Saturday, October 04, 2014

childhood.

I loved photographing little Alice and her family again.  That little spark in her eyes as a baby is still there.  She was full of life and energy and childhood magic.   And her parents were full of love for who she is.  I just can’t get over how much I loved her art and her room and her books, her ballet and tea party, her blonde hair and painted nails.  This is what every childhood should be.  IMG_7710IMG_7750IMG_7757  IMG_7787IMG_7913  IMG_7834 IMG_7855 IMG_7916 IMG_7989  IMG_8007   IMG_7923IMG_8288       IMG_8023 IMG_8036 IMG_8134IMG_8056  IMG_8148 IMG_8152 IMG_8194 IMG_8211 IMG_8311

Hooray for childhood.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

A Decade of Hazel.

Copy of Feb 2005 Cruise 075Dear Hazel,

Happy Birthday!

For a decade now you have made me a mother.  Your old, wise soul has shaped me as it has stretched me, softened me as it has strengthened me.  You, as the first, have carved out my motherhood path.  I’m sure you came first for a reason, actually for lots of reasons.  You’re strong and resilient enough to withstand (with grace) all my oh-so-imperfect attempts at getting this all right. (I’m sorry about that).  You’re wise and trustworthy and duty bound and obedient and all of those qualities (along with lots more) make you such a good example to your younger siblings.  And, you’re bossy and kind.  Just what our family needs.  You’re an incredible big sister.

Of course I have always loved you, but you know as well as anyone that sometimes things have been a little rough between us.  Being first is a hard job.  And raising your first is a hard job.  We’re both learning as we go.  There have been so many times over the years where we’ve talked (or yelled) past each other, butted heads, slammed doors.   I’ve always known that as an adult you would be a stellar person, one I would trust and respect and like.  But I’ve worried a lot over the years about how my relationship was going to be with that stellar person.  Was she going to like me after all of this trial and error?  All this yelling and slamming doors?  To be honest, Haze, I was scared to death when you decided that home based schooling was right for you this year.  I thought it had a pretty good chance of being a disaster.  But you were sure, full of that determination that comes when you just know, deep in your soul, that something is right for you.  And you were right, it has been amazing.  You have been amazing.  I think for so many years you were giving a lot of your best self at school.  Now I get that best self, and really, I am blown away.  And I’m feeling more and more confident that that stellar person and I are going to get along just fine. 

So, since your ten, here are ten things I’m loving about you lately:

1. You are incredible with children.  This is a gift.  Not everyone has it.  I don’t have it.  You know how to grasp onto the wonder and magic that’s a part of children.  You wake up their imaginations, show them all the adventure and beauty in the magical and make believe.  I love watching you do that.  For your siblings, for their friends, for your cousins. 

2. You are smart.  Not just book smart, but you get life.  You get things that lots of 40 year olds don’t get.  Like this for example.

3. You are generous and a good gift giver.  This has been part of who you are from the beginning, certainly nothing that Dad or I gave you.  Remember when you helped me pay for a new iphone when mine broke?  And when you asked Santa to bring your present early, $100 to spend on your Christmas gifts for others?  Wow.

4. You are funny.  I’m trying to let you be funny more often….because when I give you room and stop nagging you, you’re one of the funniest people I know.

5. You’re an artist.  You can see beauty in the ordinary.  And you’ve got a sensor for all that is aesthetically pleasing.

6. You’re a musician.  You can feel the music of life.  And when it comes out of you it is beautiful.

7. You are trustworthy.  I always know you are going to tell me the truth. Always. 

8. You have a strong conscience.  You know what is right.  The right way to behave, to talk, to treat people.  Your actions don’t always fall in line with what you know in your soul….but that’s the work of mortality. 

9.  You know what you need.  And you fight for it. 

10. You feel alive.  You really live your life, feel all the depths, both the sorrow and the joy.  This is a hard way to live, but a beautiful, full, rich way to live too.

I love you Hazel.  Thanks for training me in this motherhood job. 

