...because paying attention makes me a better wife, friend, sibling, child, employee, citizen, human. This little project of mine, now habitual, keeps me a little more grounded and a lot more grateful. I hope you enjoy the photos.
Last week I attended a workshop on storytelling, and the speaker said that it's often small nuances that happen in the midst of our big life-changing stories that pack the most punch. He said looking there helps us find the stories within a story that illustrate human connection on the deepest level, drawing listeners in. That resonated.
With Mother's Day approaching these photographs of my sister and my nephew on the eve of my niece's birth kept coming to mind. Meghan's attentiveness towards and concern for Jameson as she prepared for the arrival of her daughter clarified so much of what makes her an incredible mom to both her kids. She knew he was on the precipice of change and wanted his transition to be smooth. She wanted him to know he was loved, he was ready and his place was secure. And the conflicting emotions of anticipating a beautiful change in her little family alongside of letting go of the sweetness of a season ending so a new one could begin- they showed up. Is that not the never-ending stuff of motherhood?
Maggie's birth and newborn photos are a blog not yet written, but for the lead up to Mother's Day I wanted to share these few simple photos, because they move me, and I hope they do the same for you.
Connection creates the most compelling story a photograph might tell, every time. When a collection of photographs communicates the unique and yet universal beauty of a family, together, in the comfortable security of just being, I find my most prevalent response to their photos one of gratitude. They've allowed me to see and document something true and good about life, about the world.
Pearl's newborn session, just three days after her birth, stands out to me because the joy and energy in her family as they adjusted their lives to welcome this tiny person felt tangible from beginning to end. I saw so much love, from her confident, proud biggest sister and her finding-her-way little not-quite-as-big sister to her smiles-never-left-their-faces mom and dad. It felt like they'd all been waiting for her all their lives and like in 72 short hours her permanence in their hearts and home was long established. I saw so much connection that day.
The shortest month held a long length of calendar ordinary and extraordinary. Life and love in in-law visits and a newborn niece paired with days good and days hard at home. Some days picking up the camera feels like a block to check, but the reality is that the slow or boring or too-full days captured trace details of life. I often look back and find simple photos that foster so many memories of entire days. Looking at the mundane makes both the more vibrant and less exciting that much more gratitude inducing, I think. February, then, was a mix. Here it is my February in 28 frames.
Alicia and I emailed back and forth about session location, settling on a reservoir her son loves. We parked and headed towards the water, crunching leaves and sharing stories. We talked food and dogs, the stuff of everyday life. Once we arrived at the water, it was all skipping stones and yoga poses and family moments. I got to see kid hugs and high fives. I captured Andrew signing "I love you" alongside of Julia's "namaste" atop a tree stump. I tend to feel a session is going well when I am capturing genuine interaction with little direction, which was basically this entire shoot.
The sense I had when as I watched the goodness that is Alicia and Justin and Julia and Andrew is that for them, adventure awaits always and anywhere. They love to be outdoors. They know how to be present in the moment and content. When I wrap up a session like theirs I feel like I've been given the gift of seeing a family living the beauty that is uniquely theirs.
I don't know why we call him Froo but soft launching my way into sharing some favorite recent work with my nephew Freddy's newborn photos. I knew Debo and Tyler were going to be incredible parents when they told us they were expecting, but there's a difference between knowing and KNOWING. From the moment I arrived at their house, the sense of calm and normalcy would have made you think they'd had a baby for years. Their awe and wonder at their little man were present, for sure, but their transition into parenthood wasn't even a blip on the radar. They took to parenting their kiddo with ease. I'm drawn to the bath time photos at the end of this post, because I think they capture both the tenderness of new parents and the confidence with which Debo and Tyler chose to operate out of as new parents.
And little Freddy? Well, he captured the hearts of everyone who walked through the door. He belonged and belongs in this family. He snuggled in and watched with wide-eyes and let us love him. Going back and looking at these newborn photos makes me so excited to watch him grow and change and become. He's just right. Babies are the best idea. These photos make me anticipate 2018 sessions!
Dallas peeps, I'll be booking a handful of sessions in the spring, summer and fall. Connecticut friends, I'm booking a handful of sessions each month, so if you or someone you know is interested in photos, please reach out.
New year. New season. New beginnings. All that jazz. I'm not much of a resolution person beyond resolving to try to be more of the stuff that matters: more kind, more generous, more honest, more grateful, more forgiving... more human, really, at least I hope. Catching up several months of daily photos blogs over just a few days has clarified for me that I want to keep paying attention the the nuance and detail that helps me find my way back in the direction of all those mores. I hope my perspective invites you to see the mores that matters in your own life too.
