Week 9 – Poem 5 by Ken Arnold

Poem 5 by Ken Arnold

Update:  Ken is still recovering in a nursing home from MRSA virus.  Here’s his latest email and poem.  Thank you Ken.  We are all sending love your way.


Kimberli,  For some reason I’m writing poems in this institution. Poem #5 is below. I find out tomorrow if I can leave here soon and resume chemo. It’s funny to want chemo, but it would be better than being cooped up here. I hope you’re ok after your emergency fluids.

This poem was occasioned by how wonderful your eyes were in some recent photos. I hope you like it.

Sending you much love,



You have to love her eyes,

big gasping beauties

that can haunt you


over time, opened by

some ancient song of cele-

bration, as deep


as fairy tales,

easing out of the inner

dark the light. The light!


That’s what’s in her,

light. You can find her

in the dark, attenuated


as a long-gone memory,

gowned in white,

reverted to myth,


now pinned still

in the camera’s eye.

You’re almost afraid to look,


for she will see you

and see you and you will

fall into her story,


but your heart wants

to be her eyes,

to be seen, to see what she sees.


Because It’s Love is now available from Finishing Line Press:



“When late-life love and illness pounce and collide, they create a zone of tenderness, urgency, and fearless truthfulness. The work in Ken Arnold’s Because It’s Love is almost unbearably courageous, intense, and moving.”–Rachel Hadas, poet and author of The Golden Road, Ache of Appetite, and numerous other books of poetry and prose


read a new poem every Monday at




Week 8 – Kimberella SHOOT Behind the Scenes

Kimberella Shoot:  Behind the Scenes

Written 9/9/13  Original Shoot was 8/23/13

Kimberella Shoot:  Behind the scenes.  Finding Beauty in Cancer.
Kimberella Shoot: Behind the scenes. Finding Beauty in Cancer.

This early morning was full of laughter.  It’s true about it being the best medicine.  I was full of life and love during this session, although my energy faded and I was exhausted just an hour into it.  I couldn’t have chosen a better team of creatives.  Not only were they tremendously talented, each very accomplished in their own field, but they all were hilarious.  One funnier than the next and together an entire comedy show.  I was doubled over with laughter at several points.  “Stop moving, don’t smile, be still,” Kristen Arnett, our amazing make up artist and art director, would say as she applied my magical Cinderella make up.  “Make the boys go away then,” I would reply.  Tod and Dan would be sent to their corner of the woods to talk about spiders and spitting on fish so I would not crack up during make up.  Heather and Colleen would then start with their banter from the trees and crack me up again.  Beautiful, quiet Jessica would throw in a subtle punch line and make me lose it.  “Stop laughing, you’ll ruin the make up!”   Kristen was the most funny of all, however, and couldn’t help but throw in her two cents and I would nearly roll off the log that was my makeup stool.  I laughed and laughed until my energy was all used up before we even got to the stone castle and the photo shoot.  I then shivered as my hat came off and the shoot went on, trying to stay focused on the fun and not the fatigue, the joy of creating something beautiful and not the fact my legs were shaking from stepping up and down the stone steps as Cinderella ran from the ball to beat the stroke of midnight, wig in hand.  My friends caught me as I fell sideways while trying to do the running away down the pathway shots and held me up as I nearly fell over climbing the fence to enter the forbidden area where we shot the lying down sleeping final images.  I didn’t want to end the shoot or the morning with my friends, but my body was finished.  I would hope to relive that day and dream team at any point in my life.

On Set : Kristen Arnett KristenArnett.com Heather Binns http://www.heatherbinns.com Tod Foulk semperfashion.net Dan Ackerman http://ackermanfilms.com Colleen Sparks http://www.colleensparks.com/ Jessica Belknap http://jessicabelknap.com/

Contributors: Sophie Chang http://www.sophiebridals.com/ Vanessa Powell http://www.vanessapowellphotography.com/index2.php#/home/ Britta Aragon, CV Skinlabs www.cvskinlabs.com Brenda Kay Wigs http://www.bkhair.com/ Spartacus Leather

Week 6: PRESS. Portland Family Magazine 2013 issue feature

Thank you, Janna Lopez, Portland Family Magazine, and Tay Juncker for designing and publishing this spread from the blog in your September 2013 issue!  See online link to feature as well as PDF of entire Sept 2013 magazine issue if you can’t find a hard copy around town. Janna is an amazing woman and one who I truly respect and admire for all she is, stands for and has done for the Portland community.  Also be sure to check out Janna’s photography & her first show on Facebook


Portland Family Magazine 2013 feature on Kimberli Ransom and Finding Beauty in Cancer project
Portland Family Magazine 2013 feature on Kimberli Ransom and Finding Beauty in Cancer project



Week 6 – Finding Beauty SHOOT: Kimberella. Photographer Heather Binns, AD Kristen Arnett

Week 6 – Finding Beauty Photo Shoot

“KimberellaLoses Her Hair, Not Her Glass Slipper”

8/23/13 Photographer:  Heather Binns, Art Director and 1st Makeup Artist Kristen Arnett, Gown Designer Sophie Chang. See more credit at the bottom of post.


