How I really feel about Jamaica.. a personal post :-)

We are outside and the heat is thick.. my hands are literally swollen to the size of small balloons (just a fun perk of being me right now). I am wiping the sweat off my brow and chatting with friends or yelling in their ears over the loud music. Despite my trying to stay still, I just can’t. I find myself involuntarily moving in my seat and wanting to get up and grind my whole body to the vibrant and sexually explosive Jamaican music. I am the only white girl in the place and my red hair and fair skin stick out like a sore thumb, attracting all sorts of wanted and unwanted attention. At times, it can be a little tiresome and all I want to do is fit in. I cover my hotel band with my bracelet and try to look casual, like being thrust into such a foreign way of life is normal for me. I run into some people I met last time I was there.. I can hardly believe I know people here already and it’s a great feeling. I want locals to consider me another local, not some tourist who’s rolling in American money.

I take a cab back home in the darkness. I am crammed in a small car that sounds like it might explode if it moves too fast with a tall dark Jamaican man on my right and a cheerful voluptuous looking woman on my left. They chatter with each other sometimes in Patois (the Jamaican language) and I struggle to understand… if only I had bought some books before I left! They start to chatter with me and within 5 minutes we are exchanging numbers and Facebook info, hoping to connect if I should ever be back in Montego Bay. The general vibe is they just want to show me a good time here in Jamaica and they are always so interested to hear about the weather where I am from. It’s nearing the end of my ride and I hand the cabby $200 Jamaican dollars, which comes to around $2 American or Canadian. No doubt I would be paying an upwards of $30 or $40 American if I had taken the “safer” and registered taxi’s that come straight to the front of my hotel. Again, I don’t want to be some rich bitch perceived by the Jamaican’s, I just want to be treated like everyone else even though my face is white as the moon.

The security guys at the gates of my hotel are by now used to my comings and goings. When I left the first night I was there with friends, they were sure to document my room number, name, the name of the person who was picking me up and the location of where we were headed. By the third day, they just smiled and waved me off as I ran off across the street. One of the security guys later told me him and the other guys were concerned about me, but after watching how I waved away certain cabs and chose specific ones they knew that I knew what I was doing. I was really flattered by this and it made me feel happy to know they no longer just thought of me as some “tourist” – confined to the prison walls of a resort. Don’t get me wrong, my way of travel isn’t for the faint hearted or just anyone, but I question the people who fly all the way across the country just to listen to American music and eat American food at resort buffets, and stay trapped in a bubble of at-home luxury without ever experiencing anything real. I ask myself, what’s the point?

I found myself often moving to Jamaican beats in my head, even when there was no music playing. I felt vibrant, alive, energetic! My skin was also literally starting to glow.. my pimples were disappearing and I felt less self conscious about being a bit bigger than I would like to be at this time. The Jamaican men were quite forward about letting me know how they felt about my appearance. It was always positive and I was flattered at most times. It was a self esteem boost but could also easily get tiring. My nose had cleared up.. I slept like a baby, the best I have slept in so long because I could finally breath. Back home my nose is constantly stuffed up and I often wake up not being able to breath. The only downfall was the sweat… ohhh the sweat. I don’t mind sweating during a workout I’m killing, but to sweat all the time every day for no other reason then just because you are hot and uncomfortable is unattractive to say the LEAST.

My friends are gems.. I made some real connections I feel so good about. There were other people I met and the general over all consensus from a lot of people was that a friendship could be bought and paid for. After all I am from Canada and I MUST be loaded with cash and have plenty to give away at leisure. I am not. My money is worth just as much as theirs is back home and it’s not cheap to live here in Canada. Not cheap at all. I may make more, but I sure spend a hell of a lot more on the necessities of life. There were times I felt taken advantage of and merely used for the hopes of receiving my money. It didn’t feel good and it didn’t feel right. That was the one biggest negative that I have about being in Jamaica. All the more reason fitting in as a local was so important to me. Now let’s be fair… not ALL Jamaican’s are like this. On the opposite end of the spectrum I was treated the best I have been treated by anyone in a long time by my friends, who are all amazing and wonderful people.

