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Filtering by Tag: Authentic Lives

A Conversation with Jörn Henn

Ben Ashby

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German based photographer Jorn Henn hasn’t quickly become one of our favorite photographers. His moody vibes and greens and blues have us captivated. The landscapes he shares have us dreaming of escaping the cities and heading deep into nature! We sat down with him to learn more.

Why do you adventure? Why do you explore?

My biggest motivation is keeping moments. I love to be outside in nature feeling the elements. I am a very curious person as well. That’s why I love to visit and explore new countries or places.

Why take risks in life?

It’s more fun. Without risks, life would be boring and you would not be able to surpass oneself.

Where are you from?

Cologne, Germany.

What is your 9-5?

I am an art historian.

When you were growing up what or who did you want to be?

A famous architect.

Favorite place you've visited.

Rio de Janeiro and the Dolomites.

Place you most desperately want to visit.

New Zealand and South Africa. 

What is the single greatest moment of humanity you've experienced while traveling?

Meeting poor people. Like, really poor people. And the fact that when you realize that their struggle is connected to the global economy. 

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What has changed about you because of your travels?

I became more attentive about my needs and about climate and environment.

Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met?

I met Edda Moser, a German opera singer, during a lecture at the Cologne Opera House. Her voice was recorded singing Mozart’s Magic Flute aria “Queen Of The Night”, which is part of the Voyager Golden Record. 

If you could travel with one person in history or in present, who would it be and why?

Otto the Great. He was a Roman German emperor in the 10th century. The kingdom of Germany was a travel kingdom, meaning because of its huge size, the German kings and emperors had no static residence. Several spread over the whole country, and he had to live a nomad’s life, like a lot of explorers do now. Well, and I’ve loved knights since my childhood.

Must haves for travel / travel tips?

Good shoes and a good jacket.

Give us a story any kind of story from one of your trips that will be impactful to the reader.

The feeling of slowing down when you are in the mountains. No rush and no stress. And the fact that you have to choose your equipment since you cannot carry everything with you.

Based on your travels, what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger?

A change in economy. I think big multinational companies and their urge of growth is one of the causes of the climate change and crimes against humanity.

What would you say to someone who has never travelled before?

Travel and collect moments and take off your blinders. That you don’t need to travel fast. That there are nice spots just around the corner.

What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you?

My grandfather. He thought me to ask questions, not following the mass and trust one’s own heart (he was a soldier in WWII).

When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson?

During exams or just when I have to give proof about my skills. E.g. when you ask me for this. But I learned to fight against these fears and keep them small. Hiking helped me as well. The first glimpse of a mountains I wanna climb is always frightening. But on top, you feel like a king! 

What would you say to your former self?

Trust yourself and your skills!

What gives you hope?

That love always wins.

Where to next?

Italy and Rome in October.

Is flannel always in season?

Flannel is always classy. Love it.

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Late Summer Gentleman Farmer Photo Shoot

Ben Ashby

Jennie Love, of Love 'n Fresh Flowers, fills us in on this richly-hued, earthy wedding inspiration shoot:As someone who works the land every day, I feel deeply connected to the seasons and to the heritage of farming.  When I started brainstorming with the talented ladies at Love Me Do Photography on a photo shoot, we were all immediately drawn to the idea of celebrating the richness of a full harvest in an intimate setting ripe with agrarian history.  We wanted to highlight the natural beauty of the late summer season's flowers, fruits, and vegetables.  Everything in the shoot was locally sourced, including the flowers grown at our own flower farm, just a few miles away.  

Wyck, the venue, was the absolute perfect fit for our vision, and it inspired so much of this shoot.  Located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Wyck is the ancestral home of the Wistar-Haines family, colonists who helped build Philadelphia when they settled here in 1690.  The home and property remained in the same family until 1973 when it went into a trust and became a National Historical Landmark.  Today, it's beautiful garden, house, and small urban farm are open to the public for exploring, including the original glass greenhouse that was likely one of the very first to ever be built in colonial America and the oldest rose garden in America still growing in its original foot-print.  Wyck is a truly remarkable place.  When it was first built, it was in wide-open rolling hills, the country estate for its Quaker owners who traveled to and from the city of Philadelphia by horse and carriage.  Today, swallowed up by Philadelphia as it expanded over the centuries, Wyck is now a petite 2.5 acre green oasis in a tattered urban neighborhood.  Step inside its gates and one immediately escapes the dull roar of buses to hear bees from the farm's hives buzzing around instead. 

