Be The Light You Are ~ By Kirsi Ranto

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 at 11:55am - Music

 I am so excited to share with you a new song from Finnish musical artist Kirsi Ranto, Be The Light You Are.  This is one of the most beautiful, profound, and inspiring songs I have ever heard.  I can´t even express in words how powerful it was to see this song come to life one day when Kirsi and I were working together on our Essence of Kirsi Ranto Deepthi video project.  It is hard to believe, but this is the first song Kirsi has ever written in English.  One morning she just had to go be with her piano, a song was coming to her.  In less than 2 hours she was singing this amazing song, and I was seriously in tears because of its depth, sincerity, and beauty.

This song is part of the Essence of Kirsi Ranto Deepthi piece that we have already published, but we both felt that this song also needs to be able to be enjoyed on its own.  It is so beautiful and needs to be shared with the world!  This song is also part of An Evening with Kirsi Ranto Deepthi live concert that we will be releasing in the coming weeks, with more of Kirsi´s gorgeous, heartfelt songs in both english and finnish.

I also encourage you to check out Kirsi´s website where she´s written about how special this song is to her.  Please share this beautiful music with others, and please check back soon for more amazing music, videos, and more.  We hope you enjoy :)

 To find out more about our project and our mission, to see beautiful images we created, and to be able to help support us in continuing to spread love, please visit our page here dedicated to this project. Thank you for your support, and may the light within you shine bright :) 


Kirsi Ranto ~ Finnish Musical Artist

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 at 5:23am - Music

This fall I´ve had the incredible opportunity to collaborate on a music and video project with one of the most talented musical artists I´ve ever met, Kirsi Ranto from Jalasjärvi, Finland.  Kirsi reached out to me back in May, after seeing my short films "Yosemite Range Of Light" and "Welcome To The Outside".  We quickly became friends, and have been able to continually inspire each other by sharing our excitement for creating art and spreading love.  

 We decided to work together on a project that I´ve been dreaming up for quite some time.  After getting to know Kirsi a little bit better, I knew she was the perfect person to collaborate with.  I´ve been wanting to create Video Essence Portraits of artists, that capture the essence of someone, and combine their art with my own in a way that allows us to synergize together and come up with something greater than we could achieve on our own.  In this modern age of the world wide web with opportunities opening up at a global scale, I feel its very important for artists to have a video that captures their essence and their spirit, and allows people to really get a feel for not only their art, but the person and soul behind the art.

Working with and getting to know Kirsi has been inspiring beyond measure.  The passion and joy she brings to her music is so uplifting and filled with love; and I can´t help but feel that as she´s starting to write more music in English, that her ability to reach more people and to spread love will continue to grow.  It´s been an amazing honor to work with her, and I´ve been waiting patiently for the day when I could start to share some of her music, because its so beautiful, and powerful, and you need to hear it :)

I´d love to share below one of the songs that we filmed and recorded live when I was in Finland this September.  While our finished piece will include interviews, narration, music, shots from around her home village of Jalasjärvi, and much more;  after hearing Kirsi play live, I knew we also had to release some of the live recordings of her songs as music only.  There´s just something so powerful and moving in seeing Kirsi sitting at her piano playing and singing live.  I still get chills every time I watch.

This first song is called "Anna Mun Tulla Kotiin" ("Let Me Come Home").  Kirsi wrote this song a few years ago, and it was first released on her album Läikytät Mua (released in 2010).  I love that the first song we´re releasing is in Finnish, because I feel it will give people who don´t understand Finnish the opportunity to really feel her passion and heart without trying to understand the words.  I love this song, and hope you enjoy :)



 You´ll also find below lots of images, some screenshots, and BTS shots from our time together.  We both realized during my trip here in September, that we have a grand opportunity to create something really beautiful with the synergy of our arts, so I am actually back in Finland right now and we are working together again.  

What began as an idea to make a short film has blossomed into a much grander vision.  We love working together, and our synergy continues to grow as we get to know each other better.  This trip we have focused more on photography, which has led us to an incredible place that we would have never even imagined at the beginning of this trip; the lanch of Kirsi´s new website!  I encourage you to check out her new site, as it really gives an in depth look and feel into who Kirsi is.

Kirsi and I have the same mission in life, and that is to spread love.  Its amazing what can happen when people come together in the name of love, and bring their combined talents together in a way that far outweighs the sum of the individual efforts.  I hope that you enjoy Kirsi´s music, and we look forward to sharing much more as time goes on.  Namaste :)


Kirsi Ranto : 1 of 12

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 Since it will be a little while before we start releasing more videos, I thought I´d share a few screen captures from some of the footage we got.  Kirsi lives in a gorgeous area, and it was totally different then my home was in California.  It´s so exciting to shoot new in places!  You can click here to see the rest of the post with our iPhone BTS shots.....

