Yearly Archives: 2010

I spent a chunk of my childhood living outside Washington, D.C.; where my father grew up and where his family still lived. My grandparents were there and my father’s two brothers and all my first cousins–and in the middle of that line up was me, my sister, and K. There was only one boy–older–not so interested in our games, and another girl who followed, years behind, who we nearly kissed to death as a baby. But us, the middle three, we were tight.

Fast forward a few years. The cousins have spread across the country and the family gatherings are more sparse. But those early experiences bind.

K was an exuberant kid and is no less charming and warm as an adult. She is always pursuing a new project, is a talented freelance graphic designer (see her work HERE), and generally projects enthusiasm for whatever life throws her way. (Fun fact: last week life threw her some BIG fun when Oprah’s producers called and invited her to be in the audience for what turned out to be O’s FAVORITE THINGS–and K got a cameo shot from the audience) But, by far, her favorite place to be is near her boys.

Ten years ago she married D, who is quietly smart and more reserved, but no less warm than K. He is easy and fun to be around. A great counterpoint to the, well, let’s call it, over-enthusiasm, that can be characteristic of K and my extended family. Together they had two boys, B and ‘lil K. B is older and a little more like his dad. Always thinking, totally handsome, and wicked smart. ‘Lil K is a flashback for me. He is us as kids. He is so completely a Seidel that I often joke with that K has given birth to her own dad. He looks just like our family (and his mom and grandfather) and is more goofy and a bigger showman than his brother. Both of them can crack me up and they are the ones who make their parents smile most broadly.

This shoot was K’s 40th birthday gift. She was excited, but when you see how photogenic and gorgeous these four are, you will realize that this was really a prize that I gave myself. It was so much fun to spend some time with them, chat with the boys, and watch them have fun together. And finally, to reflect their obvious love right back at them.

Happy Birthday K–I hope that you love your photos! I love you guys!

That is what M told me, “I don’t know how to smile!” But of course,

he knows how to–and how to make funny faces and “crazy eyes” and a million other charming mannerisms. Especially when his parents were nearby to hug. Those were the really special facial expressions.

His little sister A, she was everything that I love in a little girl–she was a strong spirit who knows her mind and does not hesitate to put you in your place. That this day she was of no mind to have her photo taken. We had to sneak around the edges. I remember saying to her mom, “you will be surprised what we get, I promise”–I hope I made good on that pinky swear.

But, as usual it is the photos between the photos that tell the full story. They show M pulling his dad into the photo, A hugging mom for dear life, Mom reading to appreciative kids in an effort to redirect them, and A making sure that her hands were dirty enough as she engaged in her favorite activity of digging in the dirt.

I so appreciated this family’s patience and willingness to go with the flow, even when the tide did not flow toward photos. I think that we caught the love–and the smiles. Turns out, M, you and A both did great!

Since I have a sister who just got married, I recognized the lilt in this mom’s voice when she called. Engagement photos for her daughter is what she was after, and the expectancy and excitement in her voice was familiar.

J, A and I decided to meet early one morning at the Arboretum. We wanted to capitalize on the fall colors (which never quite got their act together this year), and the beauty of the Arb in any season. But it hardly mattered where we were–it is so clear that J & A are in love that no matter where they were they brought their own beauty. I never had to remind them to smile or look at one another–and A was especially happy when I asked them to kiss.

And they were up for any adventure–J hiked the trail in nice shoes and they agreed to lean over me and kiss as I shot from below. It was a perspective on love that I had not had before, that is for certain. I also asked them to dance (they met dancing) in a grove of trees. That series includes some of my favorites. Wedding talk was low key, they were just content to enjoy one another and relish the idea that they had found their partner for this journey.

Everyone should have someone look at them like this during their life, don’t you think?

A called, it was time, Coco was about to be one, she needed “puppy” photos while they were still official–and since the adoption of their fur-child she and D had gotten engaged, so maybe a couple of them too.

Coco was a good model as long as the treats kept coming, obviously in love with her parents and a good pal of the others at the dog park that day. No one can deny that she is a beauty!

Speaking of A and D, they were clearly enamored of their baby, they also look very happy to have one another for a lifetime. Hard to say who is cuter…

Teens are not often the focus of my work. Many of us look back of the photos of this time in our lives and feel gratitude that there is not too much photographic evidence of our teen years. But A’s family wanted a photo for their dining room wall–a photo of their family as they actually look, one that will resemble them for years to come. And A, who is 14, was a very willing participant.

Dad wanted to be finished before the Pats game began (not so tough when no toddlers are involved), but managed to look great in EVERY photo. I mean this man never even blinks. We got him out for kick off. Mom worked with A to keep the show on the road. She was happy to have the chance to show off her close little bunch.

A and I then walked down to the beach for some photo fun. She was such a great subject. So appreciative of the opportunities that she has been given by her family, and very loving toward her parents. She had a vision of how she wanted the photos to look and helped organize. But at the beach we really played. I love the shots of her on the retaining wall–she had the good sense to wear gray, which made the look perfect. Not to mention the big brown eyes and the obvious kindness of this young lady. She is one that her parents can be so proud of…

I have said it before, but take photos throughout your family’s development!! There is no bad age. No silly photo. Memories and history are a record of our existence and how important we are to one another. You will be so happy to have photographic memories. And, later, A’s kids are going to look at these photos of a burgeoning woman that they never knew and be enchanted at this glimpse of her at their age.

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