When we first saw Kellie Hoeke’s evocative photographs of Tuscany, we thought to ourselves, “Well, she’s in touch with her Inner Italian!” But, when we invited Kellie to be profiled here, she hesitated.
She told us, “My first and only visit to Italy was in 2004 to celebrate my 40th birthday. Although I loved it there I don’t have recipes and stories from al fresco meals shared with newly formed friends. Heck, I don’t even have one single relative who ever lived in Italy! So I thought, what would I be doing on SimpleItaly? Well, the answer is, I have some pretty darn nice images of my stay there and I sure wouldn’t want those going unshared by others who love the place as much as I do.”
Well, Kellie, we say, it’s not the quantity of time you spend in Italy that counts. It’s the quality of time that Italy spends in you! Here, in her own words and images is Kellie’s Italian take on life.
I am a photographer living in the Lehigh Valley region of Eastern Pennsylvania. Our countryside has aged beautifully next to the Lehigh River in among hills and green valleys. Add to that landscape seasonal changes that offer ever-extraordinary treats for your eyes: Velvety moss-covered forests in spring to late fall where nothing is left but the flowing yellow feathers of a willow tree in the brown landscape to the cold of winter’s end with a deer running across a snowy field. I am inspired every day to capture what yet has to be told about this beautiful area.
And so it was when I was in Italy that I recognized and felt so close to the land that I had to remark to my husband how reminiscent it was of Pennsylvania’s landscape, both temperately and topographically. He agreed and we moved on to experience more.
As we took in the sights and architecture we were floored by the history and beauty that combine to make Italy what it is-breathtaking and old-so old you can only, as a photographer, hope to click off a few pixels that might remind you of the sights as you walked each hill town and tried to take it all in.
Yes, I was nothing more than a tourist, but I drank in the history and slow pace of the Italian surroundings. Again and again, I felt the peace, despite the busy schedule we all kept while trying to pack in what we could in the time we had there. The images I managed to bring home are a constant reminder of the time we had, the beauty we were treated to and the pull that you have let in, like a new love, wanting more.
So “Living Italian” to me means not letting the little stuff get me down. It means finding beauty everywhere and surrounding myself with beautiful people and beautiful things. I start each day looking outside and am amazed at sunrises and sunsets every single day.
What nurtures my Inner Italian is beauty.
As an artist I never stop looking for it and capturing it.
Photographer Kellie Hoeke owns Sweet peas Studio, specializing in individual and family portraiture, and Dreamages, where she creates custom- finished-and-framed Italian travel images. In-home consultations are available.
For information, call the telephone number below.
All images on this post ©Kellie Hoeke.