Friday, January 30, 2009

Vintage Family Photos #1

I guess because of my chosen career, in the past decade, there has been a gradual shift in my family, where I have become the keeper of the family's archive of old negatives and miscellaneous photo prints. My parents still have most of the photo albums they made throughout the years, though I have a couple of my baby albums here now, but the doubles, the negatives, and the very random have ended up with me. We're talking about photos from at least the 1930s on, and with two hobbyist grandfathers, that's a lot of imagery!

I'm still working on the best way to store them - I haven't even begun to think about actually sorting or labeling them - but in the meantime, I'm excited to debut my new occasional blog post, "Vintage Family Photos". The idea behind scanning in some chosen shots each week and posting them to the blog is that it will not only encourage me to look through these and enjoy them, as well as share them with family and friends, but it will hopefully also reinforce the importance of photos to everyone's families, whether blurry, faded snapshots or professional prints. I'm hoping some fun topics will come up sort of organically, too - maybe some of my grandmother's photos from the 30s and 40s will inspire thought about identical twins (she was one), or old black and white film processes?

So, here goes.

The first star of the show is my baby brother, Austin!

(above photo: Austin's official preschool photo - love the fire chief touch! - photographer unknown, You and Me Preschool)

Isn't he adorable? So, okay, maybe he's not a baby anymore... he's 25 and lives in New York City, and is a fantastic jazz drummer.

Here we are welcoming him home. I love this photo - it's my grandmother, me, and brand new Austin. My mom told us that my older sister and I that were going to have a brother or sister on my birthday (August 1st, 1982?), and I remember looking up from the Raggedy Anne board game I had just received (love that Camel With The Wrinkly Knees!) and said, "I want a brother baby." So I guess I was pretty thrilled to meet him - don't I look it?

Please also note the fresh early 80's clothes on everyone!

Babies do cry a lot, but I don't remember complaining.

(We had that satiny, green comforter for years - it finally fell apart after I took it in my junior year of college.)

Don't you love how happy my mom looks? Nice haircut, mom.

Finally, a jump ahead 15 years or so - I have no idea what is going on in this Polaroid, but I think there was a lot of fake blood involved.

Teenage boys are very different from baby brothers.

Happy weekend!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cast Away Yarn Shop, Railroad Square, Santa Rosa, California

My friend Justine, who you may remember from photos of her fabulous home (which made it into PDN's Photo Annual issue last year!), recently opened the cutest yarn shop you have ever seen, in Railroad Square near downtown Santa Rosa. It's called Cast Away, and also has the cutest logo I've ever seen. After popping in to check the shop out, I had to come back with my camera to capture all of the lovely colors, textures, details, and lovely things that Justine has filled it with.

It was so nourishing to my eyes to see all of this color! I wish I knitted/ crocheted/ etc, but I've just learned to accept that I'm not a very crafty person...

Justine, and I think her husband Paul, did all of the design and remodel work themselves. The result is simple but so beautiful.

I took these photos right before Christmas - loved the tinsel tree on a spinning wheel! I wonder what her window display is now...

If you find yourself in Santa Rosa, you should definitely check out Cast Away! 111 4th Street.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stumbaugh Family Portrait, Vintners Inn, Santa Rosa

I had the pleasure of photographing almost 20 members of the Stumbaugh family a few weeks ago, on a bright, sunny January day at the gorgeous Vintners Inn here in Santa Rosa.

My friends Gerry and Laurel hired me to photograph Gerry's family as a post-Christmas present to his grandparents (and, by proxy, everyone else in the family). We did some big group photos, and then shots of each family group and couple. It was a great way to spend a late Sunday morning!

I shot Sara and Eric's wedding at the Vintners Inn several years ago, and just love the grounds. The wedding was very autumnal, so it was nice to see it in winter as well.

Here are the grandkids (and one greatgrandchild!):

All the boys:

And all the pretty ladies!

I can't remember for sure how long Gerry's grandparents have been married, but I think it's around 60 years? They wanted a photo that would recreate the look of their engagement shot so many years ago. I hope Devon and I make it as long, healthy and happy as these two lovebirds!

I knew these guys looked familiar... turns out that Gerry's brother, Tony, and his lovely wife Melanie were a part of Jenny and Mike's wedding back in April. What a small world!

And these three, you may remember from their freezing but fabulous portrait shoot last February. Lee loves to make awesome faces!

I'm going to give Laurel another little plug for her beautiful ceramics. Aren't she and Gerry cute here?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mourning Portraits

This is a post I have held off on for awhile, but decided to post in order to share some of the bitter-sweetness of the occasion. The bitterness is that someone died: Dave, who was a friend of many of my best friends, and the (absent) father of a lovely young girl that Devon and I adore, committed suicide after many years of addiction and unhappiness. The sweetness and sunlight comes from any funeral situation - as horrible as the circumstances might be, there is something amazing and powerful about one's community coming together to celebrate a friend's life, memories, and the beauty of just being all together.

Before the funeral, Dani requested that I take some mourning portraits of her beautiful daughters and herself. I loved the idea... I don't know if either of us can explain exactly why, but hopefully seeing the photos of these three lovely ladies explains for me why they would want a family portrait during the moments when they were at their most raw and sensitive.

Anyway, I'm very happy with how the photos came out.

After the sad-but-sweet memorial, some of Dave's friends went on to continue the celebration/ mourning at a local pub, and I got to see the loveliness of parents with their children, as life marched on.

My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by Dave and all of the sides of his sensitivity and pain.

More cheerful posts coming up!