Back in May, Rebecca and Alain's crew and I romped around the Prinsenhof in Groningen as spring sprang. Since then, their third son, Leander, was born in July, and the family wanted to have another seasonal shoot in October, this time in the Hortus Haren. I love this location so much, especially the Chinese garden section with the loveliest fall colors in the north. We basically spent about an hour cracking each other up, and I spent another few hours laughing out loud as I made my way through the photo edit. This family is so sweet with each other too, so every shoot with them is just me getting to document them being their silly, loving selves.
This is an adorable, teeny tiny little old man named Jonah. I've been running into his mom, Judith, around the university for the past few years, and I actually ran into her right after Jonah had been born, when he was even tinier than he is in these photos. With all of his miniature blue clothing, he fit into the colour scheme of the house as if he was a detail that it needed to be complete. Judith pointed out his very prematurely receding hairline pretty much right away during the shoot, and from that point onward, I couldn't help but see a small, elderly gentleman. An awfully cute elderly gentleman, of course. Congratulations, Judith and Ton!
This is my fifth (!) shoot with Olya and her boys - well, my third with plural "boys" and my fifth with Olya and her oldest son, Casper. I had been wanting to do a shoot at this colorful, futuristic bus stop (yes, it's all so terribly glamorous) for years now, so when she told me she wanted a "strong-cool-urban-funky-girlpower-ish" shoot, this out-of-this-world spot in Hoogkerk immediately came to mind. After taking advantage of all the colors there, we headed over to the CiBoGa terrain for a few shots despite the persistent rain. Unlike our previous shoots, I made sure to take a few extra minutes to give Olya her own personal model shoot while the boys chased each other around.
Doing these shoots has been such a nice way to get to know Olya for a few hours at a time every few months, but when working with regular clients, of course you do come to understand each other as people through meeting regularly for a photo session and you choose to keep coming together because you click on a certain level. So it's work, but I do always consider it true quality time to hang out with my clients. Even though she's left the north for The Hague now, here's hoping that we can catch up during a shoot again soon :)
During this photo shoot, I had a revelation: intimate, at-home family sessions like this are my favorite kind of portrait work. The love and energy of weddings and engagement shoots are wonderful and I enjoy getting to capture a couple's feelings for one another at a special time in their lives, and other special occasions like graduation ceremonies and family reunions are also a privilege to photograph. But these family shoots are the closest thing to truly photojournalistic portraiture, because I feel that I am getting to simply document a slice of the every day lives of families as they grow.
This is the second newborn shoot I have done with Bryn and Cees - their son, Tobin, has turned out to be a charming, talkative little guy, and he's also just become a big brother to a new sister, Dide. We had to recreate a couple of shots from Tobin's shoot - Bryn and Cees have a print of one of their favorite photos from the shoot with Tobin hanging up in their dining room, so it only seemed logical to have Cees re-enact that shot with Dide, too. And, of course, placing young babies into bookshelves (the diptych photo in the gallery below has Tobin and Dide side by side) has now become one of my signature shots :)
In the lingering fog of my jet lag after returning from a two week North America trip, I caught a couple of trains to Amsterdam to meet up with Katie and her fiancee Max for a photo shoot. They're getting married next year and they were spending the last day of their European vacation (they're both from L.A.) wandering the canals and bridges of the city while I got to know them - Katie found me online, so thanks Google for making this happen. As always, it was lovely getting to use Amsterdam's streets as the backdrop for a shoot with a fun international couple.
I have some smart friends, you guys. Naomi asked me to be the photographer for her PhD ceremony last month in the aula of the Academy Building at the University of Groningen, which is always a spectacular setting to photograph. Prior to the defense, which lasts exactly an hour and during which no photos can be taken lest the clicking distract the candidate, Naomi and her paranymphs - her husband Tom and her friend and colleague Steffie - hung out in the "zweetkamer": the sweat room. Naomi defended her doctoral thesis - "On the nature and origin of self-esteem: A complex dynamic systems perspective of nested self-esteem phenomena" - with confidence and aplomb, and I always enjoy "photographing" PhD ceremonies because I get to learn about academic fields which are often unfamiliar to me. Her work was fascinating, comprehensible for non-experts like myself, and her doctorate was well deserved. Congratulations, Naomi!
