FAMILIES

The MacCormacks: an audio story

There are so many ways to tell a story. Today I want to share a different way than usual. The MacCormacks, always up for something new, agreed to sit in the studio after their family session, and without preparation or direction, shared the story of their joint life together. It's a tale of love and commitment and following your path that reminds us that no life experience goes without challenges and that anything worth doing requires some grit. 


The Story

We recorded this story in our studio recently. It's the first I've done and although it may lack finesse, it really satisfies the historian in me that believes strongly in recording our stories for others to hear. The digital whimsy is all Jeffrey's work. They are pieces he's created in recent months that we thought added another layer of awesomeness to the story of these very cool people! Hope you enjoy their story :)

The Adventure Bells

If you know them, then you already know. Averill and her husband Brendan are adventurous hearts - it's what brought them together (meeting while employed on a cruise ship) and it's what underlies the way they raise their kids and live their lives. Most people don't come to the realization that life is short until later on, but Averill and Brendan are teaching their kids in a not-so-subtle way that life is for living. They've sold off the contents of their home and packed up a suitcase each to move their family to Australia! Granted, Brendan is from Australia, but they don't have a place to live, jobs or even a plan. They're going where the wind takes them. It's going to be an amazing lesson for their kids to watch, because no doubt, they'll land on their feet, problems-solve through challenges and love their way into new circles of friends and neighbours. Don't we all want our kids to be a able to do these things? Someday, without us to guide them.

Today is a special day in Averill and Brendan's history - it's their 10th Anniversary! A significant day from which they have no photographs because they "sort of eloped" in Averill's own words. With Averill being a photographer, I thought this was sacrilege of the nth degree and so when they asked me to photograph their family before their big adventure, I enthusiastically accepted and vowed to capture something worthy of a tenth anniversary! 

Dear Beautiful Bell Family,

We are so proud to know you! Aspire widely. 

Angela

 

 

 

Family Love with the Degnans

It wouldn't be right to let Family Day pass by without sharing one of our favourite families in the world. The Degnans are the type of family that you wish your brother might marry into so that you could be related to them forever! They're loving and loyal and their friends can't get enough of them, which says more than words ever could. We were blessed last year to photograph this beautiful family three times. They celebrated a 35th Wedding Anniversary and the marriage of two children, bringing spouses into the family who only added grace to greatness! We wish the Degnans a hundred more anniversaries and a dozen grandchildren to keep you young.

"A happy family is but an earlier heaven." George Bernard Shaw

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Love and Light,

Angela and László

Family Day with the Dabits {High Park, Toronto}

Here in Canada we're spending today celebrating FAMILY DAY! So, it seemed appropriate to feature the Dabits. We hit High Park, Toronto with them last Sunday morning with the snow falling gently and the trees piled high with white - the perfect backdrop for family fun and some wintery family photos. Happy Family Day to everybody celebrating with the people they love most today!

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The Faryna Family

Photographing the Faryna family is a little like going out to photograph the running of the bulls - you have to be quick on your feet, ready for anything and try not to get knocked over. Not only do Becky and Tim have two energetic boys who are athletically agile but this year they decided to challenge my skills by adding a 120-lb Great Dane named Thunder to their family tree. Becky prepped me when we set the date - "Ange, please!" she begged, "No set-up, no lights, just shoot! You have to be quick," she warned me, like I was being briefed for a top-seacret spy mission. "They won't last long." Last year I wrapped them in Christmas lights and positioned baby Austin as the cowboy who had lassoed his unsuspecting family! Hilarious, right? Not for four-year-old Josh apparently, who didn't appreciate the ironic humour of a family restrained in twinkling lights by the resident baby. So this year I was ready. Two cameras strapped to my body like Dirty Harry, I sauntered casually into the yard and pretended I was there to photograph the clouds, the dirt, the fence - anything but cute kids at play. My stelth paparazzi skills are better than I thought, I guess. Sometimes the kids even looked over at me. Score! From my perch in the leafless bushes I managed to gather a few photographic keepsakes for two of my dearest friends and at least this time, outplayed the players. Mission accomplished!

