“I grew up near the powdery white sand of the Florida gulf coast—my first day on the beach in Southern California in my 20s, I met my husband—I think I fell in love with the rocky coastline of the beaches here just as hard as I fell in love with him. Fast forward ten years and there is nothing that makes me happier than the early winter sunsets at the beach—we dig castles in the cool sand and still get our three children home before bedtime.
This was our last photo session with Michelle before she moved with her husband and two boys to North Carolina. I met Michelle pregnant with my first baby, Clark. During his newborn photoshoot, I watched her press her hand into his little chest to settle him down, cozy in his swaddle, a trick that I would use again and again as a new mother. When Clark was uncooperative during newborn photos with his first little sister, she put tiny dinosaur stickers on Rose to facilitate the sweetest smile on the face of a toddler who was not actually thrilled about having a baby sister at all. As she has photographed our family, she has unknowingly taught me things that have made me a better mother. No matter how messy the day or the moment a photoshoot with her feels relaxed and playful. Watching our family grow through her lens is incredible. She is able to capture their personalities in a photo, not just how they look, but their actual little personalities in a photo! Before she moved, I wanted one last photoshoot with her-and after seeing the images, now I know that it will not be the last- even if we have to travel to North Carolina!
Life is messy—motherhood is even messier. Lucy was born four months into the pandemic—we were isolated, adjusting to life with three children, and Lucy got sick. The whole world was so preoccupied with covid—it turns out our five-week-old baby’s own heart and kidneys were not healthy. After her first inpatient hospital stay, I knew I was extremely sleep deprived—after the second, I knew I had postpartum depression. I think of that expression, you can’t see the forest for the trees—in the middle of one of the hardest times in my life, I worried about Lucy’s health, I obsessed over whether or not I could make enough milk for my baby who could not take a bottle, I replayed times in my head where I could not find anything kind to say to my husband, I allowed guilt to creep in as I nursed my baby listening to my two-year-old, Rose, cry for mommy, as her father read her bedtime stories. I was so in the middle of it—so focused on getting through every day that I was missing all of the beauty in it. Looking through the photographs Michelle took of my family—it was like I could see the forest—there was this beautiful family, my family, and even in a time that we struggled—we loved each other, and we could laugh and dance in the sand.
We decided that Lucy is going to be the last baby in our family—my heart is still a little broken about that. I was so lost in the early months of her life, trying to find myself every day, that the moments with her are more of a blur— yet, because of Michelle- there they are in print on my coffee table—those little hands clinging to me as Lucy chews on my shoulder, Rose’s curls, extra curly in the salty air, Clark, putting his hand to his mouth as he looks out at the ocean, the little habit he has when he is suddenly deep in a state of wonder. Michelle’s photography is such a gift—these moments and memories, these little people I made frozen in time in all of their beauty.” Seana, Mother
“I have documented all of their life’s most precious seasons since their oldest son, Clark, was in his mama’s tummy. They have such a playful and loving family dynamic which makes photographing their family so effortless. I absolutely adore them and feel so blessed to have had the honor to watch their beautiful family grow over the years. I am so passionate about photographing motherhood. As a mama to two boys, I realize just how precious and fleeting these early years of motherhood are. My boys are growing so fast and all I want to do is savor it all: the love, the beauty, and even the chaos! There are moments when taking a second to pause and savor the emotion you’re feeling is not enough. Sometimes you just want to bottle up the magic of childhood forever, soak up the immense love always, and experience that embrace just one more time. Capturing motherhood is so much more than just memory on paper or a computer screen- they are pieces of your heart frozen in time that encompass your motherhood journey.” Michelle, Photographer