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Something wicked this way comes.

Test Post 3

Hey, are you there? It’s been a while, I know. If you are still here, thank you. I look forward to sharing with you what I have been up to.  For now, though, I want to kick things off with a session I did earlier this year, but, first, an introduction…

Lately, I have been focusing on authenticity in my sessions. I think, too often, we  throw this word around in family photography. Most of the time,  it ends up looking like  an on-location shoot with everyone smiling. Don’t get me wrong, smiling is beautiful, joy looks good, and it is a really important part of our story to capture. That’s just it, though, it is only part of the story. Other parts include grief  wonder, contemplation, silliness, intimacy, grace,  chaos, and quietude, just to name a few. While I know it would be, quite frankly, impossible to capture all of it, my goal  is to at least capture enough of  the real story, mine and those who trust me to capture theirs, so that we can see this life we are living, perhaps as  never before,  and  yet to also instantly recognize it.

This is my hope.

Patricia is a friend I have known for many, many years, and she has supported my photography from the beginning. Her family has appeared here before, and I was really honoured and thrilled when she asked me to capture her family again,  shortly after the arrival of her and Dan’s second son, Marcus. 

Now, if you know me personally, you will know that I get very nervous before any session. After all, it’s not so easy to walk into a stranger’s home, try to make them feel comfortable while  directing them, and to simultaneously make yourself invisible. Suffice to say, this session was easy, and calm, and filled with fun. Basically, they made it really, really easy for me. They were comfortable, I was comfortable, and so, without really planning ahead, I tried to run this session with as little direction as possible.  It was different than any other session I have ever done before. It was a turning point for me. To me, this session feels really natural, and a good excerpt of their lives. 

Whenever I get down to processing photos that I will ultimately deliver to a client, I ask myself questions, like,  “In  1, 5, 10, 20, 50 years, what will these photos mean?”,“ What story will they tell?” and finally, “Would I want a photo like this of my family?”. Questions like these are my barometer for evaluating whether I have done my job, accomplished my ultimate mission: to immortalize authentically who you are right now.

I really want to thank Patricia and her family for their trust, for providing me with the ideal situation to accomplish this, allowing me to lean in to the role of visual documentarian.

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Write It All Down

I just started the book “Write It All Down” by Cathy Rentzenbrink. In the introduction of the book, she provides a few, simple writing prompts which I will attempt to answer here.

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TEST Post 1

It has been two years since I first joined the Sham of the Perfect team, two years since this project came to light, creating a photographic community that strives to capture daily family life honestly, to emphasize the raw, natural beauty of families.I am very proud how we are constantly pushing ourselves to stay true to our vision in innovative ways.

We experienced many milestones this second year, including more exposure via the web, print, and even on TV. Our message spread even further, and it is really amazing to watch this community grow- we even hit 10000 via our Instagram feed this week.  I am so happy to be a part of the Sham of the Perfect team for 2017. This year promises even more wonderful and exciting things, including a shiny new website, that will have all kinds of amazing new features in the works for this year. Our team has  also grown, with six new members , and I can’t wait to discover and get inspired by their artistry and perspectives of documentary family photography. If you haven’t already, I hope you will join us via our website, Instagram, and Facebook. 

On a personal note, Sham of the Perfect really pushed me creatively this year. I am happy to say that some of the images I submitted for our weekly collaborative post are probably among my favourites I have ever taken, and oftentimes, would not exist had it not been for that weekly deadline. Most were taken with a broken lens, which serves as a reminder that equipment is not the be-all and end all when it comes to photography. In addition, as part of the Sham team, I was able to experience having one of my photos published in a magazine for the very first time, and suffice to say, it was pretty emotional for me, and I am ever so grateful for the opportunity.

Just like last year, as I put this post together, I am overcome with gratitude to have this series of photos to remind my family who we were, what we looked like, and what we did in 2016. I hope I captured at least part of our story in a way that will become even more meaningful in time. I am also overwhelmed with the thought, “I made this”. To have completed two years of this project makes me proud, proud not only to have simply shown up weekly, but to have created a precious series of photos for my family.

I hope seeing my Sham of the Perfect series for 2016 will inspire you to capture your own life. Really. All you need is a camera, any camera, and a little discipline. I can’t promise you will be happy with each image, but I can promise you this: stopping to seek out and observe the beauty in your own life, and taking a couple of moments to capture it will make you realize how much you have to be thankful for. Make it your prayer.

Once again, thank you to the Sham of the Perfect team, for listening to me, encouraging me, and especially inspiring me.

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Home Family Photography | Goodbye, Montreal.

A home family photography session seemed to be the perfect way to remember their beloved home.

The moment you walked through the front door, Katija’s special touch was all around you.  An amazing painter,  her artwork hung alongside that of her children’s. Flooded with light and filled with lovely details and vibrant colours on a bright white backdrop,  it was a home that made you immediately feel relaxed. It was the perfect place to have a hot cup of coffee at the kitchen table, to share a great conversation with a friend.

Now, Katija and her family were moving to Texas, and although her husband had already re-located, she wanted to take the opportunity of those last days to capture her and her girls in this place they had called home for the last four years. That is exactly what we did together on a mild Saturday in December.

This is what it looked like.

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Family Storytelling Photographer | A Day In Our Life: January 29, 2016.

As a family storytelling photographer, part of my class assignment for Colie James‘ workshop The Business of Telling Stories, was to photograph a day in my life. It was an assignment that proved to be more challenging than I imagined.

Firstly, it is not so easy to simultaneously photograph and manage daily life. I don’t know about you, but there are some parts of my daily routine that are already pretty insane, particularly before school, and remembering to capture it while getting kids dressed/fed/out the door in time for the bus brought the intensity up to an whole new level. As a result, there are  many  things throughout the day I missed,  and some things that I did capture that I wish I had approached differently.

Another lesson I took away from this assignment is that capturing an entire day is really an exercise in paying attention, and failing to notice and photograph the smallest details can lead to a disjointed story. Since this assignment, I am much more attentive to such moments and details, and I already see the shift in my photography. It’s pretty amazing.

Finally, this assignment reminded me how much I value storytelling photography. Despite all its imperfections, the final series of photographs I ended up still managed to tell a clear story of who we were on January 29th, 2016. This is what our life looked  like. This is how we went about our day. I have no doubt in my mind how valuable these photographs will be in time, to look back upon, and to remember how things once were, and how things change.

Here are a few select images of what our January 29th, 2016 looked like.

You can view the entire gallery here.

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