The Goddess of Creation

Live your life

as if it were

a work of art. 

Rabbi Abraham Heschel


L’Shanah Tovah!  The Jewish New Year brings to mind the quote above.  I love the metaphor that like art, I create my life from chaos, messiness, not knowing better, with an eclectic mix of influences.  In honor of some of my favorite people whose birthdays and new beginnings seem to cluster at this time of year, I dedicate these musings on their life choices that have inspired me as I create my own work of art–some realizations, some questions that I’m sure has echoed in the beautiful mind of Goddesses through the ages:

What’s the fun in life without our imperfections?

Must happiness depend on owning whom or what we desire?

If we must wear “busy, busy, busy” as a badge of pride, what does such busy-ness cost us?

Whom do I allow to decide what is enough for me to want and need?

When we feel like jumping in to rescue someone in apparent hell, is it possible that (s)he may actually be in his/her version of heaven and have no wish to be saved?

Alone is not necessarily lonely.  Just as being in a relationship is no guarantee against loneliness.

A day without laughter is wasted.

True love is the gift we give ourselves. And may the giving of it be satisfaction enough so we need not become beholden to the binds of ingratitude, lack of appreciation, or unrequited love.

When fairytales spare us the details of “happily ever after,” it leaves the HOW to our imagination.

Anyone who insists you owe them your honesty simply wants to control and judge you–for your own good, of course! 😉

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what you’ve learned from your favorite people.







© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Stockholm In Love

Traveling is like flirting with life.

It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you,

but I have to go… this is my station.’

Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

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I’m back from another European jaunt where I met a city I’d move to in a heartbeat–or at least when it’s summer!  😉

Stockholm is vibrant, cosmopolitan, surrounded by a crisscross of waterways, verdant parks, buildings both old and new, and a crowd of charming elegance.  I found that I quite enjoy being around people and public transportation that show up exactly when they say they will.  The taxi fare situation is another matter…

While I make an effort to bring a camera, I find myself reaching for the stealth of the iPhone for street and travel photography.  Add the ease of instagram for filters and web sharing et voila!  How much more fun can you have? Plenty more when you’re traveling with family and friends as tag-along models.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add your favorite travel and fun photography tips.


In the photo above: Add a foreground element to make a unique cityscape. While I tried to position the sculpture of the man with an eagle “cape,” these lovers showed up adding an even more dynamic layer.

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When telling a story with pictures, set the stage with a wide opening shot (caught a pun there!)  This is the ferry I took from Helsinki to get a break from running to/from airports.  I framed the ship and waited for the next cargo truck to hit some sunlight.  The bright yellow panel is an excellent focal point and the red gates act as a leading line to direct the viewer’s eye.  On Instagram, I usually pop contrast (the icon that looks like the sun above the filter choices) before deciding if the photograph looks better with one of the filters.  Many times, popping contrast is all you need. In this case, the ship’s hull was not that shiny–the reflection you see on it is of the skyline behind me on the glass walkway where I was standing.  But, hey, would you have guessed that?

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As a committed night owl, I have to bribe myself to catch a sunrise.  While the ship sailed through the Swedish archipelago, everyone photographed the same view from the railing.  I stepped back to include my fellow early birds for a unique sunrise photograph no one else has.  Including people in your pictures helps give a reference for scale and literally adds life.  I framed for the green lamp post and waited for the man in the matching jacket to walk (movement is always interesting) a certain distance from it to balance the composition.  Notice the diagonal from the lamp to the man on the far left that eventually leads your eye to the horizon.  And how lucky the folks in the background knew to stand with spaces between them so they’re not one dark blob?

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The tiny island of Skeppsholmen may not figure much on most travel guides.  But if you want to get the best views of the city, this is where you want to be!  Walk past the Grand Hotel and the National Museum over a short bridge with a crown in the middle (see second to last photo below).  You’ll find the Asian and Modern Art Museums there.  I brought glorious weather with me, so I preferred tracing the perimeter of the island.  Local friends give you the best insider tips–Thank you, Lars and Wiveca!

The light over the cityscape looked perfect during my stroll. Whenever you find great light, remember to turn around and see what could be interesting behind you.  I found this car that drove straight off a comic book!  The shadows of the bikes/chains intersect with and lead attention towards it. On Instagram, I popped contrast and chose a filter that pleased me.  One of the pleasures of creation is:  Choose what makes you happy.

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A good rule for portraits?  Run to where there’s laughter!  Here, a tourist takes a turn with the high tech equipment of a bubble artist in Gamla Stan.  I love how the onlookers as well as the statue behind them are all rapt with attention on the girl.  Are they mesmerized by the action or her thigh highs?

Gamla Stan is the old city of Stockholm where only pedestrians are allowed.  It has two of my favorite restaurants:  (1.) Mr. French Brasserie for fabulous waterside views, excellent service, and their finger licking red shrimp appetizer. (2.) Le Rouge is very sexy red velvet for dining with someone you can cozy with.

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The diagonal of the vine covered wall against the rhythm of the windows of the yellow building caught my eye first. This couple taking their “selfie” and the sun flare were wonderful bonuses.  I also loved how the statue above them appears to be taking her own selfie or checking her cellphone.  Give your viewer a layer of elements to discover.

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I adore men in suits with red socks!  There’s a sign of someone with a sense of humor if not brave fashion style.  This man walked too fast for my iPhone to catch a good shot of his socks, but his simple dark form is a perfect anchor for the diagonals of the cars and the stripe of the bike lane that lead the viewer’s eye to the background. I love how the passing cars replicate the rhythm of the windows on the buildings’ facade.  The black and white filter creates a classic look.

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God(dess) is in the details. This red chair is a signature Scandic design so it’s good to include in the narrative.  What I was really photographing was the pair of red socks that sat still for a proper photo this time.

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Keep an eye out for shadows and patterns, use diagonals or curves with foreground and background elements. The title of this piece is “I Leave My Crown in Stockholm”…

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…As well as my heart!  Use reflective surfaces like (shop) windows that also serve as a framing device for your next selfie.


Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Back to (Seduction) School

I consider a day’s teaching wasted

if we do not all have one hearty laugh.

Gilbert Highet


This morning, I kissed the kids goodbye –or good riddance? 😉 –as they dragged sleepy heads and heavy backpacks out the door.  There has been very little contest between books and computer games through the summer and it is a sad kind of funny how they find reading a chore. Will I live to see the day when they’ll fall in love with learning just for the fun of it?  Perhaps these seduction tips from Robert Greene’s “The Art of Seduction” can help me parent with charm through gritted teeth:

Remember the person who interests us most is our own self.  Get inside the other person’s skin, piercing their psychology.

Stop saying the first thing that comes to your mind–you must control the urge to prattle and vent. Say things that please, that relate to their lives and touch their vanity.  Say things that are witty and entertaining, or that make the future seem bright and hopeful.

Do not become sentimental–it is tiring, and too direct.  The most anti-seductive form of language is argument. The superior way to get people to listen and be persuaded?  Humor and a light touch.

Let them get an intriguing impression of you while you show no particular interest in them.

Focus on feelings and sensations, using expressions that are ripe with connotation. Plant ideas by dropping hints, writing suggestively without explaining yourself.  Never lecture, never seem intellectual or superior. It is more persuasive to appeal to people’s hearts than their heads.

Flattery is music to anyone’s ears and is seductive language in its purest form. This is language designed to move people and lower their tolerance.  Aim at the person’s weakness, the areas where he needs validation.  Sniff out a talent or positive quality that others have not noticed.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your seduction tip or two. Goddess bless all the teachers in this world!







Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

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