January made me anticipate other mores too. More love and light, more goodness, more grace. More babies and families in front of my lens. More roots in Connecticut. More happy endings at the hospital. More passport stamps and more nieces (!!!). Here was January, day by day. It was a good month. I'm excited to have my daily photo posts caught up. Lots of 2017 sessions coming up next.
December outdid itself this year. It held festivities as December does- at work and at home, in Connecticut, in Texas, abroad- shared with friends and loved ones. There were photo sessions and Santa parties. We took a real vacation which looked like Ty's first trip across the pond. We had a white Christmas shared with our favorite Aussies and the deepest freeze that couldn't keep us indoors. We wrapped up 2017, which definitely had it's share of challenges and broken bits, with a month full to the brim of reminders that life- albeit messy at times- is a gift. All is grace, said Saint Therese of Lisieux. Indeed.
November looked like my oldest sister's 40th and a long weekend celebrating her at my house. I loved having my sisters and mom visit. When we bought the house I couldn't wait to share our space wth our families. It was a great way to start off the month. November brings Thanksgiving, and we decorated our first Christmas tree. It was a travel-free month, giving life a quieter rhythm. Ty got a nasty cold. Temperatures dropped a bit. We continued to be outdoors a lot. As the holiday season started, I found myself journaling more, anticipating December and trying to process through our first year in Connecticut. Here's November, day by day.
My favorite month, when fall arrives, and I wanted to spend every waking minute outdoors with Ty. I'd been anticipating October from the day we decided to move to New England. I love the crisp air, the changing leaves, the ease of outdoor running. I've long loved shooting portraits in the fall, and I loved my inaugural Halloween at Connecticut Children's. October did not disappoint. I got to visit Texas. Ty and I went to a wedding at the Cape. There were date nights and weddings and babies. It was not a month without heavy days, but life happened, good and bad, beautiful and mundane. Here's a glimpse, in photos.
I've decided to catch up all my daily photo blogs and then hopefully get back to some kind of rhythm of client blogging. I've been wanting to share these forever. September brought one part Indian Summer, one part arrival of fall. We were outside a lot. It was a quiet month. It was a good month. With that said, this was September.
August felt quiet. So many of these photos are daily rhythm photos, nothing overly exciting, and yet I look back over them and feel content with the memories. The highlight of the month was the arrival of my nephew Freddy, who I meet just a few days after his birth and had the privilege of documenting in his early days. I love seeing my sister become a mom and our family expand the way families do to love a teeny tiny human with an overwhelmingly big love. It is the best of what I get to photograph; it is humanity at our best.
My brother Jono visited at the end of the month as well, and we went to Massachusetts and New York as summer started to wind down, enjoying a wholly different feel to those months (in New England it cools off at night!) than the familiarity of a relentlessly hot, months-on-end summer.
While I have been in the process of pulling photos for a 2017 recap of all the incredible sessions I got to photograph and am planning on sharing them as one big "best of" as well as some individual session posts as well, I feel perpetually behind on blogging. That post requires more time than I have this morning. I'm going to shift from apologizing for that and accept that life's pace these days makes me a s l o w blogger, but I do intend to keep blogging, as I enjoy it and have heard from some of you that you do too. This project helps me pay attention to my own life, which in turn- I hope- helps me pay more and better attention to those I photograph.
I'm doing a writing prompt each day for Advent, and today's prompt was about wonder. As I sat to write, I found myself thinking a lot about daily photos. I realized a huge portion of what I've loved about this ongoing project is how it opens my perspective to wonder. I don't discover it every day, but some days in my considering what to photograph I find myself wide-eyed and amazed at the beauty or goodness or simplicity or hopefulness I bore witness to that day. Even on the hard days this is sometimes true.
My sister mentioned the other day that my little nephew Jameson's whole life is filled with wonder right now. He sees an airplane and points with a "wow." He'll stare at the Christmas tree, delighted. He begs to go outside, outside, outside all day, every day, constant in curiosity and generous in his assumptions towards wonder. It's childlike, wonder. Perhaps this project adds value to me because it propels me towards the wisdom of the very young: to be present to a moment and let it be what it is. To find a daily wow of my own. I like that thought. Here's a bit of July's wows. Can't believe it's been half a year since these days passed.
How do you find wonder?
Real talk: it's been four months since I blogged, and little Oliver is almost a year old, and well, I've been intending to share these photos since he arrived. This was just before I relocated to Connecticut, and I loved seeing how proud big brother Meyer was to show me his baby. I loved seeing Mom and Dad pass their boys back and forth and handle the transition from one to two like pros. I loved the warmth in their home and the ease in the day. I knew when I photographed Oliver's newborn photos that I'd likely slow down on working with newborns for a while. It's been a quiet year for me in that department.