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Love, love, love and light,

Angela

Faryna Family Photo Shoot {Dukát Photos: Aurora Wedding and Portrait Photographer}

A Fall Photo Shoot with the Steele Family {Scanlon Creek}

Re-meeting old friends and school mates after years have passed is good for the soul. Not only are you reminded of beautiful people you used to know but you get to celebrate with them the amazing things that life has brought in the years that have passed. For Jayme and Robin, that includes two loveable little girls who keep them permanently poised on their toes. And yes, we parents might roll our eyes when we talk about our kids - it's obligatory when you talk to other people who have children - because they spread us thin and run us ragged! But, when the day is done and we finally sit, we're thankful for them and how much they enrich our lives. We know that someday, all our little babes will go off into the world to be the beautiful and kind people we have taught them to be and we will sit and remember the way they fought with one another and chuckle. We'll reminisce about the way they hugged one another and it will warm our hearts. After my morning with Jayme and Robin and their girls, I drove home to my own family grateful for the reminder that our kids are growing fast. When I got in the door I snatched up my two-year-old and smothered him with kisses. He fought to escape my grip... I rolled my eyes. Sigh!

Thank you Jayme, Robin, Teagan and Rhianne! I'm better for re-meeting you :)

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Love & Light,

Angela

Jaclyn and Pete's Maternity Shoot {Toronto Brickworks}

Yesterday I got an email from Jaclyn. With baby Kissel's arrival only a few short weeks away her nesting instinct had kicked in at full force. The other mothers among her recipient list likely smiled the same smile at their computer screens - the one that says, 'Yes, little mama, this is normal.' It's a sympathetic smile because we all remember that final month of waiting - the desire to clean everything, to put everything in it's place, to think of everything in advance of knowing you even have to think of it. In my ninth month pregnant with Ati I rearranged the furniture in our apartment,... several times. Laci would come home in the dark and curse my new arrangements and the new bruises he acquired on his shins. But it has to be done! If it doesn't need to be done for baby's arrival, it has to be done for the sanity of a patiently waiting mothers. So, part of Jaclyn's nesting project included an email to her circle of mothers asking advice in advance. Now this is VERY Jaclyn ;)! Why don't we all do more of this? Aren't the women around us an endless well of experience and love and support? "I figure who needs a book when I have amazing Mom's around me," she wrote. So true! We ARE amazing! :)  Truthfully though, we should follow this lead more in our lives. Let's drop the books and the web pages and the expert advice on daytime television that contradicts itself week to week. The women around us are our strength, our support systems, the cultural centers of our families. Our mothers are the guides, the manifestors the never-ending fountain of love and self-sacrifice and there is nothing and no one in the world that compares.

Sit tight little mama - It's all coming together and you are never alone.

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Love & Light,

Angela & Laci

Hope is Born

Late Friday afternoon I got a surprising call. A familiar voice from my grade school years was on the other end - his first babe had arrived days ago but it was already apparent that the wee wonder was going to grow quickly and something had to be done to freeze the moment - even if only in a photo. I was happy to solve the little dilemma of documenting his daughter's first days and we quickly made plans. I stepped into their home on Monday morning and there was proud Papa Paul with his tiny balled up baby - he stretched her out toward me. "Do you want to hold her?" Did I ever! The moment i nuzzled her into my inner elbow it all came back like a wave - my baby girl was this size only four months ago, but I only barely recall it. Yes, new parents are sleep deprived and especially when there are other children to care for the day is hectic and blurred but the truth is, even if we had every moment free to stare at them breathing they would still transform before us at a mind-blowing rate. And then nature plays this seemingly benign game with our memories, leading us to believe that our four-month-old baby is still as small as when she was born. I came home from my time with baby Hope and her beaming parents filled with their joy and squeezed my chubby babe and smelled her hair with a big deep breath and took in her blue eyes which are slowly turning brown and tried to remember if she was ever as little as Hope. "Of course she was," I thought, but I had to rifle through my pictures to see it for myself.

Thank you Paul and Jessy and newbie Hope for letting me document this moment in your lives. It's gone in a blink!

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Love & Light,

Angela

Portrait of a Mother and her Men

When we arrived at Kim's house to photograph her family a few days ago Kim greeted us at the door in a white robe, hair aglow and eyes wide. She was excited. It made me excited. Her teenage son Evan sprawled out on the couch looked at me like I was his math tutor. (I know the look because I used to BE a math tutor). Why do teenagers dislike having their pictures taken? I hoped to convert him with an edgy portrait.

Photographing this family was a treat for many reasons but something particularly strong and soft and beautiful emanated from them - for a small family of three there was enough love for a tribe. They hugged tight, smiled from the heart, stayed in the moment. A glance arm-in-arm shared by Kim and her husband Bruce had me stunned during editing. I so admired it - Kim, lost in her husband's blue eyes and Bruce staring back with a comforting smile. Do we have these moments enough? I hope so.

