dream fulfilled.

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.

colorful grays

What can I say that I haven't said before? I love them. But yeah, I've said that before. Let me say it again: I love these dear friends, a lot
The Grays just get better with each babe they add to their gang. I am so grateful that I get to document them regularly, and feel lucky to bear witness to their amazing love and awesome togetherness.   
Sweet, yes indeed. I should probably show you the photo that follows, the one where the girls are yelling at the ducks.  They are fiery, these Gray girls.
It just doesn't get better than completely spontaneous dance parties. I don't remember what prompted Memphis and Odessa to bust out their Beyonce-inspired moves, but I am ever so glad they did!
These girls, they can be apprehensive, particularly of the camera. But something happened between our last visit and this one, and they just turned. it. OUT. Memphis, who has been described by her mama as "all business," completely let down her guard with me and gave me so much of her natural self that weeks later I'm still feeling all squishy about it.  Memphis Ella Merritt Gray, the biggest of the big sisters; I've known her since she was just a few months old, when Tiffany and I met in a group for new moms.  She and my girl rolled around on the rug next to each other, and Memphy gave my camera the stink eye. I'm telling you, serious business this girl. You can't really blame me for loving her a little something extra. 
 Raleigh "Roo," looking a little bigger (okay, a lot bigger) than the last time I saw him.
364 days apart, these girls, and even closer in their hearts.
Can we get a resounding "STUNNING!" amidst the chaos that is three children?!
Thanks for letting me and my camera into your world again, Gorgeous Grays.
I do love you five.