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Jessica / Just Because / Fountain Hills, Ariz.

I’ve been friends with Jessica since high school. We are pretty close, as we can go months without talking and instantly have the camaraderie when we catch up. I took a road trip a few weeks ago to photograph her, but I had scheduled too much during my 1500 mile road trip from Truckee to Vegas to Wickenburg to Phoenix to Flagstaff and back home. I ran out of time. Jessica is a friend I’d do anything for. I flew back out to Phoenix last week to photographer her, re-energize my life support, and capture some cool photos of Jessica and Vulture City Mine. Anyway. Jess means the world to me. Her son, Braydon, is 14 years old now and a freshman at Jess’ and my alma matter, Arcadia High School, in Phoenix. Her daughter, Avery, is 13, a total hottie, and a total exercise buff. Cracks me up how at such a young age, kids can be so self- conscious. I know I was. Avery has come up with two rules, which I fully support. She says, no matter how sweet talkative a guy is to you, he has to compliment you in front of his friends, and not put you down. Second rule is do what makes you happy, if someone makes you unhappy, time to vacate the premises, always search out activities and people that make you feel good about yourself. Avery’s a total sweetheart. I used to kid Jessica when Avery was really little, that Jess must have stolen an egg, since she looks more like me than anyone in her Italian family. Jessica’s been through hell in her life. She has a vasculitis disease which attacks the nerves in her fingers and skin. Back when she was first diagnosed, she blew up to resemble the Pillsbury Dough Boy, taking Prednisone among other drugs. She thought for sure she wouldn’t ever get pregnant ever again. She’s a big advocate for holistic remedies and drinks kefir every day. (I drank that shit for a year, yuck! Mostly because of the cow’s milk didn’t agree with my system, but apparently one can grow kefir in coconut milk and almond milk, even skim milk – the things we learn). Jessica is 8 months pregnant in these photos. She’s so little, barely 120 pounds, and carrying a baby that will probably weigh 6 pounds on September 3rd when Jessica is scheduled for her C-section. I talked Jessica into eating so more cheesecake. Baby’s eating it all. Her little girl, Riley, not yet born has a huge belly in Jessica’s ultrasounds. Ha! I love this girl and her kids more than anything. Jess has always been there for me, she’s a great friend and I am so incredibly thankful to be friends with her. *sniff*