Archive for the ‘family’ Category

the very picturesque baker family enjoyed an evening at the circus.. you would have thought through the eyes of their 5 yr old son, brody, that this was the real deal. “you never can know a man unless you put yourself in their shoes and walk around.” isn’t that the wise quote from Atticus in to kill a mockingbird? as i worked through this session i wanted to do that with brody’s shoes. i have never had as captivated an audience as this young boy. watch his face through the shoot and i guarantee the same joy i felt. the look of total commitment to the moment… the family played. i clicked away. from sketches to shoot, every single thing worked. amazing!!!

seriously watching the “show”!! believe it or not it was a 60 degree evening with some wind.. we wanted these little guys to be barefoot. with this look you would never know there was momentary resistance at first, BUT between games and circus treats, there was not a complaint from beginning to end! [bribery is awesome] these little brothers are the BEST!!

i think i want to gobble him up!!

i see you, jude!!

and where would any circus be without a ring-of-fire to jump through? so funny! i was laughing so hard i don’t know how i kept any sort of focus. i was definitely off on my distance for the lens, but hats off to robert and brody on this one!

our last hoo~rah was popcorn… everyone in the USofA was posting images of their kiddos making snow angels. though texas had an unseasonably cold winter, we didn’t see much snow. so i figured popcorn could give us the ground cover to make some of our own kind of angels at the circus. five pounds of corn and three hours of popping filled one large black trash bag… wish i had doubled that ~ but i think both brody and jude were overcome with their opportunity to hang out in the center of a pile of white stuff. and eat it too for that matter. this will end our affair on a hilltop in the country of texas. it was a shoot like no other i have done. hearts to this family!

thank you my dear friend, kim, for use of your beautiful land… thank you for the assist, dominique holmes… thank you leigha and dan taylor for hand spinning the cotton candy… thank you, my husband, for many trips to asels in dallas for cardboard and other things needed to create these props, for patience while i worked and designed this shoot during your precious few hours of home life on the weekends…

our portuguesa kinfolk

February 26, 2014

a corner of mom’s garden…

the portuguese gathered on hagewa dr on a late summer’s eve. well, ok, not so romantic a day… a 90 humid-degree day of september. we came in from dallas altogether ready for the sweet breeze of autumn in ohio. a long knit skirt and blouse bought to wear, vintage table-clothes packed, new grandson in tote ready to meet more family, all the photographs i wanted sketched out and a vision that had been in my head over this past year for a real kinfolk table setting! not much of that materialized… i could hear wesley saying to buttercup, “get used to disappointment”! for the most part we were in shorts, jeans and t-shirts with the last drop of summer’s sunscreen smeared on our faces and dripping with sweat. not all of the family could be present… so to two of my own daughters, jordan and isabel, and nieces and nephews, katie, emily, daniel, bess and to my cousins, jamie and jody, — {all spouses and children thereof} you were missed so very much. our table would have been wonderfully endless if all were there. in the end, it was just a picnic. a really really nice picnic like the summer ‘family’ picnics we had growing up… maybe what we knew as kids at sharon woods, pushing picnics tables together and throwing the tablecloths out, watching the great uncles play chess and the young ones play kickball, softball, badminton and checking out the creek bed for fossils and salamanders… a day when most of the extended family could gather bringing their best part of the smorgasboard, was really a ‘kinfolk’? i think so, which would make us ~ hipsters!!.

