While Ema Onawa laughs and entertains you with her noises and activity, Owen Kai is deep in thought and speaks with effort and consideration. It’s hard not to feel like a child yourself as you watch them dream throughout the day. Each face is expressive with wonder, one subtle the other overt. I have a hard time keeping my kisses off of their sweet little cheeks. As Owen’s godparents we have a special place in our hearts for these two kidlets, and we will spend the rest of our days trying to capture what makes them so darling. And not just for their family keepsakes, but for ours. So lucky we were for a summer visit with this Santa Cruz family, in the small town of Almonte, Ontario where their grandparents live.
With a wedding there at the end of month, Tristan and I photographed in Ontario for most of June. We drove from one end of the province to another, stopping along the way and joining the lives of different families, if only for a short while. It was bitter sweet, getting to spend time with a wonderful family and then having to leave them the next day. But it was great, and we’re grateful to have the small windows into the many different versions of family life. Here is just a small taste of the people who filled our hearts with love on this recent trip. More stories to come.
The first thing you see when you walk into Nick and Vanessa’s house is a wall covered in family photos. More importantly, accordingly to Lily (age 9 ) is that the first thing you see is Lily. She certainly is right though, as there is a lot of Lily on that wall and the other 5 walls surrounding it. We recently filled these walls with photographs that we’ve taken of the Watters family over the last 5 years, combined with beautiful old family photos. Over the early winter we’ve been curating, organizing, mounting, framing and reframing 90 pictures. With the direction of our assistant Lily and the watchful eyes of Shelby and Roger (shown below), Nick and Vanessa left us to make a gallery out of their family history thus far. If the next 5 years render as many pictures as the last, they’ll need to be moving soon and opening us up some new walls! Until then, we’re so grateful for the opportunity to put a piece of our hearts in their home, not only within the frames but in the design.
Melt my heart.
The thing about friendships that is both exhilarating and frustrating is that there is no golden rule that disallows you to love people outside of your city or province.
I know this is obviously a good thing. But it can be hard when you realize there are people out there that you could spend days on end with and they don’t live anywhere near you. Kate and Jay are two of those people for us. Back in the summer we drove up north in Ontario to meet them for a pregnancy and bridal session. Kate and I had never met but instead we connected through her sister initially over our shared love of photography. Finally getting to spend some time with her was wonderful and overdue. We started out by photographing in her backyard, a beautiful forest. The funny thing is, even though Kate remembers feeling very pregnant at the time she barely looked it. The second portion of our time together in the summer was a bridal session with her husband Jay. We spent the duration of the cloudy sunset at their cottage beach, making poor Jay colder and colder. He did as great of a job bearing the temperature as Kate did hiding her growing baby under her wedding dress. The rest of our evening was spent chatting over homemade pizza with her sister Emily and nephew Jack while being entertained by stories of Jay’s childhood. We were reluctant to leave the next day, wishing that our cottages were next door to each other. It seems now that our families hanging out over homemade pizza might become a bit of a tradition, and we’re happy to have them (Emily and Jack included) in our lives, living close to us or not.