I've recently decided to broaden my business to the Portland, OR market. I started reaching out to old friends and family to do some shoots and one of which is the Steensma Family. They were my neighbors growing up and was lucky to have such great people so close. They were a young family when they moved in, giving birth to their first child, Analies. I was young when she was born but I remember being so excited about a new life coming into the world and just being old enough to grasp what that meant. Now Analies is traveling the world fresh out of college and doing some amazing things by volunteering in places where most wouldn't want to volunteer. That determination is definitely a reflection on her parents, Nancy and Michael. Two people that love extremely hard and are just wonderful people.
As their family grew again, this time with their Son Kees, my family was beginning a new chapter by moving to Denver. I never got to see Kees grow up or build any relationship with him but as the years went by Nancy and Micheal stayed in touch through Facebook. She saw my work as a photographer and had asked about taking Senior pictures for Kees. My first impression was, "Damn. That makes me feel old." After the shock and horror of the realization that I'm getting older I said I would love to!
A couple weeks ago I was in PDX and we arranged to shoot his Senior portraits. A Senior a Jesuit High, Kees (as most Senior guys are) wasn't 100% sure on taking pictures for an hour or so. But again, like most, he went along with it because it was for his parents. I've seen this before... When I walked in the door, Michael handed me a picture of me around 11 years old, holding Baby Kees. There was that feeling old thing again.
After getting to know Kees a bit more, we headed off to the Eastbank Esplanade to get some shots on the water with the skyline in the background. We then headed to the Pearl District to shoot some more. It's always nice when I get a chance to do the session with just me and the Senior. Their guard is down, they realize I'm not their parents and things start to flow much smoother. Kees is an awesome kid and someone that has a very bright future ahead of him. We seemed to connect on a lot of different issues and when that connection is there, it shows in the photos. By the end of the shoot, we were having fun, joking around and getting some great shots.
I love capturing this time in a young adult's life. They are right at the brink of a massive shift into adulthood and they can almost taste it. Kees is looking at schools on the east coast, ranging from Boston College to North Carolina. He even has some Ivy league schools on his radar! I look at my life when I was 17 and then look at his... I'm pretty sure he'll be just fine.
A very big thank you to the Steensma Family! I can't wait to capture the next step in your family's journey and hope to one day make it work with Analies in town too!