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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Life is anything but ordinary

Life is anything but ordinary

Over the years, you have learned - without realizing it - that your real life is ‘ordinary’. You have learned that the everyday moments, those regular things that happen daily, are less than ‘special’.

What you have learned is a lie.

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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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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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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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a fill of urban idyll.

a fill of urban idyll.

Spending this afternoon at the Toronto shore... It makes me miss the city. The scent of shawarma wafting through the summer air, the hum of traffic, the hiss and chimes of street-cars rounding corners, opening, and closing. Children somewhere, yelling, planes overhead, the pavement hot, the air - sticky.

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photography reaches deeper than research

photography reaches deeper than research

Before I became a family photographer, I was a parenting researcher. I was interested in how parents behaved, and how their children developed.

However, most of the hands-on data collection and family visits were not done by me. They were done by research assistants who would collect the data and hand it over to us, the researchers. 

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Why did you fall in love?

Why did you fall in love?

You've seen the photos social media tells you to have. You've seen it all.

What you might not have seen is that there is another way. Another way to document your days. Where the authentic is given full reign.

Ask yourself this: why did you fall in love with your life?

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go bowling, my friends

go bowling, my friends

When my "Year-in-the-Life" family took their two sons bowling, there were a few predictable glitches. Having an older brother and two parents who are bowling Gods (everyone looks like a pro when you first start bowling) does nothing for one’s ego. Will gave it a valiant effort, then there were some near-tears, then a change in strategy or five. Afterwards, he ate some fries and gave it another honest go. There were double underhand throws, and squat throws, and rotational slams, and anguish and thrill. It really doesn’t matter what the scoreboard ultimately said: the kid persevered, and that’s all anyone needs to know about that day.

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Fall for your life. Fall in love with real.

Fall for your life. Fall in love with real.

While you’re imagining all those other families have more glamorous lives than you, they’re just making dinner and having quiet conversation. They’re tired from a long day at work - just like you - and they, too, are looking to reconnect with loved ones.

So fall for your life. Fall in love with real.

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make time for the pit-stops (with the Millers)

make time for the pit-stops (with the Millers)

I'm well versed in traveling with children, painful road trips, scrambling for ideas to distract the little people in the back, without being able to explain why it's taking so long, or tell a white lie like, "we're nearly there". 

But life is not a race. Make time for the pit stops. 

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YEAR IN THE LIFE: the package to break all packages

YEAR IN THE LIFE: the package to break all packages

Have you ever wished you could have an authentic, all-encompassing photographic story of your family’s life?

Not a last-minute portrait session before the holidays, or a mad scramble to don matching outfits and smiles in front of a curtain, but a real, honest-to-goodness portrayal of the crazy, quiet, cozy, obnoxious, loving, warm, or plain inexplicable moments your family burns through in a single year?

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