Our models for the shoot are a real-life couple deeply in love, and it was a pleasure to watch them giggle and blush together throughout the summer afternoon. We had them "marry" under the 250 year old Concord grape arbor beside the house, which was heady with the fragrance of ripening grapes.  The foodie-inspired bridal bouquet was quirky and fun with a mix of dahlias, zinnias, air plants, blackberries, raspberries, mint, sage, and garlic.  Yes, garlic!  The boutonniere included succulents, blackberries, gomphrena and celosia.

The celebratory farm feast that followed was set-up in the rose garden.  The handmade rustic farm table and antique chairs were provided by Maggpie Vintage Rentals. Birchtree Catering designed a scrumptious rustic late summer menu that was inspired by the colors and tastes of heirloom tomatoes.  The table was decked out with a lush sprawling centerpiece of zinnias, dahlias, kale, sage, hydrangea, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes.  More heirloom tomatoes were placed down the center of the table and each place setting got its own garnish of either an adorable baby eggplant or string of green baby tomatoes.

We made one of my favorites, a Blackberry Shrub, for cocktails.  A shurb is a tart drinking vinegar that was popular in Wyck’s heyday as a way to preserve fruit for consumption throughout the year.  Today shrubs are an excellent mixer for cocktails and super easy to make. We served a "cheese cake", literally a stack of locally-sourced cheese rounds in lieu of traditional cake and a great idea for less traditional couples who love savory more than sweet. 

All in all, this shoot felt so natural and joyous, especially when we all sat down at the end to enjoy a delicious meal together in the late summer twilight.  A last hurrah for summer! And the perfect inspiration for an intimate farm or backyard wedding. 

Wyck is available to rent for weddings and other special events. 

Vendor Credits:

photography: Love Me Do Photography //   venue: Wyck House in Philadelphia, Pa //  florals & styling: Love 'n Fresh Flowers //  food: Birchtree Catering // dress: Free People // bow tie: Forage  // rentals: Maggpie Vintage  //  paper goods: Loveleigh Invitations //  hairpiece:  Lovely Bridal

Authentic Lives | Chef Angie Mar and the Beatrice Inn

Heath Stiltner


I love food people. I come from a family of food people, and I admire people who have a passion for cooking. Food and dining is one the most commonly shared communal activities and interests that every culture shares. We all have to eat after all, so why not together? Often, when we're traveling, we love to ask for recommendations of places we should check out. Recently while traveling in New York we were asked to come by and check out some of the offerings at the Beatrice Inn, a restaurant managed by Executive Chef Angie Mar. The food and environment was so welcoming and delicious so we asked Chef Angie a few questions about the Beatrice and how she started her culinary adventures.


How did Beatrice Inn begin?

The Beatrice Inn has quite a storied history. It was built in 1841 and at some point, became a speakeasy. It was then an Italian restaurant for years, followed by a nightclub. It was always a fabulous mess of models and one of the grittier clubs on the New York scene until it was shuttered. Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair then took it over and re-concepted the location into what it is today. I’m actually the third chef to take the helm of the kitchen here, and it’s been my baby for the past year and a half to revamp the culinary focus. My team and I have put a lot of time and love into this place to bring it back to life and we are so proud of where it is now.  


What is the biggest theme that carries through your food?

There are so many! I always cook what I love to eat, so the basis of my food is meat, fruit and herbs. I like to play with masculine and feminine qualities and ideas- Whole lamb shanks are balanced with cherries and hearty herbs; pork shoulders that are beautiful and rustic are lightened with aromas of jasmine and browned butter. Basically I always want food to be incredibly sexy. Food should be sensual and thought provoking- It should mess with your mind because there are so many harmonious flavors, textures and temperatures to indulge in.


How did you first start your journey in cooking? Did you go to a traditional culinary institute?

I actually had a career in the corporate world prior to this. I was incredibly bored and unfulfilled. My family is in the restaurant industry, so perhaps it’s in my blood and I just fought it for too long. I finally quit my job and after travelling for a few months, decided to move to New York and follow my passion.

How did some of the specialties come about? Family recipes from Seattle?

Honestly, I cook what I love to eat… And that would be a lot of meat. Beef, lamb, and game meats, like venison and wild boar are all flavors from my childhood. There are certain dishes like the chicken liver pate or the pork shoulder that I’ve been cooking since I was about 15, but the majority of the menu is inspired by my travels, or what my parents cooked when I was growing up. Its food that will remind you of your grandparents, just a bit elevated and reimagined.

What do you hope people take away from their dining experience at Beatrice Inn?

I believe that most great relationships, friendships and memories begin around the dinner table - Or at least that has been my experience. My goal is that our guests will not only enjoy our food, but will also leave here with the experience of great relationships, friendships and memories over the meal that they’ve shared… Feeding people is such a privilege for us. 

