What I love the most about what I do is having the opportunity to document a family over time. In those early first months of parenthood, it’s such a haze, and when you get further away from it it feels like it was a dream (or sometimes a nightmare depending on which memories you’re recalling). Either way, the passage of time is a crazy thing, and as much as we’d like to freeze certain moments, life moves on so quickly and before you know it, you’ve entered the next chapter in the book of your life.
I met Emily & Benji when they were just a few month away from being first time parents and was so honored to capture these portraits of them before their lives were forever changed by the arrival of their son, Maxwell. When he was just a couple weeks old, I was invited again to document this (adorable) family navigating their new roles in this world and I’m happy to report that they’ve transitioned beautifully. Here are my favorites from their maternity and newborn sessions at Mercury Hall and their Austin, TX home.
She’s from Vietnam, he’s from California. They met as students at UT and fell in love with each other and Austin. Three years ago, they put a love lock on the pedestrian bridge and then moved away from their favorite city for work. Over Labor Day weekend, they came back for what she thought was just a visit. They walked the bridge at sunset and searched for their lock. Then he asked her to marry her and she said yes.
I was so honored to be asked to capture this surprise proposal and am so excited to finally share my favorites from this awesome session. Congrats, Anthony & Dung!
In my work, I am given access to some of the most intimate moments in a family’s life. As a documentary photographer & a human who gets emotionally involved and cries too easily (for example, when I cried on the side of the road holding the bird I accidentally hit & killed, for like 20 minutes while people were commuting to work), I am often at odds with myself. It is a privilege and honor to be in invited into my clients lives but man, it is so hard to hold back the ugly crying I feel surfacing all of the time.
This job was one of my favorites of both my career & life. This sweet momma of three children, ages 10-15, was marrying a man who she met while they were both 3rd grade teachers at the same school and who used to teach both of her sons. A man who is not just committing himself to this incredible woman and mother, but to these children as well. On a early Monday morning, this family of 5, their pastor & myself, gathered at their new home & ate breakfast tacos & Mexican wedding cookies together. We talked about our children & our lives & connections to NYC & Iowa (two of my favorite places on this earth).
Before they sent their youngest outside to cue up the iPod that softly played Cat Power, Amanda led her three children into her bedroom & I quietly followed. The boys sat on the bed & fidgeted with their clothes while Clara, their daughter, sat poised on a chair. Her ten years seeming like 30 in that moment. Amanda tells each child that she loves them with her whole heart & then whispers a personal message to each before giving them a kiss on the lips. She remarks at how beautiful Clara is & asks her sons if they see it too. They grunt in the way of 12 & 15 year old boys & she gently corrects them & says “you always tell your sister that she is beautiful”. Without hesitation or shame, they do. It is at this moment, I am fighting tears, and I see that Amanda is too. She then grabs my shoulders & thanks me for being a part of this day & envelopes me in the most genuine hug.
It’s these moments that feed both sides of me. I don’t take this life or my clients for granted, thank you for allowing me to witness such beauty.