Even before we met for this session, I knew we would capture some happy interactions, because these guys do life on the happy-beautiful-joyful side. I loved, though, that Mr. Charlie was so eager to help with "Sisters". We've been friends for a long time, Charlie and I, so I've witnessed his transition from only child to big brother, and he's so very sweet with them. His sisters are little wonders too, all wide-eyed and curious about the world. It's hard to believe this session was in October. The girls' first birthday was this week, so it seemed timely to post this blog to celebrate a beautiful family.
It's been just over three years since this crew became a part of my life and over those three years, Christina and I have become friends and launched our wedding photography business together. Christina does (stunning) portrait work as well, so we planned the session primarily with family interactions in mind. Moms tend to be holding the camera when it's time to capture candid memories, and when Mom is also a photographer, that reality seems to increase. Alongside becoming friends, Christina and I have talked a lot about the value of family portraits. We believe kids having photos with their parents matters. We believe photography can allow families to see what is beautiful and true about their lives. We want to create tangible memories of what a family being who they are looks like at any given season of life. I think great photographs provide parents with reminders of all that is good on those tough days when nobody's minding and everybody's crying and nothing seems to be working. Those days happen. But they do not define a family.
What defines a family are walks to the nearby park, running up and down the hill, collapsing into tickle fights and all the things that add up to "I love you, I love you, I love you." I am so happy with how these photographs turned out, but I'm happier to call the Childress family friends. I'm honored to be a part of their story.
If any story can be redeemed, which I believe to be possible, then the car accident that led to the premature arrival of baby Claire (the youngest of this foursome) had an element of redemption in the way friends rallied around the family during that time. I was more of a friend-of-a-friend back then, with mutual relationships connecting us. I'd done their photos before, but Claire and her mama needed a little help, and I had a little time. So help I did. And now we are friends, a sliver of redemption perhaps. Maybe it's presumption to make this speculation, as I did not suffer through the pain and challenges caused by the accident. But I can't help but think that the way friendships form and thrive in the midst of hard things puts a stout solidity in their foundation. For this I am grateful. I'm also grateful for a beautiful day at the fair with my friends. We rode rides and weathered crowds. We ate funnel cake and fed animals. We made plans and re-planned based on better, more thrilling activities. And I think (I hope) I captured the blend of relationships that is siblings who are oftentimes also friends on a super fun day for a kid or four. The State Fair of Texas is an institution, and that we got to do this year's portraits there gives a little more fun to the photo session punch. I always love sharing photographs from a session, but when those photos are of friends, the sharing is that much richer. Just love these beautiful kids!