Writing this, I’m sitting on my mom’s front porch, perfectly shaded from the scorching Colorado sun by a variety of trees she has planted over the years. The cottonwood is most effective at this hour, sending shafts of sunlight dancing at our feet. The weeping willow drapes lazily over the bunkhouse and perfectly blocks the view of the neighbors just beyond the northwest pasture. The aspens serve their purpose in the morning as a shade, but for now, their rustling leaves merely add to the orchestra of an afternoon’s breeze. A blue spruce towers behind me, its size shocking because I can remember when my mom planted it some twenty years ago, so frail and vulnerable at first.
In addition to these giants that fence-in her oasis, small bursts of color grow up through all the cracks and crevices—giant peonies that come back year after year and delicate Johnny Jump Ups she planted a few weeks ago.
How does she do it? I wonder. How does my mom simultaneously attend to the present moment while envisioning and creating a beautiful future? Her endless efforts inspire and challenge me.
I come from a family of quiet, humble artists. One of my grandfather’s paintings hangs in the bunkhouse, a beautiful desert scene depicting the California landscape that surrounded them. My brother followed suit and creates landscapes and still lifes that are stunning in their quiet simplicity. Art has weaved its way through my own life, but I often felt I was a fumbling impersonator. It wasn’t until I had children of my own and wanted to capture their beautiful, inconstant faces that photography became the art I could call my own.
Now, what I love best is finding someone as passionate about creating and capturing beauty as I am.
I was so honored when Kristin reached out for a newborn session this spring. Her eagerness to capture her new baby's beauty, and then to print and hang the images from our shoot reminded me of my mom’s pursuit of creating and preserving beauty. There are details to attend to in the moment: selecting the right clothes, the right materials and textures, the right room, the lighting, the jewelry and other little pops of color—these are something like the flowers my mom plants year after year. Then later there are the printed images that, like the natural boundary created by powerful trees, will last into the future and grow in their importance as they surround and nurture her family.
I hope we can all find this ability within ourselves—a multitasking without the negative connotation—to attend to and create beauty in the moment while keeping an eye to the future and sensing what will grow into something much more than it is now.
If you are interested in having family portraits of your own, please click "Schedule a Session."