I've always joked that if I ever had kids I'd be a tyrant of a mother. I was raised on a strict diet of polite-ness, respectful-ness, and obedience, and tend to have the same rigid expectations for the kids around me in my life.
About a month ago I headed to San Diego and bunked with my cousin Blake and his wife Lou who'd recently welcomed a baby girl into the world, growing their family to a party of four. It had been over three years since I'd seen them last so I spent the next three days enjoying their company and getting to know them in their life right now.
Since I'd been itching to shoot a family in true photojournalistic mode, I took full advantage of my 'house-guest' status and spent my first day there immersed in documenting the going-ons of a typical Friday. By the end of the day, I was floored by the amount of patience, energy, and effort I witnessed in the form of parental guidance from Blake and Lou.
I once read an article on parenting that likened the first years of child rearing to building a house; for the first four to five years you're in the trenches day in and day out, doing the dirty work and building a strong foundation, and while it doesn't look like much on the outside, it's the most important part of the structure that will allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labor for years to come.
I'm no parent myself but I know that in order for anything like manners or discipline to stick it takes consistent, non-exciting effort, from both sides, day in and day out. During my stay at the Irvin household I intimately observed the steely, relentless dedication these two have made to parenting - and the direct effects that dedication has already wielded. When I remarked on how amazed I was by the little man Mason was turning into, they simply stated 'Well, when we had kids we just decided together that we didn't want to raise an asshole.'
And that, I would say, they have already achieved.
Not only is Mason an enchantingly bright kid in his own right - possessing a presence way beyond his 4 years (you know the kind I'm talking about), but his speech was effortlessly infused with pleases and thank you's (and 'sirs' for such authoritative figures as the dinner waiter), and changing activities wasn't a life or death situation.
I thoroughly enjoyed 'seeing' this family through my lens, and hope these photos do their slice of life justice. Xo
What they had to say about their experience with a Day in the Life session:
Lou - "My biggest fear was that there wouldn’t be anything to shoot. To me, my day is so boring and so basic. I see these beauty or lifestyle bloggers with glamorous lives, and all I was thinking was “she is going to be so bored.” Turns out mommin' is actually kind of fun from an outside view. It gave me a bit of a different perspective of my day to day to be seen through these pictures. These photos will always remind me of the beauty of the day to day. It also documented a part of time for our family when we were growing and adjusting to a family of four."
Blake - "There are so many things going on at the same time that sometimes even great memorable experiences get lost. With these photos, its like having a thumb tack where I can look back and remember the time and what was going on. Also having photos with our whole family is very rare because one of us is usually taking the photos."