The last night in Jamaica my friends took me to a street party… Yes, a real street party in Jamaica. The type of party that would not have been legal anywhere here and totally shut down immediately. Honestly, sometimes I had to take a step back to realize that I was actually there and it was real and this was happening. The sweet smell of pot wafted around and drinks were flowing. The music was sick. I had begun to pick out my favorite songs and move my body freely when they came on. Kartel, and I Octane, Mavado and Lady Saw… have all become household names for me now. Suddenly at some point, the party went from seeing space between people to crammed and jammed up against one another.. in a sea of dark faces I was the only white girl at the party yet again and the guys walking around with video cameras seemed to be attacking me with bright lights. Being there was amazing though, and the feeling was humbling and surreal. I never wanted it to end.  I was feeling good but the last couple of days had exhausted me. By the next morning I was feeling emotional and heavy with regret at the thought of leaving this beautiful tropical paradise. I felt like perhaps I had let myself feel too fast and too much for some of the connections I made and didn’t want it to end.

Yes, I do believe I made real connections and also a couple friends for life. The number one question I am being asked by all is did I find love in Jamaica? Well the answer to that is simple. No. But I believe I could. It would be easy and effortless and it scares me to death. There are some things a girl doesn’t need to share with the world either. What I really need to do now is fall in love with myself.

What are the things I brought back with me that are the most treasured? First and foremost, the memories and the friendships. After that, I would have to say the mixed CD’s of music I bought from random guys selling burnt discs from their cars and on the streets. I still feel like dancing and it has me motivated to start dancing once again. Overall I brought back a sense of myself.. a longing for change and self appreciation. Yes Jamaica will change you and affect you in many ways if you are willing and open to let it in.

Will I be back to Jamaica? I have no plans as of right now to be returning to the beautiful country, but sometimes fate has a way of intervening and whatever is meant to be will be. For now I am studying up on learning some Patois and dancing around the house in my underwear to these ripped Jamaican beats , feeling more free and irie than I have in my life.

*Stay tuned for a mega blog post on the AHHMAZING Wedding I shot in Jamaica and all the fun details behind it and other shoots I did while there!*

Good friends and good vibes

Good friends and good vibes

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Reasons I love AND hate Saskatoon.. and stuff I have been up to lately!

So what have I been up to these days? Sitting here bitterly cursing the Saskatoon weather for one. Isn’t this ridiculous?! For all my fans out there who live in India, Mexico, Jamaica I want you to picture this. Snow whipping at your face in -35 below (with the wind), nasty wind so bad its blowing cars off of highways and roads combined with the sheer iciness. Deadly combinations. Not exactly photo session weather either, unless you want phenomena or just to look very red (and really, who wants that?). I met this pretty cool guy in Cuba and I told him that we needed to plug in our cars in the winter time, otherwise sometimes they wouldn’t start. He was blown away! “Where would you plug it in?” he asks. Haha yes, we are one COLD province.  With Days like these, I hate it; I’m not going to lie. Seriously, I question myself all of the time why on earth I still live here. I can never really come up with a good answer. Today I did think of some.

-We have some of the most amazing sunsets and sunrises in the world because of our big wide open prairie skies. Our skies are one of my most favorite things to photograph!

-Yes we are a very flat country, but it has its very own beauty. There is something about being able to see everything for miles ahead of you on the open road.

-We are not close to an ocean so we lose the risk of tsunami which is pretty awesome. I am not going to say we are not at risk for flooding since the run off from this years snow should be interesting!

-We are not close to any mountains so we not at a great risk for earthquakes, volcano’s erupting or anything like that. This is also pretty awesome.

-We are actually known as the sunniest city in Canada here in Saskatoon (It’s true, even when it’s cold, windy and frozen outside the sun will generally be out.)

