I photographed Cari, Brett, Cora and Daisy in NOLA for the The Family Narrative. I was teaching a live session and there were 10 other photographers in their beautiful home (don't even get me started on NOLA homes, they are absolutely amazing and this one was no exception). Cari inquired about the session because she didn't have many photos that captured her family all together. She and Brett enjoy taking photos of both their girls, but they usually aren't in any of the photos. She was even more excited to get photos of their family's everyday activities.
When I asked her how her and Bret ended up in NOLA, she said they she moved there in 2005 right before Hurricane Katrina, and Brett moved in 2007 for work. She credits New Orleans for being a major part of who they are and I can understand that completely. That city just has a way of making you feel at home.
The day of the session happened to be Cora's birthday which made it really special. I was a bit concerned that she and her sister would be intimidated by so many photographers and not be herself, but they were both were perfectly fine and were very much themselves during the shoot. All the photographers in the group kept remarking on how perfect they were, especially with so many eyes staring at them.
Here is my storytelling session with the Killian family.
Going in the photo session Brett and I were excited and curious. We had researched documentary/storytelling style photography so we had an idea of what to expect, but weren’t sure how we would fill the time or if it would get awkward having photographers follow us around. We also wondered how our girls would act having guests in the house taking pictures of them.
The session flew bye and our worries about filling the time were a nonissue. We all actually had a great time talking with the photographers and doing our normal day to day “stuff”. The girls surprised us and acted completely normal, even with lots of guests in the house. Cora especially loved showing off and hamming it up for the photographers.
The images are amazing, and I will never go back to having traditional portraits- seriously- ever. While the traditional portraits we had taken in the past captured what we looked like, they did not capture who we were at that time, or what is important to us. Storytelling images do exactly that, they capture a story so that it can be retold over and over, each time sparking memories that might have been forgotten.
The images represent a specific time in our lives, and looking at them reminds me to appreciate the little things that are often taken for granted- playing with bubbles in the backyard, watching Daisy dump the sand out of the sandbox (even though I told her 100 times to keep it inside), Cora eating her favorite snack- a bagel with cream cheese, and all of us sitting on the front porch in our rocking chairs. Years from now, I know I will look back at these images and remember these moments passed too fast.
If you are on the fence, please jump over, and just do it. You will not regret having storytelling photos, you will only smile and cry at the beauty that is your everyday life. -- Cari Killian