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Thanksgiving Documentary Family Photography in Denver

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Thanksgiving Documentary Family Photography in Denver

Thinking about the Thanksgiving, I can’t help but remember my own childhood.  Some of my favorite memories are of Thanksgivings spent at my grandparent’s house.  My grandparents had a fancy dining table with a matching china hutch which was rarely opened except on these specialholiday occasions.  Then we got to take out all the good stuff, china, crystal, and silver. 

 

I remember Grandpa liked to use an electric carving knife to cut the turkey.  Why such a thing ever existed is a mystery to me, but I remember the sight and sound of it well.  My grandmother, Tutu, was fond of assigned places at the table.  The younger generation was tasked with making each place card, and sometimes we would be allowed to decide where people sat – a big honor!   I also remember Tutu had a set of tiny cordial glasses that looked like miniature versions of her cut crystal stemware, and she would let kids have a tiny glass with a tiny amount of wine with the dinner just like the grownups.  She had little crystal salt cellars on the table, an old-fashioned thing that isn’t really used anymore, but I recall being so fascinated by them because they were so small and held tiny crystal spoons.  They had beautiful Noritake china and this amazing set of hand-embroidered napkins and table cloth to match the china perfectly.  The kind of thing you just never see these days.

At the end of dinner while people had cake and coffee, my grandmother would retire to the kitchen where she would load the dishwasher and wash the dishes, often not partaking in the dessert at all.    As I got older, I joined her, and often it wound up being all the women in the kitchen, cleaning up as the guys visited with each other at the dining table.  Looking back, I think there was bonding that happened between those of us who cleaned after the meal.  It showed respect to the person who cooked and served all day.  But it also brought us all together in a quiet moment, when all we were doing was focused effort on cleaning.

Vivid as these memories are to me, they are just stories to you – and more importantly to my kids, or my husband, or other people with whom I share my life.  Wouldn’t it be cool if I had photos from some of those events or those little details that only live on in my memory?  I wish I could show my sons photos of my grandfather with that stupid electric carving knife.  My grandfather passed away when I was still in high school.  My husband and my sons never met him.  I wish I could show them what our family looked like when I was growing up.  But of course, documentary photos of your family were almost nonexistent back then.  Usually what you have is one or two terrible photos taken by one family member and with luck, the picture is in focus. 

I’m advocating documentary family photography over the holidays because I think these moments should be captured.  And I think everyone in the family should be a part of the story.  Hiring a professional to capture your friends and extended family over a holiday is a way to share your history and your traditions with future generations, in a way that reaches far beyond family lore.

Much as I love oral family history, I think it can be made so much more real if you have photography to accompany the stories.  Our lives are constantly changing; people move, china breaks, walls get repainted.  Documentary family sessions help you tell the story of your Now, and be able to share it or many generations in the future.

Are you interested in booking a Thanksgiving family photography session?  Contact me!

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Documentary Family Photography in Denver

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Documentary Family Photography in Denver

Part two of my Day in the Life for Business session with Denver yoga teacher Celeste Williamson.  We broke her session into two shoots: part one where we focused on her physical yoga and massage practice, and part two where we focused on her personal life.  I was very interested to see how her life and her yoga intersect.  She had a friend in town for the weekend, it was a pleasure to capture a moment in time of their very busy lives. 

Celeste has a husband and three sons, one who is a very grown-up 17 year old who heads to college this fall, and the other two are youngsters of 6 and 8.

I loved how the boys were hanging out in the living room doing yoga poses, totally unprompted. 

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Baptism Photography at the Greek Orthodox Church Denver

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Baptism Photography at the Greek Orthodox Church Denver

What a treat to photograph another baptism at the Assumption of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Denver.  Not only the precious occasion of the baptism itself, but also the gorgeous church is such a wonder to behold. 

I really appreciated how the priest took me aside in advance and told me to feel free to walk around anywhere I needed in order to get a good photograph.  He also shared that he has done some photography himself and that I shouldn't feel shy about the clicking of the camera (which sounded so LOUD in that dome).  So I stood up on the dais with the family while they were performing the baptism.

I will admit here that being a person not raised within a church, I am not certain which parts of this beautiful ritual are typical to all baptisms and which are specific to Greek Orthodox.  I loved how the Godparents hold the child through the whole ceremony, how we moved about the church to different locations for different parts of the process.  How all the children, cousins, God-siblings (is that a phrase?), and siblings are all on the dais with the family holding candles and blessing the child.  The absolute beauty of this ceremony, the kindness and care shown by the priest, just brings tears to your eyes.

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Denver Home Birth Photography

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Denver Home Birth Photography

Photographing a home birth is such a unique experience.  Rules and expectations are out the window and it's perfectly fine and normal to use a blowup kiddie pool as your birthing tub and to have your dog on the bed.   The absence of the regimented sterility of the hospital environment created a really loving and comforting birth experience for both mom and dad.

This birth story is a relatively quick one, mom labored for only about 8 hours, but most of that was fairly mellow, I'm told she even slept.  But when active labor hit, it was intense for mom and when it came time to push, poor mom was pushing for a long time.  As ready as everyone was for her to arrive,  this baby was in no hurry to make her appearance.  She was already 8 days past due!

Mom was able to spend time in the birthing tub, but eventually the midwives thought it would be safer to bring her onto the bed.  When little baby O was finally born, I got a little teared up because this family was just so glad to have her here.  I was also surprised how hard it is to watch another woman suffering the pains of childbirth.

Birth photography is such an beautiful experience no matter what, but the part that really moves me most is capturing a woman when she is both at her strongest and her most vulnerable.  She has incredible endurance and power, moving this entire person out of her body, wracked with spasms and uncontrollable pains.  Nobody, short of surgical intervention, can hasten the process, and nobody can lend anything more than emotional strength.  So this woman, this goddess, is doing one of the most powerful things that a human can do - delivering to us another human.  And then, within all this is her absolute vulnerability.  No matter how much we strive for control, eventually we must give ourselves over to nature.  It is a truly remarkable thing to document and to celebrate.  Birth photography makes sure that there's a record of that time, those moments of both strength and subjection. 

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Day in the Life Family Photography in Denver

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Day in the Life Family Photography in Denver

My heart is warm and I feel like the luckiest person in the world when I think of the half day I spent with the Feast clan.  A family of readers, soccer fans, gardeners, and cooks, they play and love and laugh, and have quiet moments when everyone is reading.  They have piles of books and periodicals on every flat surface and remarkable kids who would rather read a book than do chores play video games.   Everyone helped in the kitchen throughout the day preparing for the evening meal.   The greatest gift of the day –  Quinton decided to have his first shave.  I was so honored to be present and able to photograph that milestone.  What a joy to be a part of their lives for one day.


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