-We have a great community, with good people and businesses!

I am going to have to remind myself more of these things on days like today when I question why I am still here. The weather is just gross. I am not impressed and I really, really want to do some shoots annnnd other things!

Otherwise I have had a lot on the go. The boys are super busy and obsessed with the Wii. It’s ridiculous! I am getting a gym membership sometime during the week and planning to try out some new recipes. I started a project planner book a couple nights ago and wrote out all of my plans for the year (photography plans, car plans, house plans, décor plans, etc) and ideas I have for shoots and concepts. Sigh… I just LOVE organizing. I just finished watching Call The Midwife (season one) and I am totally in love. I can’t wait for the next season to start. I also love the start of the new season for The Client List…..guilty pleasure…yum!

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I just finished up another wedding set and I am working on a couple more! I am excited to put up more shots from the Jamaica Destination wedding! I have been working hard on updating my portfolio and newly designing my website and I am really looking forward to uploading it! I have so many positive things happening for me in the next few months and I have been so happy about all of it. I have a feeling it’s going to be an amazing year!

Okay so here are some of the things that I have been checking out lately!

GUYS: You probably should just skip past this.

Ladies…isn’t this just the most awesome idea? I’m not going to lie, I would consider getting this. Haha it might actually give you something to look forward to around that time of the month.

http://www.leparcel.com/

Also, I have finally discovered Jenna Marbles on YouTube and I am pretty amused by her. I especially like her Drunk Makeup Tutorial… wow.

http://www.youtube.com/user/JennaMarbles

I also have to say I am now crushing on Jeff Gordon after seeing how he drives this car! Mad skills.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YR9UeZKI78

The boys and I made up an awesome little chore chart today which I am pretty enthusiastic about. Hey…less cleaning for me? What’s not to get excited about? Check them out! I found them on an awesome little site called Money Saving Moms

http://moneysavingmom.com/downloads/household-management-forms

Well I picked up my business cards from Pro Print and I LOVE them. I got two new wedding cards made, each with a different photo (one a Destination Wedding and one a local wedding!). I can’t wait to start distributing them and giving them out. I am going to be getting one done for Fashion & Concept work as well and one for general and life photography! Now I need to find a really cool little business card case for them 🙂 Anyone have some suggestions?

I have also been doing a lot of reading lately. I have a gigantic photography book full of projects and tutorials that I am going through and I am also reading “Some Girls – My life In A Harem” by Jillian Lauren… so far it’s been pretty good! I am also excited to start reading the third book by Lauren Destefano “Sever”. Seriously, I really need to make a list of ALL of the great books I have been enjoying these days. There are just too many to even count.

As always I love to dance around my house in the evenings and when I’m cleaning. My latest guilty pleasures in music are the song “Bright Lights” by Gary Clark Jr. and “Do Your Thing” by Jensen Reed… now those are two songs I could put on repeat and be happy about it. I also love the new Macklemore and so thrilled to finally see him on the radio. I am still a loving fan of Bob Marley’s chill style, Buck Cherry and Wax & Herbal T. Really could it get any better?

Cleaning up a storm today and enjoying a cup of Chai tea…. Still wishing I lived somewhere warm and daydreaming my life away.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and are staying cozy with someone you love.

Xoxo – Martine

Adventures in Jamaica Pt 2- My near (camera) death experience with waterwalls!

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography

Ahhh finally I have come out of my coma of exhaustion and sickness! What a relief after over two weeks! So what have I been up to? Mostly editing, and also trying to clear out my house for a mega-sized garage sale. Time to clear out some of my hoarder style collections and some of my precious photography props. I hate to see them go, but I really can’t keep everything!

So I hope everyone in Saskatoon has been keeping warm, in this deathly horrid weather we have been having. It’s been … epic to say the least. It doesn’t help that my trusty old van left me stranded with the boys at Safeway yesterday and has basically been acting like a piece of junk for the last few weeks. Great.

