Hello 2017

Goodbye 2016

Girl squatting and taking out spices from a cabinet with her butt crack showing

I always love the clarity and inspiration that a new year offers, and I tend to spend a lot of this time of the year making flow charts and lists and plans and goals. I'm trying to be realistic about my aspirations for this year as I will be adding a new baby to my workflow in April. That being said, I love personal projects, and while I'm not going to be starting any new projects, I will be continuing old projects with new goals. This is my third year doing my Portrait of Play project. Every week I observe my children playing and document the experience through photographs. I have learned so much about my children and photography through this weekly discipline. There is always more to learn though, and I still feel like every week is exciting as I take time to really see my kids and push myself to learn new photography skills. As I look back through all of my 2016 pictures and words from the project, I'm realizing that there is so much I would have already forgotten had I not written it down or intentionally documented it. There's no doubt that life is not slowing down any time soon, and I feel so fortunate to have all these little moments suspended in these frames to remember forever as my brain continues to deteriorate from sleep deprivation. Here are some random moments from this past year's Portrait of Play project. You can follow along with our 2017 play on my personal blog at All Mountains and Molehills.

Because this project has meant so much to me as a mother, I offer Portrait of Play sessions for parents who want to remember this time in their child's life and development. The memories and details of their child's room, their toys, and their ever changing bodies is something that the whole family will love looking back on with increasing gratitude as time passes. You can find out more about these sessions here and get in touch to book a session here.

I'm also participating in a blog circle this month with some fabulous photographers from around the country. Check out the work of Tori Cox from Little Bird Photography here: Family and Lifestyle Photographer in Amarillo, Texas, and circle around to the other photographers in the loop.

Here's to 2017.

Girl throwing grass over a fence to a horse who is in the foreground
two girls doing a flip on a swing at the time
baby smiling while getting water dumped on her head
baby landing on arms on a trampoline with feet in the air
black and white image of a girl climbing on a jungle gym taken from underneath
Girl in her pajamas jumping on a bed in the window light with dust floating
Girl standing in front of a mirror with a princess dress and hat on while flexing her muscles
girl standing in a pasture holding a baby doll with trees behind her.

At Home with the Ceass Family, Atlanta Documentary Family Photographer

The routines of a toddler

During this session, just by following this family around, I learned so much about Eli and the way he goes about his days. So much of a toddler's day is scheduled around routines, and I loved watching Eli as he confidently moved through his day, doing the things that he does every day, the things that define his days. As we walked to the playground, Eli got a stick, just like he always does. On the tennis courts, he moved through his round of toys and stopped by a lonely puddle before heading to the slide and swings. Up and down and back and forth until it was time to throw a rock and some pine straw in the stream. The routines kept coming when we got back home in forms of snacks and Elmo and throwing away trash and feeding the dog and cat and continued with games inside and outside and always another "one more time." Following parents as they follow their child's lead with responsiveness and connectedness is a privilege I do not take lightly.

When I photograph a family, I am always thinking about what the child will want to someday see of what their childhood was like. Of course I want to show them how absolutely loved they are, but I also want to be able to show them the games they played, the work they did, and the special routines that shaped their beginning understandings of family life.