Nazareth

The annual Christmas message given by Pope Benedict XVI today drew attention to the importance of this day and his words below struck a chord with me, as it reminded me of conversations I’ve had with some of my Christian girlfriends about the challenge of maintaining a focus (particularly with their children) on the historical, Biblical and, above all, spiritual significance of Christmas while constantly being bombarded by commercialism. The Pope stated:

‎”Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light… Let us strip away our fixation on what is material, on what can be measured and grasped. Let us allow ourselves to be made simple by the God who reveals Himself to the simple of heart…”

So in honor of this message of remembrance, I’ve selected a few images of Nazareth, the Biblical town I was fortunate enough to visit a number of times while living an hour away in Haifa. Among the places shown are:
The Basilica of the Annunciation – built over the grotto where, according to the Roman Catholic tradition, the angel Gabriel announced to Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become of the mother of Jesus,
A Woman Clothed with the Sun – the sculpture in the Basilica of the Annunciation created by American sculptor Charles L. Madden, inspired by the quote, “The grandeur of God… will flame out, like shining from shook foil.”
The Church of St. Joseph – built on the carpentry shop of Joseph,
The Synagogue Church – where Jesus preached (Luke 4:16) and
Mary’s well – where, according to other traditions, the Annunciation took place.

Enjoy this visit to Nazareth and Merry Christmas!

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sweater-less and simplified [oklahoma city family portrait photography]

Perhaps it’s all of the colors and lights that go up this time of year or that my retinas are still recovering from the visual overload of the midnight-to-dawn shopping marathon with my high school besties on Black Friday, but I’m finding myself wanting to monochrome every image I edit, especially when it is a part of a set like in the Christmas cards below.

Why It Works
Compliment, don’t compete – Even though the colors of the outfits below were beautifully coordinated with each other, turning the images black and white supports the design of the cards and helps punctuate the text. The red-and-white stamp and the green bow would have gotten lost among the bright hues of the original photos. Generally, if a photo’s “frame” (in this case, the card design) doesn’t compliment the colors in the image, try converting the photo to black and white. The same goes for the reverse:  if choosing colors for design is more of a pain than a pleasure, you can never go wrong with a simple white mat and a black or neutral frame for displaying a colorful photo on your wall.

Lighten up – Holiday cards can be dense:  greetings, photos, updates, design, and so much cheer. One way to let them breathe is by taking off the stuffy holiday sweaters, especially the ones with the reindeer and the candy canes and the snowflakes and the mistletoe. It’s Christmas, we get it. Now we want to look at your face, but your sweater won’t let us. Returning to the point above, your clothes should compliment you, not compete with you for attention. And they don’t necessarily have to be winter clothes. Even Kyle and Shay Payne’s family portraits taken in the middle of the hottest summer Oklahoma has ever seen work just fine in a Christmas card. And it doesn’t hurt that their kids are just.so.adorable.

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Katharine - “Santa Approved” Love it!

The Mostmand family [destination family photography]

Two people after my own heart:  accomplished and admired artists, Laura and Reza. Calligraphy, photography, painting, choreography, graphic design, music — you name it, they do it. And they do it well. Their finest capolavoro:  little Kalila, who I first photographed as a baby in Haifa. Now settled in Toronto, Kalila and her parents wait for the arrival of the new addition to their family, Baby Mostmand 2. Congratulations, Reza and Laura. You’re now living inside your own masterpiece.

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Natascha - Beautiful! Negeen! I wish I could fly you over! One day maybe :-)

Jorge - Natascha – Beautiful! Negeen! I wish I could fly you over! One day maybe
+1

Katharine - Wow. Gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous family.

Shira - This set of photos is a masterpiece Negeen!!! Absolutely beautiful!

negar yazdani - truly,you are one of the most creative photographer that i have ever seen.it inspires us to creat every artwork.
good luck.

Microstock photographs - So cute girl ! Everyone looks so beautiful.Stunning family photographs ,family portrait photography is what we do best.

the borgas turn four [destination family and wedding photography]

Four years ago today when Laurel and Sisay donned the traditional Ethiopian wedding crowns and capes and started their life together, I couldn’t imagine them looking any more radiant than they did on that October day in Haifa … until I saw them recently in the lush serenity of Green Acre in Maine with their two adorable daughters. As anyone who knows them can attest, their magnetic quality with children has won over scores of tiny hearts that have crossed their paths. How lucky are these two little ones to be set in that path for good? Happy 4th anniversary Laurel and Sisay. If it’s true that the love you give to others comes back to you ten-fold, then get ready to be crushed by a million pint-sized waves.

