The Rutkowski Family

I was fortunate enough to photograph The Rutkowski Family consisting of Mike & Katie and their daughters (oldest to youngest) Peyton, Olivia and Regan. We ventured off to Stony Creek Metro park where we froze in 30 degree weather but ended up having a great time and created some incredible memories. Grandma, Grandpa and their Family dog Maddy came along for the ride as well. Big props to everyone for holding it together while also completely freezing as we shot into the evening.


Asher + Alana

Washington, MI

I have been photographing my nephew Asher since he was born, so I was excited to photograph him and my niece Alana together for the first time. 


My Wife and Son

My wife and I are expecting our first child.

Our very first.

Meaning besides what we have heard from others, read in books or watched on YouTube, we really have no idea what we are really getting ourselves into. Don’t get me wrong, Andrea does have experience with changing poopy diapers (shout out to my nephew) but in actuality we have a house full of vacant baby items for our son with no real idea as to how to use them or how any of this is going to work when he gets here.

And we are okay with that.

What did we expect? To read a book, take some classes and watch some videos on the internet and be instant professional parents? Truth is what is exciting about this next chapter in our lives is the uncertainty. So much of our relationship has been planned and mapped out. From weekends, our date nights to our vacations, spontaneous or not, always have some type of structure to them. This newly anticipated uncertainty is exciting.

For the first time in our relationship it’s not about us. It’s not about which bar or brewery we want to go to, which party we want to attend, which vacation spot we want to travel to - It will no longer be about us. If you’re already a seasoned parent reading this you’re probably thinking “duh”. I didn’t have that instant clarity.

I found out Andrea was pregnant February 24th, of this year. My initial thought was “oh my God we are going to be parents, I am so excited!” Having absolutely no clue what we were really in for. I went on with my year, helping Andrea with morning sickness pep talks, lending a hand where I could be helpful but never really imagined the change that was slowly taking place.

Obviously one of the first things that changed in our lives was night life and going out the same way we used to. Fine, no big deal. She had her first ultrasound and we could see his little heart flicker on the screen, it was wild. Andrea continued running, we would sometimes run together as we do and everything seemed about the same minus a few things. As the year went on she started to show and it started becoming more real. Still it didn’t actually sink in that we were about to have our lives rocked by this little monster in her belly.

Something happened to me during this time, I started noticing little changes in my life and personality that just happened subliminally. I started to care less and less about which kind of sneakers I had on my feet, which kind of clothes I was wearing, which movie I wanted to watch next or which book I wanted to read. I started caring lesser and lesser about these “non-important” things I used to place so much emphasis on and I realized that I’m here on this earth for somebody else’s life now - my son’s.

Andrea and I decided to go up to Traverse City for our Baby Moon/quick maternity shoot. Traverse City is near to our hearts. We have spent much time there doing all the things that we like to do like exploring the peninsulas, hitting up all the wineries, breweries and restaurants. This time it was definitely less breweries.

Oh and we took our dog Miggy too.

Good Friggin Mornin’

Why I’m not a morning person, why I’ll never be one and why I’m cool with it. 

I am not a morning person. No sugar coating it. If you are a morning person God bless you, because until I’ve had my fifth cup of coffee my mind is still wishing I was in bed sleeping in late. I’m sure there is some explanation or a surpressed childhood memory that has wired me to hating waking up earlier than I need to but I’m not Malcom Gladwell and I don’t intend on trying to dissect the reasoning. 

But I want to touch on it because it is so interesting to me why I am the way I am about the morning. Obviously I’m not the only one. Again, I’m not about to make a conscious effort to provide actual facts and numbers out there but there’s a ton of people like me, and I’m sure you’re reading this like man I get it (maybe not, whatever). 

My wife is a morning person. Sometimes I’m jealous, sometimes I’m still sleeping. She’s the type of morning person to wake up 4 hours before work, do a ton of productive stuff then go to work having already feeling accomplished. It’s crazy, who wakes up 4 hours before they have to leave for work? 30 minutes max for this guy. 

To clarify, I love the morning. You’re probably thinking what are you talking about? You are writing this talking about how you hate the mornings. No, I actually love the mornings for shooting. I would shoot a sunrise over a sunset any day. Especially this time of year when the fog starts in the morning with the sunlight blasting through it creating laser beams of sunlight scattered across the ground, its beautiful - getting there is what I hate. 


