Family Documentary Sessions for ZERO dollars | The All Families Project | Hampton Roads, Virginia

I could tell you how I became a photographer, but that's not very interesting.  At some point, I must have picked up a camera, right?  That's how that story goes.  There's a way more interesting question and that is "Why?"

The answer is easy.  I take photos to remember a feeling.  

Weddings, couples, families - it's all the same.  I photograph moments so that they live on and we remember.  Even if we weren't there.  You can feel it.

I don't photograph you so that you can remember what you looked like.  So much more than that - I want you to look back on your photographs and remember how you felt.  In the way that a song or a particular smell takes you back in time.  I want to bring you back to the moments that matter.

For a while, I've neglected documenting families, including my own.  In February, a friend of mine invited me and another photographer to present our work to other photographers and talk about what Family Documentary or Family Photojournalism is.  I spoke about photographing my own children and looking back at photos of my childhood - seeing my parents be young, younger than I am now, when I was too little to remember.  To see them loving me - their first child - in those first few years.  And I cried.  In front of a group of strangers I think I cried one of those really ugly, embarrassing cries that you regret before the first tear drops.  That's how moving those photos are to me - to see the beginnings of our family and the traces of love left behind spanning time and distance.  I go back in time to the houses we lived in, saw myself grow, and all the while my parents are there with me.  Aging and loving me and my sister as we grew.  Until I became a parent myself, I had no idea how much my parents really loved me.  Now, when I look at these photos, I see it.  

The same week, I asked a trusted friend to come take our photos.  I wasn't going to wait until I painted our dining room or I lost the 15 pounds I'd really like to lose.  My kids are growing and changing constantly.  Always.  Before this phase slipped away, I wanted to be in photos hugging them.  Laughing at their silly jokes.  Holding their tiny hands while they're still tiny and they let me.  Playing with our dogs and eating take out in the first house we've ever really made a home.  All of the completely ordinary, mundane, priceless, most important moments.

Out of the 7 years that I've been a mom, I have very little photographic proof.  I am always the one behind the camera.  To receive our gallery and see photos of us as a family - me and my husband being parents and loving on our boys - wrecked me in the most wonderful way.

Okay.  So what does this have to do with you?

For the sake of honest moments and leaving traces of love behind for the most important people we will ever know and in support of this crazy adventure of parenthood - for ALL families - for the rest of the year I am photographing you for ZERO dollars.  Zero.  None.  Totally free.

Did you get that?  Free.  No monies.

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