58 years. Fifty. Eight. That’s a whole lot of years to spend loving someone.And yet, here they are.
This session was truly special and I’ve been waiting to blog it because I wanted to make sure I found the right words.
I joined Pat and Ward (actually, John, but I loved that Pat calls him by his last name because when they met they knew so many Johns that it was hard to get the right one to answer when you called out the name) for a visit on the afternoon of their anniversary. The table was set with linens, their best china and their fine crystal. The lobster was chilling in the fridge; a cake was baked and ready to go. Cards rested at their place settings, ready to be opened during their meal together. While I was there, they had three generations of visitors, and Harrison’s just-started-crawling-and-I’m-curious nature meant that he happily explored the apartment and enjoyed some cuddles while we all visited.
I sat and listened to their stories about their adventures together and marveled at the life they’ve led, while they went through photos that highlighted their history together. Many years ago, Ward surprised Pat one day with what could only be described as a dilapidated barn. They worked to renovate it and turn it into a gorgeous country home that was so far removed from its origins I didn’t initially realise it was the same structure. Ward’s passion for sailing led to adventures on the seas with Ananda, the boat that he bought in the Bahamas and sailed home. They share a love of dogs and I’ve since heard stories about how their beloved German shepherd was well-trained to protect Pat and the family home (and, perhaps most dramatically, their daughters) while Ward worked on the road in his sales position.
There’s so much to love about these two. Ward is playful and sticks his tongue out whenever he feels like it. Pat looks at him with a kind of adoration that you don’t often see. There’s laughter in Pat’s eyes. Pat and Ward have lived together. They’ve sought adventure – or maybe adventure found them – together. They’ve raised a family, they’ve had their struggles and yet here they are, still. Together.
While much of my time is dedicated to documenting and celebrating new marriages and new families, there’s something so important about taking the time to properly celebrate couples who are anything but new to each other. These are people who have spent their lives getting to know each other year after year; accepting the changes and moving past the faults. Waking up each day, remembering to choose the other person time and again. That, to me, is worth every single ounce of the same energy I spend celebrating newly married couples.
I’ve wanted to document grandparents for years. Not doing this for my own grandparents is truly one of my biggest regrets, even though I know I couldn’t have done it justice then in the way I would’ve wanted to. Spending this time with Pat and Ward meant more than they realised and I’m so thankful.
Here’s a little peak into their anniversary…
I’m Ang – a photographer with a passion for capturing light and photographing natural moments in life both big and small 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 family photojournalism and get in touch if you’d like to celebrate your own loved ones with a documentary anniversary session or time spent capturing how you live your life and love your family.