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Day 26 – MAN-venture…

When I asked HAH if he wanted to go on an adventure today, he said, “A MAN-venture.” Lucky kid gets to spend a lot of time with his dad and his dad’s creative vocabulary.171-harper2yr But today was a family-venture day, which I documented with my Rolleiflex, a medium format film camera, so no photos to share of today, yet.

173-harper2yrFortunately I didn’t share any photos last year, so here are some film photos from our Wisconsin family-venture last summer.

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Because I am the photographer, it looks like all we ever have are MAN-ventures… but occasionally I can sweet talk Arann in to photographing me so I get to be in a couple of photos too…000076850006Although it is quite funny how miserable we seem in all of these photos… but that is what can happen with slow focusing cameras, just look at any photo of your great-great-grandparents as kids.

000076820006To prove that it was actually a fun trip… here is at least one happy smiling photo to help start Monday off right.

Mabel Mai and The Big Flip are going on The Katie Couric Show!!!!

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It is an exciting time for the Wan-Rees family and for The Big Flip! On May 22nd, 2013, sweet Mabel Mai was born and we were lucky to have the opportunity to document what day 5 looked like for this family of 6…

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And now for the Katie Couric part…. on Tuesday, June 11th, Mabel Mai is going to New York, with her parents and The Big Flip, to tell Katie Couric what it is like to be in a modern family with a breadwinning mom and a stay-at-home dad. We are crazy excited for this amazing family and for the opportunity to share our documentary project with the Nation.

To find out how you can watch the Wan-Rees family on national television and to learn more about the The Big Flip click here: http://bigflipdocumentary.com/action

who wins your bread…

I was eight months pregnant with my son when Izzy Chan asked me if I would help her document the increasing trend of women becoming the primary breadwinners of their families.

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She had statistics and facts for this new role reversal that painted a pretty dismal outlook.

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As the primary breadwinners of our own households, we were not satisfied by the statistics so we wanted to learn more.

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We wanted to hear from real families…

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From both sides of the story…

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From real dads, husbands, men…

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And from real moms, wives, women…

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Who have very real needs, dreams, responsibilities…

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And that lead us to Bonnie and Chip and their family of five, soon to be six…

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We spent a Sunday…

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And a Monday morning…

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…following these two around, asking questions, listening and watching.

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We have just gotten started and already we have learned a lot from the Wan-Rees family, and from the other five families we have followed.

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Our goal is to share how real families are making it work in the Modern Home Front, so we can all learn how to move through these new gender, family, cultural changes as successfully as possible.

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So we are currently in the middle of editing a sneak peek of their story, to help us raise money so we can go back…

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And capture the next chapter of their story…

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To (hopefully) be continued soon.

You can follow our adventures on the ‘The Big Flip: Stories from the Modern Home Front’ here: https://www.facebook.com/BigFlipDocumentary and here: http://bigflipdocumentary.com/

the most beautiful home birth I almost saw…

If you asked me how my home birth was, you would not hear me say, “My home birth was beautiful.”

Instead I very honestly would tell you, “It was extremely long, incredibly painful and very, very messy. I can understand why drugs were invented and why people take them.”

Between endless hours of back-breaking contractions, I kept repeating, “This is ridiculous. How can there be 7 billion people on the planet.”

I couldn’t see why anyone would voluntarily choose to do this more than once in their lifetime, let alone 7 billion times.

People told me eventually I would forget and the hormones would win again, but I refused to believe that I could ever forget what that day felt like. And I announced that I was quite happy with one.

Yet here I am, one year and 5 months later, just like everyone said, wondering… if, maybe, should we?

So I was excited when Rose sent me an email asking if I would photograph the birth of their second baby girl, who would be born at home some time in March. It would be a good test. How would it feel to see someone else go through labor? And what was a home birth like the second time around?

I was also excited because I have never seen a human being born. I have seen cows, sheep, and dogs… but not a human (I had my eyes closed the whole time during HAH’s birth.)

And I got a small taste of what it must feel like for doctors and midwives. For once in my life, I had my cell phone almost always charged and I almost always knew where it was. And at gatherings with friends, I would announce, “I can’t drink tonight, I’m on call.”

But then it didn’t happen. The due date came and went. I started filling up my calendar. I had photo shoots scheduled every day. Arann got sick, so I was working all day and on solo parenting duty at night. Until finally at the end of day two of photographing flowers in SF, I got the texts:

4:12pm “I think we are in early labor, midwife is coming over. Will text again.”

4:57 “Come now!!”

I was in San Francisco.

The family was in Oakland.

For those of you not from the Bay Area, 5pm on a Thursday means… Fat chance.

I only had to drive 10.5 miles.

