Silverlake Portraits : Jenny + Brad : Anytime


We sat around their table with the soft sunset light streaming though their windows and snacked on the appetizers. We’re all loud, but, collectively, it’s as if we’re tone deaf, each outdoing the other in a higher decibel. Jenny provided an amazing spread of food and with each bite I fell into a delectable bliss. But I stopped mid-bite when she mentioned pasta and beans… And I was all, whaaaaaat?

You see, pasta and beans is a private thing with my family. A weird plate of food we keep to ourselves to avoid what others may think. Their distaste. Heck, their confusion. I grew up kinda poor (there’s no such thing as ‘kinda’ poor, but it makes my dad feel better to know I don’t reference my childhood as just plain, old poor) and dinners were always an improvisation with what was in the relatively empty fridge and pantry. With government-issued pinto beans readily available and a $0.99 box of pasta, my father would often create masterpieces. Delicious plates of Italian and Mexican spices, melted cheese, and a whole lot of love. But at the end of the day, the dish was really just pasta mixed with beans.

When I tried explaining this dish to my friends in high school they’d squeal in disgust, so I quickly learned to keep this dish on the down low. You know, a family thing. Even when I first told JD about pasta and beans, he scrunched his nose and shook his head. No, thanks.

Once Jenny mentioned my father’s pasta and beans, I was taken back. He made that for you, I hesitantly asked. Jenny and Brad both nodded in unison and said they loved it. In that instant, I felt safe. I finally felt like sharing my insane love for pasta and beans was okay with the world. Not because they gave me permission, but, rather, I might be fine with accepting my unordinary childhood and inviting others to share in it.

I snapped a few photos of Jenny and Brad in their Silverlake home last week. Nothing formal, just a few snapshots to document their lives. And the fact they’re people who–clearly–have great taste in food.

Brad Hooks is the music director at our church, so when we first met a couple years ago, we formed an almost instant friendship…

Jenny and Brad bought a home and have worked tirelessly on refurbishing it from the inside out…and it’s such a reflection of their love and hard work…

Jenny is an insanely talented editor for C Magazine and her sense of humor makes my belly ache…she MIGHT be funnier than me. Maybe. πŸ˜‰

Happy Friday!

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  1. Amber

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    You take the simple and make it beautiful. Thank you Jasmine for sharing!

  2. AmyPunky Photography (Emilie)

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Great photos!! I love their style! πŸ™‚

  3. Jen

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Don’t you love it when you find those kindred spirits who just click? I’m totally intrigued by the beans and pasta. As long as there’s no olives or licorice, I’m in! πŸ™‚

  4. Damaris Mia

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    I love her mustard yellow house! (I mean that in the nicest way possible!)


  5. Erin Elizabeth

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Aw! My family has this thing call "rice patties" which is just egg and rice cooked like a pancake… yum! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one! πŸ™‚

  6. Brandy Anderson

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    While it’s no pasta and beans, my dad once made "chinese food" by putting Campbell’s Chunky soup on spaghetti. I grew up "kinda poor" too, lol.

  7. Drew

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I agree with Amber. You make the most simple locations look like works of art. Thank you for the inspiration!

  8. Dawn McCarthy

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Sweet couple. And I have a feeling that this makes your Dad proud! Beans and pasta or filet mignon…there is nothing like a Fathers love!

  9. Lain

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Your pasta and beans in no weirder than my beans, rice, and BANANAS! Yup, the locals in Belize taught me to eat that when I lived there. I don’t share that with any one much either!

  10. Inland Empire Wedding Photographer

    February 26th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Pasta and beans? What else is in that dish?

  11. Jasmine*

    February 26th, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    @IEWP: Just pasta and beans, sauteed in a little bit of butter and spices. My father added whatever cheese was in the fridge, but–seriously–cream cheese was my childhood fav. Yes, I was overweight for this precise reason! πŸ˜‰

  12. Sally

    February 26th, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Mmmm, I’m gonna try that. We have beans in tomate with garlic and olive oil Greek style. But with pasta and cheese sounds great. I remember Andy cooking my little boy Heinz baked beans (do you get them in US?) and pasta when I was shooting a wedding – it became his favoutite food – I was gutted as I slave over the stove every night!!

  13. andrea

    February 26th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    OMG, I want THAT yellow house. As always, gorgeous pics.

  14. Kayla Renckly

    February 26th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    I love that you shared that! We were kinda poor as well and I often get strange looks about the things I love to eat. We found creative ways to repurpose leftovers and some of those are my favorite comfort foods.

