A Visual Explanation for My Disappearance


Remember this summer when I was laying out all of my goals and desires to you through regular weekly posts? When I announced my goal of publishing my book? When I confessed my desire to be laser focused on that goal? And then I disappeared?

Well, I forgot to mention that there is a clause to the laser-focused goal.

And that clause reads:
The goal setter must remain laser focused on her goal unless an unforeseen opportunity suddenly presents itself whose timing is immediate and whose task is one that she loves, is passionate about, and would love to grow into something more that it currently is.


Things were humming along with my book. My talented graphic designer sister (and author), Courtney Cook Hopp, had laid out the first section of my book. My eyes filled with tears when I saw what she had created. So beautiful. (I will share sneak peaks in future posts.) My talented editor friend (and author), Meg DesCamp, was painstakingly copy editing her way through every essay and recipe while gently enlightening me to my curious tic of flip-flopping tenses in a single essay. (Am I doing it now, Meg?)

And then a dear friend — one who I treasure daily and without whom my life would not have the same depth — asked me, “Hey Care, would you consider taking Ben’s senior photos?”

I replied, “Yes, I would love to!”


And so I did. I photographed her son…the same boy (now, basically a man) that I’ve known since he was still in his mama’s tummy. The same boy who toddled around with my daughter while they both sucked on binkies. The same boy who survived the middle school years with my girl and then remained her steadfast friend as they watched out for each other through their high school years.

Here on the eve of launching him out into the world, how could I not photograph him? It was a privilege.

Through word of mouth and social media, that photo shoot led to more as people generously reached out to me asking for photographs. Suddenly, I found myself unofficially yet officially taking senior photos as well as head shots and even an upcoming family shoot.


“But what happened to the book?” you may wonder.

In the midst of trying to do it all, I realized there was more work than one person could handle even though it’s work I love to do.

I consulted my highly intelligent business-savvy mentor (aka my hubby) as well as Courtney and Meg, and I arrived at the conclusion that the book would have to be pushed out.


At first, I was disappointed. I had my heart set on releasing the book in time for the holidays. However, after a few days passed, releasing the book next spring felt more and more like it should have always been the plan.

The first essay in the book happens in early spring five years ago. When my little one was in preschool. When I still called him “the baby” and held his hand when he crossed the street. The last essay is from this past spring. After my mom passed away. When I celebrated my first Mother’s Day and her 71st Birthday without her. And in the five years between those springs, a lot of life happened.

All of this serves as a reminder to me that no matter how detailed and laser focused we are on the goal, sometimes life has other plans for us.


Throughout this post, I’ve featured some of the portraits I took in late summer and early September. I’ll share more in future posts. While I know their parents and grandparents probably prefer the more smiley photos, I am drawn to the pensive, looking askance photos. They seem to sum up what it means to be on the brink of embarking out into your own future. Out into your own messy yet beautiful life.

Much love,


  1. Jimme Perkins says:

    I hope you’ll still be taking senior pictures in the future. You do great work and would love to have you shoot my kids!!

  2. Carrie, everything you do is done with such thoughtfulness, artistry, and love. It shines through. I can’t wait for your book, of course, but I have loved seeing these beautiful photos of kids (adults!) I don’t even know. Even I can see that you really capture the essence of who they are in this moment. Looking forward to more!! xxoo

  3. The tears are flowin sister! Oh my goodness! What a wonderful article…and kind words! I treasure you, my dear friend…And I will be forever grateful for these photos…not just of my own sweet boy, but of all of these kiddos that I love like they are my own! You have a gift….many gifts! I am so honored to be by your side on this journey! Clear your calendar cause I have a few more people calling you! 🙂 Careful what you wish for! 🙂 I love you Carrie Cook Minns! Keep up all that you do….because it is all AMAZING!

    • Ape, Well, my tears are flowing too so maybe we just need to hole up at the beach and have a good cry together. You are absolutely one of the greatest treasures in my life. xoxo

  4. Pablo Montmeny says:

    Life is so much more fulfilling when we let life live us…

    Great piece of writing Carrie.


  5. I love reading your blog! You need no excuses Carrie we all know whatever you are doing is out of love and the best is always yet to come! Your pictures are amazing and I’m honored you took the time for Parker. I agree with April that I feel like all of these kiddos are part of my family and this is an exciting (and tough) year to see them all take flight. We will value our photos, and the time it has captured, forever! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Cindi-Loo

    • Thank you, Cindi-Loo-Hoo, for giving me the opportunity to take Parker’s photos. I love that kid of yours. A year from now, we need to head to the coast and have a good cry…get it out of our system…and then watch with admiration as our kiddos take flight. xoxo

  6. Kisa Nosler-Nantz says:

    Is it too early to book photos for next year?! My baby is a junior and I would LOVE for you to do his photos next Summer.
    Beautiful photos!


    • Kisa, I would love nothing more than to photograph your “baby”. I’ll make sure you know when the time comes for scheduling a session. xo

  7. Beautiful piece…love the photos!

  8. Carrie,
    Not sure why your posts always manage to hit me in a deep place and make me cry, but they do! So beautiful to see your amazing work of capturing these young adults. Kate will graduate from college next year and I would love to have you take some photos of her. Also looking forward to your cookbook in the spring! Take care…..

  9. Beautiful Carrie. I know exactly what you mean! Life keeps teaching me that living in the *present* is the biggest gift we can give ourselves. Life unfolds gently day to day and when we embrace that, we are living life to the fullest. In my journey I am learning that God has many different plans for me than I do for myself. And since I’ve acknowledged that, my life has a quiet clarity that I’ve never felt before. The inner battle with myself and my own aspirations has fallen to the wayside. I think it’s marvelous that you’ve followed a new fork in your road! You’re so talented. Can’t wait to see your journey continue to unfold!

    • Thank you, Wendy. I feel the same about following along on your new path as well. We just never know what’s in store for us. So grateful our lives intersected back in San Francisco.

  10. Meg DesCamp says:

    Carrie, my dear–“Out into your own messy yet beautiful life” might be the single most profound thing I’ve read in a long time. And yes, that includes all the terrific writing in your soon-to-be-finished cookbook.
    You’d better still be taking pictures two years from now so that you can take Kat’s!

  11. You have my tears, too, and I don’t even know these kids. (Well, I know of them, of course.) Do I need to make an advanced reservation for senior photos? Beautiful work.

  12. You are so crazy talented. I’m blessed to call you friend!

  13. Jayne Calkins says:

    Sigh. Lovely photos, lovely words, lovely reminder to embrace spontaneity. Thank you Carrie!

  14. LOVE!!!! You’ll still be doing this when our babies are – gulp! – seniors? I’ll tag along and carry the box of kleenex for us.

    • Just for you, Kirsten, I’ll hang around and take photos of Drew when he’s a senior. I may be in a wheelchair by then but as long as I can push the shutter release button we’re all good.