A day in the life of Ellie
I haven’t photographed a documentary session in a long time. In college, I photographed my niece and nephew over the course of 2 years. I would go over to their house and capture them in their element. No props or backgrounds. No photoshopping stray hairs out of their face. Just capturing two siblings interacting and playing in their home. I looked for light, shadows, composition, color, and mood. What I actually found was something that would change the course of my career path. I fell in love with photography. Not only did I get to spend quality time with my niece and nephew, I had the opportunity to bond with them on a deeper level. I was right by their side. They let me in their world with no walls up. I witnessed and captured their imaginations and raw emotion. The experience was powerful and moving for me.
Fast forward to 2019 and the majority of my sessions are taken outdoors, because nature and people inspire me. It took me a long time to figure out what style I loved, what sessions I like to capture, and who my ideal client was. The work I created is colorful, high contrast, with a mix of lifestyle and formals. That’s when everything fell in place and clicked.
Today, with the devastating affects of COVID-19, I decided not to work until the virus is cleared. Social interaction is the prime purpose of my work and it’s heartbreaking to have this taken away. I long to capture milestones for families, meeting new clients who become friends, connecting with children to capture a perfect moment for their family, helping a bride to calm her nerves before she walks down the aisle, or seeing a new mom holding her baby for the first time. I know I’m not the only one who misses their job, paychecks, or social interaction. I know the hero’s are the ones working in the medical field, police officers, firefighters, security guards, grocery store clerks, warehouse workers, restaurants, sanitation, and many more. I chose to take a step back in order to stay safe while pregnant. For myself and for my family. Many do not have this option. I’m thankful for what people do in order to keep everyone safe.
I looked to my daughter for inspiration. I thought back to college and the series I photographed of my niece and nephew. I dug deep to remember why I fell in love with photography in the first place. With all this time spent at home, I knew it was a good time to experiment and document Ellie. I really don’t have a lot of pictures of her playing in her element. When your hobby becomes your job, sometimes you forget you need to do it for yourself and your family. This is a perfect time to start. So, yesterday I kept my camera with me by my side all day. We went on with our day as usual. You’ll see a day in the life of Ellie. The happy, funny, silly, sassy, upset, angry, meltdowns, and everything we go through on a daily basis. It made me realize how good she is. How funny and sassy she really is. I felt guilty for longing to capture other people’s memories when my own inspiration was standing right before me. I’m soaking in these moments spent at home, even though it can be difficult. My niece and nephew are adults now. I miss those days playing with them. Now I have the amazing opportunity to document a life that me and Ricky created. It’s inspiring, emotional, and difficult, but rewarding all at the same time.
I want to remember playing the cupcake game at least three times a day. Playing hide and seek at least twice a day. Watching Coco melon, Blippi, and Alex & Gaby. Baking muffins and cookies. Barbies, pretend games with animals, and play make-up. Dressing up like Rapunzel and Anna. Trying to clean, laundry, and take a quick shower while Ellie plays people. Ricky cooking for us while we snuggle. How Ellie and Ricky’s relationship is totally different than ours. How Ellie will jump on Ricky knowing he will start a tickle fight. How she resists dinner every night and there is always a meltdown, even though I turn her food into a smiley face. How she needs to jump around, color, or play a game after her bath. Her favorite nighttime snacks are goldfish, popcorn, or cheeze-it’s. Ricky takes her to brush her teeth. We all go upstairs for a bed time story. Ellie will read to us. Ellie and Ricky head-but. I sing her a song and tuck her in. We’ll start all over again tomorrow. I want to remember all of this because it’s flying by. I know our routine is about to change with Frannie on the way. When the virus clears, I’ll go back to balancing working a crazy schedule, two small children, a home and a husband. So for now, I’ll try to capture these everyday moments and soak it in. These moments are fleeting. I want to remember it all. I hope this inspires you to take advantage of this time with your loved ones. What will you want to remember?