  15. hannah

    February 26th, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    we grow up "poor" also and have our own signature family dishes….i think of it as part of my families history and my parents great skills at working hard to keep us fed πŸ™‚ AND I attend calvary chapel in Redding ca, and am so ecstatic to see that is your home church πŸ™‚ loves it!

  16. dee

    February 26th, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Ok – I always thought beans and pasta was normal. My husband looks at me wierd sometimes but that’s ok! LOL – me and my kids had a butter noodle and marinated bean medley for lunch today!

  17. Emily Heizer Photography

    February 26th, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    What kind of beans??? Black beans? Red beans? Refried beans????

    I am super duper intrigued. I might try this, given that the economy has turned me "kinda poor" at the moment. lol

  18. Angel Pope

    February 26th, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I gotta admit, I wrinkled my nose. I try so hard to eat beans because they supposed to be so healthy, but it’s a texture thing. They have a fuzzy texture that I sometimes can’t get past. πŸ˜‰

  19. Matt

    February 26th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    How do you approach two people (even your friends!) to just trek outside and take photos?

  20. Jasmine*

    February 26th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    @Matt: They actually asked ME. Asking friends in the beginning was hard, but what’s the worst they can say? No? Well, if that’s the case, you’re at the same point you started, so who cares?! πŸ˜‰

  21. Lorrie Prothero

    February 26th, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Does your dad have a collection of recipes? I’d love to get a copy of them – seriously, sometimes our fridge/pantry is like that – but also, sometimes those creative inventions end up being favorites of mine.

  22. NEna

    February 27th, 2010 at 1:36 am

    I love your honesty and rawness. The story was great, but I love these photos more! =-)

  23. Jacqueline Lopez

    February 27th, 2010 at 1:40 am

    No shame in your "kinda poor" upbringing girl, never forget where you come from. I totally relate to your pasta and beans, my mother being a single Latina & mother of five, we too had government issued food for a time. She made those masterpieces on a weekly basis, usually consisting of whatever she could find to throw in the pan with the beans and pasta. Once in a while I will throw some of that together and my husband can’t get enough, I don’t even know what to call it but ‘who cares" it’s Muy Bueno!

  24. Mindy

    February 27th, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Cream-tuna and peas over rice…or some spam musubi…oh yeah…:) Loved your story and images as always…Happy Aloha Friday!!!

  25. Lydia

    February 27th, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Oh the little quirks families have! It’s funny because you grow up thinking different things were totally normal until you try to talk about it with your friends. But I don’t worry, they have their own strange family traditions! πŸ˜‰ Pasta and beans sounds pretty yummy to me!

  26. Marissa Rodriguez

    February 27th, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Pasta and Beans…I remember my mom serving this a few times in my childhood. Haha! I don’t think I ever shared it with anyone though for the same reasons you didn’t, so I’m glad you can share it with the world now! πŸ™‚

  27. Angel Canary

    February 27th, 2010 at 2:40 am

    My mom would take rice and pour tomato sauce on it, and if we were lucky we got a meatball with it. πŸ˜‰

  28. Alicia Damron

    February 27th, 2010 at 3:01 am

    I LOVE that first shot. It’s so simple, but so profound. Just a couple sitting in their backyard, snapshot of America, perfect!

  29. jacqueline fronters

    February 27th, 2010 at 3:07 am

    I love your black/white pictures and this couple is delicious…you have lovely friends

  30. MichelleHebert

    February 27th, 2010 at 3:17 am

    I love how you take the simple and ordinary and just bring the beauty out of it. You have a gift girly!

  31. Joar AndrΓ© Heiberg

    February 27th, 2010 at 4:25 am

    No way, that is so cool to hear! I make pasta and beans together – and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one! I thought I was just a crazy Norwegian, lol…

  32. rachel

    February 27th, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Rachael Ray has a yummy recipe for pasta & beans!

  33. Leyla

    February 27th, 2010 at 6:38 am

    I absolutely adore these photos… there is something so simple, yet so very beautiful and real about them, about their love and the overall energy is just magical… I am in love with your work, Miss J*! xoxo

  34. ronnie

    February 27th, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Oh my gosh! I second shot at this couple’s wedding at the Rincon, years ago! It was in Santa Barbara Magazine and so remembered them, even though I was second shooter. So fun to see how they are doing now. Both soo cute! Amazing job, Jasmine!

