Stacey contacted me about a month ago to schedule St Augustine family portraits with her parents, siblings, their spouses and children- fifteen in all. The family is literally spread across the US, based on each coast. They were all coming together in April to visit their parents and to have a party for their Mom. You see, just a few months ago Mom had been diagnosed with cancer. Immediately my thoughts turned to my Dad who I lost to cancer. I really wanted to do this session for them, yet at the same time it’s so hard. I have photographed these types of sessions before and their importance is not lost on me. The responsibility is huge, which can feel daunting. Yet the honor of doing this is huge, too. And I feel like this is my chance to really utilize photography for it’s greatest purpose. Making a memory into a material thing that is able to be shared with those that couldn’t be there, or that were too young to remember, or to give us something to hold on to when we need it.
This family grew up in the North East, but now their parents lived in St. Augustine. Their grown children had landed in FL, CT and CA- truly a bi-coastal family. They had a lot of memories of vacations in the St. Augustine area and trips to Fort Matanzas, so we met there. Stacey was the first to meet me and as soon as we started talking I felt like I knew her. It could be that she reminds me a lot of a friend I have that is a NY-raised-FL-transplant, too. That combined with her warm and bright presence, and her 3 children that were sweet as sugar. Bill’s family was next on the scene with their New England preppy style, gregarious kiddos and Seinfeld-smiling Dad. Then Craig and family arrived from CA with a very mellow, casual, laid back, and organic nature about them. I just loved how everyone had a different accent and a different feel. Each family seemed to embody where they were from. I found it fascinating.
Their parents, Barbara and Nick, were so kind to me. Very warm and complimentary. I loved how bright their eyes are, showing all the life and joy they have in them. Big smiles and big hearts. It’s easy to see where the rest of the family gets it from.
I truly enjoyed spending a couple of hours with all of them, hiking through Ft. Matanzas, listening to stories from their childhood, finding out about their lives. And thinking about my Dad when I took a portrait of their Mom. And thinking about my Dad when I took photos of those fathers with their daughters. I shed some tears that day, but my heart was very full.
I hope these photos bring you all a lot of good memories. Thank you for everything.