All posts by Abbie Buhr

Fafa

baby

My husband/guest blogger Jamie “Punky” Buhr wanted to accommodate my photo tribute and I couldn’t resist. He’s only allowed on here once every couple of years though . . .

I wanted to provide proof of how much I loved my cat, and I think this does the trick:

I am opening myself up to well deserved ridicule, but I don’t regret the 3-4 hours I spent crafting this on a snowy drive home from Minneapolis last year. While the fact that I’m a little weird goes without saying, you don’t rework silly lyric after silly lyric, practicing multiple takes into the iPhone voice memo to get it JUST right, for some ordinary house cat.

My love affair with Baby AKA Fafa AKA The Striped Prince was one I never could have foreseen in 2003. I’ve always had a dislike for cats, especially when I met Lucas, who was Abbie’s cat. He didn’t exactly welcome me with open arms when I moved in, and it was clear he wanted no part of me once I was there. When Abbie decided she wanted to get another cat to keep Lucas company during the day, the conversation went something like this.

Me: You want to get another one of THESE?!?!

Abbie: Come on, this one will be more like our cat.

Me: Another Lucas…

I didn’t even go with Abbie to pick him out. I slept in, as I’ve often been known to do, and when Abbie arrived home she proceeded to tell me about our new cat “Antonio”. She had actually wanted this white Calico (breed talk) but “Antonio” would not let her get to the other cat. I still have dreams that she picked the other cat, and I’m so thankful Abbie saw what she saw in him. When someone from the shelter came to drop him off, I barely got a look at “Antonio” because he hid so quickly. After another few hours of still only having one cat, I turned to Abbie and said something like: “Great choice, we’re never going to see this one.”

An early snapshot of Baby, probably blurry because he was about to bolt out of frame
An early snapshot of Baby, probably blurry because he was about to bolt out of frame.

Things began to change fairly quickly. One, his name was in constant flux, Antonio was quickly followed by Henry. But because he couldn’t meow, managing only a pathetic squeak whenever his mouth opened, we simply started referring to him as The Baby and eventually just Baby. A second thing that changed was his presence in my life. When it was just Abbie and I at home, Baby was a regular on the futon or in the windowsill. But whenever a stranger was in the apartment, he knew it before anyone and would wedge his body into hiding spaces I didn’t believe were physically possible, even after I had witnessed them firsthand.

One day I awoke and Baby was sleeping next to me. Actually, right on top of me. I think Abbie had left for an early run and it was just the two of us. He stared at me for a moment and then got into what would become his prime napping position; a perfect circle with his tail safely tucked away. baby ballI still remember trying not to make any sudden movements, as I didn’t want to blow this new-found closeness. My position on cats began to evolve. Well, not on all of them, pretty much only Baby who I eventually mostly started calling Fafa. Lucas and I were still barely on speaking terms, but Baby quickly became a constant companion. When you’re around someone or something for that amount of time, it’s hard not to fall in love. Especially when the cost is simply providing them your love in return. That love is now burned into my memory through countless images I hope will always endure.

I can still picture how he sat in every windowsill, in every apartment we ever had. There were four in New York, two in Chicago. Baby Window Upper East

The back window of our apartment on West 29th street was like his own personal Botanical Garden, when the sun illuminated our back porch he would spend hours just watching the world around him. This one of him in the window of Abbie’s apartment on the Upper East Side before we moved in together is perhaps my favorite image of him (of Lucas too, it’s hard to be mad at him right now):

baby lucas window

I love it because it reminds me of everything that lay ahead in those next ten years Baby was in our life. I love the way he’s looking up into the sky. In that one look, those coming years always flash through my eyes. Our apartments, our cities, the dogs we did not yet have, the friends we did not yet know. I always think of my wedding day and then finally, of Leo. I’ll always be grateful that Baby lived long enough so that I have this photo:

Couch Nap

I’m also grateful that nine of the ten years I spent with Baby were before we decided to have kids. For what seemed like so long, it was just the four of us, then the six of us, and finally the seven of us when Leo was born last May. I’m grateful there was a time where it was just us, because things change before you even have a chance to catch up. This became evident when I was scrolling through my iPhone a couple days ago, desperate to round up every picture on every device we owned in case Baby’s prognosis became worse. The vet said his kidneys were failing and there was an unknown growth on his liver, potentially cancerous. She called his blood work “scary”.

