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Meredith & Dustin’s Nola Wedding

We started the first RollinsCole summer wedding season with the intimate wedding of Dustin and Meredith. They traveled from Austin and were met by a handful of family members from around the country for the celebration. We all stayed at the lovely Hotel Monteleone in the Quarter.

I flew in from New York and Mel picked me up at the airport after a million hour drive because of hitting traffic a few times along the way. I secretly think she enjoyed the extended drive because she was baby-free (had dropped Jude off in Houston) and was thus able to enjoy loud music that didn’t involved Elmo and friends.

I don’t know how you moms endure those songs over and over again without self-imploding. Just one more reason my womb hasn’t housed a child yet.

In those million hours on the road, Mel somehow managed not to eat anything. Again, one of those magical mom skills. We dropped the car and our bags at the hotel and headed out immediately for bloody mary’s and poboys at Killer Poboys. Were serenaded by a guy who was three sheets before three p.m. and started our weekend off right.

Dustin and Meredith got ready at the hotel before heading to Acme Oyster for their 3-minute ceremony (If you blinked you’d have missed it!) and reception. They rented out the upstairs hall of Acme so that all could wine, dine and dance before standing on the balcony to throw beads at all the sober folks passing by.

Our shooting technique is that I shoot digital and Mel shoots all film. It creates such a fun collection of images for our couples.

Congratulations again Meredith and Dustin. We were honored to be a part of your special day!

August and Everything After

[Warning: this is a cheesy post. It happens every year at this time and always will. If you know me, you know this part of my story and that I believe in remembrance of things past because of the deeper celebration/joy it brings to the now. The older I get, the more I appreciate this part of my story because of how it continues to shape how I see and capture people. The flaws and idiosyncrasies are the best part of all of us.]

Eleven years ago this August third, the period at the end of my life almost inked the page. What could have been a day of mourning became a day of joy. Kenz’s life day, as friends have begun to call it. When I talk to people about it, some say I’m so sorry, and others I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, especially you.

And while I understand those responses and would probably say the same thing to someone who faced the same thing, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

It think it’s true (and a little sad) that it’s often when we’re about to lose all we have that we realize the value of what we have in front of us. Like watching my dog Willie get hit by about 5 cars in a row when I was little. Surely that fifth one would have killed him but that tank of a mutt kept getting back up. After that day, I saw a direct correlation between how much I roller-bladed with him and how much I loved him. Looking back, I probably could have showed my gratitude for his not dying a bit differently. Those cars didn’t kill him but surely my rollerblading shenanigans took years off his life, even with his magical mutt blood.

I’m fairly cynical but don’t think it’s wrong to say that it often takes trauma to shake us.

It’s just too easy to get comfortable.

We all have those moments in life where if x hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be y. I’d like to know those defining moments of every person I photograph on the streets of this city.

A lot of people in my life are hurting right now. Family stresses, jobs lost, blows at the job one does have, difficulties conceiving or an inability to keep the baby once pregnant, anxiety about next year in high school or despair about the next ten of marriage.

Will those circumstances be those peoples August 3rd? Or is it their second, fifth, tenth? It seems some people continue to face those dark places again and again.

Heavy boots.

This month is going to be wonderful. Much travel to states all over the country. Being a part of one of my best friend’s weddings, and to a man I love for her. Shooting a personal project that’s fulfilling and invigorating. Working with clients who are the cream of zee crop.

Life is full and exhausting and sweet and impossible and awesome.

As you know, I’m a lover of playlists for different seasons. This one includes songs from that month in 2002. They’re fairly obvious and Darcy, I’ll always think of you when humming or pitifully attempting to sing along to Dashboard’s whiny lyrics. The rest are songs I’ve been enjoying lately as I fly to and fro and/or  shoot the streets of New York.

Wherever you are today, know that you are loved beyond compare. And if you’re at your end, shoot me a line. Or more importantly, look up and cry out. You will be answered in your distress.



