On any given Sunday in Chesapeake, Va, you can find this family, at some point, in their home. The house by the river that sat, patiently waiting for this particular family to fill it with love and joy... to make it a home. In a little neighborhood that has escaped the hustle and impartialness of the modern world. A warm and welcoming neighborhood that still embraces friendship and family.
And if you were to peek inside this home, you would see the sweetest family. You would see a family that values the most important things in life. God, each other, family, love, friendship, and charity. You would see a family, living a real life, that has had more than their fair share of hardships, but have also experienced a few joyous miracles too. The little guy in the pictures is one of them. If you knew them, you could feel the love they have for each other. 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, "Love never fails"; love is a constant, love sustains us, love is unchanging.
Luckily, I can show you what that looks like through my eyes. I can show you what I saw. I can show you what I felt. My sincere hope for all my clients and everyone I work with is that you can feel emotion just by looking at a picture- a moment frozen in time forever. I hope one picture can take you back to a season in your life, a memory, or perhaps, a feeling. For a mother, I hope she can look at a picture 20 years from now and remember the way his little head felt on her shoulder, smell his hair, or how he felt curled in her lap. For a father, I hope he can look at a picture and in 30 years remember how they used to nap together on Sunday afternoons. How one time, his son held his finger while he napped in the recliner together. When the mother looks at the picture of her husband and son, I hope she instantly recalls how her heart swelled with love as she silently looked on from the other room.
Here's what that particular Sunday looked like from my point of view.
Once upon a time, there was a family of seven, in a charming home with room to grow, on a quiet and quaint street in Norfolk, Virginia, waiting on the eighth member of their family to arrive. And there was a little dog named Lou, too.
Every corner of the house whispered love and little preparations for baby were tucked here and there. A banner of birth affirmations made by treasured friends and loved ones hung above the pool he will be brought Earthside in. A stack of tiny diapers folded neatly on a shelf waits quietly for a wiggly baby boy. Nearby on the changing table, a picture is waiting to greet him that was carefully crafted and drawn by his big sister.
I watched the children play and carry on with their day, all while gratefully relishing in the fact that they allowed me and my camera to tag along. My job is usually to stay quiet and be a silent fly on the wall- but I was drawn in by them. I was drawn into a world of creativity and wonder; a place where one was building whimsical homes for her "am-in-als" with the most perfect details, one was fearlessly swinging from a tree branch, one was tucked away reading Jane Eyre, one was exploring a creek and gathering materials for his project, and one was doing a little bit of everything. And there were two parents inside soaking up the few minutes of silence. I could have stayed there all day.
There are so many beautiful moments to be seen and stories to be told in an ordinary life, on an ordinary and overcast day. These are their last days being a family of seven and that chapter will close. Soon, a miracle will be born and one more birthday will be made. Their hearts will grow bigger with love and eight will be their new number. A whole new beautiful and complex story will unfold, right before our very eyes. But for now, they will patiently wait.
This is life ya'll. And ain't it grand?
"Be still, and know that I am God" Ps. 46:10
Documentary style photography is the art of the unscripted, sometimes forgotten moments. Does photography that tells a story speak to you, like it does to me? To book your own documentary style session (maternity, newborn, family, or Day In The Life) please use this contact form , by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org , or by finding me on Facebook.
"We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun."
The backyard. A place that's comfortingly home, but yet filled with wonder, adventure, dirt, and bugs. A place meant to be explored- conquered! A place to play. A place to relax. A place where a million whimsical memories are made. Where lightin' bugs are chased on summer evenings and captured in Mason jars. Where bubbles frolic past the windows and mischievous, delightful giggles sing through the air. And for me- a wonderful place to document these moments. I can just hang back and let the children make their magic. And I love watching them from behind my lens. I love seeing their imaginations at work- will they be pirates or superheroes? I love seeing their smiles- and of course, at some point, let's face it- there will probably be tears too (especially if there is a toddler involved). And who can resist a messy face? It's too adorable for words! But as I have mentioned again and again, pictures have a way of breaking the barrier of language. Pictures can speak to any person, any age, any nationality, any language and convey a meaningful message or emotion.
So, for this session, we traveled outside of the walls of the home and into the backyard with these brothers. And this is what we came up with. Processing these brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart. Afternoons like this one is exactly what childhood is made of.
And on a side note, the belly shot is my favorite!
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.