I am a family documentary photographer in New York and have been working as a photographer for a few years. A little more than a year ago, I found myself completely uninspired by traditional portrait sessions. I felt the stress of the parents when they were preparing for our session and there was a lot of sweating and praying that everyone would cooperate. I thought to myself that there must be a way to get everyone to not just ‘act’ normally, but to actually BE normal around me. I started to offer in-home, family documentary sessions and over time people are starting to really get what I mean!
I do have to be very specific with what I am expecting of the family, because people are predisposed to tense up and pose for the camera, but my families are always surprised at how quickly I am able to disarm them and they are able to just do what they normally do!
My goal is to show every parent how being real is the most rewarding. These sessions are designed to take a slice of your life, either two hours, six hours or a full day, and show you everything that happens while you’re existing in the chaos. I make photographs of whatever happens during your day. The good (smiling and laughing), the bad (crying and tantrums) and the messy (anything goes!). I don’t lead the session at all and I don’t change anything in your home. If you are a naturally organized person, your home will likely be neat and tidy, until the kids wake up! if you are like me, not at all naturally organized, you might have straightened up before I arrive, but either way, the kid’s food ends up in their hair and all over the floor!
This session (below) was a morning session and I arrived at Katie and Jon’s home at about 6am, before the kids were awake.
They might have been nervous before I arrived, but within the first 20 minutes, they were back in bed with their eyes closed! They were wonderful examples of how a chaotic morning that feels like it will never end, is over in the blink of an eye. Before they knew it, they were packed for their beach day and all the little moments that happen amongst the whirlwind of wake up, breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth, playtime and get out the door, were recorded. They now have a tangible record of life with two toddlers and 2 adorable dogs! soon they’ll welcome their third baby into their home and life will look completely different. They might not even remember what it felt like to have just two kids, but they can look back at these photographs and take a trip back in time (if only in their dreams!) to their summer of 2015, when Bryan was climbing the staircase and Brendan was snuggling between them in the early morning light.
I hope to show all families that they don’t need to coordinate clothes and pretend they are always smiling and happy to make beautiful photographs of their life. There are so many social pressures to be perfect all the time, we forget that the way we are right now is as perfect as it is going to get. Strip away the guilt and just be yourself. The real you is the one that your children will want to remember forever. The best stuff happens when mom and dad aren’t looking, so I’m the eyes in the back of your head for the day!
You’re going to be pleasantly surprised at how awesome life looks from this perspective.