Crystal+Jason+Co

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.

Martha and Justin are dear friends of ours whose wedding we photographed way back in 2011 (!!) and whom we’ve played many games of Killer Bunnies with ever since. Martha’s from Chicago and Justin’s from Minnesota, but they met in Chicago. Martha left to attend Duke, and Justin joined shortly thereafter… and they both became Durhamites through and through. Here they adopted a cat and later had a real human child named Emilia, who is the friendliest and most adorable kid on earth. She is a fantastic hugger and excited ALL THE TIME! and also loves pizza. She is also incredibly patient, especially for a 2.5 year old. I’ve seen her look lovingly at pizza that wasn’t hers (while clapping) yet remaining seated (!) and just politely sitting there until her pizza arrived. I’ve seen grown adults who can’t do that and have zero chill when it comes to waiting for pizza (namely my husband).

Now they are sadly (to us!) moving to Minnesota, and taking their knowledge of amazing food with them (Martha helped us discover the joy that is pupusas, and, of course, El Cuscatleco). We will miss them greatly. They wanted a family session that documented a little bit of their time spent in Durham at the playground in Central Park and The Parlour, where Emilia makes theĀ best ice cream eating face. It’s like the face you would make to imitate a tiger, only instead you’re just eating ice cream. I love her. And them. When we visit you in Minnesota you have to promise you’ll take us to see Prince stuff. xoxo.

Doing at-home lifestyle family documentation is normally a very fun thing to do, but it becomes even more fun when the family is British and have fun accents, and when their 3-year-old daughter makes you tea. Clare and Dan live in a phenomenal old neighborhood in Durham that reminds me a bit of my old ‘hood in Pittsburgh. And their house is adorable, bright, fun, and 100% complete with KISS Mr. Potato Head dolls. They moved from the UK to America several years ago and first landed in Los Angeles, and then hopped across the US to land in Durham. From across the pond they bring with them their wonderful senses of humor but also the knowledge of this British kid’s television show involving a cute monster-looking guy whose name currently escapes me but was reminiscent in the best ways of My Pet Monster (which was brilliant). Harper likes this monster, but also Daniel Tiger and Peppa Pig, and also occasionally snacking on goldfish crackers straight off the pond on top of the dollhouse that Clare painstakingly made her. Baby Lyla is happy and sleepy, and not yet appreciative of all of Clare’s household crafts (of which there are many fabulous ones!). I had a great time hanging out with this family and learning such phrases like being “duffed up on the nugget.”