The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea. (Isak Dinesen)
Having grown up about 2 hours away from the Northern Oregon coast, Cannon Beach is an area I am quite familiar with. If I close my eyes, I can picture the charming main street that runs parallel to the beach, imagine the imposing and iconic outlines of the formation of Haystack Rock, smell the sweetness of stretchy gooey, saltwater taffy and inhale the briny freshness of the sea. I formed many warm and happy childhood memories at Cannon Beach and thus I immediately connected with this session that photographer Shelby Brakken captured of her dear friend and both of their daughters. The emotions and authenticity connected with my heart instantly. Shelby has beautifully encapsulated the sensations of spending a winter afternoon at the Oregon coast. Those who are more comfortable at southern/warmer beaches sometimes have trouble accepting the validity of the desire to spend a windy, wet, cold day on the coast. But to those who have grown up feeling the bracing, life-affirming sensation of icy, prickling salt water on their ankles, while strong wind tousles their hair, nothing can quite compare to a stormy winter day at the coast.
Shelby shares her thoughts below:
The ocean is a place I have taken my daughter since she was born. The sky and the sand are familiar to her and when we leave the shore, the sea becomes memory, written on her skin in the form of salt and a dream of places wide-open. She pulls off her sandals and runs barefoot, letting the waves crash onto her ankles and calves, even if the winter water makes her body cold. She picks up broken sand-dollars and shells that are intact; she looks for green shards of beach glass and pokes at jellyfish stranded on the sand. She feels the pull of the tide and knows the strength of the currents, that they eventually wash everything clean. Under the endless clouded horizon, she looks small standing against the backdrop of something so powerful and unending, the waves drowning out all other noise. She collects rocks and driftwood and holds them in her hands, brings them home to put near her bed, carrying the rising heartbeat of the ocean with her as she finds her way back to land.