Love,

mom

ps. more about your oh-so-hazel birthday party soon.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

the quintessence of life

IMG_6642This time of year is packed with photo shoots for me.  It’s busy, I’m up late editing, gone most Saturdays and always feeling a bit frazzled. Sometimes as I make my way to meet a family I wonder if it’s worth it.  And always when the session is over I’m sure that it is.  I really love meeting so many great families and getting the chance to witness and capture such intimate and beautiful connections.  Unhappy families don’t usually ask you to take family pictures.  I think I’m generally meeting families at a point where, although things might be crazy and hectic, things are happy and full. 

I always leave a session wishing I could know these families beyond the little bit of time I spend with them.  And then, somehow through editing their pictures, I feel like I do sort of get to know them.  When they look through the finished images I’m not sure they even see all the beauty that I do while working with them.  I spend so much time looking at each face and expression, the lights in their eyes, the organic joy beaming though a child’s face, the way they look at each other.  And something about looking for so long at an image transforms it, helps me to see beyond the light and composition into the real life that it’s capturing.  And it’s inspiring.

I’m sure I’m reading a lot into images as I go through and edit them.  I’m sure life in these families isn’t always as beautiful and perfect as it looks.  But I’m also sure that some of the things that I get to capture with my camera are little bits of the true essence of their family life.  The quintessence (as Sean O’Connor might put it:)).  And those are the bits that we don’t always see as we’re moving through family life.  They get buried under all the stress and commotion.  Sometimes it’s only through pictures that we see it.  And that, my friends is why I love photography.

So take a step back when you look at pictures.  Stop looking for flaws or little things you’d like to change.  Look at all the life and love captured.  It’s all there.  Snapped into a picture.  And one day, those little pictures will bring back floods of memories and we might just wish we could see all the joy right then in the moment.

Ok.  Enough.  Why can’t I just put up a little sneak peak post without waxing philosophical?  I really do love this job.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Books and Apples 2014

 IMG_7695And the Brooksby Farms Apple picking tradition continues.  We went today, and it was a glorious 59 degrees with bright fall sun soaking through the crisp air.   It felt heavenly. Everything about it.  We’ve been doing this for years and the pictures always look like everything was seamless….but, toting around those 20 pound bags of apples and corralling crazy free kids while trying to take pictures isn’t always a walk in the park, especially those years I did it while wearing a baby.  Some of those years I just had to survive it, lots of joy, but not lots of fun.  Lots of living in anticipation of the memories….of looking back on the pictures.  But this year was different.  My kids acted mostly put together, Hazel was big enough to be Peter’s little care taker, Charlie and Em ran free without needing me.  I felt freer than I have in a long time.  And I felt the present glory of the moment.  And that felt good.  Finally. IMG_7521 I’ve gone for years with a smattering of these kids and these moms ^^^.   My running friends.  Oh, I’ve ran through a lot with these girls: babies, pregnancies, crises, joys, troubles, challenges.  I love them.  And I loved being there with them today, watching all these little lives run through the orchards.  It made me realize how much we really have run through. IMG_7514IMG_7531  IMG_7614 For the past few years I’ve tried to bring books into the orchard.  A favorite book of the year.  I started here.  Check out Charlie’s hair!  Wow.  That was really long.  I wanted to somehow mark the new school year and books and apples seem to commemorate what’s happening in September pretty well.  I love remembering what they were into year to year.  IMG_7629 IMG_7636 IMG_7638 IMG_7645 IMG_7647 IMG_7698Charlie forgot his book in his backpack in the car…..so he just has this adorable bookless portrait.  IMG_7534 And of course, I couldn’t help myself but capture some of these golden faces.  Apples are just so picturesque!IMG_7546 I love these two girls who were thrilled to be together all day long today (they’re in the same kindergarten class).IMG_7558 IMG_7568 And these two friends?  Whenever I get a camera out to capture them they say “mug shot” and proceed to pose in these four poses….naturally, without any instruction.  Love these boys. IMG_7570 IMG_7571 IMG_7572 IMG_7573 IMG_7565 Charlie says they have a “bromance”.  IMG_7575And this is also a traditional shot ^^^ I’ve taken this same shot of these same boys every year at different places.  Same order, same pose.  I love it when boys get excited about pictures!  IMG_7660 

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Life is good.  It’s not always pretty.  But it was today.

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