“Hi Cute Kids!!
Brandy has been asking for this for years – and I want to give it to her this year for Christmas…..
We want to do a family portrait of the 4 of us – and you know us and know it can’t be a group of us sitting in each other’s’ laps with subtle smiles on our faces. So, I would like to commission you to create something wonderful for us that will give us a few prints. What do ya think?”
This is how a dear client, and friend, reached to us. We were thrilled, thinking oh “it must be like the 5 year mark for photos.” Boy, we were off by 19 years. Yup, it had been 24 years since the last updated family portrait! A grandchild was born and raised, and is now grown. A sister got married, and one found freedom. A mom was proud of all.
If that Intro was any type of a foreshadow to the amount of emotions that went into this session, multiply that by 4. Four times the amount of love, passion, joy, and fun.
As always we interview our client, this time we interviewed everyone included in the session. All emailed out separate. Nobody saw the other’s answers…. Until now.
We started pretty simple, “What does family mean to you?”
We expected everyone to answer the same, we expected the simple answers. We’ll let you decide if these answers are standard, or extraordinarily incomparable.
M:My family means absolutely everything to me – without my girls there’s no reason for me to be alive.
U: My Girls! There are no words so unless you know us you can't possibly understand.
C: Family is fierce love. At least in my world. It is love with bite to it; with fire behind it pushing it ever forward into new iterations. Fierce love, loyalty, and protection, wrapped in the gentle thunder of an "I love you" that rumbles in your veins that certain way only when family says it.
Remember when we said, none of them saw their answers, so they all answered on their own, uninfluenced by one another, except through their past filled with memories. Let the emotions from their answers, seep into your soul, and let the love over take you, as you dive into this blog, scrolling away through the emotional yet joyous memory making, as well as capturing, session.
The next question was, “How does love win against frustrations of life?” We asked this because every couple, family, individual, human, CAN RELATE. When you really love someone, and they are just frustrating the heck out of you? You still love them, but your temper is tempted, and your frustrations are flipping emotions higher and higher… words are water bursting from your mouth, and your eyes are extraordinarily just squinting and wanting to water. Right? We can all agree, whether it be a friend, a partner, a spouse, a family member- WE ALL HAVE THOSE MOMENTS. So how do you let love win, over frustrations?
M: With the love of my girls, there are no frustrations!! Wait – that’s crazy talk – they can sometimes be the frustration, but oh my, how mundane life would be without a few hills and dales.
U: "Frustrations" are relative. The love between us isn't.
B: Haven't a clue, the frustration always wins.
C: Love is all. Love is what we take forward with us in all endeavors, knowing that it is always wrapped around us, even if we fall.
Okay for a moment, can we appreciate, and TALK ABOUT THE REALNESS HERE? There is no Rococo fluff, this Baroque storytelling here with a dash of realism. “Frustrations always wins” “frustrations are relative, the love between us- isn’t”, “with the love of my girls, there are no frustrations.. Wait.. that is crazy talk… but how mundane life would be without a few hills and dales”, then finally, “Love is all, love is what we take forward with us in all endeavors, knowing that it is always wrapped around us, even if we fall.” CHILLS. This is why we do B+B interviews because we get to know our clients so well, and our clients give us such insights, especially when although, they did not know how the others were answering, it was as if they were all speaking and completing one long sentence. If you are struggling in life, read their sentence one time, as a whole.
“Frustrations always win: frustrations are relative, but the love between us isn’t- with the love of my girls, there are no frustrations….wait … that is crazy talk….but how mundane would life be without the hills and dales; love is all, love is what we take forward with us in all endeavors, knowing that it is always wrapped around us, even if we fall.”
Okay, now read it again, and again. And again. Just make it a pin and Pintrest the heck outta that. Hobby lobby a sign out of it, and post it everywhere. If you do not feel love coming from that quote, like waves lapping at your toes, causing chills to coat your body… Read it again. Keep reading it until you feel the power in the words, the strength in the love, and the kindness in these souls that are kindred to us and you!
Okay, moving onto the next interview question, we should have told you to make tea for this tea time or cocktails for this read, “ Any take aways from this session?” See we kept it simple after that last emotional answer.
M: The session was a most joyous occasion and I think you and Ben should wear a Sandwich sign or set up a large T-P sign at the sites of your sessions. I know for sure ALL those in the Woodlands who witnessed our session were ‘pea green’ with envy!!
U: You and Ben were awesome to work with and you made it even more fun that we already are!
B:It was a fun day with my girlz. Thanks for taking time out of your day for us and trying to capture us smiling and giggling together.
C:I could feel the tension in the air for all of them, as they don't really do the "center stage" thing, ESPECIALLY when there are cameras out, but y'all rolled with us and our muchness, and got everyone to open up into the big smilers and laughers we are.
Okay, amongst all the emotional moments, there was fun, we promise! Loads of laughter, cussing and drinking- so just like any ole human. Yet these images, make it look like art, because it is. There is art in each every day moment, and you might not see it, but we do. Just another reason why we love doing B+B, and why we do it different than any ole photographer. Thank u, next question! (We couldn’t help but use this catchy transition!)
We brought the emotional roller coaster right back up with the following question, “What was your favorite memory from your children and granddaughter?” Okay, so fair warning, you will need a tissue box, and possibly a whiskey sour with these answers, so settle in for some strong emotions to take you over!
