When I found out Banks and Inga had four kiddos under the age of 8, I'll admit, I was a smidge nervous. I always am before a shoot though, which I think is a good thing -- a few butterflies remind me that documenting life for other people still excites me. But Em calmed me saying, don't worry, you will love them and they will love you. So I was super excited to meet them all and appreciated them letting me into their home for the afternoon to hang and capture them in their element -- the seemingly mundane activities of a Sunday afternoon that are no doubt enjoyed by the Potters now, but that will hopefully be cherished even more down the road, when the kids get their driver's license, when they graduate from high school, even when their first grandchild is born. Of course, I hope I could be there to photograph all those big moments in their lives, but I can honestly say a Sunday afternoon at home together is just as special and important of a time to document through photos. How does the saying go? "It's the little things."
As I pulled into the driveway, four-legged Tally made me feel so welcome with her wagging tail full of excitement. Banks and Inga were also so welcoming and their ease put me at ease in no time. First, I got to meet another Whitney! Whitney is a family name on Banks' side. She is the youngest of the Potter clan and was full of smiles. She gussied up and brushed her hair for me, loving the camera. I would see some glimpses of the three boys darting around the yard and in the house, I think a little unsure of what to make of me at first. But in no time they introduced themselves to me one by one, shaking my hand politely and flashing an adorable smile. Penn, the oldest, just turned 8 and he had taken his new kayak out for a paddle that morning with Banks. Penn is my kind of guy, likes things tidy and clean, so he had just rinsed off his kayak when he proudly presented it to me. Fisher was just as proud of his new Timbuktu messenger bag. He wore it well. It was the big win at their Montessori school's fundraiser the night before, so he had to test it out and break it in, obviously. Bancroft, the second youngest, eluded me the longest, but ended up loving my camera. And outside in the driveway, I was able to witness Whitney's scoot. She doesn't love the idea of using her hands to crawl, gets them a little dirty, so she scoots across the ground on her butt, using the heels of her feet to move herself along. Good thing she has diapers for extra padding at the moment.
The stroll down to the water couldn't have been on a better weather day. The sun was nice and warm, taking the chill off from the light wind. There I got to see a family just be. Plenty of shells, mud, tide pools, and rocks for exploration and entertainment. Tally was so excited for her tennis ball. Whit hung with Inga on the rocks. Banks hung with the boys who bounced around the low-tide shoreline. The kids forgot I was there or at least weren't phased by me and my snapping. I loved it. Nevermind their element, I was in mine -- observing, watching, appreciating, feeling the moment as best I could for this family. Hoping that how I witness their world, their interactions together, is just as appreciated by them when they see what I've documented.
I used to live on Martha's Vineyard, so I was excited to learn that Inga and Banks met on Nantucket over 10 years ago, where he first started working for Sperry Tents. Banks has had the Sperry Tents Seacoast (Maine, New Hampshire, Essex county area/northeast Massachusetts) for at least six years and has recently started the Greenwich, Connecticut Sperry Tents (which I was happy to hear now knowing the emilie inc. expansion to New York City).
After the boys gave me a tour of the house, showed me their rooms, and their awesome tree house (impressive construction, Banks!), the new Nintendo Wii was allowed to be played for a few minutes before Inga got dinner ready. Much excitement ensued, but before they were glued to the screen, each one of the kids thanked me and shook my hand just as politely as they did when I first met them. I tasked Penn with some photography exercises, ideas for his shooting. He showed me some of his pictures he took of me while I was photographing them, and he has quite the eye. I was impressed and sense some competition down the road! Bancroft said the sweetest thing that nearly made my heart melt. As he shook my hand, he said something to the effect that at first he was really nervous to meet me, but now I have to go and he really likes me. I smiled so big, laughed, and thanked him, and said I hope we do get to hang out again soon.
Banks, Inga, Penn, Fisher, Bancroft, and Whit -- it was truly nice to meet you all! Thank you again for allowing me into your home to photograph your life and wonderful family. I hope you visit Peaks this summer and that I'm there to say hello or give you a little tour. And, of course, I can't wait to photograph under your beautiful tents all summer long!!