Facts about my relationship with the morning:

1.) My alarm clock makes me cringe.

No matter what ring tone I use to wake up to I eventually loathe. This is probably why I don’t use a song to wake up to. Last thing I want to be is conditioned to have anxiety when I hear Brass Monkey come on the radio.

2.) Leaving my extremely comfortable and warm bed is depressing.

No joke, a few months ago my wife won a brand new euro top king size mattress from Gardner White on Fox 2 Detroit (true story). This mattress is like sleeping on a friggin cloud. Obviously exiting this cushion of ecstasy in the morning is daunting. If it’s the Winter forget about it, I’m sleeping in it’s too cold out there.

3.) Waking my dog up is rude.

He weighs 11 pounds. There is a possibility that my son will be born and weigh more than him in a few months. But my dog will strategically move from his normal sleeping spot, blindside me and lay, calculated, in a formation that would force me to physically move him out of the way. But he’s sleeping so I don’t want to wake him up.

4.) My wife.

Nevermind, she’s a morning person. 

4.1.)  Theres nothing good out there in the world.

Its a scary place.

5.) Too cold outside of the sheets.


Reasons I should be a morning person:

1.) Shooting during sunrise is pretty gnarly

2.) Work..?


I get some of my best work done at night. There is something comforting about the nighttime, it’s a completely different atmosphere. After purging the days stresses out in the evening, as night approaches I get a second wind. I am not a morning person because I like the feeling of being awake while everyone is sleeping, it’s collective time to myself that I definitely thrive on. I’ll never be a morning person because it’s just not the type of person I am. Not to say I don’t or won’t wake up earlier than needed but it is not something I plan on ingraining into my routine. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking that for whatever reason you have to learn how to be a morning person I would say that it’s okay not to be, it’s ok to be cool with the fact that you hate when your alarm clock goes off any earlier than you want to get up. It’s cool that you don’t want to talk to anyone until you’re fifth cup of coffee. Just flex your allotted time and use the evening for productivity. Or sleep. Whatever you want to do.

Oh, I forced myself out of bed the other morning and shot, full set is below. 

 Enjoy your coffee.


“Where’d you go?”

I guess the whole point of the website was to showcase some of my photos in high resolution - full crop in hopes I could sell some pieces or get hired for freelance work.

Both of those came into fruition.

But I dropped off somewhere along the way.

First off why did I get start taking photos seriously in the first place? Why did I decide to choose this medium as a way of artistic expression?

Short answer: nobody could tell me what I could or couldn’t photograph. I had 100% full control of what I shot and edited. Freedom to do whatever it was I wanted to do that fulfilled a desire inside of me.

Since the inception of my photography journey, somewhere around 2013, I’ve shot numerous candid street photos, landscapes, events, weddings, portraits and have made it in a few magazines (street dreams magazine was definitely a dream) I’ve been chased by security, yelled at, threatened and complimented and I absolutely loved it. But somewhere along the line felt uninspired to do any of it anymore.

The problem I had with photography wasn’t that I didn’t have the right gear or that I wasn’t generating enough “likes” on social media. It wasn’t that I stopped shooting and fell out of love with my passion. My issue was that I started working myself into a creative box not allowing myself to work outside it, thus no regard to break my comfort zone. I became absolutely obsessed with my photographs - only allowing myself to shoot in the city, certain times of the day, certain color palettes, etc that I worked myself into a confined space and slowly realized It was burning me out over the years.

Why did I do this to myself? How many opportunities did I waste during this time?

Doesn’t matter anymore. Like the Detroit Red Wings it’s time for a rebuild.


FREESTATE to me is a new way for me to re align myself as a photographer, business professional and husband. The method of doing whatever it is I felt in my heart with absolutely no regard for negative criticism from the outside. All the things I’ve wanted to  photograph, write, speak, business projects I’ve wants to startup - none  should be hindered by outside criticism. A completely positive way of thinking that hopefully can spread outward to anyone reading this. 

Going forward consider this website a photography / idea sharing / (in)coherent ancetdotes / opinions site

freestate of mind