Finally finished an edit of a family portrait shoot I did at the beginning of December.  In years past, I would have said traditional family portraits are totally not my thing.  And, to be honest, I would still say they are totally not my thing.  Family lifestyle and journalism?  Yes, please.  Family portraits?  No thank you.  They don’t stir me with passion, spark my creativity or inspire me to raise awareness for their cause.  I don’t feel super confident ‘posing‘ people or wanting everyone to be looking in the same direction or smiling.  I don’t feel like I can command the situation or make something happen that isn’t currently happening.  And, most often, that is the desired outcome for the family.  

I’m realizing more and more, though, that every shoot is about how I go into it; that these types of shoots have absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with the family and the characters that make up that family.  It’s about meeting people.  It’s about breaking down walls so the picture smile turns into a real smile; a laugh.  It’s about holding babies and eating sour gummy worms offered to you first thing as you set foot in the front door from the precocious-5-year-old-family-portrait-show-stealer.  It’s about kids and chaos and tension and bribery and motherhood and a shared humanity.  It’s families, right?  We’re all totally put together and totally a mess at the same time.

Howes family, you put us all in our place.  Reminding us that each individual, each new addition or aging generation, has a place in this family and contributes to the whole.  Mother of 7 (I could write a whole new blog about that in and of itself) with the youngest at 9 months, housing two other family members, cooking for 34 people over Thanksgiving, and still looking smashingly young and energetic and beautiful.  Thank you for letting me into a small fragment of life at your house.