Blog post by NYC/Milan Art Director and makeup artist, Kristen Arnett

We all know the story of Cinderella, how her kind-hearted, beauty threatened her jealous family so much that they made her a servant and attempted to mask her radiance in ragged clothes. However, true beauty can never be hidden by conditions or circumstance, no matter how unfairly or awfully they have been put upon someone.

When Kimberli approached me about creatively collaborating to show a side of beauty in her cancer journey, I asked one question: “When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?”  She was very clear that it was Cinderella. In fact, she made people call her that for many years during her childhood. As I explored the story more deeply, I realized Kimberli and Cinderella weren’t that different.

Cinderella was given the opportunity by a fairy godmother to transform her ragged conditions to reflect the princess-like elegance she truly was in order to have just one evening of ecstatic bliss, dancing and falling in love, but with one condition…

At the stroke of midnight Cinderella had to flee as her carriage and beautiful clothes would all return to their prior conditions. As Kimberli describes chemotherapy, there is a time where she too slips into a “mind fog”, when her brain no longer functions as sharply, and her condition feels deteriorated. Just like the ringing of the clock tower, she too can tell exactly when she will “switch over” and plans much of her life now around that clock.

In this photo story we transform Kimberli into Cinderella, just on her way home from a night of blissful dancing, right before the “switch over”. Her pink ball gown subtly reminds us of the breast cancer ribbon. Her bald head strongly reminds us of cancer’s affect on the conditions of beauty. Kimberli’s inner light and her outer beauty simply cannot be hidden, no matter what the condition – just as it was for Cinderella.

As Kimberli is running home from her fantasy night, in her hand she holds a blond wig, which I like to think of as her version of Cinderella’s glass slipper. Though Prince Charming searched the land with one unique memento he carried with him – a shoe that just didn’t seem to fit anyone no matter how hard they tried to squeeze in– he simply couldn’t find the right match. It wasn’t really about finding someone to fit the shoe, it was a quest to find the woman who ignited the intense feeling of love in his heart.

Eventually he found her again – his true love, a woman worthy of being a queen regardless of her conditions. When love reunited with love, Cinderella was given her beautiful clothing back to wear forever.

Here’s my twist: I think Prince Charming is a metaphor for our higher Selves; he’s a catalyst to help us see our inherent beauty, even within of conditions that seem ugly.  Once we can see and accept our truly magnificent nature, we will be restored despite of the conditions that were placed up on us.

I believe that when Kimberli has completed her journey through cancer, the love she already embodies and radiates to those around her will restore her health, beauty and radiance in an even more profound way.

Notes from Kimberli

This day I worked with my dream team!  Talented, hilarious & ready to roll at 7:30AM.  I was belly laughing 5 minutes into the session.  I had had a very, very difficult 10 days after the last chemo treatment and focusing on how much fun this shoot would be kept me going. It was all worth it for those 3 hours. I adore these creatives. Check out their websites!

NYC/Milan Art Director and green make up artist (featured in ELLE Mag 2013): Kristen Arnett KristenArnett.com

Master of the outdoors session, 1st Photographer: Heather Binns http://www.heatherbinns.com

Portland Fashion week boss and cowboy: Tod Foulk semperfashion.net

Filmaker & 20 year friend: Dan Ackerman http://ackermanfilms.com

1st Assistant and gown shlepper, Photographer of the Bald Bride session: Colleen Sparks http://www.colleensparks.com/

2nd Make up artist Jessica Belknap http://jessicabelknap.com/

Gown Designer and Portland Fashion Week Goddess:  Sophie Chang http://www.sophiebridals.com/

All the way up in Alaska, Post production editor Vanessa Powell http://www.vanessapowellphotography.com/index2.php#/home/

Fabulous skin care products, Britta Aragon, CV Skinlabs www.cvskinlabs.com

Fabulous wig designer & stylist:  Brenda Kay http://www.bkhair.com/

Thank you Spartacus for the sexy Cinderella slipper contribution!


Want to join a future shoot?  Contact me directly at info@kimberliransom.net  

KIMBERLI RANSOM PHOTOGRAPHY www.kimberliransom.net info@kimberliransom.net 503-234-8111 17 SE 3rd Ave, Studio #306 Portland, OR 97214