I’ve been scraping at an empty shell, trying to dig out something that’s not there : me.

It sounds odd, I know. But somewhere over the past who knows how long, I’ve slowly lost who I am when it comes to my work/passion/creativity/spirit. A big part of that is due to the winter season and to our move to Oregon. I haven’t shot much and it’s been a forced sabbatical, which I’m not upset about. It’s also because it’s way too easy to just hang out with Josh all day and explore our new city. All these things are good, but coming back into photography season, I feel this odd sense of fear/unknown. Josh is my biggest fan and support when it comes to my photography and my work. And I’ve been pushing myself daily to be that #girlboss I want to be and that my friends/family think that I am. But I’m pretty sure I’ve been pretending. There are photographers and entrepreneurs of all kinds popping up every single day. The market is saturated and there are so many options for anything you could ever desire. How do you keep your integrity of who you are as an artist when your inspiration board is constantly growing and you’re over-stimulated with ideas/visions/wishes/dreams/goals and the industry is more competitive than ever? I am so not a competitive person. And I’m not one to scream and holler “look at me!”, but I do care what people think, to an extent. I care about what I’m putting out there, while at the same time, not. I’m figuring out who I am, and what I’ve found out is that I am one complicated slab of sunshine. I’m a walking contradiction in a lot of ways. Not because I’m fake, but I have a very broad range of likes/dislikes (and emotions, let’s be real). I’m drawn to things that are polar opposites of each other. But maybe that’s it.

Maybe I love granola-esque melancholy short stories in Kinfolk, simple edits + simple life, while also loving the slang cursing and crazy energy of Andria Lindquist and living life to it’s extreme and being a wild child. Maybe I’m both. Whatever I am, whoever I am, I’m thankful I’m her. Because Josh chose her and Josh is hot and I’m in love with him. And I’m thankful I'm her because she made the friends I have, whom I’m obsessed with and couldn’t do life without. And I’m thankful I'm her because she follows Jesus and He’s the absolute reason for everything good in my life. And I’m thankful I'm her, because she’s crazy psycho, but she loves wildly and she creates endlessly and she’s breathing and she’s me. I’m still on this path of figuring it all out. I’ll probably never reach the end. But this is my journey. At 25 freaking years old, I swore I had this all figured out 5 years ago! But I do think a part of figuring all this out is writing it out. Sharing it. That's always been a part of me and i've back-burnered it. Not anymore.


Even with all these raw + honest thoughts, there is one person who saw through it all. She listened to my word vomit of thoughts and contradictions, my likes/dislikes, my heart. & she listened with a heart of gold like real friends do. & she helped me create this website and new brand of melissamarshall.co. She pushes me creatively and spiritually, always encouraging, patient, understanding, and joy-filled.

Hannah Ashford.

We became friends when I shot her wedding a couple years ago. And from then forward, I’ve watched her pursue her dreams. Milestone by milestone, even the boring and tedious ones, she’s pushed through them. She's so incredible at what she does. It doesn't matter if its business related or friend/family related, she pours her heart & soul & skill into every thing she does. It's so inspiring to watch her quietly work so diligently and to bring other's dreams to life. And now to get to watch the journey she's on, for her to bring forth a long time dream, there’s so much on the horizon for this little bumblebee.

We created these images with her passions in mind : graphic designer, dancer, creative consultant, wife, visual stylist, artist, director, girlboss.

We wanted to stretch ourselves, hold nothing back, pursue . & so we did .