It seems just right that Adria was the first person to respond when I asked a handful of clients to consider guest-blogging for me. She's juggling a busy career with marriage and two kids under three years old, and yet every time I reach out she makes me feel like I'm her top priority. We first started working together when she and her husband Colin were expecting their first, and given that their family has grown quickly, we've gotten to work together and know each other pretty well in a short-ish period of time. They are the loveliest people, and in case there was any doubt in my mind, Adria's reflections on our time together underlined the fact that they are exactly the reason I do what I do.
When we hired Annemie to be our photographer, I knew she was going to capture moments in time that I wanted to hold onto forever. I knew I would look back at these moments and be forever grateful to have found someone who could so skillfully balance photography and storytelling in a way that is both genuine and profound. What I didn't know, and what she doesn't know, is that what I love the most about ALL of our photos is what other people can't see. And not just what other people can't see, but what I can't see either...until I see it through her lens.
We have a photo in our bedroom. Technically, it's from my maternity shoot, but I often forget that. Colin and I are standing on top of a parking deck in downtown Durham. Of course, as soon as we reached the top, Colin hopped up on a cement wall. And of course, as soon as he did, I placed my hand on his ankle. Look at this photo. Colin, way up high, with his arms out-stretched, like he's about to take off. Me, eight months pregnant, looking up at him, but also trying to keep him grounded. This. Is. Us.
And this one. This was the first time I recognized myself after becoming a mom. In these early baby days after Cash was born, my mirror was showing me a tired, emotional, uncertain version of myself. But this photo showed me something different. I looked at this photo and for the VERY first time saw the beauty in my own version of motherhood. I probably hadn't slept, or showered, or even brushed my teeth. I felt like a mess, but this photo showed me how beautiful it really was.
When Quinn arrived, he completed our family. Our boys are close together in age, 12 months to be exact, which means for one year, we were raising two babies at once. Some days it was tricky to even figure out how to get us all downstairs safely for breakfast. We changed a lot of diapers, and washed a lot of bottles, but we also did a lot of cuddling! My favorite part of that year with two babies was watching the very beginnings of their relationship as brothers. I mean, just look at these.
Every single session we've done together is like this. There's always one photo that catches me completely off-guard. It stops me in my tracks. It makes my heart ache just a little. It shows me more than I could have seen with my own eyes.
And that's what Annemie does for me. She makes me see myself, my kids, and my family through the most authentic lens.