Documentary vs. Lifestyle Family Photography: What is the Difference?

Documentary vs. Lifestyle Family Photography: What is the Difference?

Documentary photography enters with a bang. She is the youngest sister. She has forgotten to wear shoes outdoors, so that her youthful feet are caked with mud when she steps into the dining room. She has a tangled mass of flowers in her hair. She reminds you of the fire in your heart.

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A day in the life: a photo-diary of my friend and former colleague & her family

A day in the life: a photo-diary of my friend and former colleague & her family

One of the amazing and wonderful women who made it that much better during my PhD was Jen. She was doing her post-doc at that time, and we quickly grew close. (At first, I just talked too much, while she tried to get her work done efficiently so she could go home to her then very young daughter).

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The family I broke the law with: photography in High Park

The family I broke the law with: photography in High Park

I grew up in communist Bulgaria, which means I really do not like to break the law, or any rules. I get nervous around police-officers, or border-crossing people, or even security guards (perhaps especially security guards). One time, as a teenager, I got pulled over for speeding, and asked to hand over my license and registration. My hand shook so terribly that I had to lean it against the open window when handing the office my license….

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The biggest misconception about (my) documentary family photography

The biggest misconception about (my) documentary family photography

I often introduce myself to people as a documentary photographer. I put that right on my bio, on my website, everywhere.

The catch is that I have made a mistake in assuming everyone knows exactly how this works! 😱

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Between beauty and dream: On memories and the case for emotion over story.

Between beauty and dream: On memories and the case for emotion over story.

The images and stories and songs I yearn for are somewhere between beauty and dream. They don’t need to be coherent, in the same way dreams don’t need to be. Ever try to tell someone your dream? Yawn. Even if you’re a damned good storyteller, you’ll induce some snoozes. The thing that compels you to tell someone your dreams is the feelingyou’re left with when you open your eyes. It’s the emotion that grips you, but that's attached to an ineffective or half-baked story. That emotion is hard to put into words. But could it be done through music, sound, or pictures?

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I'm not a quitter, but I quit.

I'm not a quitter, but I quit.

Two years ago, I walked away from academia. After pursuing it relentlessly and devotedly for some seventeen years (if you count my undergraduate degree), I walked away.

It wasn’t a dramatic, flailing arms and hair-pulling act...

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Documentary Family Photography | Sand, swings, and puddles: the mysteries of life

Documentary Family Photography | Sand, swings, and puddles: the mysteries of life

You've heard me say it before and I'll keep saying it just as often as I can: every family is different, and the activities that fill your days are unique to your own family, and you should never ever try to compare yourself to any other, because comparison is the thief of joy. But all strong families have one thing in common and that is...

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An hour with the Castellanos family

An hour with the Castellanos family

I made the trip back to Mississauga last weekend, during some kind of migraine-inducing pressure system that drove temperatures in mid-October to 24 Celsius. It was just as well, because Isabel's son was recovering from croup and the warm humid air was probably good for him. (Just guessing. I'm not a doctor.) They'd moved in to a new house only two weeks ago. Grandma and grandpa were visiting from Colombia, and they were hoping for some photos to take back with them. So, a busy time for them, and yet they made time for me.

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Birth photography: is it right for you?

Birth photography: is it right for you?

Having a photographer in the room while you're in pain, while you're facing your biggest fears (because let's face it - for me, the impending pain of labour was my biggest fear), while you're vulnerable and naked and possibly passing gas from strain... for some people it's just too much.

But there there is the flip side...

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family and so much more: on photographing life.

That's the best bit about documentary photography, I suppose: being welcomed into lives as they unfold, trying my best to do them justice. 

That whole bit about being a fly on the wall - who knows if that is true? Flies buzz around in your ear and unnerve you. A documentary photography experience normally has the opposite result: it calms and grounds people, and makes them thankful for the lives they live.

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The Sunflower Festival @ Kricklewood Farm 2017

The Sunflower Festival @ Kricklewood Farm 2017

I photographed the Sunflower Festival at Kricklewood farm again this year. There is a tasting alley, where chefs prepare small bite-sized dishes to load up on a plate. There is a barbecue, music, artisans and craftspeople, tons of local vendors, a silent auction, and of course - GOATS! (and a few pigs and poultry, too). (And sunflower fields, though those weren't quite in bloom this year because of the rain)

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from Ontario to Alberta: a family of six says goodbye

from Ontario to Alberta: a family of six says goodbye

The Murrays are one of those families that you want to have living on your block.

Though we were never actual neighbours, my kids went to school with their kids, and my daughter counted their daughter among her besties. And whenever I saw them around, they simply brought energy and fun and goodness to the community. In short, the Murrays are good people.

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when a girl turns eleven (and the worst place to get hit with a water balloon)

when a girl turns eleven (and the worst place to get hit with a water balloon)

Running, grinning, posing without prompt, a golden fidget spinner in the hand and plastic leis as vibrant crowns.

You’ll find all that and more, perhaps, should you be invited to photograph an 11th birthday party in the middle of July in Ontario.

And a photographer sitting in the grass, as a giant water balloon falls right on her crotch: risks of the trade.

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there is a chocolatier in this town...

there is a chocolatier in this town...

After watching her work her magic for a little while, I naturally assume Audrey was a chemistry whiz in school. This artisanal chocolate business is part art, part science. But no, she says. She didn’t take chemistry in school. Her counsellor told her that she’d be no good at science. He suggested she’d do something more suitable. Like being a typist.

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