I wrote a book!

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Yes, it's true.

I WROTE A BOOK!
Some of These Things Happened
a collection of short stories, poems, essays, and passages


Join me and a group of my amazing friends as we celebrate the launch of my first book! Started over 3 years ago, and now totally self-published and homemade, this book proves that the only thing getting in my way has been myself!

VIRTUAL LAUNCH PARTY - HOSTED BY LYDIA & FRIENDS
Wednesday, September 27th
12:15pm EST
Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/lydia.billings
(seriously - you can attend this party in your pj's)

Hear from all sorts of folks who have written, are currently writing, or are thinking about writing their own books. They'll share stories about the creative process and what they've discovered along the way.

CLICK HERE on 9/27 at 12:15pm EST to attend: https://www.facebook.com/lydia.billings

Pre-Order your copy

More info forthcoming as we approach the launch date! RSVP here to stay updated about my amazing co-hosts and more!

Australia (Part 2)

So, we've been here a full week. A week of reading books, playing cards, taking walks, sipping coffee, taking naps, applying sunscreen, prawn fishing, more walks, sipping gin, more cards, and lots of eating. 

A few highlights:

We flew for 17 hours from Los Angeles to Melbourne. LOTS of movies.

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We arrived at 8am local time, and I somehow managed to stay up all day until about 9pm. We got loopy toward the end, for sure. Giggling like punchy little kids.  

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I ordered Iced Coffee and was given cold coffee with ice cream floating in it! Drank the whole thing anyway, of course. Maybe they know my birthday is coming up...

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We took a long sunny walk (actually a few). 

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Walked near the Yarra River. 

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Went kangaroo spotting! (And ate some kangaroo as well, shh) 

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I've been taking TONS of photos that I'll share once I return and get some editing time with my computer. Only brought my phone and iPad here, and am enjoying spending very little time in front of screens.  

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We visited an art museum at Federation Square in downtown Melbourne.  

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And then spent 3 days at Lake Tyers Beach, where I discovered the softest sand, the greenest beach forest, and a very natural talent for prawn fishing. 

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We've got 2 more days in Melbourne before we hop on another plane. Today we're sipping iced long blacks (americano) and heading to Victoria Market. Later we'll relax by the pool and I'll probably finish my second book for the week.  

Finishing up today's breakfast: 

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Maura & Peter

You know those couples who just fit together like puzzle pieces and are very very different but somehow simultaneously the perfect balance for one another? 

I love those couples.  

Maura and I met in college nearly....seven (?!) years ago.   

Peter and I met two weeks ago when they asked me to shoot their engagement session.  

First time to Pittsburgh. Won't be the last. We explored an empty church, rode The Incline, braved the cold, and got snowed on on the bridge where they got engaged last year.

Can't wait for your wedding, you goobers! 

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Australia (Part 1)

It's my first time in Australia. I'm here with my mom, dad, and brother Dana. 

36 hours ago we walked out of my apartment in Queens. 

We sat on planes for 23 hours, during 8 of which, I slept. 

I've watched at least 6 movies and over 15 episodes of television. 

I'm on my 5th coffee of the day. It's now 2:56pm in Melbourne, Australia.  

It's currently 11:56pm YESTERDAY in Queens.  

Doing all this math has made my brain even more confused than it already was.

More pictures forthcoming. 

 

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Photosplosion NYC

I didn't take this picture. Jen Chang did. 

Didn't take this one either. Stephanie Hunt did. 

Nope, not this one. This one's by Dan Baumann.

You guessed it. I didn't shoot this one. Eldar Hamitov did. 

So...who the heck made all these stunning images? If you guessed: The Next Up and Coming Collection of Documentary, Fine Art, and Portrait Photographers in NYC - you'd be correct.

I also have the honor of calling them: My Students. 

