I've known George and Juanita for a while now. They have fish that my kids love to feed and they know exactly where the peanuts sit on the table.
Sometimes I meet a couple that I really want to photograph because I can tell their life experience is rich with wisdom and their story should be told. Throughout the years I have heard pieces of their life and finally asked them to be photographed while they told me more. So recently I sat down with them and they filled in the gaps as they both told me bits and pieces from their earlier years together.
It was about 54 years ago Juanita, at that time widowed with three kids, answered the phone. On the other line was George, "George who", she says. She told me that she didn't know any George. But then he said it was George from work. At that moment she thought she had done something wrong at work as he was in a management position. But really he was just asking her to go to a party that weekend at a co-worker's house. And so their time together began.
We sat down in their living room together as they talked and I mostly listened and observed.
She sat right next to him, "we really do this, you know", said Juanita.
"I know...I'm sure you do", I said.
I admire Juanita for her love of education. She studied business machines in college. When she told me she went to school to learn how to use a comptometer I looked at her like I didn't know what she was talking about. I didn't.
George worked for Carnation for many years. My family lived in the same town in Washington when they did. My mom remembers their kids. It is interesting how we live in the same neighborhood now.
In their dining area they have a large table for their family to gather when they come. Now with five grown children, many grandchildren, and even some great grandchildren there is still space for them to come when they can. I liked how there was a variety of different chairs at the table that represented gathering things from over the years.
At first they weren't too sure that they had a story to tell. Everyone has a story to tell, I said. In fact, some of the greatest stories are in our ordinary life and some of our richest stories are from those who are older then us. I really valued our time together!
Thank you for visiting and looking at my work. I am a family storytelling photographer serving the Salem and Portland areas. I prefer to shoot in a documentary style and do my best work observing my surroundings. My passion is for telling family stories on location and at clients homes. I also love to document my family life in a creative way and have recently started a new project before my third child arrives in May. I am also just started exploring and shooting film for myself. If you have any session ideas or would like to send me an email, I would love to hear from you.