The pictures on my iPhone told how the story had changed. There were plenty of pictures that sprang up of him in New York, our move to Chicago, our old Sedgwick apartment, during Abbie’s pregnancy, and then they just stopped. I didn’t want to believe it, but as I furiously scrolled throw my library I knew what I was seeing. The day Leo was born, the pictures of Baby stopped. I knew it wasn’t intentional, but it was the emptiest I had felt since the first moment I learned just how sick he was. It wasn’t guilt that my love for him had dissipated (please see above video again) it was the simple reality that a new baby changes things more than you even realize. That is why I’m glad there was a time it was just us.

Baby (here on Sedgwick), always loved a good pile of scarves
Baby (here on Sedgwick), always loved a good pile of scarves

I will forever remember Baby because he was my first pet. He was the first animal I ever loved, the rare soul that always wanted to be around me, no matter how foul a mood I was in. There was rarely a time I could go 20 minutes on the couch without him eventually joining me. And if he wasn’t with me on the couch there was a good chance he was attempting to lure me off of it, either by bringing me a foam ball to play our favorite fetch game on the stairs, or by squeaking at me until I could ignore its cuteness no longer. It will take some time for me to get totally used to my life without that squeak, but I am no doubt a better person for having heard it for close to a decade. Although I know I will never forget the day I held his paw for the last time, as if fate was just making sure, hours after Baby breathed his last breaths, Leo took his first real steps across our condo floor. And like with so much of life, a chapter ends, a chapter begins.

Love Always.

Baby in the bathroom waiting to play with floss.
Baby in the bathroom waiting to play with floss.
Baby and Maeby napping next to each other one afternoon.
Baby and Maeby napping next to each other one afternoon.
1) Baby being adorable as usual. 2) A typical evening in the Buhr house; Pia and Baby on the Couch with Punky, 3) Fafa could never resist hiding under an open umbrella.
1) Baby being adorable as usual. 2) A typical evening in the Buhr house; Pia and Baby on the Couch with Punky, 3) Fafa could never resist hiding under an open umbrella.
Baby rarely ventured outside, but sometimes he was extra brave.
Baby rarely ventured outside, but sometimes he was extra brave.
Baby and Lucas fitting together so perfectly, sitting in the window on Cornelia.
Baby and Lucas fitting together so perfectly, sitting in the window on Cornelia.
The striped prince was never too shy to expose some of his beautiful stripy belly.
The striped prince was never too shy to expose some of his beautiful stripy belly.
Fafa posing on the cat tree one winter.
Fafa posing on the cat tree one winter.
Loving a nap on the bed in the sun.
Loving a nap on the bed in the sun.

Triptychs

Pronounced “trip-tick”, this is one of my favorite presentation for photographs, especially for portrait clients. Triptychs are a fun way to show a small series in one file, and is super easy to throw together in photoshop, indesign or illustrator. It works best with three vertical images as you can see here, with adorable little Emma’s one year old portraits (to view larger click on images).

Emma-trip

Here’s another example below with little miss Mia. As you can you see I played around with the color a little in the space between the image.

Mia-trip

You also no rule that you need space in between the images, or the three photos you choose need to be consecutive.

renz family-trip

Of course you can also break up a horizontal image in three places, and this also qualifies as a triptych. I’ve been looking for the perfect image to blow up and display on my living room wall. I tried this effect on a shot of Maeby by the lake, and also added a thin, grey stroke around each section to represent what a frame might look like.

maeby boat-trip

Especially in today’s digital age where we overshoot, why wouldn’t you display all you can and give as much impact in a quick and easy way?

Nimble Well

Committed-Chicago Green Wedding Alliance
Nimble Well booth at Committed-Chicago Green Wedding Alliance

I’ve recently been shooting for an exciting new company called Nimble Well, started and owned by a lovely woman named Kelly Connolly. It allows a bride/party thrower/wedding planner to have one of a kind goods and antiques for their events without having to hunt down, purchase and own the pieces themselves. I think it’s an amazing concept and am happy to be even a small part in exposing people to her through my photography. Speaking of, I was fortunate enough to photograph her booth last month at Committed, sponsored by the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance. Here’s some shots of her amazing pieces set up beautifully at her booth (see Kelly below in the black & white).
nimble well group

The event was held at Greenhouse Loft, which seemed like the perfect space. There was great food, delicious cocktails, and even a fashion show at one point highlighting bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses. commited group

Here’s a link to the facebook page where Kelly posted several of my photos from the event. I’ll end this post with my favorite photo from the day. Who wouldn’t love a glitter covered heart shaped cake sitting on a bright blue cake stand?blue cake stand

Brian & Jessica

Back in October on a chilly fall day in St. Joseph, Michigan (an adorable town on the west side of the state), I shot an equally adorable couple’s wedding day, Brian and Jess. If it hadn’t have been so cold it would have been perfect, but it came pretty close. I was also thrilled to not be working alone, and had a top notch partner- my Dad! John Ross came to the rescue and made the drive from Ann Arbor to be my right hand man. I think it’s very important to always work with someone when you are shooting something as big as a wedding. It’s absolutely essential to get multiple viewpoints and have backup just in case. As you can see with the bubble photo below, I was able to get Brian and Jess walking out from the front, and my Dad covered them from behind (to prove this, you’ll see me making a cameo on the right side of the image). Can’t wait to be a photo team again Dad, especially since you’re the one who I get all my photo skills from in the first place!

brianjess-blog
Congrats guys- I’m still editing the reception so more to come!

