Documentary family photography is so suited to young families. There can be so much wonderful chaos, uninhibited emotions and loads of connection. I love watching toddlers flexing their new found independence. They are absorbing everything around them and often have ‘Their Way’ on any number of outfits, food preferences or ways to climb in and out of the car.
Meet Elle. 2 years old and very certain of how things should be done. She is also soon to become a big sister. Documenting this day was so important to Chris & Leasa because their days are about to become very different….. (story continues below slideshow).
Elle’s mum and dad own Bill’s Fish House and the Salty Crew Kiosk on the beach in beautiful Port Macquarie.
Every morning Elle wakes up, goes to find Daddy and says “Juicy?”
That’s the cue for the two of them to drive into town to collect the day’s food supplies from Bill’s and deliver them to the Kiosk. There, Elle has a fresh juice while Chris checks in with the staff.
The selection of images you see here is very typical of a day-in-the-life for this family.
Sometimes it takes a while for families to understand that I really don’t want a ‘show’ to be put on for our photography session. It really is the everyday rituals and humdrum that make up the rhythm of family.
What draws me to documentary family photography most is that while the minute-by-minute tasks parents do for their littlies are quite universal, the way each parent does those tasks, the unique personalities and the combination of personalities in the family make every ordinary day extraordinary to me.
I come away a little wiser having learnt something from every family. Whether it’s how mum deals with a tantrum or gets a fussy baby to eat dinner to the complex strategies required to help a child straddle the ‘I’m not little but I’m not grown up’ tween phase. Very handy because we are learning daily in our home with our own gorgeous tween!
Perhaps because I’ve never lived near to family since having kids, I’m gathering my ‘it takes a tribe to raise a family’ wisdom piece by piece via these beautiful families.
Families who are brave enough to face the vulnerability that is having a photographer in your home for the day seeing all the nitty-gritty. Yes, I see the tantrums, the parental eye-rolls, cross words and disagreements but that is a huge part of families learning and growing together. And your secrets are safe with me!
To me, a family home is a sacred space. A place you can feel comfortable, relaxed and be yourself. To express yourself through the things you surround yourself with, whether that is your eye for designer furniture, a penchant for minimalism or a sink full of dishes and Mt Washmore in the corner. I’ve seen it all and to be honest, the mess you might be stressing over never really shows in the images.
I promise you, if you think your kids are too badly behaved in the development phase they are in or that your home isn’t Pinterest-worthy, if you trust me, if you let me in to your heart’s centre for the day, you will be astounded at the beauty that can be found in your home. Documentary family photography is how we stop time if just for a day.