Coffee & Laughs, Family Session in Johnstown PA

Ruth’s Family

The journey to truly becoming a great photographer is the exploration of who you are as an individual and then being brave enough to allow those findings to influence your photographs.
Kirsten Lewis

Christmas in Chile takes place in the summer.
Yes, while over here we are lighting candles that smell cinnamon pinecones, and mulled cider, the southern hemisphere enjoys summer, the beach, and to me, nothing triggers christmas memories more than the smell of tanning lotion.
If you asked me about Christmas, I think my happiest memories all point towards one specific event: “La Sobremesa”. The moment after dinner, when you bring the dessert wine or coffee, and the sweet pastries out, to simply hang out and talk around the table.
It is such a quintessential moment in hispanic culture that there is even a word that describes it.

Sobremesas during the holidays are always the best. The whole family reunited together! grandparents, aunts, cousins, uncles, family friends, and all the extended family in the world, including great aunts and uncles.
Everybody full, laughs and happiness all over.
My grandma serving everyone.
My mom getting the bottles of Colemono out of the fridge (an alcoholic drink similar to Baileys that we only drink at the end of the year).
My aunt setting up the plate with pan de pascua (a Christmas sweet bread similar to Panettone).

Most of those relatives are now dead, but I treasure those memories tight in my heart.

So when Ruth hired me this year for a Christmas family session that would include her parents and uncle, I suggested to do it there, at her parents home, where so many memories have been created through the years.

One of the things I learned this year, is how important it is for photographers to keep ourselves connected to our family memories, and how much our relationships can come through in the work we produce, and Ruth’s family session was such a confirmation of that: Lack of formality, the dining room table, cookies made at home, favorite coffee mugs, blended families, happy kids, beloved uncles, laughs and old stories, at a house well lived.

There was such a strong resemblance to the family dynamics that I witnessed growing up.

My goal is to always capture families the way they are, truth to their heart, and this session reminded me that every session is a reflection of who I am.

Feliz Navidad!