At the end of the shoot we spent some time photographing Kim in a little white dress poolside. A little bit of vintage tintage for a gorgeous mother. These portraits are a secret indulgence of ours - they are so fun and so forever. When we take these portraits I always think about how timeless they are, how many times they will get pulled out and how many stories they will prompt. I hope in forty years Evan will turn to his mother and say, 'I didn't want to take pictures at first, but I'm glad you made me do it."

A mother can dream! ;)

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Wishing you all love and light,

Angela and László

Olivia Rose's Baptismal Bash

Baby Olivia Rose is a lucky little girl to be born to parents like Teresa and Paulo - because, if we're honest, nobody does it quiet like Teresa. Of course, I'm talking about throwing a party! Teresa arranged Olivia Rose's special day down to every last pink detail and Olivia Rose was nothing shy of impressive! The morning began with a houseful of guests, then off to the church, pictures galore with her giant Italian family and a reception that rivalled any wedding. People ate, danced, cooed at little Olivia and she pulled it off with smiles and flailing arms thanks to her uncanny ability to nap no matter how many people or how loud their racket! It truly was a beautiful party put on by the heart... and perhaps a small group of elves that Teresa employs to work through the night.

Congratulations Teresa, Paulo and Olivia Rose! May the road rise up to meet you.

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Love & Light,

Angela and László

Little Domenic's Visual Diary

Today is the day that little Domenic's mom returns to work. No doubt bitter-sweet for both of them, it is a momentous day for a mother and child. It gives them room to spread out and grow and deepens their love for one another. I imagine at this moment that they are missing one another deeply as they each gain their bearings. This evening when mom arrives home from work she will scoop up her wee man and hug him tighter than ever and he will hug back. A beautiful moment. One of those pause-and-be-exactly-where-you-are-right-now kind of moments.

In preparation for mom's return we put together this visual diary so that they would always remember the special things that made Domenic's first year distinct. Here's to another stellar year little man!

DOM

Love and Light,

Angela

Divya and Deepesh's Forest Maternity Shoot

Sometimes you meet people for whom the photos almost take themselves. Divya and Deepesh are so thrilled about the upcoming debut of their little girl that they just couldn't stop smiling - especially when they looked at one another. It didn't bother them that it was raining or that the bugs were buzzing. They were arm in arm and loving each moment. Divya and Deepesh filled the woods with romantic cuddles and belly laughs. It was evident that they have been long-time loves. After thirteen years together these parents-to-be are welcoming their wee babe into a relationship filled with friendship, respect and mutual admiration.

We wish you love and light on this beautiful journey!

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Teresa and Paulo's Maternity Shoot

Only a few short weeks remain before Teresa and Paulo welcome their first wee babe into the world! Shakespeare had it wrong, I think. It's WAITING (far more than parting) that can be such sweet sorrow. Luckily, Teresa and Paulo are almost never sitting still... and likely never will again ;) We met Teresa and Paulo at their home where the bustle is at it's best - renovations rolling, a baby's room coming together, unpacked closets giving way to baby clothes and gear - all the tell-tale signs of a babe on the way. Always up for a good surprise, Teresa and Paulo don't know if they're having a girl or a boy -  As you can imagine, bets are flying and the family is rumbling with excitement. Old wives tales are being swapped across kitchen tables, superstitions are being shared and her belly, scientifically admired for shape and protrusion. The only one's who don't seem obsessed with the baby's gender are these two parents to be. Here are some favourites from our visit with my beautiful cousin Teresa and her hubby Paulo as they await their little......... girl! There - I said it!

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Love you three,

Angela and Laci

Leslie and Dan's Beach Maternity Photo Shoot

It's a beautiful thing when you can tell by looking that two people are joined at the heart. Although quite young in years Leslie and Dan have known one another for more than a decade and it shows. They move like they know where the other is going, they laugh before the joke is told and their mutual adoration is heart warming. Now, after oodles of schooling, a collection of travel tales under their belts and enough moving to exhaust a migratory bird, Dan and Leslie are opening their lives to a little son who will join their family adventure. Even over one cup of coffee it became clear that any child of theirs will have to be up for anything because this beautiful couple is only going...well... up, up, up! We met Leslie and Dan and their baby-boy-to-be at the Beach on a sunny but shivery Saturday afternoon to celebrate the lead up to one of life's most beautiful adventures.

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We wish you love and light in all that comes.

Angela and László

{Leslie and Dan's Beach Maternity Photos Shoot with Dukát Photos: Pickering Beach, Ontario}