Maile is a photographer and a blogger, and a few years ago, she grew tired of carrying around industrial-looking camera bags, particularly to events where she was required to dress nicely. So she decided to do something about it: she did all the research she could on what it would take to design and manufacture her own line of women's camera bags that looked like high-end handbags -- and thus, Epiphanie Bags was formed.
I met Maile about 2 years ago at a blogging conference, when the first samples of her bags were being introduced to the market. Since that time we have become incredibly close: she is one of my dearest friends in my offline life, our husbands enjoy each other immensely, and our kids get on like a house on fire. In fact, this past weekend, Marcus, Alex and I drove to San Antonio to spend the weekend with Maile and her family, where we ate too much, drank too much and laughed far more than the law should allow. They are wonderful, wonderful people.
Besides all of our holiday-type celebrations, Maile also took me to visit the relatively new headquarters of Epiphanie. The space is spectacular, and a far cry from her garage, where her business was first conducted. I kept walking around in awe, staring at and photographing everything she showed me.
I'm so very proud of my friend.
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Well, folks, here we are: the very last day of the 12 Days of Chookooloonks. And because it's the last day, I thought we'd go out with a bang -- featuring the items I think every woman photographer should have. Strap in, friends: this is one big, fat, photographer's giveaway.
Image courtesy Epiphanie Bags
Clearly I make no secret of my love of Maile, but the truth is that I'd be passionate about her bags even if she wasn't one of my best friends. Epiphanie bags are seriously beautiful -- you can see for yourself in their catalog -- but even more impressive is how strong and durable they are. I have several of them, and I love each one more than the last. And wonderfully, Maile has agreed to contribute an Epiphanie bag of your choice to the winner of today's giveaway.
I told you she was awesome.
Here's more about Maile and Epiphanie:
Artist's statement: Maile has been a professional photographer for fifteen years. Originally from Maui and California, she now resides in San Antonio, Texas with her husband and three adorable children.
Specializing in family portraits, she has photographed many of the local San Antonio news staff at WOAI TV, as well as celebrities such as Brooke Burke, Eva Longoria, and Tony Parker. Her studio is operated out of San Antonio TX. She travels around San Antonio, Austin, and is increasingly commissioned by clients around the world.
Epiphanie bags are a stylish and functional way to transport your camera every where you go. No need to lug around an extra bulky geeky camera bag or wrap your camera in a hand towel, sweatshirt, or diaper and shove it in your purse. Epiphanie bags blend function with versatility. These bags are practical enough to use during a photo session but also versatile enough to bring to a ballet recital, concert, or a girls' weekend out. Whether you're a professional photographer, or just a girl who loves to take pictures, our bags make it easy to bring your camera with you everywhere!
Image courtesy Susannah Conway
When it comes to photography, my friend Susannah Conway is a true artist: besides the fact that she has one of the most solidly technical backgrounds in the art of anyone I know (she studied fine art photography at university), she's also one of the most intuitive and expressive photographers I've ever met. And I say this with knowledge: I've been a fan of her work for years, and I watched her in action when my family went to Bath a month ago. This woman is the real deal.
Susannah also provides gives several online courses on various aspects of photography, but her most well-known is her flagship course, Unravelling: Ways of Seeing My Self. And so generously, Susannah is contributing a spot in her upcoming course to the winner -- how great is that? Class starts January 2nd, 2012!
Here's more about Susannah and her work:
Artist's Statement: Susannah Conway is a photographer, writer and the creator of the Unravelling e-courses. A Polaroid addict and very proud aunt, her first book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart (Globe Pequot Press), launches in June 2012. You can read more about her shenanigans on her blog at SusannahConway.com
The Unravelling e-course is an 8-week online class designed to help you heal the way you see your self and your world, using photography and journalling to access hidden thoughts & dreams and encourage personal realisations, all in the safe space of a like-minded community.
Image courtesy Bel Kai Designs
Also, because I'm still really excited about my latest collaboration with the awesome Bel Kai Designs, the winner of today's giveaway will receive a choice of one of the Beautifully Different bracelets from Bel Kai Designs, with an added moonstone charm. Your bracelet will be carefully packaged, adorned with an additional gift: a LoveBand bracelet inscribed "beautifully different" from Mudlove.
You'll also receive a signed copy of The Beauty of Different, inscribed to whomever you'd like, and
And of course, you'll receive a 2012 Chookooloonks desk calendar (comes packaged in a fold-out CD case), featuring 13 of my favourite images from 2011.
As always, for a chance to win ALL these gifts, simply leave a comment below, saying whatever you'd like, before 12:00 a.m., Saturday, December 24th, US Central Time. Please leave only one comment. Also, it doesn't matter where in the world you are. I'll choose a winner at random using Random.org, and update this post when that person is chosen.
(And of course, understand that there is no guarantee that you will receive any items before Christmas.)
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AND THE WINNER IS: According to Random.org, the winner is Gee, who said "may you and your family have the merriest christmas and the happiest new year :)" Congratulations, Gee! Please keep a lookout in your inbox for an email from me with instructions on what to do next.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the 12 Days of Chookooloonks -- it was such a great time sharing these artists with you, and seeing your response to them all. Also, thank you all so much for your incredibly kind words. I appreciate you all.