As weddings are most often a mirror reflection of the people exchanging vows, this one had a certain kind of beautiful grace in connecting us all to a greater spirit ...Read More
I've watched this lil slowly transform, take shape and flight; this time with two teeth and the beginnings of a creep.Read More
With boys, you always know where you stand. Right in the path of a hurricane.
Cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and family.
What to say about this year with the girls who are now older girls ... I cherished my human connectin so much that this year was more about the being there with them than the need/pull to document them with pictures. To be perfectly candid, I wasn't all that into it and neither were they. What's worked in the past doesn't fit any longer and so we will find a new way to explore and expand in the year ahead in a way that is a little more interactive and collaborative. This photograph conveys my sentiments - a passage through to the other side.
And yet there were these beauties which express all i could say and more about who these two are right now.
And here is the larger story - all the pages laid out in a way that tells their story this year.
As a season often marked by gatherings around a table - to eat, drink, laugh, share, remember, it's here that our memories are often born and shaped. So when I received an inquiry for holiday portraits for an extended family of four siblings with one in-law sibling & child + two cousins along with their grandparents, I had an idea to literally begin around a table with them sharing stories of holidays past.
As I try to consider ways to cultivate natural connections, this felt like a format that would help ease any awkward tension (particularly at the very beginning of a session) and allow me to slip into the background. As it was, I found myself asking questions and listening along to their stories, looking for angles which showed the details in their grandparents home and offered insights into the larger story - particularly given grandparents in their early 90s. So my belief is that this family will remember this day as one of laughter and sharing stories along with family photographs... from the youngest with tangible views of his little self and his great grandparents & their faces filled with the love and pride and gratitude that lives in their hearts to the grandchildren who can perhaps think back to other years and other times along with this fine day.
I will end by saying that I look for ways to offer an experience that extends into and beyond the photographs. While I seek the emotion that naturally surfaces when we are comfortable, I strive to offer clients an experience that is meaningful and memorable AND enjoyable. And as the idea I used here was visualized for a book - photograph on one side, a memory story on the other - it is one I'm going to offer more frequently for extended gatherings.
"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
Where do i begin with this experience for what began as a gift card from one lovely sister to another turned into a bit of a journey.
In an initial discussion, I was left with an impression of family, of love and togetherness. And while we couldn't really make the entire family gathering possible, we opted to focus in on those more immediate. Which sounds in theory easy enough, until you try to find time in three different schedules (four counting mine!), particularly as I advocated for gather everyone together than at the lake house in new hampshire.
Though a bit of a drive for me, I couldn't resist - the location sounded dreamy, and as I'd never driven out through the winding roads that way I was eager for the scenery to be seen along the back roads and by roads that wound to an enchanting (yes, I used that word) drive up that led to a house on a lake that I struggle to find the words for. While yes, the actual house was brilliant - the craftsmanship of wood and and light and space - but it was much more than that. I could see cousins splashing and running ... I could hear laughter, sense the story, feel the love shared among family which on this day revolved around a certain red haired blue eyed boy who dazzled and delighted with his many expressions and silly sounds (and non stop motion).
The adoration of two sets of grandparents, remy the dog, his aunt and his own parents are evident throughout. The documentary inside was what I'd hoped for, and the portraits were exactly what I knew they'd be. And I feel the entire collection speaks to this family and their clan rather well - the lightness of spirit, the fullness of heart. I can only hope they'll have me again - preferably in a warmer season with more of them there ... I see their story and the richness of their connections with each other.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
― Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
As a season with giving at its core, we are often overrun with a blur of activities that veil the real magic in the air. Between the buying and wrapping and baking and decorating & the gatherings and events, the real gift of giving can get lost in all the have to's and must do's and need to's. Yet the most magical gift we can experience lies in giving to others. I can't take credit for how I feel about serving others either; it's how I was raised/who I am, and it's at the core of photography & my business.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to photograph this family of four generations and when I learned that Vanessa (the mum of the little) was going to be serving in the National Guard and would need to be away from her four year old for six months, I offered her a session (and the best time for her was in December when she was back on break). And after months of following the updates and photos between she and her girl, I got to see a little video of April seeing her mom for the first time over Thanksgiving - the most impacting exchange I saw that day.
So for me, giving to one who is giving to our country, and to a little who's giving up her mom for a period of time, is one of greatest gifts I can give this season. While I have much more to say on giving this season and in the year ahead, I will end with a few photos from our last time together two years ago.
an evening at that time when a warm sun is starting to fall with a neighbor spending time with her daughter and grandson in the backyard. a mama who soaks up each moment as if it were stolen from the future - here, chasing the boy around the yard. something that appears mundane on the surface, yet one that's filled with divine magnificence.
it is pictures like these - the ones that are so much a part of our day to day - that fill me with reverence. while i admire photographs where the lighting, the clothing and the environment are pulled together in some near form of perfection to convey a mood and/or a lifestyle, i'd take one of these over those any day of the week for they are ones i feel. and they're the ones over time imprinted on our memory.
in response to questions i often am asked about "day of life" sessions, i thought i'd share my notes and selected photographs from a recent session.
a day of life documentary is a story of photographs that speak to a particular time and place of one's life. while tailored to the distinct elements of each client, day of life sessions are generally set up in a way to include the activities and going's on of the day-to-day at home and in a nearby location - a park, a path, a playground - with the session lasting from a few hours at one time, to a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the early evening. and while my role is to discreetly photograph moments and emotions as they naturally occur, i interact here and there, particularly to weave in portraits in ways that feel effortless and natural.