These two are awesome. Inge and Helen are two of my favorite people on the planet and among a handful of people that I am willing to travel across continents to hang out with, which Elger and I just did last week when we visited them in Toronto. They got married at the spiffy, modern city hall of Lochem in the Netherlands on a bright blue day in May surrounded by their closest family members and a couple of friends, then had their reception in the back yard of Inge's dad's home in a nearby town. A couple of chickens and pigs were also guests at the reception, but they didn't exactly dress for the occasion. It was intimate, personal, warm and laid back - everything a wedding day should be. Congratulations once again, ladies, and thank you so much for letting me be a part of this beautiful day.
I love my friends, even more so when they're returning customers :) Each photo shoot I do with this growing family is more fun and nutty than the last, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Rebecca and Alain's third son will be arriving early in the summer, so we headed to the Prinsentuin during the May vacation week to let their little guys run around and for Rebecca and I to laugh hysterically as Alain chased after them. Thanks for another fun shoot, guys - and happy mother's day!
Two of my favorite human beings have done it again: they've just had their second child, a beautiful and very serene little girl named Hasse. I've been lucky enough to photograph these two and their growing family four times over the past five years, and I always love adding a camera to the mix of our interactions. They just love each other and make each other laugh, and I take some photos of them being themselves, and the results always make me happy. One of the photos from this shoot actually made me tear up as I was editing it - not because I'm such a spectacular photographer, but because the love between mother and daughter just came shining and radiating out of the frame so purely. Thank you guys again, as always, for letting me be the one to document your lives!
Vorige maand heb ik een mooie, gezellige dagje meegemaakt met Noortje en Henk. Ze spelen allebei in het orkest van Bragi, en toen ik lid was van het a capella koor vorige jaar heb ik Noortje ontmoet. Ze zijn allebei heel laid back en aardige mensen, en natuurlijk speelt muziek een belangerijke rol in hun leven. Ze hebben een trouweremonie op het stadhuis van Bedum gehad en daarna een receptie bij landgoed Ekenstein in Appingedam, en wij hebben genoten van het gebied achter het landgoed voor een paar portreten. Ze hebben een high tea gehad voor hun gasten compleet met een paar zelf gemaakte cakejes. Ik vond het heel leuk om deze dag door te brengen met hun!
One of my best friends here in the Netherlands and her husband just had their second child - a boy (I would call him little, but he's a big guy!) named Ian, with gorgeous and unexpected red hair. I was lucky enough to take the newborn photos for their first child, Femke, too, so I had a fun chance to recreate a couple of shots from her shoot - plus a few before and after photos from Miranda's maternity shoot about a month ago. Miranda is one of the first people who really encouraged me to get into photojournalism ten years ago, so it's really special to be able to take these photos of her family for her now.
These first photos were taken around the end of January, and Ian was born on February 3rd.
This personalized box of the traditional Dutch muisjes was awfully cute.
The next couple of shots are diptychs of a recreation of a shot I took of Femke when she was born beside a photo of Ian.
Another special common thread between the births of both of these babies is that their grandmother was able to be visit the Netherlands from South Africa - the piano in the diptych above also traveled that route.
This was one last before and after I couldn't resist: Miranda and Ian at the piano. He's a little bit easier to see on the right :)
A couple of year ago, I saw a super fun local band called Hot Bobby at a charity concert I was photographing, and the band's lead singer really rocked - I loved her charisma. Fast forward more than two years later, and that awesome lead singer and her husband had a cute little boy, and their friends wanted to give them a photo shoot with me as a gift. I biked out to their house boat and we went for a walk in the nearby nature, and just laughed. A lot. Also, I took some pictures.
