Today little Miss Maddie turns 8 years old. She is hardly little anymore. It is crazy how fast she has grown up. To think I took her first photos when she was in her mama’s belly, is pretty cool. Her parents loved her more than words could express, even before they met her. They hoped and prayed for a baby and they got way more than they could have ever imagined. I love that I have been their family photographer from the very beginning.
This is what I love about my job. I document how the family grows, often times beginning with maternity photos. When I say on my website, “If you don’t want to be friends after our photo shoot, I am probably not the right photographer for you.” I really do mean it. I want to connect with people on a deeper level. I think this really helps because I photograph my clients in such intimate and vulnerable times. It is really what I love about lifestyle photography. The actual connection with who I photograph. Then seeing that translate to the photos.
I remember the first call from Julia inquiring about maternity photos. She was bubbly and animated on the phone. She told me about her beloved doggie Mika, her hubby Mark and his love of Harley’s and how excited they were to finally be having a baby. After the maternity shoot I knew I would be friends with this family. I loved Julia from the first minute. It is hard not to love her, so raw and so real. My kind of gal. I could also tell they were going to be great parents because of how sweet and well behaved their doggie Mika was. I believe you can tell a lot about the parents from the dog’s behavior.
When Maddie came into this world she was a sweet, bundle of pure love. She was a beautiful little angel. Through the years I watched her grow. Taking their family photos yearly, I have witnessed an incredible little girl blossom. Each year after the family photos we go to Maddie’s room, just the two of us, for playtime. She shows me her favorite things, we laugh and goof off. I take photos of her hamming it up. She is far from shy and not afraid to be completely goofy for the sake of fun pics! I have loved these very intimate connections, with this girl who I only see once or twice a year. They mean so much to me. Last year Maddie invited me to be her VIP guest at her school. I was so honored and thankful for my relationship with Maddie. We held hands as we sat in church for the special mass at her school. I reflected on how blessed I am to have a job that connects me to people in this very intimate way.
Maddie is nothing short of a comedian. Not only is she witty but her view of the world can be hilarious and so profound. Julia and Mark should make a book of the things Maddie says. So entertaining and thought provoking. She is a very old soul with so much compassion and empathy. She wants to be an Egyptologist when she grows up. She loves American Girl dolls and fashion. Maddie loves God and her church. She passed on a birthday party, to attend the mass for a priest who was leaving their church. She is fearless. She moved to Chicago this year, from Santa Clara and was so mature about the whole thing. Ready for new adventures. She has learned to ice skate and play hockey in her new town even though it was super challenging. There were some very rough times at first but with encouragement from her coaches she chose to to work hard, put on a smile and practice. Recently seeing the videos of her skating down the rink to assist a goal, brought me to tears.
In August, I did a little mini shoot with Maddie in her new home in Wilmette, IL. Pretty convenient that I fly into Chicago to visit my son, who attends Beloit College. We had a spontaneous photo shoot in their new hometown, where Julia actually grew up. It is such a very special place. We had a little window of time before my flight, but we were able to see a lot. They showed me the Baha’i House of Worship, the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, and we even had time for chicken wings at Buffalo Joe’s. OMG, soooo good. It was so great to see Maddie so well adjusted so fast. It says a lot about her as well as Mark and Julia.
Happy 8th Birthday Miss Maddie! I love your amazing heart, quick wit and beautiful smile. I feel very lucky to know you and am so happy to be “your photographer” as you like to introduce me. I can’t wait to see you next time and look forward to many more adventures together!