For over three years I've been teaching photography classes, private lessons, and workshops with my partner JP. Together, we run JP Teaches Photo, and since 2010 have taught over 30,000 people how to make incredible images with all types of cameras. Some come to us because they can't get their kids to sit still long enough for a photo. Some love to travel, and want to take advantage of all those confusing buttons and dials on their camera along the way. Some just love the feeling of walking through NYC with a camera in hand - present, observant, in the moment.

To say I love being a photographer is an understatement. It's been who I am for more than half my life. My cameras became an extension of my hands many years ago.

But to share my work and not share my love of teaching would be a crime. There's nothing more fulfilling than watching my students' faces light up because they've finally discovered the answer to that pesky technical question, or when they email me photos they've made that far surpass even their own expectations. When they come running back to my advanced level classes, hungry for more. When they open their own photography businesses. 

Proud Mama Bear times 12,000 over here.

Because I adore my students and the work they continue to make, I decided this year to create an acknowledgment for them. This Friday, Feb 10th, we're hosting the first ever:

Photosplosion NYC 

Join us for a gallery show of a select group of students' work. For many, this is the first opportunity to share their work publicly, and I couldn't be more proud. 

Beautifully curated by Tyler Greenpope, and expertly produced by Ana Maria Mutchler, this show is going to be a blast.  
Grab your tickets HERE and enjoy wine, food, music, a live photo booth, and of course - THE PHOTOGRAPHS!!

Nope, I didn't take this one either. Mack Hopper snapped it!

Rachel Levin

I've known Rachel for a few years now. She's a personal image consultant, makes people's closets actually suit their needs and goals, knows everyone there is to know in fashion and apparel, and is LOVELY to spend time with, to boot.

We've been on shopping trips and had photoshoots together, all while giggling our butts off.

Rachel, thanks for your work and your love for your clients. Thanks especially for informing me that I've been wearing my clothes two sizes too big for years. What a world of difference...


Here are a few of my favorite images we've made together. 

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For more info on Rachel, her upcoming workshops, and her services - sign up for her newsletter: The Mode.

Things To Do When You Are Brain-Splittingly Bored

Have a 5-minute conversation with a stranger

Do jumping jacks

Meditate

Sit outside in a well-populated area and tally people’s attributes; what colors are people wearing? How many people are wearing headphones? How many people are smiling?

Start a spontaneous, public dance party. If there’s no music make your own.

Cook a recipe you’ve never tried. Be vegan today.

Turn off all your devices with screens. Discover something in your space that’s more captivating than digital information.

Arrange small objects in a pattern that pleases you.

Give a friend advice (if they want it).

Practice whistling.

Communicate without speaking for an hour. No devices!

Spend an hour in a library.

Dye your hair. Get a piercing. Design a tattoo. (if you like it enough, go get tattooed)

Make a new friend but don’t exchange names. After 10 minutes ask for the 1st letter of their first name, then see if you can guess it in 3 tries (this is particularly fun on planes, trains, busses, etc.)

Stretch. Do yoga.

Write a song. Record it on someone’s voicemail or sing it live if they pick up.

Invent 3 questions more interesting than “How are you?” Ask 3 people all 3.

Give 10 people hugs (with their consent).

Hang out with someone under 10. Let them be the boss.

Ask someone on a date. Be totally fine with any answer.

Do math in your head. No paper or calculators.

Write/read poetry.

Eavesdrop (respectfully).

Eat something purple.

Pick up trash on the ground and take care of it.

Find a rooftop and howl at the sky. Feel that you’re simultaneously tiny and expansively loud.

Research the #1 hit songs from your birthday every year you’ve been alive. Listen to them all.

Doodle.

Take a walk and don’t step on any cracks.

Make up nonsense lyrics to a favorite song.

Call someone you love and ask how you can make their day better. Do what they say.

Use public transportation but get off at a totally unfamiliar stop or station. Explore.

Take 10 deep breaths.

Braid someone’s hair.

Ask the next person you see what they’re most excited about today. Celebrate whatever that is.

Discover that being bored is boring.

-LB