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at the end of a shoot i walk away feeling a lot of things: accomplished, inspired, tired, and usually hungry. ok, almost always hungry. ūüôā and i always, always feel a strong sense of gratitude for the time i had to meet new friends, learn a bit about their story, and be encouraged by the way they live their lives and love each other.

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rarely do i want my sessions to end; i will the light to extend itself just a bit longer so i can spend just a tad more time with my new friends.

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i watched their brake lights¬†dissipate¬†as they drove away from the parking lot. as i ignited my car and started my drive home i felt such an overwhelming sense of love. you know those moments when it feels like the clouds are lifted and you see things so clearly? i was feeling that way after my time shooting this endearing family. they have such a strong bond with each other and such a present and mutual respect and profound love for one another that it was impossible to not feel close to them. each time i asked them to have a “relationship¬†with each other” or “a moment with one another” someone said, “i love you.” it made the moment so real and so tender and it made me smile. and i felt grateful for the opportunity i have to witness so much love and all its levels, so often, through the medium of photography. i was really touched by this family and the closeness they have cultivated with each other.

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“outdoor-sie” people by description; it was a no-brainer when they told me they wanted to meet up at a state park for their portraits. i also appreciated all the variety my arizona shoots gave me. it was inspiring to be in so many different locations, but i thought this was particularly cool because this family enjoys spending their time hiking, camping, and biking together. i love it when a location reflects an interest or a love of the subject; this park was an excellent choice.

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a trait i really admire in people is humility. i appreciate it because i think you are either born with it and it is one of your personality gifts, or it is something you have to work to have and develop in ¬†your character. either way, i love that attribute and find it to be attractive. this family is beautiful regardless, but it’s their humility and¬†genuineness¬†that is so compelling.

melinda is a school teacher (i had an immediate affinity for her.) we talked a bit about what she is currently teaching and her educational philosophies; her students are lucky to be in her class and to have her influence in their lives. she is one of those teachers making a difference, who is in the profession for the students and not for the holidays. i think some of her students might have crushes on her too. she teaches them cool stuff and is pretty to look at. ūüėČ

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chris, was such a pleasure to visit with. he was mellow and sincere. a perfect example of his nature: while romping through the cacti filled fields i stepped on something that could be described as a prickly ball of needles. chris¬†immediately¬†broke from the pose for the picture, told me to hold still, and then began administering “cacti needle removal”. silly city girl! next time i’ll wear boots, that go up to my knee. thanks chris for coming to the rescue; you are a good man!!

together they have a very special relationship. i think they truly understand how lucky they are to have found each other in this world and they remind one another every day of how much they care.

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i love that one stray piece of hair in this next one and how the wind chose to only sweep it away. the feeling of this image is so romantic, so jane austen-esque.

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it’s no surprise that a very well-mannered, adorable, and enchanting child came from these two very kind-hearted people.

megan was such a pleasure to photograph, she was a dream really. 

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love everything about this image. such a sweet, quiet moment.

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megan exhibits nothing of the “only child” syndrome. she is as real as her parents and as silly as a child should be.

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her spirit is a blessed contribution to this already special family.

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i love it when families bring a prop that really works well with their setting and once again reflects who they are as people. melinda brought a picnic. the whole concept with delicious. it was fun photographing a family picnic.

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melinda, chris, and megan, may your camping, hiking, and biking always bring you closer to the spirit of the earth, and to the spirit of your family. may you always find joy in star gazing and marshmallow roasting, and may your humble hearts and genuine love of family and life continue to inspire the rest of us. 

thank you for the opportunity to meet a prickly pear. much love to you all, kj

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