I officially started my photography business on June 1st, 2011, when I filled a neighbourhood Starbucks with a whole bunch of subpar pictures as a part of a photography exhibit. The pictures had a lot of heart, though, and they caught the attention of Ricky’s mom Lisa. When Lisa saw the photos, she called Ricky, who was living in Alberta at the time, and said something like, “You’ve got to hire this guy for your wedding, you’ll love his photos.” And that’s how I booked my first wedding clients. We did an engagement shoot in Toronto’s Distillery District December 22, 2011, and exactly five years later, we’re back at it, this time with their expressive little Freya. We spent two hours together at the family home, with Ricky, Gary and Freya fresh off a redeye flight from Colombia (where they now live). Most four-month-olds would be unimpressed, tired and cranky, but not little Freya, who, during the two hour session, ran the gamut of expressions and emotions and even worked in two power naps. The whole family only had the weekend together, but thanks to Lisa, Freya’s glowing grandmother, the moments shared with one another will live on in the photographs.
I’ve been photographing the Horber family for a few years now, tasked with documenting some of their most important life moments like little Ollie’s baptism, Madeline’s first communion, Catherine’s dad’s surprise 60th birthday party. I’ve photographed some of Catherine’s interior design work, and we’ve done a fall family session each of the past three years. Needless to say, I’m beginning to feel a little bit like a member of the family. This post is two years of autumn family sessions in one. The funny thing is that no matter how many times I take pictures for the family, Catherine always sends a Pinterest “inspiration board” beforehand and asks repeatedly throughout the session if I’m getting the “shots”. The “shots” for the most part look nothing like the inspiration photos, but do look exactly like the Horber family, fun, affectionate, sometimes crazy, and full of love.
Derek and I met a few years back when our mutual friend Jay McIntyre used to get a group of guys together on Tuesday nights to do some circuit training at a small church “gymnasium”. We see each other from time to time when Jay is in town (he’s since moved to Quebec), and catch up a bit over pints and darts. Derek is an inspiring guy, one of those super nice guys who’s had a tough couple of years. But instead of succumbing to bitterness and resentment, he has focussed his energy on his emotional and physical wellbeing so that he can be the best dad possible to his energetic boys.
It seems like just yesterday that I met up with Erika and Paul on a warm Sunday morning in Riverside for an engagement photo shoot — just the two of them. And now, there’s Vinny, the newest member of their growing family. It’s always flattering when clients have you back to document the moments that are important to them. Originally, Erika wanted to get pictures for Vinny’s first birthday, but we were unable to work out a time before I left for my two-week trip to Hong Kong. Erika really wanted photos outdoors with an indoor alternate, so we met up the day I was shooting at Studio 202 with the Corktown Commons just round the corner. It worked out splendidly, as magic hour in November is extra golden. Paul and Erika’s interactions have been a highlight in each of the photo sessions I’ve done with them, and now they have another little human to smile at and laugh with.
I’ve known Mark for 29 years or so, since we were 11 year old knuckleheads riding our bikes around Lakeshore summer camp in Coburg. We’ve reconnected here and there over the past decade, but now that he and my wife Valerie are on staff at the same church, we see each other on the regular. Every other Saturday, our place looks like a bomb went off because his two younger kids, Ashton and Kyla, come over to play with Kingsley and Naomi, our seven and five year old (Ashton and Kingsley have an affinity for building with Lego for the sole purpose of later smashing it). This past summer, Mark officiated our wedding and managed to work in several references to “Golden Era” hip-hop, even busting out a rendition of Mary J’s Real Love. Mark and his wife, Kimberley, both have a calm easiness about them and they have fun with their kids. The Gorings booked a 45min spot when I was doing fall mini sessions, and it’s hard to believe that so much heart was captured in such a short time.