This is Andrea & Madeleine, two beautiful people I very much enjoyed spending time with this winter. Andrea is a social worker and single mother who seems to have such a gentle and kind presence. Madeleine, her daughter, loves exploring, is very curious and is bursting at the seams with silliness. By the end of our shoot Madeleine was sitting on my lap with her forehead pushed up against mine looking at me straight in the eyes and getting as close as she could. I loved it.
Andrea was so understanding and patient with of all of her daughters rambunctious playfulness, it was beautiful. I think most mothers would have been a little upset and responded to Madeleine by firmly demanding her to stop moving and to be quiet so that we could take a picture. Instead Andrea allowed Madeleine to just be herself, to get out her wiggles, to ask questions, to run around like crazy and to roll in the grass. Andrea did at times ask Madeleine to slow down and to come over and sit with her, but it was never out of anger or a lack of patience. Because of that I really felt like I got to see Madeleine as she is, a child. If you know anything about children, it's that having them sit still for any length of time is an art to be mastered.
I loved that Madeleine wasn't trying to look perfect for the pictures, that she didn't sit still the whole time, that she played and rolled around and laughed. Sure her silliness was probably how she dealt with some of the strangeness of having her photos taken, but I still felt like she was being herself, which at times is more than many of us can say. She was never putting on some perfect guise to trick others into thinking she was some person she was not. She was just herself. Tooth missing, messy hair, skirt flopping in the air and bare feet in the grass. In some ways she was the most exemplary client I have worked with because she wasn't afraid of being seen just as she was.