It is wonderful photographing people you haven’t seen in a while, especially when those people have had two children since the last time you saw them, and those two children really love your branding even though they’ve never met you or used your services, and they’ve placed your stickers all over their house. I’ve come equipped to recent sessions with two stickers: my current branding with the two fruit bats, and my old “vintage” branding that depicts two classic Halloween bats in front of a moon. Eloise and Thomas, the children of Crystal and Jason, had already placed their parents’ vintage stickers around the house. So when I tried to give another one of these to Eloise, she seemed disappointed and said, “Oh…. yeah… we already have that one,” but she was excited about the new fruit bats. But by the end of the session, Eloise had changed her tune and was suddenly requesting “four more stickers – two for me, and two for my little brother” – one of each branding design. I diligently obliged and then went back to talking to Crystal about something. When I turned around a few seconds later, I discovered both to my delight and horror that Eloise had placed all four stickers in prominent positions on her parents’ vehicles. I think I ran around stammering “I’m so sorry” repeatedly while photographing my new moving billboards with my phone. Thankfully Crystal and Jason are good sports and are okay with accidentally advertising for me for the remainder of the lifespan of their cars (or until they get some Goo Gone, whichever comes first) because they are delightful. Their children are delightful – intelligent, thoughtful, smiley little creatures. And their dog Atlas is DELIGHTFUL. All caps. Love this good old boy. Sorry about the stickers everyone, but I do smile when I go to bed at night knowing that the bats are driving around town.
You guys remember Erika and Emmanuel. I’m not sure they need an introduction at all despite my two year hiatus. I photographed the incredible Felix a couple of times as well before my break. Last time I photographed him he was a little toddler. This time he was 3 (almost 4) going on 33-34. I pulled into the driveway and he burst out of the house, “Hi, I’m Fe. My mom told me all about you.” I asked him if he remembered the last time I photographed him, which received the response of “Nope! Do you want to see my skeleton?” Amazing. I adore him. He is very polite and hilarious and I know it looks like I stopped him every two seconds and asked him to smile for the camera, but I didn’t – that’s just Fe. He loves cameras and he knows he’s cute. It’s a dangerous combination. He also loves Halloween and showed me many skeletons, tombstones, and also his cat mask. He also showed me his actual cats and his dog and his chickens and his trampoline. During all this he asked if I wanted ice cream and what flavor. I told him vanilla with sprinkles but he said, “No, I think you want chocolate chip” and my order was abruptly changed. He is definitely a gifted young kid who will do incredible things and look insanely fashionable as he does them (just like his parents). Or he’s an alien. At one point he did discuss how “the humans” make chocolate milk… like he himself is not a human but rather separate from the humans… and Emmanuel told me that he does this sometimes. I think this makes me love him even more.
One of the perils of photographing a small child that you see often and are friends with is that they tend to want to sit next to you during the shoot and you keep having to move away from them in order to take pictures of them, which hurts their feelings. They also know your husband Geoff and demand to know where he is, and are upset that you didn’t bring him. We’ve been friends with Abby and Rachel for a very long time, and were so excited when they moved back to NC with their kiddo Ansel. Ansel is our buddy. We’ve shared dinners and bedtime story routines and long discussions about Geoff’s shoes. He is extremely intelligent and also hilarious, and I don’t think I’ve ever really seen him truly upset except for maybe 5 seconds when he couldn’t get the “Prog” button his keyboard to work. He is funny and very adored and he seems to like us.
When I showed up without his buddy Geoff for this shoot, he was initially confused. Why would I be there… without Geoff? Where are Geoff’s shoes? He then made a swift recovery by deciding to sit directly next to me during most of the session where I couldn’t photograph him and giggling profusely. Slowly he was bribed away from me with various things: sticks, a blanket that looks like a tortilla which I use whenever over their house as much as possible, howling with his dog Ozlo, more sticks, a scooter, some pinecones, and finally cookies. We had a wonderful time. I love this family with all of my heart and am lucky to know them and extremely lucky and thankful that they have a blanket that looks like a tortilla that they allow me to use when I’m at their house.