The Baillies’ Toothbrush Session – Family Photography in Cornwall
I knocked on Erin and Ian’s front door just a tad before 6am one March morning. Like with any other Toothbrush Session, this one meant an early start so that I could get there before the kids were really up and rolling, but even at this hour, they still met me at the door. For two hours, this family welcomed me into their home and into their lives. It came as a bit of a shock when I realised it was time to head off to prep for another shoot!
It was March Break, so this weekday shoot had a decidedly weekend feel. Cards and Candyland before breakfast; some tunes in the background; chocolate chips and strawberries on homemade waffles; onesies and a complete absence of rush. If you’re Olivia, it was a sit-back-and-keep-twirling-your-hair (an adorable gesture that I became obsessed with) kind of morning. I’m tempted to adopt this family’s routine for my own household (heaven knows that Rich would love any excuse to wear his Batman onesie more often).
I loved the story time that came after breakfast. It was a “divide and conquer” approach that involved switching it up after a little while, meaning both kids got time with each parent and I got to document the tenderness that comes both with reading to a young one and helping a young reader make progress. As a bonus, I also got to document tickles, dog cuddles, and bed-making. ;) Reading is a very important activity to me; I’ve long loved reading stories to children and have a history of some entertaining efforts with a particular child, so watching these guys share story time was just awesome.
Sessions with families with older (ie non-toddler) children have been a rare treat (see the Osbornes’ session here for another example), so I soaked up every minute of this session and loved watching the changes that happen when parenting older children. How the kids still need you, but mostly as a reminder service, rather than as an assistant; how the humour is able to change to more evolved (devolved??) silliness; how the chatter develops into conversation that shows the beginnings of a grasp of the surrounding world; how the cuddles are a little less frequent and a little more unexpected, but no less heartwarming.
The parents who I work with all tend to have one thing in common: the ability to laugh at the ridiculous. Kids do weird stuff: they say weird things; they have weird games; they cry over weird “problems”; they sleep/sit/stand in weird positions. The Baillies were no different. Ian and Erin have an awesome ability to laugh at themselves and their kids, and their kids definitely put themselves in some weird positions. Case in point (I love how even the dog seems to be finding this odd):
I love that Ian and Erin seem to have the ability to regularly take a step back and just enjoy the weirdness of their particular pair of offspring. It made me laugh repeatedly and made me even more watchful.
To the Baillies: thank you for letting me in and keeping me smiling for two straight hours. Thank you for your openness, the music, the card games, and the laughter. It took us a while to get this session on the books but it was very definitely worth the wait!
I’m Ang – a Cornwall, Ontario-based photographer with a passion for capturing light and photographing natural moments in life as they happen anywhere in the world. My goal is to capture memories that you will cherish once your children are too grown up to curl into your lap for cuddles and the house seems oddly quiet at night. I love meeting new families in their natural environment and getting in amongst the bedlam so that I can document the perfectly imperfect realities of daily life. Please explore more of www.momentusstudio.com to see more examples of family photography in Cornwall and around the world.