suburban homestead

one of my very favorite things about doing documentary sessions is that i get to witness the way other people live their lives. i get to observe some startling similarities to my own life and all of the universal truths about parenthood and young children and just being a person trying to make it through the day, but i also get to see people doing amazing things that i could only ever dream of accomplishing.

this family, for example, decided a few years ago that they wanted to try growing a fig tree in their backyard, and since then, they have turned their entire yard into this incredible homestead with fruit trees, vegetables, berry bushes, herbs, and more flowers than I could ever learn the names of.

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it was amazing to me to see how they gave a purpose to every bit of space available to them, making use of the sunlight and the shade, and cleverly fitting in plants, trees, and bushes in spots that most people would deem unusable.

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the best part of it all, though, was seeing how their entire family tends to the garden together. the kids led me around the entire house, showing me the sections they planted on their own, naming their favorite herbs, and teaching me how to harvest the flowers and berries that were ready for picking. They ate foods right off the plant that my own children wouldn’t look twice at even if they were dipped in chocolate, and over and over again i found myself wishing we lived next door so that they could share some of their incredible knowledge (and maybe a little of their harvest!) with us.

as i followed them throughout the evening, i was in awe of the subtle flow of their routine. while mom and dad moved from section to section of the garden harvesting, weeding, pruning, and tending, the kids wove their way in and out of the work. they would pick, eat, explore, play, run, laugh, pick more, eat more, ask a question or two, help out a bit, run off for a little while, and then return. back and forth, from the garden to the swing set to the patio to the flower beds as the light from the setting sun drenched the tops of their heads and their shadows lengthened.

even amid the normal chaos of raising two young children, there was a peace that settled across their garden as they poured their time and love into it. they have worked together to create this space that provides a unique sort of life to their family that goes beyond food and dried herbs made into teas and tinctures- it is time spent together, a way to learn about and connect with the world that sustains us, and an appreciation for the value of hard work and commitment.

this homestead of theirs, this life that they have built, the family they are raising- it is a beautiful thing that was inspiring to witness and a privilege to document. happy homesteading :)

conversation starter

i took some photos today for my 365.

they were not good.

i deleted all of them.

buuuut, i still have a deep rooted need to share a daily photo.

so, i thought i’d take this opportunity to share a new collaboration i’m starting with one of my very most favorite photographers, melissa hines. she is talented and brilliant and always comes up with the best ways for us to work together to help grow ourselves as artists (and humans).

this summer, we plan on having a conversation with one another entirely through photos.

yup.

how cool is that?

i kicked us off earlier this week by sending her this shot:

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and now i’m sitting over here eagerly waiting to see what her response is.

i’ll be blogging our conversation from time to time, with all of the previous images included so you can follow along.

it’s going to be a good summer :)

celebrating charlie

two weekends ago, i had the pleasure of photographing “baby charlie”’s (as he is affectionately known around our home) fourth birthday party.

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i remember the day charlie was born, with his thick blond hair with the little front cowlick.

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i remember the day charlie was two pink lines, and his momma told me about the answer to their prayers as i snuggled and nursed my own little new one.

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i remember when charlie was a wish in his momma’s heart, and we talked and dreamed and hoped about the journey she had ahead.

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i remember when charlie’s momma and daddy got married, and the immensity of their love and joy and anticipation of everything their future held as they said i do.

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i remember when charlie’s momma walked into my life, and her friendship transformed me and lifted me up and brought me back from somewhere i had gotten lost without knowing it until i was found again.

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her beautiful heart is in his sweet soul. the light that shines from her eyes shines from his too. her kindness and concern for others, her love of animals and God’s creation, her heart on her sleeve- all these things she has given to charlie, and in these last four years they have grown and expanded in him and created a little one so vibrant and full of life that you can’t help but smile when you are with him.

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charlie, you are a precious gift to your momma and daddy, to your friends and family, and to anyone who is fortunate enough to cross your path. what an honor it was for me to be one more soul welcomed into your home overflowing with love and company to celebrate your four years with us.

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here’s to all that you are and all that you will be. happy birthday :)

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