pictures of you: the flores family

What I found remarkable through the experience of photographing my Pictures of You Project, this time last year, was just how much COVID had impacted everyone universally.  Everyone around the world was being affected by the pandemic.  Everyone’s lives had stopped.  And then, as the months went by, the way we experienced this unprecedented and historical time began to vary as people emerged with new perspective and new priorities.  And, so many made big life changes, like relocating to other parts of the country, that I think will redefine our world as we know it in the years to come.  We are still collectively living through a period of great transition for our country as we shift geographically, politically and socially.  My hope is that we come out the other end having grown and evolved for the better.

This next set of images from the project are of the Flores Family who live in Monrovia, CA.  Here is a bit of how life has changed for them since we took these photos about a year ago:

“Life after the pandemic has slowly started to go back to normal. We went from being home all day with our girls to ‘back to normal.’ And yet, the ‘normal’ we knew then is not the ‘normal’ we are experiencing now. Days seem shorter because our lives have suddenly become busier with slowly returning to work, school, and the normal hustle and bustle of life. When we see our friends and family now, there is a new sense of anxiety lingering in the air when we greet each other. Not knowing if a hug is appropriate or if a fist pump will do. We have been expected to return to work and yet somehow school our child at home. And yet, thankfully we’ve survived it all. The lessons we’ve learned through it will forever be engraved in our hearts. Love hard and with a passion, live life fully, embrace the simplicity, work hard, be humble, and be kind.”
Wendy Flores

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pictures of you: the mitri family

Remember this time last year? Or have you tried to block it from your memory like me? You know, barely leaving the house, life on pause. Well, it was about that time, when my work had come to a screeching halt and I was experiencing what I can only describe as an identity crisis, that I realized just how integral photography was to my being and how much I missed it, how much I needed that creative outlet. I also felt that I would regret it if I didn’t do something to capture a slice of that wild, bizarre and unprecedented time. From that came my Pictures of You Project in which I aimed to photograph families of all sorts throughout Southern California in a creative but honest way from six feet apart.

After the project ran its course and glimpses of normalcy started to appear, I didn’t feel quite ready to share the photos (I think because they felt so personal) so I sat with them. But, now seems right.  That time and space provided an unexpected perspective, dare I say, retrospective twist to the images that make them that much more meaningful.

Exactly one year ago tomorrow, I photographed the Mitri Family and my first family for the project.  Their images feel like a natural place to start sharing.  As with many of the families I photographed for the project, life has changed dramatically for them since we took the photos and I thought it would be interesting to include a bit of where they are now in their own words:

“Life has completely shifted since the COVID lockdown. I began working from home overnight for the first time in my professional career. My daughter went from a packed, active school schedule to a 3-hour, part-time zoom followed by very few outdoor activities, especially as we moved into the Fall and Winter, due to the weather. A lot of things became incredibly clear for us as a family though as a result of COVID, we re-prioritized from the top down. We bought a second home in Texas with some land so we could give our daughter the best of nature and the wild outdoors. With so many friends moving there as well, we were able to resume a new way of life. We picked up a stray pup on our travels back and forth from California, who has become our pup Taco’s new best friend. There is a silver lining in all things. Overall, I would say COVID changed everything but also simplified and brought us back to an easier and less distracting way of life and as we keep rolling into 2021, it is only looking better and I wish the same for everyone else.”
Kristina Mitri

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exhale

A blog post! What a concept! I just checked and it’s been almost exactly a year since I last posted to my blog. Perhaps it literally is a little “last year” to blog, but it’s such a great way to present a body of work and to tell a story instead of one, singular image or a small carousel of photos here and there on Instagram.  This series of photos from Oksana and David’s maternity session at their gorgeous Los Angeles home lend themselves perfectly to such a format.

I also feel like I’m finally coming up for a big breath of fresh air after the last year and these photos feel like a deep exhale to me, so them seemed like a good choice for my first post back at it.  Enjoy!

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