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Good Morning, Lindsey Vonn!


This is a story about how to remember to enjoy the things we love to do with our (mostly forgotten) childish enthusiasm, without comparing our selfs to others and just be.

From Lydia to her mother.

Sitting on a bench outside of the ski school, waiting for Lydia’s fifth and final lesson. She’s ready to go, all packed up head to toe, looking like she’s going out of space. Impatiently shifting from side to side, eyes fixed on the door, ” Where is my teacher ?” she says. ” I’m ready”

It is nasty out today. Freezing. Heavily snowing. Windy. Kind of gray. And it’ll be even worse at the top where she’s about to go. “Are you sure you want to ski today, it’s really cold!” I say through my sweater, scarf and jacket. “Yes! I’m ready! I want to go!” she yells back like a boss. Arguing is pointless. She is going. And that’s final. I shivered. Maybe it was the cold or maybe it was the brief glimpse into my future, arguing with this child, say, in ten years or so…  Then I heard  ”Good Morning, Lindsay Vonn!”, and there he was, Rossen, her teacher, ready to go too, smiling. I laughed: “I don’t know about Lindsay Vonn, but if she wants to ski in this blizzard with you she must really like this”

Prior to her five, one hour lessons here, Lydia had not skied. Rossen had taken her to the top within the first 10 mins of the first lesson. I was not there, did not even know that my parents had gotten her a teacher… I only found out in passing, on my way back to the lift. My mother said very fast ” Lydia did NOT want to go sledding, she said she wants to ski, we got her a teacher, he put her on the skis, said she’s doing great and took her up .”  ”What?!?”  I yelled. “She’s up there?”  I pointed to the 1800 + meter summit. “Yes, she’s there” my mother repeated, immediately erasing my hopes that I might have misunderstood her initial statement. I rushed, trying to beat the waves of super active Russians in furry hats…  In my head she was scared, not listening, crying, cold… a total mess, a disaster…  I then saw her, perfectly skiing next to Rossen, his poles across her chest to steady her. I could tell she was paying attention, she was nodding her little head when he spoke and she would look up at him smiling. She then saw me and yelled “Mom! This is my mom! Hi mom!” I clumsily approached, asked if she’s listening, he said she is and she’s doing great. Oh my god, who’s child is this and since when is she listening so well for such extended amounts of time ?

Fast forward two days later, blizzard and all on the second trip to the top we got on the lift together. I asked Rossen about this Lindsay Vonn business. Aren’t all kids that good and willing to go fast and learn? He said no. He told me that one of his colleagues from the Ski School had been behind the two of them on the second day and watching. He said the guy has been teaching for almost 30 years and had later told Rossen that he’d only seen 5 or 6 children like Lydia “And something else”, said Rossen “I aways ask my students what do they want to do next, it really matters what they say”   Lydia had pointed to the slope to the left of the lift called “THE WALL”, Black Diamond, as Black as snow slopes come, and said ” I want to go down that one”  I got silent. Kept glancing to my left wondering if I want her to ever “go down that one”   We were almost up when he added “And no offense, but she’s better then you right now”

After our run down we had to stop. Her fingers were frozen, whatever skin was exposed on her face was scarlet red. Later that day when we were back home I asked her if she wants to see who Lindsey Vonn is. “She is one of the best women skiers of all time, do want to see her skiing? Your teacher said you really could be like her one day!”

“No mom, thanks” she said while building her Masha and Mechoka puzzle. “I just like to ski by myself and follow my teacher”

I had to let that one sink in for a while … I am ashamed to admit that in that moment I felt a tiny little sting of jealousy. In this world of constant checking, comparing, competing, liking and who’s doing what, who’s doing it better,  she is a six years old girl who had the time of her life skiing with her teacher. She could care less about who the best skier in world is.

Thank you, my sweetness love, for reminding me that doing something you are really good at for the simple reason that it brings joy to your heart is the best reason yet. I had forgotten.

Oh yeah, and after her lesson back at the school she told Rossen she wants to sing him a song. To say thank you. She sat on his knee folded her little hands in her lap and started singing in a lullaby kind of voice “Do you want to build a snowman”

Magazine Love / onthetown

Thank you to  ONTHETOWN Magazine for inviting me for a second time to be a part of their publication. I am humbled by their interest in my work and grateful for the care they put in to showcase my photographs so beautifully. Also without my couples and my wonderful brides, none of the imagery would have happened. So big thank you to you as well !!

Pick up a copy or two and enjoy !


Minja + Mike / Colony Club


Not sure what is the best way to describe what incredible day the wedding of Minjia and Mike was. It was not because of all the beautiful details, not even because of Minja’s dress made by her mom, one of a kind, glorious creation… It was because if the closeness of everyone, the love, the laughter, the emotions. You can see that in the images below and maybe you can feel that I was a part of that family for that day. I was not the photographer, but simply Stela. So many wonderful moments throughout… I guess if I really have to pick a favorite, it would be Mike’s surprise song in Bosnian for Minja. He had her go through all kinds of emotions, from sheer disbelief to pure joy, singing with him with arms wide open!

I wish you guys, nothing but happiness like the ones I saw on your faces on your Wedding Day!



ISPWP/ Fall 2014


I am amazed every time one of my images gets an award from ISPWP. Not that I am not hopeful, I am, thats why I submit my work there. But then I look at the galleries and I’m blown away from insane amount of talent. I n s a n e amount of talent…. Bridal Portrait, 8th Place/ Fall 2014. Thank you to my bride Rebecca who stood in the hallway of a temple and looked serene while her relatives with a lively sense of humor kept coming in and going out right next to us. XO