M:I have an encyclopedia of favorite memories with the girls: 1) The most recent trip with Ursulla to Puerto Vallarta comes to mind quickly – but then trimming her Christmas tree with her last night was so much fun. 2) A few months ago riding in the car with Brandy, we found ourselves laughing so hard I quite literally had to pull the car over because I couldn’t see – and I love dancing with her. 3) With Cheyenne, all of her stage performances, but the two that jump out at me are her performance of Media and the night she opened for Blues Legend, Miss Lavelle White. Really, I could go on and on – for years - with wonderful memories with all three of them – but my most favorite recent day with all three of them was our photo session with you and Ben. It was a most excellent day of extreme love and laughter – I will never forget it!!
U: Sitting in the bathroom, when mom took a bath, that was my time with her as a child.
B:Any moment that I get to see Cheyenne truly smile, from her heart, is a beautiful memory.
C:One of my favorite memories of all of us together is really any time we get together and cook. Usually a holiday. But we all sing and dance and laugh and talk and it is an echo in my soul, always.
What imagery these answers paint, what vivid memories these have swirling in your heads, as you read them! Take a moment, enjoy that smile on your face, and let yourself dive into your own memories, the warm gushy emotional ones that you would not trade for the world. Take a moment, and just feel. Feel everything around you, let the world stand still. Recognize these people are no different from you. Now let’s get back to reading the rest of this interview!
“How excited are you to see the final images?” Pretty straight forward question, to give a break from the emotional coaster, give some time for recovery.
M:We absolutely can’t wait!! I hear from Ursulla most often about it – she is dying to see them & can’t wait. Cheyenne said she’s seen a few, but of course won’t tell me details, other than there were photos of Ursulla and Brandy laughing and playing together that almost made her cry. Then Brandy has waited for more than 20 years for us to do some family portraits – bless her heart – it’s almost time!!!
U:Super excited and a little nervous. I tend to be quite critical of myself.
B:Very excited, but it was a lousy makeup day for me, so I fear looking like a friggin golden idiot.
C:Oh I'm super stoked and you KNOW IT! I've been watching your family shoots evolve for years and I am so proud of the work y'all have evolved into producing. I knew y'all would be the right fit for us, I'm just elated.
“Any advice for families on keeping the family together and strong?” After a little break from emotions, we go right back, for of the last questions.
M:Nah, my walls are not covered with “Mother of the Year” awards. However, not withstanding a few bumps in the road, having a great sense of humor to initiate laughter seems the best medicine.
U:It is personal but love them anyway!
B: I may not always like you, but I'll always love you. And I will beat any ass that threatens the happiness of any of my girlz.
C:Love hard. Very hard. Make sure you say "I love you" every day if you can. You never know what is going to happen or drive people away or home, but as long as they have memories of "I love you" every day, warm hugs, understanding, and faith in their integrity, no matter what transpires, family will always come back to each other. Nobody understands us like each other.
Read those answers a few times, the realness the honesty, the love, the advice. Soak it all in, because the emotional coaster is still going up.
“If you had one wish, what would you wish?” Everyone has regrets, or things they want to make right, or make happen, and this is something no matter if you are close with your family, or distant with a friend, you can always relate to the need for just one wish!
M: I really, really wish I had not moved us so much so my children could have remained in the same schools. The second part of that wish would be that I had been more inspirational to my girls.
U: That my mother didn't have to work so hard and was loved by a man the way she deserves to be loved.
B:My daughter to never have to struggle the way I have.
C:(My answer is pretty specific to our family and this year. It'll make us cry and an audience won't understand. How like my family, huh? Something special and almost ritualistic just set aside for us to indulge in.) I wish against wish that we could have one more Thanksgiving like we used to. We would all go meet up at Candi & Curt's house for food, and drink, and smoke, and then watch the games that were on, rest, and play charades. I always remember those times being the best. Curtis hugs and laughs, Sugar and Peaches with their kisses and cuddles... It was a different time. Forever etched into my scrying mirror.
So many good wishes, so much love in them! I am pretty sure you do not need to hear “Can you feel the love tooooniiiightttt” to know that love is in the air, when it comes to this family. Such fierceness in their loving ways.
Sadly, the next question, is the last question, and then we will conclude this blog. Their artwork will be delivered this Friday, and a second ordering session will be held for some more as well. It is alway sad to write “That is all for now, stay tuned for the next blog”, because like art in a museum, how one can gaze for hours and feel it, capturing people as art, leaves us here at B+B feeling like we have to leave the museum because it is closing time. This time the depth of this interview leaves us with the reminder to love more, so without further ado, last but not least, “What's something you feel is important to you and your family?”
M:The loving…..and me being healthier.
B:Laughter, it heals even the most broken of hearts.
C:Love, loyalty, and honesty. If you harm one of us, or lie to or about us? Oof... I'd just suggest against it. We love each other with such a deep fury, and we aspire to love harder and longer every day because we have lost so many people we love for so many reasons. Our love is bone deep. Cellular. It's important to us to have each other and have each other's backs.
And like the second question, their answers read like a long, complex sentence. So. Much. Love. People say that photographs are worth thousands of words, and video allows you to relive a day, but they never say anything about the subject of both. What is a video, without the person? What is a photograph, without a subject? The subject is the art. This time however, the art was the love between all four of these women. Throughout the session, there was laughter, there was emotion, there was passion, there was realness. We know we said this earlier, but this session, like others, have us feeling like we left a museum: where the art, swallowed us whole, and we want to go back as soon as possible. Till next artful session, stay tuned.
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