So let’s talk about my experience with Dunn’s River Falls, which was where we decided to end our day taking photos in beautiful Jamaica! What a fun/scary time! Basically what happened was, I thought I could handle being in the waterfalls as well, with my camera around my neck. However, what I didn’t think about was, how slippery the rocks were, and how it might have benefited me to bring water shoes for this whole scenario. So a few minutes into our session, I stepped off of a log under water and realized that I was tumbling/falling/tripping/slipping deep into a rocky waterfall grave. As I sunk lower and lower and fell more and more I raised my camera higher and higher. Boy, it must have been quite a sight. It might be exaggerating to say that the only thing you could see out of the water was the top of my head, my arm and my camera… but no it was actually pretty close to that. The groom said afterwards he just wasn’t quite sure who to save; the photographer or the camera! When in doubt.. ALWAYS save the camera! I can definitely survive whatever outcome there is from a fall like this, but my camera would not be so lucky. We had a good laugh about it afterwards and we had a lot of fun! So it just proves to those of you who may think my job is all fancy and frills.. I am in the business of taking risks, putting myself in awkward and potentially dangerous situations (I have done everything from laying on my stomach in the middle of a highway, to getting knocked over by strong stormy ocean waves). Is it worth it though? 100% and I will only continue to push my limits AND my camera’s limits until one of us breaks haha hopefully it will be the camera.

I can’t wait to share more of my Jamaica adventures with you all and more great images from this fantastic wedding!

For tonight, I am going to cozy up with my book and maybe even make myself a cup of hot chocolate (if the boys haven’t completely raided the mix already). Get some good zz’s and work like a maniac tomorrow.

Love & peace – M

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography

Adventures in Jamaica pt 1

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography by Martine Sansoucy

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography by Martine Sansoucy

Hey guys!

Well the last couple of weeks since I have been home, I have had a lot of time to think. Mainly because I am confined to being stationary with massive headaches, congestion, searing pain through my blurry eyes, hearing rushing wind through my ears (which isn’t nearly as romantic as it sounds), and coughing up a lung every few minutes. Yes, it seems I have come in contact with one of the worst sinus infections I have ever had and it shows no signs of leaving me any time soon. I know.. I sound attractive!

Amidst my sleepless nights (due to interruptions alarming me to the fact that I can not breath), I have come to the following conclusions.

#1. The Biggest Loser makes me cry.

#2. I have so many books in my library that I have a mental break down trying to choose just one to read.

#3. My boys know that my defenses are down and therefore are ready to take full advantage in any way possible

#4. I need a new oven, because currently mine is caked with 48 butter tarts that when being taken out crashed face down into the depths of the bottom (don’t ask, it was tragic)

#5. Jamaica was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

So naturally I feel like talking about Jamaica. It has been on my mind since the day I came home. Despite having two very unfortunate incidents in this magnificent country, I really do love it. In fact it’s my favorite of all of the countries I have been too so far (including Canada). Honestly.. I don’t know why anyone lives here. -40’s with the windchill, are you kidding me!? Unfortunate incident #1 was the loss of my luggage which was snatched up at the airport by another lady from Saskatchewan who didn’t bother to report it as the wrong bag until TWO DAYS later! So quite honestly I was freaking out… My camera bag is so heavy that they won’t allow me another carry on, so EVERYTHING I had was in the bag. Hard to feel sexy on the beach in 3 day old black pants, a black shirt, no deodorant, un-brushed dry frizzy hair and the knowledge that I may never see my makeup again. I spent the better part of the first couple of days holed up in my room locked on the Jamaican music channel waiting for a phone call about my luggage. Finally, with enough pushing on my part, another rep stepped in and made some calls to locate it. Thank goodness for that!! It felt great to be in some fresh clothes again!

Incident #2 happened on my last night in Jamaica and honestly… I don’t want to go into too much detail because I fear it will paint a negative picture of the time I had. Really it was one bad situation amongst 1000’s of great ones. I will say though, I did at one point fear for my life a little bit, and I do urge anyone to be aware of cabbies anywhere…because honestly I have had more than one horrifying situation with cab drivers even here in Saskatoon.