  35. gladys jem

    February 27th, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I am so glad we have internet again. I’ve missed your blog so much πŸ™‚ Anyways, I love this shoot because A. They have a yellow house. B. They’re adorable. and C. Brad is a ginger just like Chris πŸ™‚ Gingers are my favorite!

  36. john p.

    February 27th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    luv da pix. u da bomb

  37. rbraden

    February 27th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Pasta and beans rock (especially if you serve it with cornbread)! I learned that (like you) when I was a child, and I’m re-living it now.
    Kinda cool πŸ™‚

  38. rbraden

    February 27th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Sorry, shoulda included this in the last comment, but….
    Anyways, I also grew up "kinda poor", went on to become "kinda not so poor", and now I find myself in a place where I’m "kinda poor" again, but it’s all good, cause I am truly "kinda happy", and pasta and beans is really "kinda good"

  39. Karen Slate

    February 27th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I love pasta and beans, beans and potatoes, bean soup, beans and rice, beans with cornbread, beans with catsup … You see, I grew up "kind of poor" too in a single parent home so we had beans, beans, and more beans! Mom could get pretty creative with the bean dishes and to this day I still love beans. Thanks for sharing. As always, I enjoy reading your blog.

  40. Stephanie Stewart

    February 27th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Love their house, and what beautiful portraits! I am curious to try pasta and beans…it has to be delish!

  41. LX

    February 27th, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Beautiful piece.

  42. Christine

    February 27th, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    These are beautiful Jasmine! And oh yeah, pasta and beans are amazing! Try putting ricotta cheese, navy beans and spinach in the food processor. Then stuff it into some cooked pasta shells with cream, pasta sauce and cheese ontop. Bake for 30 minutes and be in culinary heaven!

  43. Amber Fox

    February 27th, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I love it. I lived in Silverlake for almost 8 years and I totally know this house and that trail. You make me miss my old hood. People in Orange County don’t have the guts to paint their house yellow.

  44. Wedding Photographer

    February 28th, 2010 at 1:56 am

    I try to stay away from garlic right before a job. ;->

    Nice pics!

  45. Charleston Wedding Photographer

    February 28th, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Love these pics. So creative!

  46. Liz Maryann

    February 28th, 2010 at 2:38 am

    humble beginnings πŸ™‚ Hard work always pays off, obviously!

    You have a heart of gold, Jasmine.
    Love your attitude, humility and smile that doesn’t only show on your face, but everywhere else πŸ™‚

  47. shannon

    February 28th, 2010 at 6:08 am

    I LOVE this portrait of Brad. There is something just a little bit different about it then your other portraits. The look in his eye, something…but I’m drawn to it–like I always am to your work:)

    Carbs + more carbs=equals GREAT in my kitchen!

  48. Girish

    February 28th, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Nice photos. Good to see a simple backdrop of a house giving such nice photographs rather than outing around.

  49. Holli True

    February 28th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I am always such a fan of the simplicity in your work, Jasmine. You are the master at turning every image into a true piece of art. I don’t know how you do it! πŸ™‚ Love it!

  50. amanda thiessen

    March 1st, 2010 at 3:01 am

    love the colors of the house!

  51. Leora Shiff

    March 1st, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Beautiful photos!! Beautiful couple!!

  52. Jimmy Moncrief

    March 1st, 2010 at 3:10 am

    HECK YEA! Rice and Beans – this is a staple in Tennessee!

  53. ajira

    March 1st, 2010 at 3:32 am

    You mean beans and pasta isn’t a common combination? We had that when I was a kid too and I always loved it. πŸ™‚

    Love the shot of Brad- so intense. Great spur of the moment sesh.

  54. Becka @Studio222 Photography

    March 1st, 2010 at 6:54 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE their style!

  55. Colorado Wedding Photographer, JasonG

    March 1st, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Nice images… I love how relaxed and comfortable they are with you.

  56. jenc

    March 1st, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    So natural! I like it!

  57. Paola

    March 1st, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    This makes me want to paint my house a cheery mango sorbet color… Or maybe just a room.

  58. Michelle Tanner

    March 1st, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I love you a little more with everyday. Man, you rawk, girl!

  59. Nellie Guerrero

    March 2nd, 2010 at 3:57 am

    I am with Paola on this one…..and just how cool is the name PAOLA anyway!!

  60. Henrik Kreilisheim

    March 12th, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Such wonderful imagery! You’re so incredibly talented, Jasmine! I love the third image from the top. The colors are amazing! Best wishes from Norway πŸ™‚