River's 1 year milestone | Casuarina Beach
My mind is mush when it comes to articulating how I feel about this family, their story and in particular, this session. So I'll say at the outset - please bear with me as I ramble and know that if you make it through the words, there are some of my favourite family photos of all-time at the end.
I've been documenting the story of Sabrina and Kev for almost 2 years. I was there to capture their sunrise elopement, which sparked my intense love couples who commit to having a wedding that suits them in every way. We met up months later so I could capture their pregnancy and then again, two weeks after River was born. Here, Sabrina and Kev sat holding their tiny baby in what was at the time, an empty room at the front of their brand new family home. As I drove home from this particular shoot, I vowed never to pose a newborn baby again because honestly, how could anything be more beautiful or precious to these new parents than exactly what is happening in reality, right before me?
Six months later we met in what at the time was a last minute shoot before they returned to Kev's homeland for Christmas. I suspect that given this was the fourth time we were in each others' company, Sabrina and Kev just knew that this was less a photoshoot and more an hour in the park with their baby. This was one of my last shoots for the year and as I drove home this time, the weariness of a long and busy year turned into anticipation and enthusiasm for all that was to come in the next.
And then in July, we met once more. There were nerves on my part and I'm going to hazard a guess that these were shared by Sabrina and Kev because each time, they would always remark how they felt the images just kept on getting better. I'm going to be honest here - I'm a stress-head and that definitely made me a little anxious that at some point, there would be disappointment. Then we started shooting and it was as though every doubt just fell away.
I literally felt my way through this session with my heart and I know as I write this that that probably sounds weird, wanky or somewhere in-between. It was as though I was a part of this family for an hour and everything that I could feel between them, fuelled how I took the photo.
As I drove home that day, I reflected on the entire journey of working with this family. I thought of all those photos that we have captured over this time, the milestones and the changes and the ups and no doubt, the downs. I thought of how these photos weren't a representation of what they wanted the world to see, but a reflection of who they really are and surely, surely that matters more than anything else? I thought about how I'm going to miss seeing them regularly and how no doubt we will catch up at some point in the future and River will be so much bigger but I'll see some of those same expressions that I saw so early on.
And then I reflected on how thankful I am. There are times - too many times - when I'm down because I think my social media sucks, or I feel my website looks a bit blah, or so-and-so has ten million followers and that picture of a kid who looks like every other kid smashing a cake has a thousand likes. But ultimately, that's not what it's about and it's not why I do what I do. It's about the people, memories and moments that really matter. It's about a little boy opening an album when he's older and seeing photos of a time that he can't specifically remember, but evokes something deep down that feels so familiar to him.
Sabrina, Kev and River have changed me for the better. They have trusted me throughout this process and they have given me perspective on so many things. They have shaped me not just as a photographer, but as a person and I'm heavy swallowing as I type this because it's all so very true and no words can really describe how grateful I am for that.
To one of the most inspiring families I know - Sabrina, Kev and River - this is the final chapter in the story of River's first year. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. xxx
If you want to have these precious moments captured authentically, so you can look back on them and enjoy all that seemed so ordinary at the time forevermore, then I'd love to hear from you. Just get in touch via my contact page.