It’s a small world out there, but I never stop getting a kick out of meeting people from southwestern PA. Julie and Matt are from a small town a little south of Johnstown, where I spent a semester at UPJ. They went to colleges in the area that I’m familiar with, and we all were able to equally lament about scraping the ice from our cars in the morning (which, cruelly enough, Geoff and I had to do this morning in North Carolina before we went to the gym). Matt was also an education major (southwestern PA produces a lot of stellar teachers) and he likewise moved south to teach down here. Julie and Matt, in addition to having this eerily similar background to me, also have two cats and enjoy staying at home (SAME). Their cats’ names are Binx and Drogo and there was a lot of debate at the shoot as to who is the better behaved cat. They’ve been living down in NC for 4 years and are getting married up in PA next summer. And this PA girl is very happy for these fellow PA folks, and so glad I got to inject a little bit of “yinz” into their engagement session in Durham. ;)
Last time I photographed this family, Patrick was a tiny goofball with short hair and Ellie was an itsy bitsy baby with short hair. Now Patrick (not that much shorter than me at this point) and Ellie both have long hair and a younger brother named Jackson. And soon they’ll all have an even younger sister! And I cannot wait to meet her because I LOVE these people. The parents, Dottie and Jon, are quite near and dear to our hearts. They’re one of the first weddings we shot and the way they supported us and recommended us to get our career off the ground was incredible, and they continue to support me to this day. Both sides of their family are also huge supporters and continue to remain in touch which is so awesome and means so much to me.
Dottie and Jon are the fantastic, intelligent couple who manage to successfully run this incredible household and be adorable while they’re at it. They’re funny and I love them. Now for extensive psychological profiles on their children: Patrick is still a goofball, but now he’s a responsible, kind, REALLY GOOD KID (all caps). He’s helpful and sweet and is careful of where and how he strikes his mom with a lightsaber because she’s pregnant (even though she was showing him no mercy). He is close with his dog Weaver, who enjoys when Patrick rides her around the yard like a small horse. Patrick is stellar. And while the entire family has a killer sense of humor, Ellie is definitely the current comic relief. She’s super silly, makes a lot of faces, has a sharp wit, and can entertain and occupy herself, as well as hold her own with two brothers. Her parents tell me she’s also insanely responsible and schedule-oriented, and easily holds the family together. And then there’s Jackson, who currently plays the role of mischievous, too-smart-for-his-own-good, completely unpredictable yet SO CUTE small child. He enjoyed the pastime of pointing a (suction cup) bow and arrow set at my face repeatedly throughout the shoot (he was respectful enough not to fire… thank you, Jackson), eating chocolate and then getting upset when the chocolate was taken away, and climbing on top of the roof of his plastic car in the two seconds we were all looking in the other direction. He’s a whirling dervish.
All three have strong (and quite funny) personalities, and I cannot wait to see what baby #4 adds to the mix. I am so delighted to have photographed these folks again and be a part of their historical documentation (especially since Dottie is a history buff). Thank you for everything always and forever, D+J.
Rachel and Brandon got engaged! And then, while searching for wedding venues in New Orleans, they serendipitously stumbled across some weddings I shot down there and contacted me to do their engagement session in Durham where they live. They were super pleasant and friendly via e-mail and phone and I was already excited to work with them and their dog Jovie. But then, a few days before the session, Rachel casually sends me an email that reads, “And a heads up. We recently rescued a kitten, so he’d have to be involved here as well.” I like how she worded this: the kitten has to be involved… as if to imply there might be some sort of chance I wouldn’t accept?!?? Or would tell her, “NO. ABSOLUTELY NO KITTENS.” Rachel did not know me well enough when she sent that email but I think she does now. This is when I grabbed my Crazy Cat Lady cape from the back of my office chair, slung it around my shoulders and got to work converting her engagement/family session into 100% a kitten session without even trying or thinking about it. I did try very hard to pet Jovie the dog and hug Rachel and Brandon equally but let’s face it, I think they all knew I was there for Crash the Cat. Crash is really good at posing because he’s really good at sleeping when he’s not running full speed around the house. Jovie is really good at eating Crash’s cat toys and also entire Dominos pizzas when we weren’t looking. Rachel and Brandon are good at looking cute and adopting a lot of animals and eating pizza. I wish I was still shooting weddings so I could follow them to Nola, but these kitten photos were a good consolation prize.