Meet radiant new mommy Natalie, enamored new daddy Mitch, and their handsome newborn twin sons, Micah (with the milk mustache) and Noah:
Today is these cutie pies' one-month birthday. As they have been in my thoughts, I wanted to share not only some of their Fresh 48 photos, but also a bit about why they mean so much to me.
To help build a foundation, I will give a little background as to what a Fresh 48 Photography session is and why I feel particularly called to do this type of session:
What is A Fresh 48 Session? | A Fresh 48 session is a somewhat non-traditional (i.e. no babies in baskets) form of a newborn session in which you have your new family documented within the first 48 hours of your child(ren)'s birth. Usually this session takes place in-hospital (as typically you are still in the hospital during that time frame), but can be done at home, in a birth center, or really anywhere your family is within the first 48 hours of your child(ren)'s birth.
Why Does it Matter To Me? | My daughters were born in Berkeley, California in September of 2013. We were in the hospital for about four days proceeding their birth. While much of that time is a blur now, I do have two vivid memories from those days. The first is the unprecedented sense of euphoria, gratitude, and sheer bliss that was abounding throughout that hospital room. The second memory I have is a bit more tangible; It was early evening and I was writing in the girls' journal, sitting beside the wall-to-wall window that overlooked the street that led us to that room, the sun was coming down and the golden hues in the room were a true reflection of how I felt deep within my soul; warm, enlightened, peaceful. I looked up to catch a glimpse Joe leaning into the ubiquitous, no frills hospital baby bassinet that we had put both girls into to share some bonding time. With tears in his eyes, he was gently whispering to his new daughters; stroking their faces and stealing kisses with a newfound tenderness in his touch. In that moment I had a realization. I realized that this was our team. Whatever ups or downs may come, we're together now and will always be there for one another.
One regret I carry with me, in terms of that time directly following Ruby and Vera's birth, is that I did not photograph it. You see, while I certainly do have those couple memories to carry with me, I grieve for the details that time will take away from us.
While contemplating writing this post, I found myself overwhelmed by the gamut of emotions that welled up within me. What an unexpected, wonderful journey this documentation story has taken me on - from my first communication with Natalie months ago, to meeting her and Mitch at their Oakland home to discuss our session, to the day (a mere 42 hours from them welcoming Micah and Noah into the world) I stepped foot into their hospital room to photograph their new family. I knew from those first few emails with Natalie that we would hit it off - though, I never could have expected the profound connection and friendship that have come to be. This really is what life is all about.
Because of my personal experience, I was OVERJOYED when Natalie and Mitch chose me to document this intimate time in their lives. But, more than that, I felt a deep understanding and reverence for exactly what it was that I would be documenting for their family. That morning in the hospital was a real bonding experience; many tears were shed (mine included), many laughs resounded, songs were sung. Simply put, there was no room, in that room, for a contrived photo session. The documentation of that pivotal event had to be real. And it was.
The above photo may need some explanation:
As I was packing up to leave the hospital room, I turned around and saw Natalie and Mitch looking at each other in this beautiful gaze. I couldn't fit you all in the frame so I decided to take two exposures and composite it as one panoramic still. I was processing these images together and, after much tweaking, kept coming back to this: with the boys double-exposed in the same center still. My first thought was that this is their birth story as a family, in that whatever chaos may occur (and the profound beauty in that chaos), the strength of Natalie and Mitch as two pillars for not only one another, but as parents for the boys, will allow them to withstand any gales that may sweep through. Then my second thought was that, in I suppose less of an artistic angle, these are their chromosomes; this is their crossing-over. That is, before this whole journey began there was Natalie (represented by your crisp, smiling image on the right), and her best friend, her husband, Mitch (represented by his clear still on the left); and within both of you the potential to come together and, through the miraculous intricacies of meiosis, the potential to create these incredibly distinct, perfect humans; with, indeed, great potential of their own! So, essentially the discrepancies in the image (double-vision aesthetic) are very purposeful in representing that blending and layering of (now oh so many) chromosomes.
When I delivered Natalie, Mitch, Noah and Micah's images I ended up visiting with them for quite a while; holding Noah (Micah will get his turn next time!), sipping on coffee, munching on pastries (our new tradition!), chatting about everything under the sun, and going through their collection of Fresh 48 photos. When we opened up their USB and began scrolling through the photos Natalie said, "Oh wow, I don't even remember that! Those days are all such a blur now."
Now they don't have to be, friend.