while tables were being set outside… soup and a sundry of other delicious portuguese morsels were being prepared inside… with a busy one-year-old at our knees 🙂

the portuguese did not invent croquet. that has fallen into an argument between the irish and british. but the portuguese do have some little known facts that may surprise you: portugal is the oldest country in europe ~ they produce 70% of the worlds cork ~ they invented the ukulele {the name given to the instrument while sailing into a hawaiian port. and fyi… my mom has a talent with this instrument!} ~ the portuguese were the first colonized power to abolish slavery ~ they are the most fish-eating people in the world ~ and they were the first to circumnavigate the world, though only one of the fleet made it home and magellan, who captained the voyage and was commissioned by spain, died late in the journey ~ and one more tidbit, the portuguese diamond is the most valued in the world {of course that has a history all it’s own}

the menu ~ designed and researched ~ thanks mom 😉

yep ~ we celebrated the lucky ones of the family who have birthdays in september!words of my mom ~ the first generation of american portuguese from the ‘do Adro’ family… “My grandmother, Beatriz Oliveria Do Adro, came to America from Lisbon, Portugal, on the SS CANADA. A then single mother due to divorce, she brought two of her four children with her: my father, Henrique {Henry} and his sister, Luiza {Louise}. My father was nine years old. the year of transport was either 1922 or 23 with a discrepancy of age listed on the manifesto. Their port of entrance is unknown… though I am sure someone in the family will someday research that fact! Grandma moved her little family directly to Cincinnati, first living in Corryville and then settling in Madisonville. She followed the lead of her brother who was already living in America. She took a job as cook at the Cincinnati Hebrew Union College where she met Ted Haynes. They later married, making her the grandmother fondly remembered as ‘Grandma Haynes’.” {grandma haynes is pictured in the small oval frame above}

the adro sisters ~ norma and deloris ~ breaks my heart that i didn’t get a good photograph of them together (photo credit of aunt dee: kim carlin)

THE END! as you can plainly see 😉

when stacey approached me about photographing her family, we talked about the usual things in an interview… personalities, places for the shoot, and {since this is the season of christmas family sessions} how we could collaborate and develop a christmas theme. surprisingly, stacey said that was a sort of by~thought. to include it would be fine, but what she really wanted to begin for her young family was documenting yearly the changes… marking time. yes! indeed the best answer anyone could give a photographer. so here is the product and matching of her heart’s desire. i love this family’s beginning ~ married 4 years, daughter at age one. AND a lil’ merry christmas tah boot!

love love LOVE the weeds of texas in november!!! you could not pay for something better to shoot through and around… cough and sneezes aside 😉

this next series will end our most lovely time. i want to say here that this one didn’t ‘just happen’… when i was rearranging the load of props in my car i pulled out a chair that i decided against and with that my camera rolled out of my bag and dropped to concrete 3 feet below as did 2 lenses. a weird habit for me is to keep a hood up on my lens when i put it down. that hood and the filter of my 85mm lens were destroyed, but all else intact. within an hour of this event a friend texted me to say that God had put me on her heart… wanting to know if there was something specific to pray for. it is common, almost casual and ordinary to say that God is good, but to say that God is intimately involved in the details of our life everyday is almost intimidating. and if nothing less, it is surreal. but this afternoon two weeks ago, i got to know His intimacy. He overcame me. He overcame everything that was against this moment. dear lynlee, thank you. also thank you jenna and craig for being part of the praying for this shoot <3

this blog is two-fold… it does indeed represent ezra at 9 months of age, but more deeply and even spiritually it represents the deliberate and concentrated efforts of a father over, wrapped around, forming, his son. the value of a father in life is undeniable and i fall short in vocabulary to make it more substantial. it is in these images though. the potter and his clay, cash elliot and his son cash ezra…

i have watched my son-in-law throw clay for years now. this day i thought it would be different. just put a piece of clay on the wheel, spin it a little and let ezra’s hands take over– however, i learned, putting a piece of clay on the wheel can only be done one way. no shortcuts. no matter what. accompanied by the posture that a potter gains from the strength the work requires. please take your time reading this process before scrolling to the images.

