I am so happy to share this session with you all, mainly because it’s my heart that i’m laying out here for you all. I know you’ve all read about the new direction we’re going with photography here, but this is the visual culmination of it. I photographed Deb Schwedhelm (a friend and fellow photographer)this is how i want to tell people’s stories- not by doing a pretty photo session, but my telling life as it truly is. isn’t this what the family portrait really is? a culmination of many moments, all telling your own personal story? can your family portrait really be told visually in one photograph when you’re dressed up and looking pretty and bribing the kids with ice cream treats after the session if they smile? I dont think it can, and i want to make it my mission to tell family stories artfully and truthfully. if you missed it, here is the blog post where i talk about what we’re doing differently here.
and… if you haven’t already checked out deb’s work, you absolutely must. and, most of all, she’s an incredible woman who understands that it’s not all about the physical image, it’s about the emotion and meaning behind it. she’s going to Tanzania this month (like… in 24 hours…) to photograph there for 6 weeks. you must read about it on her blog (as well as her other musings), and follow her journey. When i approached Deb about coming into her home at the crack of dawn and photographing her family as it really was, she was totally on board (and so was Steve, whom i give so much credit to. it’s not easy being a husband to a photographer or any creative for that matter, especially when they have creative friends who want to come into their home and photograph you in your shorts…) and ‘got it’ immediately. OH! and her CHILDREN! her amazing children. you have no idea the amount of creative energy that is coming out of the three of those kids. The canvases they have hanging in their house that they have painted I didnt believe they had painted. that pretend camera that Ryder is photographing me with they made for Deb for mothers day (i think?)- constructed, painted, and bedazzled. Ryder is a gymnast, but could easily grow up to be a professional dancer (do you see his form in that shot of him in the swing? i mean….) Skyler is going to be an artist, and Kiele a writer (calling that one right now…). I dont know if Deb knows how truly talented her children are, you know how things go, when you’re living them day to day it begins to feel normal. it was like everything in their home was a beautiful creation of who they really and truly were. how could i have captured that had we not been inside their home? That cardboard camera tells it’s own story, i can already see them all three collaborating on Deb’s present, it weaves other stories in and out of this curation of photographs.
It’s the atmosphere of the family. and i’m not talking about the visual atmosphere. i’m talking about the feeling. it would be quiet, and i would look over my shoulder and Ryder would be up in the door frame hanging out. like it’s just a normal sunday morning, and that’s his little perch. Kiele would be reading on the couch, and Sky would be padding around the house in bare feet. maybe i just think in terms of collections of photographs, but i want these photos to collectively convey not just what Family looks like, but what it feels like, what it sounds like, what it smells like, what emotion it makes… every sensory experience.
and THAT is what i believe a family album should be.
tech specs: shot exclusively with medium format film: ilford 3200 for black and white, and fuji 400h for color. contax 645, 80mm developed/scanned by the lovely RPL