life stories | kane & leish

The other day someone introduced me to a friend as a photographer.
“Hey, this is my friend Em, she’s a photographer.”
Firstly my head immediately corrected them inside. “Writer. I’m a writer,” it said silently.
Secondly, when I think of a ‘real’ photographer I think of incredibly technical photos which are then photoshopped and edited to look absolutely incredible.
When I take photos that’s not what I do. 
I want the images that I capture to tell a story. 
In each photo I want personality to jump out. I want the love the subjects have for each other to be evident. I want touch and laughter and silly faces because one day that family will grow up, kids will grow older, and they’ll have these incredible unposed snapshots in time – where they were in the moment loving each other, being annoyed by each other and sharing life together. 
I tell stories. 
And the greatest privilege of wielding my camera is being allowed a glimpse into the lives of others. 

Kane and Leish let me in. I was a fly on the wall for a little while, watching and reminiscing the beautiful mess that is life with tiny people. It wasn’t hard to let those three little personalities shine through into each shot. It wasn’t hard to capture the love between the couple who’ve birthed four babies in a handful of years.
There was so much peace, and grace and sweetness. 
Her children will rise up and call her blessed. 
Watching a story unfold before me and then being able to give back a handful of memories is my favourite. 

xx

 

life stories | birth: baby ezekiel

In the week leading up to her labour, I’d been ready. My phone wasn’t on silent at night anymore, my camera batteries were charged and clean memory cards ready to go at any moment.
I found out at 5am the day after her due date that Amy’s waters had broken overnight, and that she was being monitored.
Amy’s mum kept me updated as she laboured and as it got later and later in the day I started to prepare to be there. And then the phone call at 4:30; it wouldn’t be too much longer. 

When I arrived the room was quiet and calm. Amy’s fiancé Ben was by her side, completely attentive, taking a moment to be a larrikin here and there and making her whole support team laugh.  Her mum Jodi rubbed her feet, and Lana, beautiful mentor and friend prayed quietly under her breath, offering sips of water and cold cloths for her head. 

Amy was the picture of quiet and determined strength. Which says a lot about the person she is, and the journey I’ve watched her take over the last couple of years.
She was focused, breathing through each contraction, frowning intensely at their pain and then resting, in between. The machine monitoring the baby beeped softly, and Ben and Jodi chatted, anticipating the size of their baby boy, and his features and hair. Everyone watched the clock, willing it forward – willing the birth forward. 

When the midwives found Amy had stopped progressing there were some discussions about the next steps. To maybe let her labour a few more hours, or to opt for the caesarian – ‘out through the roof’ as her beautiful midwife joked. Amy had laboured by then for almost 24 hours, and the exhaustion was evident. The decision was made, surgical gowns were donned and they wheeled her out ready for delivery.

It wasn’t the way she’d expected, and she had laboured so well, so determinedly – but in the end, her baby boy was born healthy and whole; the desire of her heart. And she is the sweetest, calmest mama to a tiny 3kg bundle of love, and Ben is the most doting father you could ever meet. Ezekiel you are exquisite. 

What a privilege. 

xx

(You can see my other birth story here. Please get in touch if you are thinking about having the birth of your child captured! x)

life stories | the wright fam

I’ve known Jaslyn for all of my grown-up life. 
She is incredibly loyal, and steadfast and so, so fun (seriously, if you haven’t heard her laugh, you are missing out!). 
One of my favourite memories of us, is early in my pregnancy with my firstborn. 
I was nauseous, and overwhelmed, planning a very shotgun wedding and felt very much alone. 
Jaz offered to come and help, and we sat in my almost-mother-in-law’s study, folding and stamping wedding invitations and she gave me a Bible verse.
There is now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
I’d felt like a deer in headlights, all the spotlight on me, on us, on this surprise pregnancy that shouted for all the world to hear you did something wrong!
But her quiet confidence that told me I didn’t have to feel guilty, lifted the heavy blanket of shame I’d been letting smother me.
And then she stuck around, proving her loyalty and blessing me with the sweetest of friendships.

She also introduced me to Grey’s Anatomy all those years ago, and really, what friendship could top that?!
Jaslyn drinks her tea with honey, is thoughtful, generous and has the most gorgeous little family on the planet.
And adding a baby boy to that gaggle of girls recently was very clever indeed.

xx

(If you have a gaggle of little people you’d like me to capture, or even just one, be sure to get in touch, I would love to shoot your family too!)

life stories | taurua boys

It was about 5 in the afternoon when she sent me a text, to do that photoshoot we’d tentatively scheduled.
“The beach around 5:30 then?” It would give her enough time to get her little tribe ready and drive 10 minutes to the beach.
Anyone who knows this stunning mama, is in awe of her.
Her capacity to love not only her own little tribe but live a life where her door (literally) is always open, is actually astounding. 

Her boys were full of life from the outset, and promptly told me, “Aunty Em, we’re going to have ice-cream.”
It was a good bribe aimed at compliance for smiles and containing the wild boyish energy they each so desperately wanted to expel. Luckily, I was fast enough to capture the essence of their brotherhood as they ran in opposite directions (despite the promise of the ice-cream!), and I’ve never laughed so much at crazy faces and penguin impersonations.

Their baby sister, due in a month, will be incredibly blessed to be a part of their little gang!

xx

PS – if you’d like to have your kiddos or your family captured like this, I’m running a Summer Sessions special over at my Facebook page. I’d love to chat about photographing you and yours! 

life stories | isaac & missie

Their business is coffee.
He grinds and tamps and extracts the perfect honey-coloured liquid. The milk is frothed until it’s thick and silky and he pours back and fourth until the delicate art forms on the top. It truly is the best coffee I’ve ever had. And I’m lucky enough to drink it every Sunday. 
Their espresso bar is set up just beyond the doors of our church. 
Music plays as a background to the grinding and the tapping and the chatting. 
It’s not just the coffee with these two though. 
It’s the jovial joking from behind the coffee machine, and the warm greetings.
It’s not just the knowing what type of coffee you’re ordering (flat white, double shot, no sugar thanks) but the knowing who you are, how your family is.
They love people with their coffee, and their genuine grins. And they love each other.
It’s obvious. It’s not a showy over-the-top loving that needs to be announced in a Facebook post. It’s the earthy and real everyday loving and serving that I see. The working-alongside, giving-my-best type love. 
And we watched her little belly grow bit by bit, week by week as she wrote our name on pretty paper coffee cups. We saw the anticipation and the delight growing as she did. 

And then he arrived and now they’re three. 
And lucky me took my camera and spent a little hour chatting and capturing his three-week-old perfection, and the newness of life and the evolution of family. I reminisced with her my own squishy-newborn sleep-deprived days and the wonder and the worry of it all. 
But can you see the God-peace in the photos? Because it was there. This tangible peace and awe of the miracle of family and the blessing of a baby. 

xo