May 19, 2015

Day in the Life photography Q+A

Q: What was appealing to you about this style of photography?

A: This is the style of photography that we love. Capturing real moments. A photojournalistic approach. With three boys running around all the time it is next to impossible to get them to sit still for a “traditional” portrait. If and when it happens it takes some M&M bribery. And that’s fine with us. We prefer the real moments, the candid shots, the spontaneity of it all. In those moments of running and playing and jumping, you catch complete and utter joy on those little faces. You also see quiet reflection, admiration and yes, sometimes sadness (especially when it involves broken toys and skinned knees). Think about the gamut of emotions we all run through in a single day. The range is wide. To have someone there to capture these moments and those emotions … this is the core of it all … that is life.

Q: What was it like having someone follow you around allllllll day?

A: Well, in reality, we generally have three boys on our heels most of the day. And usually there are asking for milk or snacks or help with a Lego project. Emilie never once asked for help with her Legos. So already she wins. Seriously though it was really not a big deal. And I think that speaks a lot Emilie’s demeanor and the professional way she works. From the moment she walked in the door she brought with her a sense of honesty that translated immediately into a great bond with us and the kids… and it remained the entire day. There was great trust with Emilie – to trust her with all that happened in that day behind every closed door and in every not-so-pretty point. It never felt like Emilie was “intruding”. She was in our space but not in our face – a very important distinction.

Q: Did Emilie interact with you or was she in the background all day? Did she direct you to do anything or did she really let you do your own thing?

A: We were not sure what to expect with Emilie “just being there”. Truth be told, there was a little bit of anxiety about it the day before – just from the sheer unknown of how is this all going to work. Most uncertainty was relieved pretty immediately because of Emilie’s warm and friendly demeanor. For us, it was more like a having a good friend spend the day with us. We are a pretty welcoming home so it seem really natural and easy to “hang out” with Emilie all day.

As for direction from Emilie, there was not one bit. We went about our day and did what we usually do – the routines, the chores, the tickling, the kid shrapnel on the floor. She captured it all. The results would not have been the same had she tried to direct us or pose us or tell us what to do. What you see is the 100% completely unstaged, undirected, beautiful and amazing chaos that is our life with our three boys. It is all real.

Q: What was your reaction when you saw your images? Did you learn anything about your family?

A: Laughter. Tears. Head shaking with a slight grin. And overwhelming realization of just how fortunate we are to have the life and the family we do. We take a lot of photos in our home and of our boys. We have pretty high standards for what we consider to be a “good photo”. With those standards in mind, there is only one word to described what Emilie captured: AWESOME. It was so incredible to see our life from a different perspective – especially the perspective of such a talented artist as Emilie. When you are in the middle of the tasks of doing laundry, making dinner or loading into the car you forget how actually fortunate you are to doing all of these things. With the opportunity to step back and look at it, a very mundane feeling moment actually has a great sense of beauty because it is rooted in family.

The process was quite therapeutic in a sense. We did go about a “typical” day but we also made sure to clear some projects off our weekend schedule. We checked work emails a little less, didn’t fret about the messes and just generally were able to focus on the boys and family. It was truly an incredible exercise of just being in the moment. It is so rare in these busy times of life. And it was wonderful. An unexpected benefit of this whole experience. And we are extremely grateful Emilie for this.

Q: What will you do with these images?

A: It goes without saying that we will cherish them and look at them over and over again to relive that day. And we have already seen the joy on the faces of the grandparents. Many of these photos will grace their walls and mantles as well as ours. But more importantly to us this collection of images will provide a document of a certain place and time in the life of our family. These documented moments will be something our boys will have forever. It is priceless. And this was the major reason we wanted to work with Emilie on this project. Our boys will be able to look back and see an entire day in their lives. They will see that they were loved. And that they were crazy. And young. And this was us. Then. And we can only smile (and cry a bit) with the thought that one day our boys’ children will gaze upon this incredible collection. It is priceless.

Q: Would you recommend this style of photography to your friends? How would you describe it?

A: Everyone – yes, everyone – should have the opportunity to take part in this experience for all the reasons we have mentioned. To be able to create a photographic document of a day in your life, to leave something behind … something that says “we were here and this is what it was like”. To be able to sit back and see what you truly have in your life and to feel so fortunate (and entertained).

The only other day that we have documented to this extent was our wedding day. We cherish those images. They too captured an amazing day. With this collection we add to that visual story of us. The story never really ends. Catch it while you can.