Chicago Fire

Before you get nervous, don’t panic, I’m not about to report about the next Great Chicago Fire. Instead I wanted to share some highlights that I shot yesterday at the Chicago Fire vs DC United soccer game at Toyota Park in Brideview. Though I was wildly under-dressed (for some reason I didn’t think about the fact that I would be outside for several hours in the cold wind), it was a fun and education time had by all. I discovered the outing through the Chicago Photographic Center, and have been wanting to both get involved with CPC somehow and try out sports photography at the same time. The Chicago Tribune sports photographer Scott Strazzante met us at the field and gave us the rundown on where we could go as far as access, as well as a few pointers.

The most fun and valuable part of the day however was carpooling with other people in the class. Not sure I’ll ever become a sports photographer but it’s always nice meeting other photographers, especially ones that are local- thanks Kathy, Will and Ted! Can’t wait to talk shop again.

Chicago-Fire

Speeches & Dancing

I’m happy to provide the long awaited wedding video I shot at Mac & Maren’s wedding. It’s nothing fancy but it does the job of documenting all of the speeches and first dances. It also makes me a little sad that the big moments at my own wedding weren’t recorded. Not that we didn’t try, my friend and videographer was stranded in New York along with a few other guests because of awful weather.

Please enjoy!

Mac and Maren’s Wedding from Jamie Buhr on Vimeo.

Also if you are looking to kill some time, feel free to check out a few of the passion projects on Punky’s Vimeo page. As you’ll see most of them star Tommy Buhr, my very humble brother in law who also stole the show with his best man speech.

Mr. and Mrs. Dobson for the very first time
Mr. and Mrs. Dobson for the very first time

mm-reception2

Mac & Maren

My good friends Mac and Maren were married last weekend in Ann Arbor, and I shot the rehearsal dinner the night before at Mac’s parents beautiful house. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t exactly cooperating and the temps were more than steamy topping out at 100 degrees. It was still a fun time had by all, filled with drinks, dinner and a few speeches.

MM-RehDinner

macmaren-house

Click here to view all the photos. You’ll have to look through the entire set to see if anyone eventually jumped in the pool.

Congrats guys and hope you are enjoying your honeymoon!

Beach bumps and baseball

beachbumps

The bump was treated to a little sun recently when I was able to scoot down to Florida one last time before the madness starts (also because I really shouldn’t be flying anymore). It’s amazing what a little fresh air, sun, long walks and naps can do for you. I also had to check out my Mom’s new pool which I had been hearing so much about. It definitely lived up to the high expectations.

Flash forward to opening day of the Cubs! I was finally able to see why people love/hate living in our neighborhood. For the most part I think it’ll be fun, though ask me again in a mid-July when there are drunk people stumbling all over the sidewalks and harassing the dogs.

cubs

cubs2

cubs3

Spring Day

It was absolutely gorgeous today here in Chicago, and Maeby and I had lots of good QT in the backyard and out and about. Even Pia came on our midday walk, and aside from a little diva behavior (I will admit it was pretty windy at times), she did great. As you can see I also started embracing Instagrams which is a whole lot of fun! Us old school photographers who learned our craft in the darkroom; you know who you are, can really appreciate the cool effects different types of film, paper and processing can give to your images. I will admit though it is much easier to click a few buttons on your iPhone.

dog-sign

maeby-yard

Tiny’s

On a recent trip to New York, I went to dinner at an adorable restaurant in Tribeca called Tiny’s. Everything from the space, decor and food- I recommend the kale salad and meatballs for starters- was cozy, charming and unique. However, my favorite part was the branding and stationary of the restaurant. I happily took a postcard, pen and matches so I could study them later, and i’m glad I did since now I can share them with you! Also, the menus were attached to individual wooden boards that were carved with the design on the back of them. Maybe they were laser cut? I wanted to steal one and hang it in my apartment! I love the use of pink mixed with greys and blacks as well.

tinys-group

Try and get a seat in the back by the fireplace if you go in the winter. More of the adorable illustrations on the back of the matchbook.

tinys4

tinys2