Before I launched my website, before I printed business cards, or purchased my domain name, I dragged an old friend and her little cousin out to the Jantzen Beach carousel and took a ton of photos. I’m sure I thought they were good at the time, and hopefully my friend’s aunt enjoyed them, but I’m also sure I would cringe if I had to look at them again today. Anyway, fast forward six or seven years and I am living a reality that was once just a wild dream: I have a thriving family photography business right here in my beloved home town of Portland, Oregon; I photograph amazing people in various fun and interesting locations every week, and yet, somehow I’ve managed to avoid shooting a family in one of my most favorite places. Over the years I have fantasized about such a photo session, but for whatever reason, I never mustered the energy needed to make it happen. Until this week, just a few days before they shut the thing down, possibly for good.
As I approached the carousel, I choked up a bit; I truly felt like I was about to say goodbye to an old friend. Silly, I know, but dang we’ve really loved this place, and I just freaking hate to see it go. Of course I pulled myself together and hopped out of the car with more excitement than sadness. I was meeting up with some of my favorite, beautiful, fun, SPIRITED, peeps, at one of my most treasured, colorful, JOYOUS, locations. There was simply no time for melancholy.
I had pictured this session a thousand-and-one times. Okay, so maybe not the part where I have my legs wrapped around a jiggly golden pole while I hang off a fast-moving carousel trying to frame, focus and shoot while not getting injured. And… maybe not the part where I’m lying underneath and between two carousel horses as they go up and down alternatively, each “kicking” me in the head on their way down. Those reasons combined with the challenging light, food court ambiance, and shooting around other riders, had scared me away for long enough.
Sure the session had its challenges, but mostly it was rip-roaring F-U-N! So many laughs, lots and lots of silly faces, and these people who I just adore, being truly themselves, as they are spun round and round. The last four years of very frequent visits to the carousel had given me plenty of time to dream up how the final imagesfrom a session like this would look, and it wasn’t like these. These are better. The Gray Gang truly delivered, and I was thrilled to be along for the ride (sorry, I just couldn’t help myself there!).
And to the carousel we say: So long old friend, we will miss you dearly and hope against hope to see you again soon (in Portland!).
PQ and Franny too.