Dear Friends,

Greetings to you all on Valentine’s Day!

What a year 2012 was for us all. Hurricanes and elections on the national scene and, as usual, too much to do in too little time in our own lives both personal and business. It is always so good to spend more time with friends and family in the darkest part of the year, to light candles and gather around the table sharing all our favorite family recipes. And, of course, to take pictures of it all to keep as memories, which will become more treasured as time passes. Now we are well into 2013 and today is Valentine’s day, my favorite non-holiday. Many of my favorite people have birthdays around this time so love is in the air. I hope it is for you.

Photography continues to absorb much of my time, whether it is personal or professional.

Let’s start with the personal, the familial side.

Farmer Freddy

Our Hobbit farmer strides forward using his “cane” just the way his great grandpa “Papa Pete” does. (taken by his mother, Julia, at the “Heavenly Farm, where they went to see the goats. December 2012)

My grandchild, Frederick Mitchell Dowling, is almost 2 and ½ years old. He is very much the bright sun/star of the family, around whom we all revolve! Freddy is a great communicator, with words in both Spanish and English. “Aqui”(here) and “mano” (hand) are two at the top of his mind. “Again” is usually given in sign language. We obey, singing the song again and again. Or “piano”, where he has found the notes. It is the largest “toy” in his life so far. He is making sentences and observes everything in ways that make us remember why we are alive. Is this not what we learn over and over with each child whom we are lucky enough to know and love?

Freddy and Family

A view of our favorite family, Chris, Julia and Freddy at their the most favorite place, The Steam Train in Tilden Park up on the hill behind Berkeley. (taken by “Gamma” on a cold winter day in January, 2013)


On the professional side,
I want to share two new testimonials about my close-up portraits that I call Face to Face. This is a program of digital heads for web and print. It has been so much fun for us all. I want to thank my team, Seth Affoumado and Jim Avila, who make the process so smooth and much more fun than it would be otherwise. Last newsletter shared a new website for Inspection Services Inc. for which I did 30 portraits in three days. One client who arrived a bit early heard laughter coming from the studio setup and wondered whether or not this was work! Indeed, it is “work”, the kind that is best described as “play,” as in “theater”! When you are ready, come see for yourself!

From Richard Lee, Attorney at Law:

Richard Lee

"Having my portrait done by Margaretta Mitchell was fun, and extremely rewarding. It's not just sitting back and letting her snap the shutter. You feel like a star as she gives directions about how to lean forward, which way to face and how to respond. The result was visibly better than other portraits I have had done in the past. I highly recommend Margaretta."

From Suzanne C. Samson, Coach and Consultant (

Suzanne Samson

“I emerged from my Face to Face experience amazed by Gretta Mitchell’s unique combination of abilities. I am a lifelong camera-phobic, and NOT an easy subject. I could see from her website that she has the eye of an artist, but I discovered two other qualities that make Face to Face an exceptional value. First, she is a skilled teacher. Throughout the session, she cued and encouraged me in a way that helped me to understand what I do that causes the pictures I’ve hated over the years – and how to pose differently. It felt like she was talking to the very core of who I am, and that essence of me finally showed up in a portrait! And second, she is an amazing organizer of time and resources. She, Jim and Seth work smoothly and effectively as a team, so the process really does take just two hours, including the selection of final shots from a wide variety of choices. I’m totally impressed – and delighted!”

I have a few more website links for you to show you how clients have used my portraits of them. Eventually I will have a space on my website to list them all. So if I made a portrait of you and I do not have your site, please send me the link!

Terri Hinte ( find her on twitter:

Terri Hinte



The Phoenix Firestorm Project: Fire Ruin Renewal

I would be remiss if I did not report to you about the film, Fire Ruin Renewal, which has been blessed with success in a dynamic fund raising campaign online at Kickstarter. What an amazing month we had for 30 days ending in mid November. We went over the top of the $5000 goal and have sent out the cards, films and prints that were part of the rewards promised to the backers of the project. Here is the image that I used in the film to stand for the California early 20th century dream of living in harmony with Nature. It is a photograph that I made in 1963 when my first daughter, Anne, was a baby and I was very much at home. Getting out with the camera for an early morning walk in the hills was a real treat. You can see I was happy to be there on that old road in the Berkeley hills. Now the task is to pay the remaining bills and find the appropriate film festivals for the film…then submit the film to each of them. Wish me luck!

Live Oaks

Live oaks entwined.

Looking forward to Spring?

Keep in touch so you can receive news of an exhibition of my photographs in a very special local gallery called, of course, Photo. You will know all the details very soon. If you want an announcement from the gallery, do email me directly with your info.

I will be giving a workshop for PhotoCentral later in the Spring. And as usual, I will be making portraits of families, children, people and their pets, and beautiful heads for business people, authors, poets and whoever wants images for web and print.

With Love,

Margaretta K. Mitchell


Link to the firestorm blog