Kirsi Ranto Screenshots : 1 of 10

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 This trip was the first time I used my KesslerCrane Cineslider for video instead of only timelapse, and it just made me love it even more :)

Kirsi Ranto BTS : 1 of 5

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Jacqueline Nassar ~ Mississippi Music Prodigy

Thursday, April 8th, 2010 at 9:21am - Music

My last picture post from the my trip to Mississippi for the Rebirth Retreat is very special to me.  The morning after we all went out to Ground Zero, while having our morning get together of the group, Will announced our exercise for the day.  We had to go meet someone we didn´t know; talk with them, hear their story, and then create a portrait of them.

Upon hearing this, I was definitely nervous.  I know for myself, that to truly create a portrait of an individual is one of the hardest things for me as a photographer.  In my own head, if I´m going to create a portrait of someone, it really has to capture their essence, not just be a pretty picture of them.  When I shoot couple´s portraits in my wedding work, it comes very naturally, because I love playing off the energy and interaction between the couple, and I encourage this since when they´re focused on each other, its easier for them to forget about me and let their true nature shine through.  But to capture an individual´s essence, I need them to completely trust me while interacting with me, they´re not focused on someone else.  So a challenge for sure, but a challenge I was excited for.

So as I thought who do I want to get to know and create a portrait with, it all the sudden hit me. I wanted to meet the woman from Ground Zero the night before who had just floored us with her music.  So I asked my friend Laura Beth if she could make some calls, and I called David the guitarist from that night to see if he could help me find her, which is how I ended up getting in touch with her.

Jax Band : 1 of 12

14945 votes


Her name is Jacqueline Nassar, and I kid you not when I say she is someone our kids will be reading about in music history books one day.  She is 19 years old, and has had quite the life so far.  When she started sharing her story with me, I couldn´t help but imagine the movie that will one day be made about her life as she told me about all the wild experiences she´s already had.  Let me share a little about her to give you an idea of how inspiring Jax really is.

Jacqueline grew up in Clarksdale, MS, and started playing music when she was seven by picking up the drums.  By eight years old she had picked up the guitar which has become her main instrument.  She picked up music so fast, that in 3rd grade she started homeschooling so she could play out in blues clubs till 4 and 5 in the morning, which was making it hard for her to get to school on time.  When she told me this I was floored, but you can really see the character that she developed from it as she is very confident and sure of herself without being arrogant or narcissistic, such a wonderful trait in talented people.  Not to mention it has helped her become the gifted musician she is today; playing Guitar, Drums, Bass, Keybnoards, and she sings!!  Pretty incredible.

Jax graduated from the Arts and Education program at the Delta Blues Museum in 2000 as Most Outstanding Student, and by time she was 13 was presented the first Robert Johnson award for Youth Excellence which was presented to her by Robert´s grandson Steve Johnson and Morgan Freeman.  She´s been described as a "pint sized" Stevie Ray Vaughn, and watching her rip on the guitar I can sure see why.  But on top of her being a guitar virtuoso, her voice and singing is simply mesmerizing.

Jax has grown up playing the blues but has also found a deep love for rock and roll, and her original music shows this. Her music has appeared on TV and in at least one movie.

Jacqueline Nassar is going places with her music, I highly encourage you to check out her website and her myspace.  Thank you so much Jax for taking the time to meet with me and allow me to create some portraits with you.  I can only dream that maybe one day we´ll get to jam together.  I am so excited to see you thrive and prosper, and if there´s any way I can help or be of any service, please don´t hesitate to be in touch.

Jax Portraits : 1 of 22

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Ground Zero ~ Live Mississippi Delta Blues

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 at 4:02pm - Music

Well you can´t really go to the Mississippi Delta, home of the blues, and not go out and see some incredible music.  So Wednesday night we got a group of people from the retreat and headed to Ground Zero, a blues club partially owned by Morgan Freeman and right across the street from the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale.  David Dunavent had his band playing with a few special guests along the way, and they rocked the house. Its incredible how in the Delta, you can just wander into some blues club on a Wednesday night and hear incredible live music.

At one point, the drummer Jacqueline Nassar switched with David who was on guitar and singing, and played and sang us a song; and I must say the entire crowd was speechless.  Jax who had been relatively low key back behind the drum set, came to the mic and just floored the crowd, myself included.  I have a whole blog post on her coming up tomorrow that I´m really excited to share.

Another gentleman came up and sang some songs with another guitarist, and we got to hear like 3 or 4 different people sing and play.  This last guy had so much character and emotion, that most of the first pictures are of him.  The mississippi Delta delvers when it comes to live music and real character.

Ground Zero : 1 of 22

8994 votes


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