I'm excited, though, to be moving towards 2018 and being settled into a Connecticut routine. I'm starting to photograph family sessions more regularly here, and I'm looking forward to launching into newborns in the new year. I photographed my first Connecticut little miss a couple of weeks ago and will share those soon. I love capturing documentary, lifestyle photographs at the hospital or in families' homes as they welcome new family member. I love the ways hearts expand to embrace a tiny new baby just so. It's truly one of most incredible things I get to witness. I'll be getting back to blogging on the regular in the coming weeks, and Oliver's session seemed fitting beginning.
Connecticut friends, if you or someone you know is welcoming a baby in the new year, I'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, enjoy Oliver's session.
The moment my nephew was born last July I stood mesmerized, and to borrow a line from Bono, his first cry was a joyful noise. I had the privilege of witnessing most of Jameson's first year as an in-town auntie, and watching him grow and change from newborn to baby to toddler, somehow in the span of no time at all, helped me see all the good stuff in life. Unsurprisingly, my sister and her husband took to parenting with confidence and ease. I got to see that too.
Meghan and I always thought we'd welcome babies around the same time; that wasn't meant to be. Her precious boy, though, taught me to allow myself the grief of the motherhood I might not experience while celebrating the joy of this wee baby who won my heart from the get-go. I didn't know how redemptive his presence would be, nor did I know how much I needed tangible redemption. When we decided to move I was sad about leaving our families and saddest about losing the privilege of being a week-by-week witness to Jameson becoming himself.
I'd meant to blog his birth photos, his newborn photos, photos through the year... And somehow I never got around to it. I love that now that I finally pulled photographs I have a collection of his story through his first year, mostly in horizontal black and white for cohesion's sake (along with a very important post-birthday diptych). I've always loved documenting an ongoing story most, and this year-in-the-life makes my heart explode. These photographs, they are my love letter, not just to Jameson but to myself and to my family. He is ours, for keeps.
Connecticut life leaves less time for blogging, and yet I miss sharing in this space. Every week I write down that I'll blog a family and newborn session and plan to blog some daily photos the next week, with the hope of getting into a rotation. Alas, thus far I've failed. Miles to run and photos to actually shoot and life to live pulls me away from my screens, and that seems like a healthier rhythm, at least for me. Still, the contemplation of revisiting photos, whether those I've shot for clients or for myself, also feels beneficial. Plus it means sharing with you.
So, a too-early wake-up has me looking through daily photos and sharing June. I make no promises that I'll be back soon but I hope to share a blog or two here and there, especially as I'm gearing up for fall and my favorite season to backdrop families against.
While I've transitioned to full time work as the photographer for Connecticut Children's Medical Center, I still have the privilege of working with families, albeit on a more limited schedule, in Texas, Connecticut and throughout New England. This session reminded me of all the reasons why I'll shoot family sessions forever: nuances of beauty caught in passing moments...
Anya taking her time to warm up. Bowen coaxing Anya to smile. The whole family pulling each other close, closer, "how close can you go?" Laughing. Laughing. Laughing. I want to see these moments, to allow families to live them in front of my lens, so they (and I) remember the truth of their story long after the photographs are taken.
I've been photographing the Song family for years, and every year seems that much sweeter than the last. This session moved me, and I'm grateful to get to share it. Here's to contagious grins and belly laughs and bear hugs and perfect-though-not days made permanent with the click of my shutter. If you are interested in seeing your family through my lens, please don't hesitate to reach out.
The eleventh month of my daily photo project looked like a roller coaster of high highs and low lows. The rhythm of creating a photo, now well-established, has become a processing tool. The days when I just click the shutter to capture something to check the block are fewer and fewer the longer I do this. The photos have become more of a journal as this practice has become well-established. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I've enjoyed creating and compiling them.
Twists and turns. Beginnings. Expectations exceeded and dashed. For better or worse, April hit hard and fast. When I remember April of 2017, I hope I remember I am strong and capable. I hope I remember to be kind, to myself and to others. I know I'll remember loving Connecticut. April was hard. It was not without beauty, but it was hard. I think taking photos brought some clarity about how that beauty emerged with surprising consistency. With that perspective, April contained a lot of grace.
Behind the 8-ball and wanted to get March's photos shared before May's end! Moving and adjusting and, well, life throwing endless curve balls my way has slowed blogging down a bit. Still, I love having this collection to look back on and remember. Lots of hellos and goodbyes in March. It looked something like this...