How do you get ideas for new recipes and specialties?

That’s a question that people have been asking a lot lately. Where do I go to eat when I’m off that I can draw inspiration from? It may sound a bit odd, but I actually don’t go out to eat very much. I love to be in my own head, and I’ve found that when I go out to eat other people’s food, I tend to be the least creative- I hate having outside influencers. Instead I love to explore the farmer’s markets and look for incredibly beautiful ingredients. Right now I’m incredibly smitten with strawberries and cherries. I also just really cook for my menu, the foods that I happen to be craving. 

What is your biggest inspiration?

The energy in New York is unlike anything else in the world. Being surrounded by so many tenacious and talented people on a daily basis really pushes your boundaries. I’ve always been of the mindset that failure is not an option and that we create our own luck. Having the ability to create and shape my future is really what drives me.

How does your history influence what you make?

Our history always shapes who we are and who we will become, doesn’t it? For me, the fact that my mother is Taiwanese, but spent time in England, and my father was born in America, I am sure has shaped my palate. Meat pies, beef and of course the staple of jasmine rice is always what I crave as its what I ate growing up.   

What has been your biggest lesson in the culinary industry?

Trusting my instinct. I’ve never been one to listen to others, and anyone that has spent time with me can tell you that I rarely color in between the lines. The facets of the kitchen require you to just say “Yes Chef”, and my kitchen is definitely run in the same manner. However, there came a point in my career where I had to stop saying “Yes Chef” to someone and build my own future. The move I made was crazy, but it felt right, and taking over the Beatrice, baggage and all, has proved to be the best instinctual decision I could have ever made. 


What's your favorite thing about working in the culinary industry?

That’s a tough question since there are so many facets to our industry. I love the rush that I get when we are in the middle of service. I love waking up early in the morning to go to the markets for the best produce. Watching my guys cook is something that will never get old for me - they move with incredible speed and grace, and it’s often like watching a ballet. But the ability to be able to translate ideas, from my brain, onto a plate, and have people experience it, every day… That is something that I will always find to be an incredible privilege.

What's been your best advice you've been given?

The best advice that someone gave me was to not listen to the noise. To keep my head down and work harder and faster and smarter than anyone else, but most importantly, to not be afraid to be different or take risks. 

What's been your biggest challenge?

I’ve actually only been cooking for about 5 years, so in the big scope of things, many people would say that I came up very fast. I think my biggest challenge is maintaining my personal life. Part of the reason I think I’ve advanced this fast is that I’ve not stopped to come up for air. There has been very little play time in the past five years, but I’m also incredibly okay with that. 



Authentic Lives | Dusty St. Amand

Heath Stiltner


Fifty NYC Hotel, NYC.

Meet Dusty, a model and photographer currently living in NYC but who is moving to LA soon. He's been an instagram friend for over a year and this weekend I—Heath (@afieldguy)—was finally able to meet and shoot him while in NYC.


This shoot is a mix of fashion images I shot of Dusty for FOLK, and a few skin portraits for my new series, Brief Explorations, as well as a quick interview with Dusty.


Interview with Dusty:

Question: When/how did you first start modeling?

Dusty: I started modeling so that I could be around artists. I’d spent a long period of time without something to say and without a medium to say it, even if I did. A few years ago, as I was coming out a relationship, I realized that sharing my image was a way of participating in global conversations about sex, queerness, hair, and modern digital expression. 


Q: What is your favorite adventure you've ever been on?

D: My recent trip to Los Angeles is still buzzing in my mind. I went alone, functioned at my own pace, and got to know incredible people.


Q: What is your best fitness tip?

D: Diet. When you cut the amount of effort you put into knowingly toxifying your body, you in turn cut the amount of time spent ridding the body of those effects. This allows the body to rest, restore, and continue thriving into old age.


Q: What is your biggest vice?

D: Social Media can be a tool and vice. There are times when I have to get my phone away from my hand because it’s taking too much of my energy.


Q: What does 'home' mean to you?

D: Home is where I feel I can be vulnerable or flawed, while being supported and loved. That can exist in bonds between lovers, in moments of camaraderie at work, or in physical places that hold my things.


Q: How will your moving to LA change that?

D: Moving to LA is a reminder for me to always remain focused on personal happiness and creative work. I’m placing myself in a new circumstances so that I feel ascendant and, in turn, feel much happier (and “at home” just with myself, my actions, and dreams).


To see more of my work, including an upcoming blog post of this series' images, visit my website at or my Instagram—@afieldguy.

Special thanks to Dusty for being an amazing and inspiring model. You can find more of his work on his Instagram—@dusterz—and order prints of his own amazing photography on his website