A wedding for Two

0058

38. Patrick and Elita got married. But they didn’t just do that. They were married – intentionally, wholly, and alone with the other. The officiant and I made four. Patrick, an artist and documentarian, is one of the most tranquil people you’ll ever meet. He found peace in Elita, and they had a beautiful wedding cake for two, gorgeous flowers, and a tranquil setting at a historic Virginia home. It was one of the most soulful experiences I’ve ever been part of. Patrick is an artist, a quiet and perceptive person, and filled with gratitude. For his wife, most of all, I’d imagine.

Beyond Happy

HeAteIt38. What’s that sound, what’s the word, for when you love something so much you just want to bite it? You know what I’m talking about. It’s snowing outside – 6 inches have fallen so uniquely here in Seattle – and I hear kids gleefully sliding/sledding/falling down the street outside of my window. They are SO PSYCHED. They’re out of school, they are with their friends, they are individuating themselves. This morning reminds me of one of my favorite interviews ever:

Terry Gross: Can you share some of your favorite comments from readers that you’ve gotten over the years?

Maurice Sendak: Oh, there’s so many. Can I give you just one that I really like? It was from a little boy. He sent me a charming card with a little drawing. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters – sometimes very hastily – but this one I lingered over. I sent him a postcard and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim, I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.

Blue, George and Mabel

dsc_144437. My incredibly talented friend Baylie, owner of Red Umbrella Designs, lives in the idyllic Methow Valley in Washington State. She and her team created my new Bird&Fish, Co. logo, and in exchange I photographed her sweet family. I will be posting some images of her newborn soon. But let’s give a quick minute to her first baby, Blue. In all of these years photographing families, I’ve realized that the dogs, who often came before the children, are foundational to the family relationship. They bring their personalities, their challenges, and for sure their joys. When the kids come along, they have to adapt and find a new role within the pack. Luckily for Blue, he’s got an incredible backyard along the river, a best doggie friend named George next door, and a 10 year old named Mabel across the street. All of whom can’t wait to play with him. And soon enough baby Arlo will be eating solid food, dropping whatever doesn’t interest him into the mouth of Blue, and the new pack dynamic will be forever in harmony.

Alignment

013236. Sometimes things line up. When you’re paying attention, you can see the rhythm, the moment, in a way that you may have missed if you weren’t really looking. I love this bridesmaid in a hotel room, adorned and ready to usher her girl into the next phase of her life. Watched over by anonymous history. A circle of women that is as eternal as life itself.

Wide Angle

000835. I shoot close in – usually with an 85mm or 105mm lens, or with a 70 – 200mm zoom to give privacy to the subject, but still get an intimate capture. So when that is the status quo, there’s just nothing like mixing in a switch to the 35mm. Wide angle capture. Suddenly I can see the whole scene. I can get a sense of perspective and scale. I can see what I’ve been missing, focusing in so closely on the itty bitty parts that I miss the full story. I was walking up a mountain on skis yesterday, looking out over the jagged and enveloping Cascade range, feeling my heart beat and sweat pool, and as often happens when I’m in nature, I felt rightly placed in the world. The right size. My problems, my goals, my stuff, they came back into scale as just one tiny part of this massive, gorgeous universe.

The River

0024

34. There is beauty in everything, when we open our eyes to it. I was up in the Cascades, sitting along the bank of the river with a rustic lunch while my partner fished. The soft rain was falling, as it nearly always does, but underneath the cover of pine it doesn’t fall to the ground. I could have sat there all day. Breathing in the earth, watching the droplets break the surface of the river, the river then reconstituting itself. Water cycle in action. What’s there to say that hasn’t been said before about a pine forest, a river, and a lazy afternoon?

Transitions

4-233. There are transitions in life. That’s the reality of this thing that we are all living. Dottie now looks like a grown child in comparison to her new baby brother. Whereas for three years, all of the attention had been on her, now it is divided by two. And actually, it may be divided 80/20, let’s be real. For a short time. So when I arrived with my camera, and wanted all of the shots – her alone, baby alone, family together, and her with her brother, well….let’s just say that after I photographed her brother alone, effectively ignoring her, and turned to bring her back into the frame, she wasn’t having it. She let me know me that her toy was very, very important. And she had important things to do. A photo with her brother was nowhere near the top of the list.

This happens in all of my newborn sessions with a second child, and it just gets my inner psychologist going. Just like all of us, she was trying to exert some control over this transition that she has no control over. She is so smart and so driven that she’s trying re-establish her role. To carve out a space for herself that has meaning, and is recognized by others that way. That she’s independent in a way that distinguishes her from the pack. Her brother can’t yet be independent, but she has earned this. She has put. in. her. time.

And yes, obviously Dottie only froze me out for like a minute. Then we gave her a power position on a step stool and asked her to do a very important thing – hold her little brother (and soon to be – favorite playmate)’s, hand. And she gave us this.

Thanks Dottie, for your spirit, your fun, and your fierce independence. And for going along with the plan. Even when your toy was infinitely more engaging.