Kenz ( + Mel, who’s been such a big advocate of living life well regardless of how much sh*t hits the fan.)



Christy Perea Ferro - August 1, 2013 - 3:07 pm

perfectly said and put into perspective. ” I’m fairly cynical but don’t think it’s wrong to say that it often takes trauma to shake us”. Life is traumatic, but those traumas bring life itself to light!

Kate Thornton - August 1, 2013 - 3:35 pm

well spoken my dear friend. thank you for being you.

Leslie Linebarger - August 1, 2013 - 6:23 pm

Mackenzie, I love you and it’s wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to write this. You are a beautiful person and I wish I could spend more time around you. I can’t wait to put on headphones now and listen to your playlist while I work on my afternoon spreadsheets.

Faith Anna Hampton - August 4, 2013 - 9:14 am

That was beautiful, and very pithy. I was just in a quiet bicycle moment the other day pondering how heavy things are for so many people I know right now, and wondering about it, as I’m always prone to waste my time doing. I’m sure on that actual day, you didn’t know all that you know about the “why” of that moment. (Also, let me say that the pathos of this moment was broken by my asthmatic cat spasmodically sneezing and snotting green boogers all over me and the couch. Must go clean up.) Love you.


In anticipation of June, we’ve created a playlist that’ll pair well with margaritas, a picnic basket, running shoes, or a long editing day when you need that added pep in your step  from your screen. As usual, it’s a mix of upbeat + mellow songs. Seems most fitting to create playlists that match our shooting style. We appreciate the pep but welcome the quiet moments in between it all.

We’re gearing up for wedding season and can’t wait to shoot and share our weddings from all over the states. First stop, New Orleans!

Cheers from NYC + ATX,

Kenz & Mel

Lauren Lindley - May 19, 2013 - 3:46 pm

Nice! I’m totally going to listen while I sell spandex today! I don’t recognize some of these bands.

Mackenzie Rollins - May 19, 2013 - 7:09 pm

No better time to listen! Your life is entertaining. Always up to something fun :)

34° April

Happy April everyone!

It does not feel like spring in New York. Earmuffs, runny noses and colorful marshmallow babies continue to fill the streets of the city. Meanwhile, Mel is enjoying warm weather and picnics with Judebug and friends. I’m entertaining the hope that bright and sunny music will prompt bright and sunny weather in the city. That said, here is our [upbeat] April playlist!


Kenz + Mel

Spruce Upholstery

I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda Brown, owner of Spruce, in the spring of 2010. That year, I had made a New Year’s resolution list of 10 things I’d always wanted to do/learn that I’d never found time to do. Funny how that happens. On that list: learning to reupholster furniture. As one inspired by color, textures, lines, fabric, it seemed funny to love and surround myself at home by these things without having any clue how to craft them.

Amanda is one of my favorite ladies in town. She’s down to earth, fun loving and extremely talented. And while we see people like this every day, it’s not often that such individuals are welcoming and have the gift of being able to patiently teach others about their art. Over the years, she’s become a good friend and in that time I’ve enjoyed photographing Spruce and the amazing team of Sprucettes. Their ability to transform furniture for a range of clients is incredible to watch from behind the scenes.

One of my favorite routine photo shoots is for Amanda’s monthly feature on Design Sponge. If you aren’t aware of this blog, you must go check it out. Make sure it’s at a time when you actually have time. It’s impossible not to get sucked into their library of design inspiration!

Below are a few favorite features that Amanda and I created for Design Sponge:

* upholstery inspiration crewel chair

upholstery basics grommet top shower curtain

upholstery basics how to make a lampshade

And if you’re a pet lover, stay tuned for this weeks playful feature for furry friends on d*s! It makes me want to run out and purchase a pup simply to practice all I learned from this shoot.

As I typed that, my sweet Jude started to cry and I’m brought back to reality that a dog is the last thing that my family needs right now.



Spruce Upholstery - March 27, 2013 - 4:58 pm

This is so great, Mel! I’m so lucky to know you!