day of life - m&d
i prefer to meet before the session - particularly for families with little ones and pets - so they know who i am and i have the chance to observe their mannerisms and expressions. so for this session, i came by in the late morning before nap time to meet little girl and talk with mom. i was warmly welcomed by jake - a part st bernard part great dane gentle lamb that was most definitely the largest dog i've ever laid eyes on!
as we were talking, i learned that this is the last month these two will be together all day long as mom took two years off to be at home and will be returning to college in the fall and to work after graduation while little girl will be in daycare. as we were talking, she mentioned:
"it's kind of bittersweet...while i'm excited and ready for what's next, it's hard to process that two years have gone by and we only have a month left together."
it was this quote which framed it all and inspired the story i wanted to photograph - the longing to be at home among toys and tot mixed with the pull to return to the world of learning and working ... the illusion of an endless childhood and the need to linger on in each moment left.
this translated to photographing in two locations. at home - outside on the deck which overlooked a lovely pond - with little girl playing with toys, then running down to the dock to be on the boat - then a short ride to the woods nearby for a walk on the path through the trees in golden ethereal light, throwing stones in the water and climbing on rocks, and ending with lovely little portraits.
while i photographed a little during our pre-session chat to get a feeling of things, it was high noon and mid-summer which was too harsh of a light. by early evening though, it was sparkling and golden.
while i'm showing the images sequentially, most day of life sessions are finished in a book.
day of life sessions offer an experience of art and creativity and a time to just be with those you love and enjoy. it is a little printed memory of time that will be enjoyed for years to come.
interested? i hope so as these are my favorite sessions to create and i think you'll find them surprisingly obtainable. contact me for details.
how is it that three months can pass in what feels like one breath....i always shake my head and sigh at this time of year. realizing how easily i shrug off each day early on in june and into the high season of july - days that seem to linger on into the next that forge an attitude of "i'll get to the beach next week" until mid-august arrives and i find myself in a near panic of holy shit - it's almost over. maybe this is the year i'll finally awaken to the wisdom of taking in each day. and maybe next year i'll be a bit more assertive in marketing the love i have for beach documentary portraits.
And then there comes a time when some girls at around age 10 see themselves in comparison to others. As I was one of those girls who despised what I saw in the mirror, it's a hard photograph to take....knowing I've caught a moment in ways of self rejection. Here, this one didn't want her photograph taken at all and with a heavy heart, I did anyway - because for me, it told the story of that summer.
Why this works? Though it's taken fairly close in the camera frame, her position is an arc, a half circle - the remainder filled in by the position of the chairs in the background. I see soft figures in the background and know this is some kind of street event. i see her fingers pressed heavily onto her face, the bits of nail polish that remain on her fingers and the conviction of hiding.
this is one that pointed the way forward. i remember the day - what i was seeing and what i wanted to photograph. what i felt. the moment i wanted to remember. the story i wanted to tell. i didn't understand how or even what i was after at the time, as up to this point (and into the next year), i'd fallen into "following" rather than creating from my own insides - mirroring what i saw others liked rather than what i liked. i was twisted in conflict - one part trying earnestly to be "successful" - to photograph in a way that landed clients, attention, acknowledgement, comments, likes; the other struggling to surface - to show another way, to create art.
i couldn't for the life of me feel things that i saw others creating and was fairly miserable in my attempts. i remember that feeling of dread and disappointment and confusion.
and then i photographed this.
...a complex composition formed by inverted parenthesis; in a way, it's two pictures in one connected by hands: the girl on the left sliding out of a dark tunnel draws my eye to her face, then her hand to her leg. but then i catch a hint of a person exiting on the right - part of an arm, a bit of leg. it's a tension of entering and exiting. of colliding shapes and yet, the emotion on the girls face tells the story of being a kid, of a playground. it is a first understanding of a decisive moment.
at the time, i had no idea really what all this meant...i just knew i liked it. and so did others. it was the beginning of a new path that i walked. guided by work that was great work; maybe not popular or trendy or commercial, but work i could feel in my heart admire.
so i revere this photograph. i understand its significance. and i honor its gift in gently pointing the way forward.
at ten years of age, there is nothing sweeter or freer than the beginning of summer with what feels like many days ahead to fill with swimming and snacks and sleepovers and playing outside with what feels like forever friends.
three years ago watching my nieces in the pool playing a synchronized jumping in together with a friend, i remembered all those feelings i had at their age and wanted to pay homage to that. this photograph is the result.
as for the image, i liked how the girls stood out against the woods - framed by tall trees and wild growth. i have clear sense of the season and with the light shimmering on the pool, i know it's later in the day (it was actually after 4pm). but it was their individual pose - the different jumps - that made this particular image work: the two on the ends reach towards left and right and frame the one in the center who's stretches upwards.
and so we begin that time of year when days are long and skies are bright. when for a moment on a particular day, i can almost remember that feeling of being a kid on the last day of school with the long stretch of summer days ahead. when i can look forward to days with my feet dug into warm sand and occasionally in water that's warmer (relatively speaking where i live).
while this photograph wasn't taken anywhere near memorial day, it's light and bright. the lines of the swings and the girls riding them caught mid-air hold my attention with feet flying and ponytails riding in the wind. i like that one turns to the water and the other to the sky for their gestures within the composition hold that feeling of being a kid in summer & the freedom of wearing a bikini and swinging high.
i like pictures that make you stop and wonder what's going on outside of the frame which is exactly the theme of this photograph. i liked the two groups ranging from toddler to grandparent broken into a group of three and four. i waited for the littlest one to turn the way she did, mirroring her mama's stance. and in looking at all three little girls, i was particularly taken with their hands and their pose. while there's activity going on behind them, their presence is strong enough to hold my attention.