July 2015: I shot my first session on an island on the St. Croix River, the maternity session with Jacqua & Chris, big sister Beau and baby Lolo, who arrived fast and furious 12 days later. We were just in time!! This session was a first for me in a lot of ways; not only the location and the fact we took a boat there (!!) but that it was one of the first times I looked at everything and made the decision that I would not only make great images for this family but I would make art.
I started out in photography making art in the very classic of terms. Each time I picked up my camera, I was conscious of all the female photographers who came before me and I decided that I would keep them all at the forefront of my mind. To make decisions on placement and lighting and subjects and objects with the idea that I'd be fully engaged 100% of the time.
Over time, things become more second nature. I make conscious decisions, of course. But those photographers I studied in college became more of a distant memory.
When I stepped foot on that island, I looked at this scene and immediately saw a vision. One of motherhood, of vulnerability, of childhood, of wonder and magic. It was a dream.
I literally pinched myself with how blessed I was to be there as a witness to this moment between mother and daughter and future daughter and the culmination of 9 months of hard work - I mean, I've never done it, but I'm positive that growing a human is extremely challenging, especially when you're chasing an almost 2 year old ;)
And that's when I decided to make the journey back to where I started: making, creating and witnessing pure magic.
July 2016: Lolo is a year old exactly and we're back on this magical island, where the water level is lower than the year before and more trees have fallen. Big sister Beau is more adventurous and talkative and speaks her mind. She's swimming in the river while Lolo has her one year portraits.
Jacqua is a gracious and gorgeous mama, who loves her girls so fiercely and teaches them in big and small moments daily. Watching her from wife to mama to one to mama to two has shown me that really, we can all have it all, in whatever ways we want it. Her girls get their joy from her love and boy, I cannot wait to see how they grow. And Chris - honestly, hardest working guy ever. We captured some fabulous shots of him and Lolo during this session that remind me that the love being dads and daughters is unmatched.
Lolo is as adventurous as her sister, but also her determination and resilient nature is just as strong. This sweet girl was in a brace and later, a cast, to help her hips grow in the right way, which prohibited her movement until now. She may just be crawling now but this girl loves finding her way in the world. Picking up sand, sticks and grass, laughing and giggling. I am constantly stopped in my tracks with how wonderful and joyful she is.
I could go on and on for hours with how much I adore this family and this First Year package, but I'll sum it up with this: This shot and the journey between the two is one of infinite reasons why I love my job.
Why I choose to make and create every day.
Why I want to start looking at this business in new and fresh ways.
Why I feel grateful to meet amazing families who choose me to witness their magic and capture the moments that will tell the story of their life.