Saturday, 30 April 2016

The Everyday

Those everyday family moments are important and beautiful. They can be filled with emotion just like those big moments are. In this session, you can see the love in the glances, the smiles, and in the way they let their kids be kids, riding plasma cars in the house even if that means scratching the floors. 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The first year

Sometimes I miss the smallness of a new baby. In the haze of the early days of parenthood, sleepless nights and chaos of a new routine, it is hard to take that time to appreciate the moment and to commit those details to memory: the softness of their skin, the little movements of their lips as they sleep, the weight of their head resting on your chest, the littleness of all their features. Those early days were a challenge but there was a simplicity to them as well. Wrap them in a blanket and hold them tight and you felt like you could keep them safe and protected.

When my first daughter was born, I started making photobooks with the intent to do one for each year....let's just say I'm a few years behind on that project. Nevertheless, I like to look back on those books with my girls and they love to hear some of the stories of what life was like when they were babies. When I look back at the books for the first year I'm struck by two things:  

1) I'm surprised by how many photos of sleeping babies I have. This does give the impression that babies sleep a lot...which was not actually my experience. Perhaps my subconscious wanted to somehow preserve that sense of calm when it did happen. 

2) I have a terrible memory  - while most of the photos in the books are of simple, everyday moments, these are the photos that help me to remember not just how much my kids have grown physically but also what those moments felt like. These are photos that are meaningful to us.

Big moments and steps are important but don't forget to capture some of the everyday routines - those are some of the moments that are easily forgotten but that tell the story of your family.   

Friday, 8 April 2016

Looking past the mess

Last summer we were getting ready to go on a family trip. The house was a disaster -  clothes, toys and Cheerios on every surface, dishes from lunch and breakfast still sitting on the counters. We live in a very open concept home and so everything is quite visible from any standpoint. We were in hour 5 (yes, 5) of trying to pack for an overnight trip just a few hours away.  One kid was running around half dressed, the other still had a face covered in whatever we had for lunch that day. At the same time, I was also rushing trying to make a last minute birthday card that we were going to bring with us. I was in the bathroom with the hairdryer desperately trying to dry the paint on the card. It was the type of behind the scenes that I wouldn’t want anybody to witness. And then, the doorbell rings. I wanted to hide and pretend we weren’t home but the windows were open and I’m sure the children pressed up against the front window would have given us away. I’m not sure the friends who stopped by that day would even remember that visit but I ended up learning a lot about myself that day. I learned that I need to relax about trying to control how others see me since I really don’t have control over that. Nobody wants to be caught in what they think is a weak moment and as hard as it is to be vulnerable, that is where true connections live. Those closest to us don’t expect perfection. Ever notice that correlation between how close we are to someone and how much of the mess in our lives they can look past?

I think this is in part what draws me to documentary style photography for myself as much as for others. This idea of authenticity and of connection with a moment, a person or with someone’s story. For others that I photograph, I want them to see themselves, and those they love, being themselves and to value the simplicity of just that.

If you have thought about booking a family session - please take a look at the "what to expect" section of my website or contact me for details! 

Friday, 1 April 2016

Life Lessons from My Kids

I came across this post about some of the life lessons we learn from our kids and it really resonated with me. It inspired me to come up with my own lessons learned from my family. 

Be empathetic

My daughter seems to complain of various aches and pains with no apparent cause. Or she can sometimes make what seems like a big deal out of a little fall. I am often guilty of brushing it off or trying to make her tougher by not dwelling on it.  Sometimes this is the “right way” to handle it but maybe sometimes, I’m realizing, I need to just step back without judgement instead of dismissing or trying to make it seem smaller. Sometimes something small can feel like a big deal. We can’t begin to understand someone else’s perception of pain unless we stop and put ourselves in their shoes. Just being there and listening is sometimes all that is needed.  

Create just for the sake of it

Worry less about the end result and enjoy the process. My girls love to bake and to paint – to create something. They often won’t show an interest in actually eating what we just baked or even look back at what they just painted. They care about the activity of creating and doing something new. They don’t worry about how it will turn out or if they are using the right colours. I’ve realized that I have to stop myself from looking at their artwork and asking them “what” they drew and just enjoy it for what it is. It doesn’t really matter what it is – what matters is that they created something of their own and enjoyed themselves in the process.

Be kind

Seeing my oldest helping my youngest get her shoes on or watching as my youngest brings her sister a cup of water to her without asking - those simple gestures of kindness just warm my heart. Truth be told, they don’t always get along but when it does play out that way,  I soak it all up. At those early ages, they don't always acknowledge the kindness but they also don't expect anything in return either.  It reminds me to focus on those simple gestures towards others without any expectations.  

Be silly

Yes, I want my kids to be well behaved in front of others, to not complain about their food, to not say bad words but all of these things we try to avoid will happen…often and repeatedly. Joining in on the silliness is sometimes all that you can do. That is what memories are made of. Don’t be so serious.

What lessons have you learned from your family? I'd love to hear about them.