cut the piece of clay from a large block
knead and mold into a rounded lump
center it – a hard deliberate throw onto the center of the wheel
apply motion to the wheel by foot pedal
wet hands and cup around the lump
press into the center as it spins
sponge water over the clay
apply pressure with hands, thumbs, fingers
sponge water
press, pull, build the walls
sponge water
press, pull, unique shape taking form
push, pull – discipline, realign, love
water – comfort, compassion, mercy, tenderness, love
push, pull – “because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in”
water – “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with unfailing kindness”
trim down, cut off edge, reshape a bit
maybe add a handle or interesting design as cash does
finished form
stamp with the potter’s mark revealing forever who the maker is – “you too trusted him, when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. And after you gave your confidence to him you were, so to speak, stamped with the promised Holy Spirit as a guarantee of purchase, until the day when God completes the redemption of what he has paid for as his own; and that will again be to the praise of his glory”
drying, the vessel’s most vulnerable time for breaking – “even though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i will not fear, for You are with me
fire again – “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
completed vessel
a process that will never change… for any of us

something else i learned in this moment is that as the baby applied uneven pressure and wobbled the shape, his daddy simply wet the clay, and using hands and fingers pulled it back into shape. it was effortless to him. what was ruined, was not permanent. cash, you are one who has known both perspectives. you are the clay and you are the potter. God has used your life to allow me|many to witness the process of working the rebuilding of your walls and the humility of being worked on. the potter is as clear in allegory to me as when i watched surgeons work to keep the right balance of moisture while repairing something within the human body.

“Still, God, You are our Father. We are the clay, and You are the Potter. All of us are what you made us.”

happy first father’s day cash!

ready for his first lesson!!

this is the mark of a potter. cash’s mark and pottery name is: He > I {read it out loud}

*scripture references from above:
Proverbs 3:12 NIV
Jeremiah 31:2-4 NIV
Ephesians 1:13,14 JB Phillips
Psalms 23:4a NAS
James 1:2-4 The Message

“dreams are nothing more than wishes and a wish is just a dream you wish to come true.
if only i could have a puppy
i’d call myself so very lucky
just to have some company
so share a cup of tea with me.
i’d take my puppy everywhere
lalalala i wouldn’t care
we would stay away from crowds
with signs that say no dogs allowed
O we…. we’d be so happy to be… together”
{the puppy song, harry nilsson}

Alyssa came to me in the moment of when these puppies were just a potential… saying, “Well, she might be pregnant and if she is i want you to do our pictures when the puppies are about 3 weeks old! i am actually in a sabbatical moment evaluating all of this photography business… but puppies… please, who could resist. i have never done an animal shoot, but thoughts of posing rushed into my head and i said yes. softie that i am.

here you indeed find that puppies were conceived and plentifully so! belle is pretty brilliant at hunting i’m told ~ and a good first time mama! she let me handle these pups and move them any which way i wanted.

i need to say a word here about alyssa and ryan ~ a complete opposites-attract kind of couple! alyssa couldn’t be any more girlie and adorable, feminine {in that perfect sheer mint green blouse} and sweet… ryan, the hunter, is as the word would describe! a texas man who didn’t want to have too much to do with those balloons. BUT somewhere underneath all that brave, strong, guy exterior, there was a piece of his heart that enjoyed blessing his wife with this session. you can see it in his eyes… and he also loves his hunting companion, belle. so for those ladies in his life ~ here is one very cute spring puppy photoshoot!

this family came into my life over ~ MILK! RaShell took on the responsibility of the raw milk co-op i’ve been part of for many years. we have become good friends and getting to love on her family has been the bonus! i hope what you can see conveyed through these images is the picture of a strong bond, which takes my mind straight to chemistry… the kind that are difficult to break. if you are a science person you can see the triple lines in your head. from top to bottom team Southerland is Jason, RaShell, Hannah, Daniel, Joshua, Ezra, Jonathan ~ Ezra grabbed my heart in some of these!! he loved the camera, or maybe the lady behind it ;}

jonathan was having a hard morning… fighting a cold, facing bright white sky light and then the wind was brutal on top of that. just before this last-last image, i was engaged with the older children playing on the boxcar, but out of the corner of my eye caught jason laying the baby down on the sidewalk for lack of another place to rebundle him!! rashell’s response to me later… “a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do”! LOVE IT! this was our final shot and one of my favorites. i love team southerland!

together at last!

