Baby doll time!! Okay – big brother and sister here were just too stinking fabulous in this Old City Philadelphia family session. I can’t get over the image of baby sister looking up at her big sister, of Mr. Middle counting baby toes. This family wanted to make sure we were telling the whole story of their family, not just baby – and my answer was, OF COURSE! A newborn photography session when there are siblings is not just about the latest squishy-newborn-amazing-I-can’t-believe-we-did-it-again. It’s a story of a whole family– that has now grown and expanded and how somehow love overflows. It is about how Mr. Middle still needs some extra attention from mom, and how big older sister is a pro at both holding baby on her own, as well as exploring her block on her bike. It’s about the quiet space of mom nursing while dad runs interference with the older kids.
It’s about to hit – the season of flowers and chocolates and super gushy sweet love notes.
There’s part of me that still loves that. . . . but when I stop to reflect, love has become something much more.
When you share a life with someone, life is a little messy. But it’s still beautiful.
I’m about to launch into telling you about my thoughts of Halloween, but first, to those of you who have just stumbled in and know little about me, and why I write – I’m hoping this blog, these images, help you to think about what you love about your neighborhood. What memories do you want to collect? Can I help you collect them?
So, a mom-confessional time.
I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween. But my neighborhood is conspiring to pull me more towards the love side. Can I talk about what I hate first? Basically I’m a grumpy grinch who doesn’t feel like shelling out cash for my kids to have sparkly new Halloween outfits every year (in fact, I usually hit Target two days after Halloween, load up on 70% off Halloween clearance to give to the kids for their November birthdays and Christmas). I hate the mounds of candy and how it makes me anxious about obesity and wastefulness and what cavities. I hate having to basically designate an entire day to dealing with costume angst, begging, schlepping through a neighborhood, and sugar crashes.
But what is pulling me into the love side? When I step behind the lens and start looking and seeing the magic that we are creating. The memories. The year my 2nd kid made a Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy, people!) costume out of Amazon brown paper packaging. The year my oldest, in new teendom, won a costume contest by tying keys to his shoes and going as “low key.” The piling of candy into categories and massive candy swaps (with any trade having to be authorized and approved by an adult to keep the olders from scamming their younger sisters). The inventiveness, the cackling, the pride and sheer joy. Even the crashes seem so perfectly part of childhood when I stoop down to see things from their eyes.
Are you interested in a family documentary session but just not sure about when or what you could really capture that would tell the whole story? Your life is so full of different types of fun moments, and you’d love to capture more than just one day?
This lovely, South Jersey family has booked a family yearbook series with me – they get a handful of 30 minute mini-sessions with me through the year, to tell the story of their lives. Yearbook sessions started to take place in my mind after seeing families of newborns love the Watch Me Grow package concept (three sessions during baby’s first year!), and realizing that I wanted to offer this same concept not just to my family with babies. Don’t you love the idea of getting small slivers of your family life through the year?
Now if I were in your shoes, I would be kind of wondering – how much of a family can she really capture in just 30 minutes? Well, if you trust me – if you let go of the idea of “picture perfect smile and say cheese. . . ” If you embrace the idea that the most beautiful moments to capture are real and not posed? See for yourself!
I start many conversations with clients these days telling them that more and more, my style is moving farther away from posed, and more towards documentary. This family was one of my favorite examples of what I mean by that. A documentary, storytelling session starts off with a conversation between me and you, where I start helping you think through – what is it about my family, during this particular slice of life, that is so special that I want to wrap it up and make sure I remember it forever? I have a questionnaire that is almost less for me and more for you – so that you can pause the laundry and dishes and have a moment of reflection – what exactly is the the thing that might drive me crazy now, but that someday I’ll miss? (For me, at this very moment one answer is the pile of books that my 8 year old leaves in the bathroom, by the sink and ready to be splashed on by her younger sister).
So a careful observer would note that I haven’t been blogging. For like a year.
This is not disconnected from an emotional space I was in last fall – I think a lot of us were there. I started this specific blog post in early fall. I wrote about how I loved the leaves, the fall, the inspirations of nature and sudden beauty. It was a plea to tell those of you who were inquiring about foliage and holiday card shots, to tell you that even though there is yes beauty in nature, that there is something more. I wrote:
Don’t get me wrong – I love love love the fall, the leaves, the inspirations of nature and the sudden beauty.
There is an internal conflict, because I know I can get you the smile and pose shot – I know you will look beautiful and will fit right into a Gap catalogue. But I also still genuinely believe – your every day is beautiful.
Fresh 48. I’m not sure who came up with that term, but boy, I’ve been spending time editing this sweet family’s session, working to create this video fusion slideshow, and fresh feels like the correct word. It’s a fresh new family – little one is only hours old, and glows with fresh, new, tiny sweetness.
One of the things that I love about the small community I live in, Collingswood, NJ – is that I’ve met a myriad of people who embrace their passions and proactively work to make our community better. Totally inspirational place to live. Two of those people, are Robb Sewell and Eric Wolff. This article in NJ Pen highlights it in more detail, but basically, Rob and Eric saw a need in our community, and then created a project to help raise money to make sure that need continued to be met. Love it! You see a need in your community – you not only work to help it in your own individual way (adopting a pet), but you actively work to build community efforts in joining forces for a cause (creating a pet photography calendar to help raise money for a shelter you know specifically needs more community support.).
This mom came to me knowing that her nursing days were probably coming to a close, and she wanted to capture the moment. She was also prepping her house to be on the market (the first house that she and her her husband bought! Where they brought home their first baby!). As I processed her photos, and thought about these momentous moments – first houses being on the market, end of the season of breastfeeding your firstborn – Whoosh – waves of nostalgia for me. Also – a reaffirmation about my passion for what I call “Nourish” sessions – there is just something magical when someone lets me into this private, quiet moment and lets me capture it for them. And it’s fleeting! It really needs to be captured before it’s just a memory.
So you know those time hops on facebook, where you see something a year ago? I’m going to blog today in a similar vein. This photo was a year ago today:
Do you ever feel so frazzled from parenting or chronic sleep deprivation that you really can’t see the beautiful moment in front of you?
A year ago I was honestly in a little bit of a photography slump. When I first started taking photos of my family, ten years ago, I carried my camera (yes, my huge ol’ Canon Rebel DSLR) EVERYWHERE – took photos of Every. Single. Moment. Was so in love with both my family and a new found artistic passion, that I really almost never left home without my camera. Fast forward ten years, and here is the morning my oldest was 11 and graduating from 5th grade.