Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Caroline and Friends
This beautiful young woman is Caroline. For her twelfth birthday, she didn't ask for the latest computer gadget, or a new item for her wardrobe, or anything typical at all. She asked her mum is she could have her closest friends over for a sleep over and have a photo session to celebrate how much love is in her life. Now this little girl has been through a lot recently so for her to simply want photos with friends from school, with her God sisters, and with her sister, it just puts everything in perspective. At only 12 years old, she already knows what is really important in life more than most adults, and she knows she doesn't ever want to forget how important it is to have the love of friends and family.
This is Caroline's clan. When I arrived for the shoot, I thought I would just be photographing the birthday girl and her four best friends from school. But since it is summer, family friends are visiting from overseas and so there were a few God sisters, and of course Caroline's darling little sister who were all keen to join in the fun. We decided to got to the Heydon Trust property since I hadn't shot there before and they wanted more of an adventure. I brought these parasols and am so glad I did for they make such fun images - love love.
These are Caroline's dear friends from school. This shoot was particularly important as most of them are heading in different directions in September so they really wanted to be able to savour all the wonderful years they shared together as besties at school.
As we were walking around the grounds looking for some pretty backdrops and good light, Caroline's mum, Jen, whispered to me that she had not arranged an activity for the party - that I was the activity. She emphasised that it was more important that the girls all have fun than that we get good photos. Now this was huge pressure as of course it may sound like a good idea on the day, but what about when they get the pictures back and all they want is to remember what fun they had in a beautiful way too. I was a little concerned that I might not be able to make it fun and have fabulous pics at the end, especially with such a big group. But with a few fun activities to get things going, I think they all had a good time, and even if they didn't, hopefully these pics will make them remember history differently and think that they did!!
This is Caroline's darling sister, Sarah. I have a soft spot for Sarah as she reminds me so much of how I used to be when I was so keen to be older like my sister and always wanted to be able to be included in all the big girl fun. And Caroline is so lovely with Sarah and I just think of how much closer they will grow to each other with every year. Love the relationship that sisters have. Siblings are the only true life partners and there is a lot of weight in that and they are so lucky to have each other.
So when Jen said that it was supposed to be fun, I don't think she counted on me insisting that the girls traipse through a jungle...
... particularly one that was heavily populated with web upon web of hurricane spiders - good thing a storm wasn't coming or we would have been walking through the low hanging webs rather than under them.
But at the other side of the wood was a lovely clearing with trees and flowers and so very worth it.
These four are all God sisters. Their mums have been bffs themselves their entire lives and now their kids are thick as thieves too. Even though they only see each other once a year, they pick up right where they left off - just such a wonderful cycle of life.
I had a vision of all the school friends looking up at me which they were gung-ho about too. That was until the ants started crawling on them and the bugs started biting. It is actually a miracle that a single one of these images came out as the girls really were not happy to be lying on the grass at all.
And when I added the flowers (also full of ants), the friends really started to protest. I think this was the point in the shoot where I ceased to be a fun activity and started to be a thorn in their sides - but hopefully these images are worth all they had to endure - I think the pics are great fun, but then again, I wasn't the one lying in Pandora's Box!
So a little spinning as a reward, and also a sure fire way to get rid of any hangers on and creepy crawlies still in their hair and clothes.
The girls were so great for all the group shots, but I knew that Caroline would really want an individual shot of her with each of her fave friends, particularly since so many of them were not going to be with her in September.
This is Caroline with Isabella, who is thankfully staying with her at the same school.
Hannah is switching schools but staying in Bermuda so the two will still get to see each other all year round.
Molly has decided she is keen to go off to boarding school in England but will still be home every holiday for fun times and more memory making.
Charlotte is sadly moving to Florida next week so they won't be able to see each other so often in person, though there is always skype and email, and airplanes, so thank goodness for modern technology.
This is Taylor, who is Caroline's God sister and they have known each other since they were wee babes.
Tessa is another God sister who Caroline loves to catch up with each summer when they come to visit.
And of course, sweet sister Sarah who adores Caroline. They have been through a lot together these last few months and these difficult times have only brought them closer.
As the sun was setting, we caught the whole group of girls one last time. They were amazing at doing as I asked and having fun with it so thank you thank you.
Happy birthday dear Caroline - I hope you will cherish these pics for years to come. Lots of love xxx