This is the third shoot I've done with Olga's sweet international family, and they're about to go even further abroad by moving to Africa early next year. As always, it was a very fun afternoon to spend hanging out with them, this time in the lovely fall colors of the Hortus Haren.
This was just a totally awesome shoot. IT ENDED IN A PILLOW FIGHT. COME ON! Meike found me through my good friend and regular client of mine, Rebecca, and I'm so happy she did. She and her family were so playful and fun, and we just spent a while running around inside and outside the amazing old Suikerunie factory in Groningen. Such fun :)
Ik voel me altijd gelukkig als leuk en aardig mensen mij vinden of online tegen komen en denken dat mijn stijl goed bij hun past. Zo was het dit familie - wij hebben een gezellig familie shoot gedaan bij hun thuis en ook in het Noorderplantsoen. See for yourself!
More international love today! Michelle is American and Henk is Dutch, and they had a short and sweet ceremony at the city hall in Tynaarlo in Drenthe. Michelle had a home-made crocheted bouquet, and Henk's sense of humor shone through as they were surround by family and friends on a gorgeous day here in the north!
Helen is a lovely, nerdy friend of mine who is one of the most international people I know: she's British, studied abroad in Germany, finished her PhD in the Netherlands and is now working in Canada on her post-doc thanks in part to winning a Rubicon grant. Fittingly, her work as a linguist is similarly international - I can't hope to accurately describe it, but it involves language development in babies in related languages. When she and her partner, whom I'm also lucky to count as a friend, came back to Nijmegen for Helen's defense ceremony, I was so pleased to be asked to photograph it. It was a very different experience from the ceremonies I have covered in Groningen: as the photographer, you can take pictures at all times throughout the ceremony, and if you're a little bit lucky, you can even take photos as the professors sign the diploma. It was raining torrentially outside during the defense itself, but during the reception and sharing of pies, the sun joined us and it was a sweet way to end a momentous morning. Congratulations, Helen!
Hooray for more fellow American collaborations! I met Candi last October during the TEDxGroningen event, and found out that she had actually already heard about me (since the international circle in Groningen is, in fact, one inch in diameter) while looking around for a photographer to do some updated professional photos for her. After months of weather thwarting our plans, we finally got together a couple of weeks ago at the CiBoGa terrein (which I continue to be obsessed with) in Groningen to do some photos for Candi to use in her upcoming projects - she's working on a memoir of her Sex in the City-like life before winding up in the Netherlands, and she's a party planner/designer/self-described "domestic goddess" with a soon-to-launch website. After I sent Candi the photos, she sent me back an article that the New York Times had just published yesterday about professional head shots not being something that's just for actors anymore - in other words, selfies don't cut it! Aren't we trendy :)
An ice cream cart and a gorgeous red Boretti oven inside Het Gasfornuis cafe made unexpected but serendipitously pin-up-like guest appearances, and Candi was just a great model to work with! To be totally honest, I'm still honing my portraiture skills, and probably always will be - and having a setting like the CiBoGa terrein and a subject like Candi really made me feel comfortable and confident. Thanks again for working with me, Candi!
More international love here in the North! Stephanie, who's British, and Thomas, who's Dutch, had a short ceremony at the city hall in the town of Meppel on the Tuesday following second Easter day (since the Dutch love making two holidays out of one as often as possible), and they wanted to have a laid back shoot along with their families in the nearby Wilhelmina park. I was happy to oblige! It was a fun morning, spent dodging aggressive geese and finding the prettiest trees in the park. Congratulations, Thomas and Stephanie!
If every couple that I get to photograph for the rest of this year is as sweet, loving, friendly and downright photogenic as these two, 2014 will be an excellent year indeed. Stefano hired me to do a photo shoot for him and his fiancee, Chiara, during a trip to Amsterdam for her birthday in the first week of the new year, and we got so lucky - there was light! January in the Netherlands is usually very much the opposite of well lit, but this Saturday morning shoot was just perfect. We started and ended the shoot with coffee, and in between found some beautiful bridges, matching bikes and houses, the Rijksmuseum and the Vondelpark. I had a great time hanging out with these two!