Going into a shoot, you usually never know what to expect. The nerves always start off like the first day of September, when you know school is approaching and even though you know it'll go smoothly, the butterflies are still present, floating in all their magical glory.
Michael and I were invited to photograph a 75th surprise birthday party for a client's grandmother. I was warned that it was going to be loud and chaotic and that their nonna was a little firecracker who would not be happy about all the fuss.
Quite the contrary, we walked in and were greeted with warm Italian hospitality, had free reign to take photos all day and were treated like one of the famiglia. I sometimes find it interesting how an outsider views things. In my own family, I've had so many people comment how lucky we all are to have such a large family but as we all know sometimes, more isn't always merrier. Every family has their conflict and strife and it has been my experience that it is a matriarch that brings people together, despite any issues. When my grandmother and then aunt passed away, we felt our family separate in distinct sects. We were there for each other during their passing and then, as if no longer having anyone to do it for, our large gatherings became fewer and further in between.
Yesterday was quite beautiful to observe and document. The preparation, the kids, the love, the hugs and the laughs remind us all to put our differences aside and love the family we were blessed to be born into.
What a sheer joy it was to photograph this family yesterday. Elsa was a kind and spunky soul. She shouted in Italian but spoke proudly in English about her siblings, her children, her grand children and great grand children. She spoke about being happy to wake up every day, and showed us her photograph in the church glossary. She even promised to knit for me if I ever have a baby, and wanted me to photograph for her church in a not so old fashioned way. She made me promise she would get a copy of the photos and that they wouldn't stay on the computer, so for those of you reading this, make sure you print her copies from the disk!
God Bless to you all, and may you have many more family gatherings, children, grand children, and memories together. Here are just some of the many photographs...from our eyes and perspective.