretty sweet moment.

I know that feeling. That “I-need-to-create-this-right-now” feeling. I loved watching him go to town, recreating wrapping paper of all things. Now I’m well aware that I don’t get out much and that I should probably get a sitter and go to museum or something, but I found him so incredibly inspiring in that moment. Inspiration is all around us, really. It is in our closets, our memories, our backyards. It’s at our cousin’s houses. It’s in the gleam in our teacher’s eyes.

Who inspires you? Who are your teachers?


2 responses to “he inspires me

  1. Katie February 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Wow, I love reading what you write. I miss you dearly and wish we lived closer. As we have a little boy joining us in late May/early June I can’t wait the moments you describe (yes even the tiredness).

  2. joannmanolisphotography February 20, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Katie, Thanks so much for writing! I couldn’t be happier for you and John…and hooray for a boy! I know that I’m probably biased, but that is such amazingly wonderful news! I will call you soon, we need to catch up before he joins you guys. I hope that you’re feeling good and able to get lots and lots of rest. Love you, jo ann

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