Today: I prefer to sweeten my coffee with brown sugar, even though I fear the molasses will stick to my insides. I keep a diary (pen to paper, old school style). My house is infested with cats, 3 of them, who could care less about killing spiders for me. My power animal is a hedgehog. And I am in a constant state of changing my hair and breaking expectations.
You love me. I was born into a family of renegade gypsy addict artist types. My Grandfather was a charming racecar driver with a tendency to misbehave and a handlebar mustache to accompany his travels. My Grandmother was the flag girl at the race track- a beautiful woman who fell for the wrong type of guy. My Grandfather being one of them. The bred a series of incredible offspring all with tales of their own to impress you. The most well known child of theirs would be my Aunt Jerilyn Lee Brandelius, author of The Grateful Dead Family Album.
I was born in Denver Colorado and lived in San Diego, San Rafael, Las Vegas, Sequim WA and Manzanita OR, all before I was 10 years old. Between 5 and 7 years old, my sister and I lived with our Aunt. She was in the final production stages of her book and photos filled our lives. Every table, every chair, every counter, every desk had photos of longhaired bare breasted hippies and their families. This planted the seed of photography into my developing mind. I picked up my first camera (a disposable Kodak camera) at 10 years old and organized a ‘fashion shoot’ with my sister and two cousins as models. That series got published in Vogue. Okay, that’s not true.
At 13 I was adopted into the Norstad/Pugh’s families. My Grandpa Norstad is a prestigious zen master and potter who made a living producing designer clay basins, lamps, tiles and dishware. They were often glazed with a Japanese Maple leaf, which seemed to sell very well in the 1960’s. My Grandma Norstad is the ultimate chef and green thumb, whose primary concern seemed to be providing me with a stable nurturing living environment. My Grandma and Grandpa Pugh were Bay Area natives, her born and raised in Oakland during the 1920’s and him born and raised on Belvedere Island. They were extremely invested in my education: from sewing lessons early on to giving me my first camera (an argus), to sending me to small private high school, where I got to further explore my love of photography.
By 16 I was a committed photographer (as in invested, not insane). My first exhibit was at 17 years old… it consisted of travel photos from Machu Pichu, photos from a week at Burning Man and black and white portraits of teenagers. It was clear I needed some further education. In 2001 I moved to the East Coast to study photography and began apprenticing with established photographers in studio environments. In 2006 I began consistently shooting for my own clients.