I was so excited driving to Thompson Lake for Lena's (of Hair That Moves) family portrait. It was a nontraditional family portrait, an afternoon-in-the-life, a snapshot of the family at the end of their vacation on Lena's father Marty's favorite lake. I think I stopped every 30 feet to take a photo on the drive down Black Island Road over a little bridge to Black Island, then over a tinier bridge to Megquier Island. Both small islands are bisected by the Oxford and Poland town line. They rented a house for the week for the entire family. Marty brought his boat. The grandkids brought their footballs, fishing rods, fishtail hair braids, and floaties. Lena and her mom Carolyn brought their penchant for margaritas and red wine. Kevin brought his humor and grilling skills. Damian brought his Chutes and Ladders board game (don't lie and say it's the kids', we know it's yours). Jaclyn brought her blueberry picking and potty cheerleading skills.
To me there was an electric feel cutting through the thick muggy air. Maybe it was the energy this family possessed, the mellow love sprinkled with four balls of energy named Gavin, Grace, Bodhi and Paloma (the twins). Lena's kiddos Gavin and Grace greeted me in the driveway. Gavin performed a rain dance for me and deterred most of the drops. Quite the inquisitor, immediately grilling me about my two camera bodies and different lenses. On her own accord, Grace even assisted me with scouting a location for her solo photo shoot session. Later she gave me the biggest hug, a signature smile accompanied by her curious wide eyes, and proclaimed, "I like her."
That wasn't the only moment that made my heart smile. The board games and card games played on the longer piled living room carpet, the super soaker water fights in Thompson Lake that felt like a refreshing tub of bath water, the canon balls and satisfaction of shoving your sibling off the dock, casting a line, throwing a football, the dragon roars and wild blueberry eating from atop a boulder, the taste of homemade chocolate chip cookies and the quench of summer vacation beers, donning Thomas the Train undies (and Dora the Explorer undies) after a successful potty session, iPhone dance parties atop the picnic table, skewering kebabs, and hugs from moms and dads. Just seeing this family together, hanging with one another, and just being was special. I've said it before -- "it's the little things." As I told Lena, I am a firm believer in realizing the beauty and importance of the mundane, and it is my job and privilege to document these moments as a photographer. I love witnessing and observing. Some might say that is a passive way to exist in one's life, not participating but instead watching. But I feel it is the converse -- a very active yet unique way to participate in the moment, to be constantly unearthing pictures from the slice of life unfolding in front of me, and creating something that the family will cherish after the moment has passed.
Lena, Kevin, Gavin, Grace, Damian, Jaclyn, Paloma, Bodhi, Carolyn and Marty -- I can't thank you enough for letting me hang out with you all during your vacation! Your families are wonderful, and I hope to see you all soon!