It was time to catch up with my friends, Mary and Les, and their children, Marley and Wiley on their farm in Southern Kentucky. I photographed their wedding in 2011, and have done documentary family photos for them since. Also I got to catch up with them over homemade spaghetti and sourdough bread. One aspect of documentary / lifestyle photography that they appreciate is the capture of real human emotion in ways that posed cannot do as effectively.
Mary messaged me and said it was hard for her not to be freaked out, because the house work, weed trimming, etc. was not done. I told her, don’t give that a second thought. You know better than anyone, part of documenting through photography is recording real life as it happens. Not facades, which portrait photography is about. We begin with Mary and Marley helping give Wiley a bath in the sink. When looking at these documentary family photos in two years, and twenty years, these moments don’t happen like this anymore. The photos and memories remain, not just for you but for them.
All of these are natural activities the family does after dinner, during the Summer months where daylight savings time and weather allows. This was not an act, and no special preparations were made for my arrival, except dinner prep. Just the way it needs to be, to document a day in the life of Les and Mary’s family. In 20 years, no one cares about how clean countertops were. The real memories that documentary family photos provide, is forever.