When I walk into the home of a family I have never photographed before, I always get a little nervous that they will be expecting a portrait session, that their daily life will have stopped and they will be sitting there waiting for me to pose them. Of course I always communicate what to expect, but it's a fear I still always have. So, when I walked into Vijay's house and the kids were out back swimming in the pool, I was immediately relieved.
As I relaxed and started snapping, I got to hear stories about how Vijay's daughter and her twin brother used to swim in that same pool, and she would watch them just like she was watching her granddaughters. As I spoke with Vijay and her daughter Deepti about the kids playing at the house, I started to realize why I love extended family sessions so much. They make more evident how family photos document the present in a way that connects us to the past and creates a bridge to the future. This is easily seen when there is an environment that gets shared between generations. I feel it every time I take my kids back to the farm where I grew up. Seeing them play in the spaces where I grew up playing takes me immediately back to my childhood, and the photos help tie it all together from one generation to the next.
When we moved inside the home, the pictures on the wall told more history, and I loved hearing the details of medical school and a twin brother and personalities being passed down from mother to daughter. The girls sat with their grandma and stroked her hair, and I couldn't help but realize how special of a moment I was witnessing as Vijay will soon be undergoing chemotherapy and losing her hair. I was so excited to be able to do this session through Magic Hour, an organization that matches photographers with people who are fighting cancer for photography sessions. Vijay is so clearly loved by all. I am glad she will have these images to keep her company as she battles cancer.