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Today I write a tribute to my dear friend and faithful photographer.

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If you have followed The Art of Living Beautifully from the beginning, you may remember I conducted a group of giveaways in the weeks leading up to my website’s launch. Hoping to create interest (aka bribe people) to subscribe to the blog and follow TAOLB on social media, one month prior to publishing the first post this giveaway was announced on the TAOLB and Patina Green Facebook pages:

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When the day came to select the winner I looked at the entries and spotted the name Patrizia Montanari. I had never met her before or heard the name. But her name suggested she was Italian. So she was my winner.

We stayed in touch after the giveaway and soon met in person at Finch Park with our kids for a playdate.

First impressions of my new friend:

Her hair is wonderful. It is curly and soft and wild and red. The color is not a natural red, nor a subdued one.  Can I say it again? It is wonderful and wild.

She has a large tattoo of a geisha on her arm.

Her accent is full of promise; proof that she has lived an adventurous and full life. I actually found it somewhat ironic that she chose to tell stories with photographs for a living instead of with her voice. Though her accent is thick, it could never hide the experiences she must have to tell; her timbre is lively and authentic.

Her eyes are big and clear and kind.

She is a wonderful mother. Attentive and patient, and eager to inspire her children to create.

She is funny. Not full of jokes funny, but in a self-deprecating way which makes her easy to talk to and be around.

It did not take long for me to recognize she was rare. A treasure. Tesoro in Italian which is also ironic as that is what she often calls me. I contacted her not long after our playdate about taking some pictures for my blog, thus beginning our working relationship. Although I’m sure she never made a cent from my small account given her generous pricing, she alone is responsible for giving a face to my words each week. Her photographs make my brain visible to readers. They also grace my walls and are sent to our friends each year wishing them a Merry Christmas.  When conducting a photo shoot  she desires to be creative and is willing to try anything. She knows me well enough to know if I will like the angle we have chosen or if I lie and say I like an image when I actually don’t. She has been extremely patient with me during these shoots. I am not a model, and especially at the beginning I was very uncomfortable having my picture taken in this capacity. I trust her implicitly and count myself blessed to have had the opportunity to meet let alone work with her.

At our last photo shoot on January 10th, Patrizia revealed to me that she and her family would be moving to Portland, Oregon for her husband’s job. My eyes filled with tears as memories of some of my favorite times with her quickly shuffled through my mind: that first meeting at Finch Park, drinking hot tea while the kids dressed up as Ninja Turtles, lunch at Rye while she patiently listened to my blogging frustrations, our first photo shoot in the courtyard behind The Little Red Hen, her teaching me to use my camera, freezing cold shoot days, her feeding me bruschetta and teaching me to add Chinese chili garlic sauce to the tomatoes, all the images…so many images.

Dearest friend, I wish you everything beautiful as your adventure continues to the pacific northwest. Your heart will no doubt lead you to see the beauty and rarity of your new home, and your talent with the lens will allow your new neighbors to witness it anew from your distinct point of view. Thank you thank you thank you for your friendship and love and support and time and patience and kindness and everything else that is so uniquely you.

Grazie dal profondo del mio cuore.

A few of my favorite images shot by Patrizia:

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-ciao for now-

lauren

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