As Mother's Day Approaches

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.

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Welcoming Pearl

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.

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Adventure Awaits Always, Anywhere

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.

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Welcoming Oliver

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.

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When Photos Become Love Letters

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.

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Family Sessions Forever

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.