Just a couple of weeks ago I was finally able to make the trip back out to Pennsylvania to finish a couple of long-awaited sessions that had been (repeatedly) rained out by good ol’ Mother Nature.
And I cannot express just how grateful I am that she did rain us out… again and again.
You see, I’ve been waiting to meet this woman for a good 6-months now… maybe more. About a year ago, just before we moved back to the midwest, I joined a Facebook group of women who were working on their SEO for their sites. Mine needed a complete overhaul with my upcoming move, so I took the plunge and hired a professional. During this process, I was able to join this group of women supporting one another, their businesses, and their art.
We’re from all over the country… sometimes even outside of the country. This forum has enabled us to connect on many levels, helping one another with business questions galore.
During my time in the group, I started to get familiar with Mary Beth… or her name in my notifications, anyway. She’s always one of the first women to share in something new she’s learned and she’s quick to respond to cries of help from the other members. She’s a virtual friend who’s always there for you. Truly.
So when Mary Beth mentioned being interested in getting family photos should I ever be passing through, an idea was born. I had a couple of other requests and the Traveling Photographer East Coast trip of 2015 was born. So in June, as I packed up all my gear into my car to abandon my life as an Indianapolis Photographer (for a week or so, anyway) I was all sorts of butterflies and jitters over FINALLY getting to meet Mary Beth.
Let’s be honest, we all know how hard it is to make friends as an adult – it’s hard to make connections when people are established in their social circles and their daily routines. It’s certainly something I’ve struggled with. So to be traveling to PA to meet someone I’d met on Facebook was both a very retro (I felt like I was meeting someone out of a chat room in 1998) and new-age (how progressive of me to meet someone I’d met online!) all in the same.
Of course, the session was everything I had dreamed of and more. And yes, I literally did dream about this session prior to shooting it. I’ve been following Mary Beth on her photo page and her Instagram for a while now and both greatly admire and envy her life on the farm with her home-schooled boys and hard working husband. And it is JUST.AS.MUCH. of a dream as it looks to be… and as much more as you can imagine.
So while these photos speak volumes about who these guys are as a family, let me fill in your brain with all the laughter and love that was sounding behind these images. This family is truly adventurous. And it’s the most beautiful thing you will ever encounter. Mary Beth told me in advance that they would all be in jeans with bare feet and I was already swooning over the idea. This session? Totally not staged. They go out as a family almost every evening and play outside. They swing and dance and jump and fly.
They make memories.
They trust. Like really and truly trust. Emotionally and physically. They’re acrobatic. They treat scraped knees, bee stings, and bug bites with gentle touches and reassurance and encouragement.
They climb, they love, they hug, they kiss. There are tears. There are kisses to replace those tears. There is fear and excitement at jumping out onto a hand-made raft, there is glee at running from Teddy, the dog, who smells like 90-degree-days-and-murky-lake-water as he charges at the nearest bystander to become a sprinkler of pond water to share in his enjoyment.
This is a family has a Dad who is strong and brave and caring and playful. Wise in many ways, he is sharing in all his wisdom with his boys who clearly idolize him.
And this family has a Mom who is patient and kind and passionate and creative and the adoration her boys have for her showed in their eyes. It’s hard enough to wrangle kids to a photo session, it’s even harder when your Mom is a photographer and you do this on the regular. I know Mary Beth prepped the boys in advance, but it’s clear they understood just how much this session meant to her based on their open arms and genuine engagement in out time together. They wanted it to be just as wonderful as she dreamed it would be. I have no doubt that throughout Mary Beth’s extraordinarily large gallery she can see this for herself, too.
And then there’s these two. Together for 18 years (I know, I know… they don’t look old enough!) and married for 10, they have almost NO photos of the two of them together. Every couple (no matter whether you have no kids of 6+ kids) deserves to have photos of themselves. So foreheads were wiped clean of sweat and pressed together for images that make up for 18 years of undocumented moments.
When your relationship is built on this and you set this example for your kids day in and day out, it’s hard to take a ‘bad’ photo.
And Teddy… we haven’t forgotten about you. You, too, are a member of this family, and quite possibly (like my own dog) are the glue that holds it together. Thank you for joining us in this session and greeting me with your still-wet fur and excited barking.
Nothing beats a girl and her dog. <3
casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Photographer specializing in couple, lifestyle, senior, wedding and family photography for Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding areas.