Eason | A Newborn Photo Session in Mebane, NC by Annemie Tonken

You know that thing? That amazing thing where in the midst of the sleeplessness and the hormones and the raw, powerful emotions that bounce around in the heads and hearts of new parents, when you look at them, you can't see anything but pure, unadulterated love? That thing kills me. Every time.


Chelsey & Justin, congratulations again: Eason is amazing (and so are you)!

xox,

Annemie

In Dreams by Annemie Tonken

For as long as I can remember, I've been one of those people who remembers their dreams. Bizarre, mundane, hilarious, horrifying: I wake up with the sense of them, but usually remember them most vividly as I lay down to go to bed the next night. The last few months have been a particularly introspective time for me, and I've found myself thinking a lot about the interconnectedness of dreaming and photography. It's not the most obvious connection - I think most people view photography as a representation of reality - but this moment's reality doesn't last, and in my mind, there's no difference between trying to recall the exact details of a dream and trying to conjure a perfect likeness of my child's face even just a few months ago... the details fade and shift and are replaced by new details. As I see it, therefore, the most important function my work serves is preserving those fragile memories of the people and events in our lives - be they big (weddings and births) or small (a family's morning at the park) - much like the snapshot recollections we often have of dreams.  Unlike those mental snapshots, though, a photograph can be touched and preserved and revisited and shared.

But if photography were just about the preservation of reality, there would be little difference between a good photograph and a mediocre one. What I've come to understand is that the art of photography lies in the choice of which element(s) of reality to portray - beauty, pain, simplicity, complexity, connection, isolation, etc., etc.: how an artist sees the world can and does dictate the nature of the images she creates. The portraits I love most isolate a single one of those elements in such a way that it not only portrays that emotion, but draws it out of me when I look at it. There is a connection, across miles or time or both, and the photograph sinks in and colors my mood. Just like a dream.


For those who are curious about this kind of thing, all of the above are of my boys, shot this summer on my new-to-me Hasselblad.

Adria & Colin | Maternity Portraits in Downtown Durham by Annemie Tonken

When Adria first contacted me about maternity portraits, we set up a time to talk on the phone, but instead of telling me what she and her husband Colin were looking for while we were chatting, Adria kept circling back to what they were NOT looking for. "I didn't even think I wanted maternity portraits," she kept saying, "they can be so cheesy." But there she was, on the phone with a photographer, trying to find a way to verbalize what she DID want. She DID want to capture the finite experience of pregnancy, and - for once - to get Colin (whose place is normally behind the camera) in the photos with her. She DID want to record the final days of their time as a family of two. She DID NOT want chalkboard signs or baby shoes or terrible reach-around poses.

"So no train tracks?" I asked.

She laughed - hard - and we booked the session.

And it was super-fun and totally laid back... just like Colin & Adria. Baby Cash is in for a fun ride!


xox,

Annemie