the house that built you | documentary session

By August 29, 2020 No Comments

Miranda Lambert sings a song called “The House That Built Me”. I resonate with that song SO very much ..the house that built me was a trailer. I spent most of my childhood in that trailer. We moved around A LOT when I was younger but we’d call that run down trailer home for most of my elementary, junior high and high school life. It was the place I left when I went away to college.

It was the cause for much embarrassment while growing up. Many of my friends lived in beautiful homes and their parents were much more established in their careers where as mine were so young-merely teenagers. I didn’t know that though…to me they were Mom and Dad and I had no idea their age, but I did recognize that we had “less” than everyone I was friends with. Looking back, I’ve come to realize that many of the character strengths and influence with money (my obsession with personal finance) came from those 4 tin walls. I learned to live with less and be content with what you already have. I learned that things can be fixed instead of discarded and I learned that fun can be made anywhere and had nothing to do with money. It molded me into who I am and how I look at the world and the filter in which I see and experience everything….including how I shoot.

Which is EXACTLY why when Ashley reached out to tell me about this shoot-it was something I felt to drawn to do. You see this wasn’t a typical “portrait session” this was a “documentary session”. She explained that after Dad’s recent passing, they were packing up their childhood home, selling it and moving out of state with no intentions on coming back. They wanted one last photo shoot in the place she called home-the place that shaped them. Photographs are so much more than “looking cute” or “trendy” or “hair and makeup” or “fancy backgrounds”…it’s about preserving meaningful memories-the very reason I got into photography to begin with.

I CREID DURING THIS SHOOT. I tried not to….but it just came pouring out. We all cried a little during this shoot.
This would be the last few days they would spend in the home. Boxes were packed, furniture was moved and the house was merely empty. The home she raised her children in was being sold and she would move to Texas to be near her 2 daughters. I knew this before the shoot. I also knew that their Dad had recently passed and that they wanted to do a photo shoot in the family home one last time before it was sold and they moved out of state with no intentions on coming back. Grandma stood in the window light showing her Grandchildren prints of some of their families happiest memories and I lost it.
For me, it was kind of like a full circle moment. The whole entire reason I got into photography was because I can remember SO VIVIDLY sitting at the kitchen table going thru the shoebox full of images to display at my sister’s funeral. Knowing they had recently lost their dad, that I as standing in such a meaningful location AND that they were using those images to show their Grandchildren was a little overwhelming for me. Images are SO powerful and there I was creating more meaningful images for this family.
This won’t be published in any magazine, no one may “pin it” on Pinterest, and to anyone else this location/these images may not mean anything…..but to them….they are the world. THIS is why I do my job. Not for publications, not for awards, not “for the gram”, not for Pinterest…..for moments like these! This is the house that built them. Where is that place for you?
I enjoyed this shoot more than they might know! ❤

Grandma holding up her wedding photo of her late husband while the Grandchildren admire. Photos are so much more important than the paper they are printed on! This image wouldn’t have half as much impact if you were showing them on a screen-PRINT YOUR PHOTOS!

Grandma is yelling up the steps one last time for her girls to settle down up there! haha!

The room their Christmas tree was put up every year.

A recreation of an image that is very dear to them.

The house is empty but it’s FULL of memories for these guys!

Family Memories! <3

Each of the girls sitting in their empty bedrooms. One of the things I try my best to do every year is to get a photo of the inside of my children’s bedrooms. It’s something I wish I would have had as a child-it shows their personalities at that stage of their lives!

Their handprints on the back patio from 1996.

They used to play with umbrellas and make little forts on the front porch as children! So we recreated it! <3