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A morning with the Johnson Family

Over the past year, I've had the chance to meet many wonderful families in Charlottesville, VA. Photographing the Johnson family was definitely one of the highlights. When I chatted with Kristie before the session, she worried that her family might be too boring for a two hour family photography session. Would her kids behave? Would they be irritated by the camera? Would they be interesting enough? What would they do for two hours?


I reassured her that her family IS ENOUGH (and definitely NOT BORING) just the way they are. One of the reasons I'm drawn to documentary family photography is that it isn't about children behaving or performing for the camera. It's about kids being kids. It's about connections between people. It's about the full range of emotions that humans have.


When I entered their home, I was greeted by their 4 year old son. He welcomed me like an old friend and promptly showed me to his room. He lead me around - room after room after room - until I met and photographed every family member. Then he jumped on his parents' bed!


Not everyone enjoys hamming it up for the camera - and that's OK! During a family photography session my motto is, "You do you and I'll photograph it." Yes, there was the occasional video game, hiding under the blankets and cellphone use (who doesn't do those things)! But they also played, laughed, shopped and shared a snack. My guess is that your family is similar to the Johnson's, anything but boring.


I'll be leaving Charlottesville, VA this summer, but I am glad I had the chance to connect with the Johnson's while I was here. My family and I will be returning to Boston, MA for new adventures. I'm looking forward to all the Somerville, Cambridge, Arlington and Boston families I get to meet with I return.











© 2019 by Karyn Novakowski, Documentary Family Photographer