Stop for a second and think about the last time you had your extended family all in one place. Think about the last time you had even your nuclear family in one place. As we get older it becomes harder to stop what we’re doing to visit our parents, children, or grandchildren. I never get to see my sister and niece as much as I would like. Every second that I get with my family is something that I truly cherish, especially after losing my grandfather and grandmother within a few months of each other. Life is so incredibly short and memories tend to fade the older we get. This is a huge reason why I photograph families. I have a deep love for documenting the relationships between them. Most families don’t get together unless there is a wedding or funeral; it’s the sad truth. That’s why I get so excited when people contact me about doing extended family sessions. Involving the grandparents makes for such a special session. It freezes time for everyone involved. It allows them to have memories long after their parents and grandparents are gone. When I was a little girl I don’t remember being in photos with my granddad. But, looking back at those photographs now I’m so lucky to have those. I might not remember the event or circumstance, but I remember how my granddad always made me feel. I couldn’t imagine not having those photographs.
Jill (pictured bellow) and her family split their time between Connecticut and Admirals Cove, Jupiter. She reached out to me at a time that she knew that all of her kids, and her mother, were going to be in town. I’m lucky in the fact that I live in a travel destination area of the United States, so there is a lot better chance that larger families will be traveling together for vacation. We talked on the phone for a while, as I got to hear all about how proud she is of her kids and she was so excited to have everyone together. I explained my approach and that my goal is to create an experience for them, with an end goal of getting them tangible heirlooms for their home. We worked together to figure out color schemes that would make sense with their home and where they would want to display the photographs. When I showed up to Jill’s condo it was like I had known her for years. She was so warm and hugged me right away. The session was a blast (I might have pushed her teenagers out of their comfort zones, but I’ll do just about anything to make sure the kids laugh).
When I received the scans back from my lab, Jill and I talked about how they would be displayed. Some families are more about albums, while others lean toward wall art. We ended up working together to create a custom framed wall gallery for her and she also ordered loose prints for some frames she already had. This is so important to me. I don’t want a bunch of digital files just sitting on her computer. I want her children to see these photos with their grandmother. I want them to know how absolutely loved they are. How Jill couldn’t stop talking about her love and admiration for them. Now, they will get to see that every time they step foot into their house. Family is so important and so is photography.
Bellow are the photos from Jill’s family session, as well as the custom gallery wall we created for her.