It took me one hour.

When I finally arrived at the house, Rose’s mother let me in and said, “The baby was just born, come on in.”

And this is what I saw…

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While I was disappointed to have missed the birth, it was probably for the best because I got to experience all of the joy and none of the work. Which means I can confidently say that it was the most beautiful home birth, I almost saw.

Thank you, Rose and Jonathan, for inviting me to be a part of this amazing moment in your lives. It was such an incredible honor and I am so excited for your family. And, as Rose said to me after the birth of HAH, “Have fun falling in love.”

Wait for it…

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Seana first contacted me on November 10th about family photos. We had three or four scheduled dates to meet but each time it just didn’t work out… thanks to conflicting holiday schedules, bad weather, the flu, and even an epic battle with poison oak. But we didn’t give up. We waited until schedules calmed down, the weather was just right, the poison oak went away and everyone one was feeling healthy, relaxed and ready to play…

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Thank you for not giving up, Seana.

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It was so worth the wait.

No warm-up necessary this year…

This was the third year in a row that I photographed Jasmine and her parents

…which, I learned, makes for a very comfortable and very action-packed photo shoot.

No warm-up time necessary this year, Little Miss Jasmine was ready to go…

And so was I… after spending 72 continuous hours working on getting our new house ready for us to move in to it this week! It is totally chaotic and insane what we are trying to do in such a short amount of time… so this one hour photo shoot, in this perfect location (which happens to be conveniently in my new backyard,) with these ready and willing models… was exactly the boost I needed tonight to keep me going.
And hopefully the next blog post I write will be from my desk, in my new office, in our very own house! Eeeeeeeeeee….. wish us luck!

it is all about people…

I may photograph food, products, events, and flowers… but for me, it is all about the people. So I get excited when family portrait season comes around and families invite me in to their homes for an hour, or even better, for an afternoon, and I get to play…

I enjoy it so much that every time I am at a family photo shoot I usually have to remind myself that it is time to put down the camera and go home. And when I do eventually leave, I feel honored to have been invited in to the homes of these families and to document what their lives are like at this moment… and I can’t believe that I am lucky enough to call this my job.

This is what’s going on at our house these days…

It has been awhile since my last post, so I thought I’d at least share what we are working on…

In addition to learning how to grab our toes, roll-over, fly, drool, and laugh… we are also working on my new website.

Because now that we have this parenting thing figured out (as demonstrated in photo above)…

…it is time to get back to work again. New website link coming soon.

One Street, Four Families and Me…

Last year I was lucky to photograph this cute family

And that cute family showed their photos to this cute family…

And that cute family showed their photos to this cute family…

And to this cute family…

And because all of these cute families live on the same cute street in the East Bay, this year one of the mothers offered to help organize schedules so I could come back and photograph all of the cute families on the same day.

So that is what we did.

And here are some of my favorites from our marathon photography day on that sunny Saturday in November…


Thank you, Rachel, for suggesting the Clover Drive photography day. And thank you, Kim, for coordinating all of the schedules. I had lots of fun with each of your families and I really hope to see you all again next year.



Photography Lessons: by lil’ Margaux…

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A year ago in May, I received this email from Abby:

Paige – we love your work! It would be awesome to have you document lil’ Margaux.

We were thinking of doing three short photo sessions spaced out through the year. We want to get some nice shots of her as she grows. (Everyday is something new!). I’d like to do the first session after she can hold her head up (3 mos or so) as she’ll be a more sensational model at that point. And we’d like to do this outside, earth baby style.

Thanks!
Abby

I was excited about the opportunity to document a little one’s first year of life, and so over the next 16 months I was able to photograph Margaux at…

…3 months…

…7 months…

…and 19 months.

Each time I arrived at their house, it was fun to see (and experience) the differences a few months can have on a little person. And I learned a lot from Margaux about how to be better prepared to photograph the very different stages. These are the valuable lessons that lil’ Margaux taught me about photographing a child’s first year:

At three months you have to work really fast before your model falls asleep… again.

Seven months is so dreamy… a few funny noises and a mirror is all it takes to get a good smile.

And 19 months… watch out. You better have eaten a good lunch, done some stretching and have a bunny up your sleeve, because not only do you have to move fast to keep up with your model, but you also have to have some tricks to keep her entertained. Ladders, chairs, agile parents, and using your body as a blockade works too…

But as I looked back to compare the photos from each of our photo shoots, I was pleased to discover some similarities as well…

Thank you, Abby, Nate and Margaux, for letting me document your first year together and for teaching me how to be a better photographer for all ages.

And I can’t wait to see what lessons Margaux has to share after lil’ Margaux becomes big sister Margaux.

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