November 16, 2011

the hope of families is to raise up successful families… the sad part in today’s world is this usually means separation by distances as school and jobs relocate our children. the following is documentation of the Wardlow family ~ 4 generations represented. it is the first time they have all been in the one place at the same time for many years. in my work, a story needs to be told… what is living and going on between the people. the beauty to me is that it isn’t perfect and little ones do make funny faces and cry… but it is representational of what is perfect for this family ~ hence, the sign “together”. that wasn’t exactly their vision for the shoot, but i am happy they allowed it for some of the images… that point to me was the most defining of what was occurring. there is a lot of love here and a lot of happy. i can still hear the robust laughter when they all got silly and the incessant chatter – i hear music!! i am less than formal and love it when my clients can embrace something outside the box of ‘usual’ photo stuff. thanks for going with me on this gayla, and for those of the family that drove the hundreds of miles to make this happen (i think greg and sandy)! teenagers, you were really special to me. your love showed for each other and your embracing and helping with the little ones helped me immeasureably ~ and i will remember you all. my husband got in on this evening as it took 2 cars to haul all the props to our location… he now understands why my legs ache a little after a big busy event 😉

all because of these faithful two!!

(if you have ever watched ‘romancing the stone’… in the beginning where the author, joan wilder, is crying at the end of her own book ~ that is me today. families do happen because of love and two people. i toast this completion with a hershey’s kiss.)

i come out of every session saying… ‘this was my favorite’. it will be hard to beat this day. not only am i in love with the wagner family, but fall is my favorite time of year and every element of this day lent some part to the beauty. no one loves shooting in the bright afternoon sun, and many times wind is just plain painful, but i am learning that though they can cause imperfections they lend warmth and lovely motion to a photograph. add the blur of 3 little kids, a very strong man who can pick them all up and you get the surprise of your life when an image is actually crisp!! addyson was the real secret to this success… her hands, her feet, how she tips her head toward her mom, her ability to completely ignore me being there and just play. the following is a family story on a most beautiful day in the middle of my field of dreams.. joy joy joy ~ the wagner family and their photo shoot “in a box”! to view the rest of the session link, click on slideshow in the upper right corner ~ beth has chosen a very sweet song to match.

“Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you;
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I;
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.”
(by Christina G. Rossetti and the favorite poem of my life)

until i edited these last images of trey and beth, i did not realize that the large tree in this field was actually 2 trees intertwined… significant? i think so and an excellent place to complete this entry.

A few new blogs… sweet! It is good to be posting again – I am so far behind my photo shoots. I’ve entered this under the general category of ‘FAMILY’ because it is actually – my family. Our 2011 vacation took place on the outerbanks of North Carolina! It is beautiful there – on the edge of the states. The color of the air during the evenings went from pink to soft blue. I felt we were wrapped all around with these pastels. Having the opportunity, I gave mini sessions to all daughters, nieces and nephews. You will see examples of couples, family groupings and individuals. This offered me close time and conversation that I would otherwise have missed. Vacations are chaotic, but when it came to being alone with just a few people at one time there was a pleasant settling and ability to focus on just who was at hand.

This will begin with my own daughters… oldest to youngest. Jordan dating Josh!

Jenna married Cash… almost 2 years ago!!

Isabel (more fondly, Louise) our youngest and high school senior

(niece) Katie married Ric. Their rambunctious sweeties are Catch and Miles…

(niece) Emily married Zach. They celebrated their 1st anniversary during this week…


(niece) Rachel married James. Caleb and Skylar complete them!


best laugh of the week!

(nephew) Ian asked Emily to marry him

(niece) Bess, completing her undergrad work this year!

(nephew) Daniel, who went m.i.a. for these beach photos, married Nicole! Then along came Aiden and Molly.