Why Work With Me?

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.

― Ansel Adams

As a child, one of my favorite things was to sit for HOURS looking through old family photo albums. Lying on the living room floor with my feet kicked up behind me, I would stare at my parent’s Wedding album – the large 8×10 black and white images that looked so exotic and different from the small snapshots and Polaroids I was used to.


Mom & Dad ~ Wedding Day 1957 ~ So BEAUTIFUL!

My mother looked like a princess and my father looked so handsome…and so young.  

But even more exotic were the pictures from my mother and father’s childhoods.  Black and white images printed on linen that had been painstakingly “colored” by hand with soft watercolor beauty.  Pictures of my grandmother as a teenager…my great grandparents on their farm in rural Wisconsin looking just like “American Gothic”….family pictures of my own parents with my older sisters, years before I was born.  I devoured them all…again and again, thanks to portrait photography.

Oh, to get a glimpse into that world…a world I could only ever know through photography and stories.


My Great-Granparents…….life on a farm in Northern Wisconsin


Life on the Farm……Uncles & Aunts & Cousins, oh my!


My Grandparents  ~ Paul & Kathryn Kozak ~ 1930’s


My Mother…….beautiful then, beautiful now.

I love looking at them as much now as ever.  

And of course, pictures of myself as a baby, and finally a family complete when my younger sister (literally) joined the picture.  I was a child of the 70s, and my father was the photographer of the family.  He could always be seen with either his trusty Polaroid camera (Oh, how I begged to hold each and every picture, watching as its magic brought each image to life!) or with his Nikon film camera, which always held slide film.  My ideal family evening was gathering with my mom, dad and sisters around a pizza and the slide projector.  I didn’t care how many times I had seen those pictures, I wanted to see them again and again.

In this age of digital everything, why not take a trip back to a simpler time and create a memory, rather than just a collection of bits and bytes?  Imagine the joy of holding that album in your hands, looking through it with your loved ones, and knowing that it will be passed down and shared for generations to come.

Are you ready to create your special memories?

I’m ready when you are.

Drop me a note at michaela@ristainophotography.com to ask any questions you might have and to check availability.

I can’t wait to work with you.

be joyful ~