What can I say about Jamaica? If I had to use just one word to describe it, I would have to say SEXY. I was thrilled by the music that seemed to be everywhere once you hit the streets of Montego Bay. Especially at night when the streets are lively with speakers on almost every corner pumping out Kartel, beat infused reggae, hip hop and my new favorite tune (which shall not be mentioned for fear of offending anyone). I happened to stop at a couple of different places downtown during my stay to buy some burnt discs with collections of some pretty rad music. I will admit, I listen to them quite a bit and it still makes me feel energized and alive. Music was definitely one of my favorite parts of Jamaica. You may ask why I use the word sexy. It’s hard to dodge around the subject without saying both the men and woman are absolutely without a doubt freaking gorgeous! I felt a little bit obnoxious because I couldn’t help but check out the wonderful curvacious and booty-delicious bodies of all of the beautiful women, and the smokin hot muscular but lean builds and seriously awesome dreadlocks, cornrows and braids of the men. To top it all off, they all seemed comfortable with their bodies, sexually aware of themselves and above all friendly.  I felt comfortable and welcomed everywhere I went. There was always someone smiling at me or wanting to get to know me.. and heck I even got a marriage proposal haha!

I was so fortunate to have such amazing local friends in Jamaica. I was super excited to meet two of the girls that I met over Facebook close to a year ago for some fun photo-shoots, which turned into drinks, chatting, nights out and many many little adventures I would not be wise to share 😉 I can honestly say, I know I have made some friends for life and I can’t wait to start planning my next trip to Jamaica to see them again. I miss them dearly! I am so thankful for the great times they showed me and for making me feel so at home!

One of my first nights out I was invited to a local fashion show with Nicole (an amazing model & one of my local friends), who led me to one of her friends who I fell in love with instantly! The fashion show was amazing and I sat with my drink transfixed on the vibrantly colored skirts, tops & dresses, the heels, and of course the totally rad music accompanying it. The whole experience was surreal. The night continued on until late hours and I blissfully ran back to my room after being dropped off to sink into my bed and a field a music infused dreams.

I also was pretty blessed to have the opportunity to see my amazing new friend Anjaine sing in their local Karaoke joint “Mobay Proper”. She was… AMAZING. If I closed my eyes and listened to each and every one of the singers who got up to preform I swear I could have been listening to Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Rihanna…. WOW. The talent in there was off the wall! I told Anjaine they definitely needed to video this stuff and post it on YouTube. It was a great night of music and dancing and drinking and I was able to see my wonderful model and new friend Walleisha one more time before I headed off back to the icy coldness that is Saskatoon.

Ahhh just talking about it is making me so euphoric. What can I say, I soaked up every opportunity to be out in the community, meeting people, getting three random braids done in my hair by a nice old lady who told me her life story and welcomed me into her home. The experiences I had were bar none some of the best ever, but the people I met… hands down the BEST part of my trip.

Nicole & I in Jamaica

Nicole & I in Jamaica

Well folks.. the other best part of my trip is yet to come. Because I am a photographer, I am hoping you can guess that it was the wedding, the photo-shoots, and the photos! I can’t wait to share some of my amazing experiences with the bride and groom and also some of my fun experiences photographing my gorgeous new friends & models!

So with that being said, I hope all you lovelies out there have a great night..

XO- Martine

 

To new beginnings!! Starting off 2013 with Inspiration, Motivation and Determination!

Searching for you in a sea of faces..

Searching for you in a sea of faces..

Good morning lovelies!

So I wanted to start the new year off by starting a new blog! Why you ask? It’s true I have at least three blogs started, updated and sadly… abandoned and unfinished. The reason I believe is because my focus for the blogs I have done in the past is BUSINESS. Pure and simple uploading photos and pumping out general business information. This time I want to start fresh, and I want to make this blog more PERSONAL. I don’t want to look at it as just another chore to do on my work list. I want to feel excited about posting personal stories, information, tutorials and above all letting my fans and people get to know the REAL me. I think it just may work out!

