My Beckwith family was planning a reunion in 2013 and my Mom asked me to take some family portraits at the event. I grabbed my camera and a single speed light. I gathered family groups around their elders and bounced the light off the ceiling, hoping for enough light to illuminate everyone. The photos were delightful and taking them made me feel useful at the event. The groups piled together; rambunctious kids, dutiful parents, and steadfast elders joking and laughing as they culminated to pose for a picture.
Since then I’ve been lucky enough to take hundreds of family portraits for my community at reunions, Christmas parties, and birthdays. Sometimes getting as many as 5 generations in one photo. Most of the people I’ve known for my entire life and it brings me a lot of joy to offer my skills in photography to celebrate the kinship that has been at the center of my tribe for thousands of years. My favorite photos are of moments caught in between the poses when it’s impossible to get everyone to sit still: the goofing off, the squirmy children, and the happy faces.