In December 2015, I met one of the most amazing mothers I think I will ever meet in my lifetime. I had received a call from Brittany requesting a newborn session for her baby boy. There were two challenges; he was already over a month old and extremely colic. So after speaking with mom, we opted for an in home documentary photography session since we knew that Leo wouldn’t be a posable newborn. Honestly, mom preferred a more authentically natural approach anyway.
I arrived at Brittany’s home not knowing what to expect. I’ve worked with colicky babies before, but I didn’t want to disappoint her. It ended up being a great session and the start of a beautiful relationship. Her patience, love, compassion and selflessness towards Leo was such an inspiration to see. I felt so comfortable with Brittany. Our time together felt like we were old friends just catching up and I happened to have a camera with me. This truly has been what every session is like with her and Leo. She inspires me every time we work together to want to be a better mother and better person in any way that I can.
I must warn you, this is a long blog post. I have worked with Brittany and Leo every few months since that first session, so I have A LOT to share. It’s been incredible being able to capture their love and adventures. I told Brittany that I would be sharing all of these images at once and she asked if she could write something for the blog post. How could I say no? I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed capturing them.
In December 2015, as I held my then-one-month-old, I realized just how unforgiving time is. Newborn photos were important, and I felt like my window of opportunity was vanishing. I connected with Crystal.
Leo was a severely colicky baby, and I wanted to capture his infancy in a way that respected his need to cry almost constantly (and my need to resolutely care for him). Crystal and I recognized that Leo’s first professional photos would likely not be images of a perfectly-gauze-wrapped baby atop a fancy prop. They are, however, images that convey a rawness which is beautifully-representative of that season in our lives. These initial images were shot in our home, and during what most would identify as routine activities. The result: an artifact (images) that immediately and mightily challenge time in a soulful and honest way.
I was sold. I hired Crystal to help us, across the span of a year, hold onto what matters (to us). The outcome was a perfectly curated collection of images that now “take us back” with every viewing moment. Crystal followed us to the spaces we claimed as special (and where we spent time) during each period that she photographed Leo’s early life. These “spaces” included our bathtub, a cemetery, a creek, a playground, a track, a dirt road, a waterfall… They document Leo’s transition from colicky to content (pure awesome), his growth from ten pounds to twenty-five, the ever-popular milestones… They document my transition from “new” to “experienced,” my intent to inspire a sense of “wild-yet-rooted” (with lots of wonder), and limitless love…
The combination of Leo’s extraordinary spirit coupled with our photographer’s tenderness for candid captures seems the perfect recipe for breathing a bit of magic into the mundane. “Do you want to see the bruise on his toenail?” We sure do! We want to see all of it. Because it’s real, and it’s ours. In years to come, it’ll be a treasure for Leo to honor, and it will be meaningful.
Thank you, Crystal, for helping us hold on to what matters to us.
I came to Brittany’s home to capture Leo’s first session. This session included lots of snuggling and nursing!
Daddy was able to be home for a portion of this session. Leo was a different baby during this visit. He was happy and playful rather than upset and uncomfortable. He made all kinds of faces and smiled over and over.
Brittany decided she wanted to capture each stage of Leo’s life and whatever they were up to then. For this session, we went for a walk. They would walk every day through the cemetery. We also captured a little snack time and play time in the yard.
In September we made a couple stops. We first went to this little grove where they would go to cool off. After we finished, we went over to a park where Leo liked to play and swing.
For November’s session, Brittany really wanted to capture another bath time, but also wanted to go outside. DONE! We started at their house for a bath and Leo was really playing up the camera and being sweet. We then went to the track where they would walk and to another location. It was a perfect day to be outside.
That very first day, Brittany asked to take a photo of me with Leo. I said yes and so happy I did! We started a little tradition that I’m so happy to have! Brittany would take my photo with Leo at the end of every session. He is such a handsome and smart little love. I have gotten quite the experience out of these sessions myself. These sessions are the reason I picked up a camera for myself. I wanted to be able to capture our every day life in a better way. I didn’t want to learn photography for a portrait. These sessions have been a breath of fresh air for my soul and I look forward to every documentary session. I’m still working with Brittany and Leo. I had the pleasure of meeting Brittany’s mom this year for another session (you’ll have to wait to see). It has been my privilege watching him grow!