So some things I plan to change in the New Year…

For those of you who know me, know that I have been struggling with health and weight issues for awhile and while I am generally a pretty up beat, positive vibe person,  when it comes to body image issues I am nothing but a negative Nancy. Which is silly because I love promoting body beauty awareness through my photos and I can honestly say some of the most beautiful people I have photographed are NOT skinny minnies or have your stereotypical model-type bodies. I see beauty in all shapes and sizes and I wish I could feel the same about myself! So I have made a vow to myself that I will bring my A game to get in shape this year.. not necessarily by dropping a few pant sizes (although let’s face it, that would be AWESOME), but just to get healthy, feel healthy and start living the way I should! I hope too that by sharing my journey with you in bits and pieces on this blog it will hold me a little bit more accountable to make these changes. One of my favorite things to do is dance around my house in my shorts and sports bra to some outrageously awesome music. I plan to do this every day until I work up a sweat, and I have also joined a boot camp to get my butt in gear. I am ready to make this year the best yet… after all I AM turning the big 3.0 this year!!! Aaaahhh!

Something else quite big coming up this year… In May it will be FIVE whole years since I started in photography, and honestly I am stunned, shocked, in awe, loving it, emotional, etc when I think about how far I have come and how much I LOVE what I do. I am truly so fortunate to be doing something that I love. I NEED to make this a memorable year but stepping up my game in photography, learning more, always expanding and trying new and different techniques. I am also dying to do something epic. I don’t know what yet… but I know I want it, and I have plans to make it happen!

Family time! I need more of it. My boys are my whole world and I want to spend more and better quality time with them. If this means re-organizing priorities sometimes (like taking on a little less work) than so be it! I want to grow with them, travel with them, and perhaps even teach them a thing or two about photography. I am excited for some adventures we have planned this year and also excited to share these adventures with all of you. I also want to take more photos of my family. I look through all of the photos I have done and often realize I have more photos of other peoples children then of my own! I guess that’s the way it usually goes in any profession, but photos are not something I want to be lacking of with my boys. In this digital age, I also find most of my photos are always online but never in print. There is still something about being able to HOLD a photograph in your hands and I want to make this a priority as well. To get more of my family photos printed and put into albums or hung on the wall 🙂

I’m not going to lie, I am a FACEBOOK ADDICT! This needs to change! I have come up with a nice little schedule for myself to become effective immediately. It allows me two 1/2 hour slots during the day to check up on Facebook, respond to comments, e-mails, update photos, etc. Other than that I am going to try my very hardest to stay away from Facebook. I find it eats up wasted time on basically NOTHING!

So with that being said those are just a few of the things that I am aching to get my change-on with this year!

I just arrived home from Jamaica a few days ago.. and I have to say, it has changed my life. I can’t wait to tell you why, but you will have to hang on until my next post!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog.. I hope you come again soon and I also want to say I welcome any photography related questions to agasteche@yahoo.ca or through my Facebook

Peace & love – Martine

My first adventure of the year!

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I am packing, doing laundry, cleaning, trying to eat, finishing up edits, updating Facebook, replying to e-mails, messages, phone calls, running errands and in general pulling my hair out in stress and excitement getting ready for my first adventure of the year!

Where am I headed? Montego Bay, Jamaica for my first wedding of 2013! I am truly blessed to have such an awesome job that allows me to fulfill so many dreams at once..

I have so much to post when I get home. A proper introduction to my new blog for starters! Secondly I have a great post coming about how to take a professional looking photo of your pet, and of course I can’t wait to fill you in on all of my wild and amazing Jamaican adventures. So keep an eye out and follow me on WordPress for updates!

Have a great weekend everyone!

❤ & peace

Martine