I find so much joy, such a sense of meaning in photographing a woman – in watching her let her guard down and allow herself to truly be seen, and in capturing the beauty she sometimes catches glimpses of in the bathroom mirror. I love the teary eyes we both get after I take a few shots and show her the image on the back of my camera – and in that moment we realize we’ve found her – the authentic, soul-bearing beauty she’s never seen or that’s been lost to her. I didn’t think I could love anything more – until I had the opportunity to photograph two women together. To witness and capture the amazing bond between this mother and daughter was a true honor. Here are some of Ashley’s words from our first conversation about their photo shoot.
“My mom is my very best friend in the whole world….. She's beautiful inside and out but will never admit it. She's the most selfless woman I know, and she would do anything in the world for anyone, especially her children and her family. She sends cards to me sometimes… just because she knows they will make me smile. She sends my dog monthly dog boxes full of toys and treats just because! She's the most thoughtful and loving person that I know, and I strive to be like her every single day... I don't think she feels natural in front of the camera but I wish that she would so that her beauty could truly shine through in a photograph. She never wants me to take photos of her or of us together even at holidays...but I want those memories of her and with her, and photos are the best way to capture that…”
Since Ashley and her mom Carol live in different states, I was especially excited for them to have a day together, simply focusing on themselves and the bond they share.
As you’ve probably gathered, my portrait sessions are every bit as much about the experience of being photographed as they are about the portraits themselves. It’s priority one for a woman in my studio to truly enjoy herself, to feel special and valued, through the hair, makeup, and photography portions of the shoot.
There are always laughs – often of the snorting variety – and many times tears of joy – but the photo shoot experience is a memorable and valuable experience tailored to each client and one that is all the richer when shared with someone you love - your mom, your sister, your best friend. Since my clients are already looking fabulous after their session, they often take advantage of a perfect opportunity to enjoy an evening out on the town together.
As I head out to the post office to mail Ashley and her mom their portraits, I am grateful for the honor of capturing them individually and creating mother-daughter portraits they can both cherish for years to come.