The Storyteller Photographer | Calgary Family Photographer
This is their story, yet it is mine too. Theirs and mine is intertwined and so a little for me with the highlight on them...I figured I should 'disclaimer' that before we started.. Because it's what I do.
I tell stories
I am a storyteller. If you want me to spin a tale, regale a group of 20 at a dinner party or you pass me the mic at a wedding reception - hello happy place! Despite the nerves, the incessant practicing of the speeches or the awkwardness of the inevitable pit stains and 'trying too hard' high heel shoes that I will wear to a beach wedding without thinking of what those stilettos will do in the sand; you put me in front of people, allow me to speak from the heart and make others laugh and I. Am. In. My. Happy. Place.
Visual storytelling is my secret power
Yes I have had a camera since I was young. Yes, I do still have thousands of slide images in my basement that I still need to figure out something to do with. I own a slide projector that came from a school and am darn proud of the fact that I still know how to change the light bulb in it. I don't even cringe at the fact that I hosted dinner parties and impromptu "Banff Slide Show Film festivals" which were more 'come for beer and pizza - the cost - a few of your own slides to add to mine so we could all relive our outdoor/mountain adventures together'. But then it started to morph.
Time passed, the story got deeper
The birth of my children was pivotal. I. Had. No. Idea. I really didn't. About anything. I still don't and in fact my 9 year old reinforces that notion repeatedly. My 6 year old isn't far behind in recognizing my deficiencies and my husband just shrugs, but I lumber on. At times I'm oblivious and others, I'm frightfully aware that despite the fact that I know more...I feel I know even less. Perhaps my brain is leaking out while I sleep. Regardless, it has made me more aware.
When I know better, I do better - Maya Angelou
I became a seeker of details. The fleeting moments of childhood and yet...those who inspired me who showed me that you should never let it go! Play they said. Ok I agreed. My camera became my companion. Through the lens I saw what I would otherwise not notice and captured forever what in some cases slipped through my fingers. And then it happened.
I saw the story in others
It would start with a simple request - you take good photos, I want some photos. But just as it did at home, without anyone really even knowing it, a story would inevitably unfold itself organically. We would set intentions. Like a guide post it framed the goal. But the energy that created the momentum...it was the listening...hard. Ultimately it's the listening that dictated the play, the final throw, the one where the viewer took it all in and then sat back to say..."oh...wow...that's what it's all about".....And often, it hit me like sucker punch in the gut.
The spotlight is here - a family in transition
Getting to know Gillian and Jeff has been a privilege and their light shines bright. Their open arms and genuine smiles, not least of which the French version of 'Oh Canada' regaling me at the door makes for the warmest of welcomes. Their boys know me by name, their little arms wrap tight around my neck when I come and that baby girl who let me smother her in baby love - that dear reader is the gift.
The house is filled with laughter, toys are scattered in ways that signal a life well lived and yet there is a peace that settles like a warm blanket. This is the home of a family that welcomed their third child just 10 short months ago. A home where a mother and father have given their all to their family and where another bit of change is imminent reinforcing reflection and despite the chaos....a pause.
I never really know when it will show up...but it always does. The real story about why I am there. At some point the moments caught between the shots unveil the chapter of what is developing right there in front of me. Its intricacies are sometimes intense, sometimes a "hit you square in the face" type of moments, and sometimes it's the note you get after the session where mom and dad, maybe one maybe both come to realize what "Right Now" means to them. Sure in their basic form these are family photos. In simplistic terms they are the people in wonderful light and captured well. But we just froze time. And time my friend is dynamic. People morphe, moments lapse and really important life changing events are coming to be. These images transports us back. It's poignant.
You see a mama and her baby girl, but mama really sees those little fists, feels the incessant tug on her hair and knows exactly why this bow of all the bows in the huge basket by the door was picked just for today. This little girl, the one who rounded out the family at 5...this mama sees her current now as is and in a short blink will change again significantly. All the things. At that moment while we photograph, the conversation flows even more, the rendering of the moments that feel like they will last forever, those little hands holding onto the window sill while watching their day go by...it's all there...in the words, and the moment shows up. Her just a little weebee, him her current and future teacher of all things wild and wonderful - (note - if she isn't already, she is destined for ninja greatness).
But let's be real...the love, affection and well intentioned serenity within the heart is often expressed through the loudspeakers of the human lungs. And that is just as real!! This is the everyday. The incessant tugging, the screaming for love, attention and the all right 'love assault' that we are subjected to as human parents. It's all real man...all the loudness and plastic weapons of it.
And here is the thing...The clichés which abound, any parent knows all too well and is sometimes (mostly) too tired to say it out loud, but these tiny humans grow up FASTER than the fast they tell you about. They tell us and show us things about ourselves we likely had good idea about, but will have zero hesitation at blurting it out in a crowded restaurant to be sure that humiliation will forever cement it in place. And despite the embarrassment, they also make us laugh and love life like no other. One word dear reader is...PLAY.
And play they do - it's ubiquitous within this house, the love, fun, chaos and excitement. Just. As. It. Should. Be. Everywhere and always. Not least of which with Dad - the other equally important hero in this story. It is clear, as with many families, that the dynamics of his and hers meld into one another creating a fusion of oneness that despite the individual allows for the flow of family. And by flow I likely mean organized chaos, and by chaos I mean characteristic fun loving wrestling that happens at the drop of a hat...you never know when.
Oh the still...
..DANG...family looks good. Simple, stripped down, you, them, together. It's the thing that paused the moment. You. Your moment, your words and your family. It created the canvas on which the art was drawn. And if that is too deep - well we've now got some great shots that will look fab in a book/wall art/prints/xmas card (my favourites are where everyone is open mouthed and eyes closed laughing!) to take you back to that day - the one where the moment stood still and all the toys were stacked on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen.
To a family who has welcomed me time and time again, I thank you. Your words, your story and you are what created these images. In so doing, you remembered why you did this and it left a permeant mark...on me. I am the better for it. xoxo K.