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amelia and shingo - Sisay (dabesh) and Laurel,
We love you and miss you both! Congratulations on your 4th Anniversary.
We will always remember the huge amounts of love you showered upon little Shiori when we were in Haifa. Although she was so young and doesn’t remember much from those days, we do, and we know that those times and that love are a big part of the sweet person she is today.
Wishing you many, many more years of happiness together…now with the addition of two such very beautiful daughters.
much love
ishikawa family

Katharine - Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful family you are. How well we remember the contributions both of you made to our family life here at the World Centre. We hope you have a Sisay-and-Laurel in your community constantly showering love and kindness upon your sweet and precious brilliant stars. Wait. You ARE Sisay and Laurel! Your kids are the luckiest kids on the planet!!

Love and joyous wishes,
The Phelps Family

Sevda and Michael - Dear Sisay and Laurel,
Happy wedding anniversary! It always brings joy to us when we see your beautiful radiant smiley faces and watch how your beautiful family continues to blossom. We always fondly remember our days in BWC when Isabella was tiny, Sisay was one of the few people she always looked for when we brought her to the lunch room, she really had a strong bond even as a baby, with him. And I’m sure those early experiences and love babies and kids receive growing up in BWC, contribute to their character and positive attitude towards anyone at any place. We send you our loving greetings and hope we see you again somewhere someday!

saba & sieni - match made in heaven! look at your beautiful creation! these kids are lucky to have you :) hope to meet them one day when we pass through maine. lots of love from the four of us xoxo

saba & sieni - p.s. LOVE these pics negs!!

Vida & Mace - Dearest Sisay & Laurel, Can’t believe its been 4 years since your beautiful , wedding day. Its so vivid in our memory! We were all so thrilled when you found each other and decided to get married! :) Its been 4 very productive years, resulting in a stunning family!! Your girls are gorgeous. Keep up the great work 😉 Our children (Leili, Milan & Zane) remember you guys very well, especially Sisay’s hugs and love, consistently no matter where they were. You always made them feel so special! Its a true gift! Everyone knew that you guys will make amazing parents and we are thrilled that you now get to daily shower that innate love for children at home. Your children indeed are very blessed to have the two of you as parents. You always have a home in China. Please come visit us!
Prayer and the very best wishes,
Mace & Vida

Laurel Sabera - What a truly perfect anniversary gift Negeen. You made us soooo happy when we saw this last night…there may have been 1 or 2 tears. And thank you everyone for the kind words. We love you all so much!

May T - Congratulations! What a beautiful and joyous family you have! What a blessing! Keep shinning!

shadi Safajou - Happy 4th Anniversary dear ones! We remember your wedding like it was yesterday: your radiant faces beaming with pure joy and now you have two beautiful daughters ( two pearls as a result of the merging of two seas of love) . You are both loved by each member of our family and we do miss you very much.
We wish you many many more years of wedding bliss, health and service.
much love from eacf one of us.
Jeffrey, Shadi, Munis , Nesar and Salim Safajou

baby jian [newborn photography]

When I was pregnant with my first child years ago, one of my new coworkers (and friend) stood out to me as particularly enthusiastic about my pregnancy. She loved updates about what vegetable or fruit the baby had grown the size of, and adored the baby as if she was already with us in my arms as opposed to concealed inside my belly. She held my hand through much of my pregnancy and then held my baby for much of her first year.
Throughout the years while she married her prince charming and moving 10,000 km away, I patiently waited for news from her about her own little peanut on its way. As luck would have it, his arrival coincided perfectly with my trip to Toronto for a destination wedding. Nothing gave me more pleasure than having the opportunity to capture moments of this family’s new life and see my dear friend Negar, along her amazing husband Nima, finally holding her own beautiful baby, Jian.

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Seema - beautiful pics. beautiful babay!
Do you work in Toronto???

negeen - I am based in Oklahoma City, but I often travel for clients.

Homa Daliri - He is sooooo adorable!! not to mention the beautiful photography.

negar, nima and jian [edmond portrait photography] » Negeen Sobhani Photography - […] last time we photographed this lovely family, our focus was on then newborn baby Jian. This time around, we wanted mom Negar to have a little […]

And then there were four » Negeen Sobhani Photography - […] the pleasure of watching this lovely family grow, even though they live 1300 miles away. From baby Jian’s newborn session nearly six years ago to their stunning family studio session still as a family of three, to now […]