This was such a fun day! The Mama of the Gable Family reached out to me to talk about photographing her & her siblings along with their growing families as a gift to her own Mama! How incredibly honored I felt! We did this get together at her Great-Grandparent's Homestead. The house has been on this land since the 1900s and has 3 bedrooms; 1 was for the parents, 1 for their daughter and 1 for their 5 sons. Can I repeat that? 3 bedrooms for 8 people! If that doesn't make you learn how to get along, I don't know what would! Haha! Jessica and her three siblings have fond memories playing in and around this old house with each other. She shared some of those wonderful memories with me, about the Homestead and about her Great-Grandparents, to which I obviously cried after hearing! Here's a snippit:
"They use to have cows in the pasture when we were younger. We'd sit and try to get the cows to moo. Some would come right up to the fence. They have grown anything from peanuts to cotton in the fields. Almost every other Sunday, the whole family (aunts, uncles, cousins included) would pack in the house and sit, elbow to elbow, at picnic tables in the back room and have lunch with my Great-Grandparents. My Great-Grandpa (we called him Big Papa) would always say, "There's my girl!" when I walked in. My Great-Grandma (we called her Little Granny) would always give us the pecan grabbers to get the pecans up out of the yard. We'd be out there for hours playing, not even realizing she had put us to work!"
Wipe your eyes yet?! ;) Growing up, I didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with my Grandparents because they lived 2 1/2 hours away. My Grandaddy's farm is my happy place, though, and to this day when I go there and close my eyes, I can still remember the days of playing around on the farm with 3 of my siblings. My heart breaks when I walk in the door to see my Uncle and I don't hear my Grandaddy say, "Come in! Come in!" with his two teeth and raspy voice, his boney arms in long sleeves and overalls that were worn year round. I hope I never stop hearing his voice in my memory. I like to share stories like the ones from Jessica's family because I believe photography goes so much deeper than just taking "pretty pictures". There's a feeling, a memory, something that touches your soul and I want you to know... I feel it, too.
You can click on the links above the next four individual family photos to view their full session.
And now for my favorites... the candids! I think it should be a necessity when you have a big family to have a huge family session at least once every 5 years or so. I come from a family of 6 siblings, all of whom have children, so I know first hand how fast time passes because we don't get to see each other a lot. Sure, it may be chaotic photographing that many families together at one time, but I love the chaos! I tend to find so much beauty and genuine emotion when it seems like everything is going awry! If you feel like that's happening during your session, take a deep breath and remember to trust your photographer! Forget this preconceived notion that you have to be "picture perfect". Is any family really "picture perfect"?! Nope! I want you to be YOU! I want your kids to be themselves! If they love to run, I'll run with them. If they won't be still, I'll have Papa put one of the kids on his shoulders. Your family is BEAUTIFUL because the love you share for each other is beautiful and, to me, Love Is Perfection. :)
When I learned that the house was going to be torn down because it's becoming too much upkeep, I had to go inside and photograph some bits and pieces that only this family can truly appreciate. Can you guys imagine this little house holding so much love?! Can you hear the laughter? Can you sneak in on the stories? Can you smell the fried chicken cooking and hear the tea kettle whistling on the stove? Can you see Great-Grandma washing the dishes, her hands rough and worn from being a farm wife and mother to 6 children? I'm so daggum sentimental myself that if anything ever happened to my own Grandparent's house, I'd want those warm details photographed so they didn't just exist in my memory.