I recently had the honor of spending the day with this sweet family of three: the Armhardts! Julie and Dave are dear friends of ours– my husband and I moved down here from NYC because over a series of visits to see Julie and Dave here, we fell in love with the area. When they had their daughter, Olive, I was so proud of my friend and I couldn’t wait to take pictures for them, and I’ve had the pleasure of doing that a handful of times since she was a baby. Watching our friends mature into such great parents has been sweet, and little Olive is growing up so fast, it’s unbelievable.
This latest opportunity was an opportunity to do another test of my newest obsession: day in the life family documentary photography. I took care to prepare them ahead of time, letting them know that though I’d be spending the whole day with them, I would mostly be documenting and not as interactive as usual, and that Olive could more or less just try to forget I was there.
The day came and I showed up as early as I thought they’d be getting up, but they were already mid-morning routine, and getting ready for Olive’s big day running in a 5K at her elementary school, just a walk down the street. Olive had earned a trophy for her age group of girls when she ran in the same race the previous year, so she was hopeful she could repeat the trick and her parents encouraged her to do her best.
Always the hard worker, after the run got started, Dave walked home to bang out some lawn-mowing while Julie and I kept tabs on the race at a nearby corner– just at the top of the steepest stretch of the route. He joined us to cheer for Olive as she passed by, walking for the uphill stretch. We walked back to the school and waited for her to cross the finish line. As runners finished the 5K, Julie and Olive enjoyed the fair activities and checked the time stats to see if she’d earned another trophy, and indeed she had! We walked back to their house to share the good news, and in classic form, Olive was more excited about showing Dave the painted rock character she made than her new trophy.
Julie is an amazing artist
, and on Saturdays, Julie works in her studio at The Wedge
, often bringing Olive for some of the day, and today was no exception. Olive knows all the artists on the hall and enjoys making her own works on paper at a little fold-out table Julie has ready to set up for her daughter to use when there. Dave picked her up for a pizza lunch down by the river, and from there they went for a walk at a park with a lake, a playground, and a path by a beautiful waterfall. Olive challenged her father to races where they would select leaves or sticks to float downstream, seeing who’s item would win the race. After a few hours of exploring the park and then making a new friend on the playground, it was time to go home.
Julie returned from her studio and made a nice supper, and then Julie and Olive took their sweet dog Kizzy on her evening walk. Dave met them about halfway through and we tossed the frisbee around at the field behind Olive’s school for a while. Once home, they proceeded with their usual bedtime wind-down routine before Olive’s bedtime, with some family TV time followed by Dave reading to them from a chapter book, and Olive brushing her teeth. Looking back through the pictures I couldn’t believe how much fun and work gets done in a typical day in their world.
Part of what I want to do in my day in the life sessions with families is to capture just how much effort and attention and hard work parents put into the ongoing daily life they create for their children. I want moms and dads to know the dedication to getting things done well may feel often underappreciated, but it is very evident, and they are seen! With any luck, preserving a slice of life for posterity may offer the opportunity in the future for grown children to look back and gain new appreciation for all the special experiences they had growing up in their unique family.
My aim is to provide elegant coffee table books that include highlights and favorite shots from the day, presented one image per page with a minimum of around 100 images like the set shown here. Over time if families hire me to document a day with their families every year or so, they’ll have a growing collection of beautiful books that will be fun for parents and children to look back through and remember all the stages of growth– in their child’s personality, their activities and routines together, and in their relationships together as a family.
Would you love to have your family life captured in this documentary style? Reach out! I’m taking applications for a few more portfolio-shoot families in Asheville and would love to hear from you if you think you’d be a great fit!