2017 has been a year of whirlwinds and change. Its been filled with learning to let go and learning to love even more. Of understanding just what exactly my vision is for my work and for my future clients. Love has been the biggest part of it all. Loving through hurt. Loving through life. Loving. Victoria of Wood + Grace contacted me during the warmer months about documenting her story I instantly said yes. Since then I have not only fallen for her work (so much so that I hired her to design my new logo and is the most beautifully talented artist.) but also for her heart. She has become a kindred spirit and an unwavering voice in the midst of the noise that our industry can so often seemingly produce. Her story was featured on Cottage Hill magazine at the beginning of this month with words intermingled with my images to bring life to her and her husbands story. Here I am sharing with you my heart. This is truly what I hold close to my heart. Telling a story of love through art in all its forms.
Light that melts through the trees like honey is a rare thing indeed in our cloudy little city. When it it slowly breaks through the grey and turns the evening skies over the over the thick gardens settled between the bricks..exxagerating every color in existence there tenfold...I thank God again and again that we live here. And then....when you combine a love like Lauren and Jesse's into that mixture...magic unfolds.
I have so many things to say and show about this incredible couple that their wedding post is going to be in two parts. So for now sweet friends here is an image from their incredible autumnal sunset light filled bridal portraits...
Stop. Breathe mama. Breathe out your worries. Kiss their curls. Your sweet ones hair wont smell like soft skin and sleep and sun warmed baby clothes forever. Their tiny palms and fingers wont always fit around your thumb. Hold your babies close and linger between the seconds where they hold you just as close....
Sometimes during a motherhood session after observing them for a while I'm in awe of how they soak up their roll as "mama" Tori you beautiful soul...you soak up the light of mamahood and radiate it back out onto everyone you meet...
When each babe comes earthside everyone will tell you “Remember these days. Breathe them in. Don’t wish them away just yet” I’ve observed what rounds of motherhood I’ve thus far experienced with a tenacious grip on the passing days that consist of the most mundane moments. As time moves on picking up speed like a rain flooded brook there are nearly tangible moments where time suspends itself with a word… a breath…blink In the evening light as we tried to shuffle ourselves out the door to explore the wilds near our home I turned and looked at Elias…sun streaked by window light illuminating mischievous fey blue eyes just as James said to me “Anna…his face…its changed. Today I think he turned four”
I’ve been warily aware of the strange sense of humor father time has these days. One moment my golden blonde babe is asleep against my chest twirling my own ringlets round his fingers… A blink and a nod and again I look and this gangly …boy…is standing before us. A boy. The remnants of his baby days are fading into his bones and leaving my own grasping at the previous chapters of his days trying to memorize every line until it replays again and again. A rewound home movie behind closed eyes.
“Mama its going to be oh-kay! I love you.” Tears edge into my eyes without my realizing. Threatening to fall down my cheeks before I can collect myself. My Elias the brave. You wont yet turn into your fourth year for a few more weeks but your papa is right. Today you turned four. Time is running as swiftly as you now. Your papa and I are still young. Young enough to keep at your heels and sweep you up into our arms at the end of the day..keeping you our babe for just a few more moments….but today you stretched your limbs and outran us all.
My darlings You are made up of summers Of honeysuckle air Of caught fireflies Mouth harp blues Full moon rises
Sometimes clients find you and you wonder where they have been your entire life and how you've got on at all before knowing them. Maggie contacted me nearly two years ago wanting me to travel up to shoot her and her family and I cried with excitement after talking about her and her babies (which I now affectionately refer to as faerie children) and passing ideas back and forth. Between births and moving and life going round about for both of us pushing things further and further back the day finally came for our forever anticipated meeting in person. I am not exaggerating when I say that I got misty eyed with unabashed joy before I walked through the door. I sat and spoke with Maggie about motherhood and knitting and everything in between while I documented and knelt on the floor with their eldest child as I explained to him how to load film into the camera while he watched with unflinching fascination and ten thousand questions of how it worked. This family is a special sort of people and I prayed the day I walked in their door that I would be able to show their pure love and raw realness in its most absolute and perfect form.
This. This photo. Straight out of the camera. In all of its glorious imperfection. We stuck to each other in the heavy southern humidity and his fingers clawed and tangled into my hair with their sticky sweat and in it all I laughed and held him closer. My children..especially my eldest have more often than not accompanied me while I work. Both boys have been held tightly to my chest in their slings while I've photographed families, new babes, and engagements. Stopping to nurse or comfort them along the way and being forever thankful to the clients who were so understanding and loving through it all. The long days of not having much choice but to bring my babies with me have been to say the least...one of the biggest challenges I have faced. They are consistently at my side even on the days where I spend hours shooting, emailing, scheduling and editing. There is...as always...a silver lining. I have a unique situation where I can show my children how I work. Teach them work ethics. Teach them human connection. Show them how to love unconditionally. I put my heart into my work in the same way I put it into being a mother. The funny thing is that these little beings turn around and teach me the things I thought I already knew in return.
On this day both boys were hot and miserable but at the end my 3 year old walked up to me and said "mama you worked hard. can we play now? can you play? can we run? can we take pictures? I waited for you to be done!" Yes love. I was waiting for this too. We can run.
Everything has been so hushed in our world lately. So many changes are happening all for the better. We are excitedly starting a new chapter of life soon and feel as if everything is about to burst open with life as fully as roses in full bloom.... I cannot wait to share more soon.
This sweet mama is due any day now and I have been anxiously and excitedly awaiting the phone call to rush to the hospital to photograph the arrival of her sweet baby boy.
Winter is for snippets of short lived window light that warm the room just enough to comfortably sit on the bed with this sweet boy and sip coffee while records hum smooth jazz melodies in the background...