pretty city

This may be something that will only resonate with my fellow photographers but here it is: 

This family. I do some of my very best work when I'm with them and it's not because they are super adorable (which they are, obviously!), or because I just get lucky with them during our sessions (which, honestly may be part of it)...but I really think, at the core of my relationship with the Tew family is trust and THAT'S the magic-maker. That's the key. They tell me that they trust me, I believe them, they let me do whatever I want, we hug at the end of the session, and that's it. I don't ever have to feel anxious or like I have to try and be a photographer that I'm just not when I'm shooting them. They love me for me and, because of that, I feel SO free and calm and happy during our sessions.

In the end, it's not even about the resulting images that I love most. It's the experience of getting to be just 100% Sam Kelly the photographer and nothing more- even if it's just for that one hour or so during my time with the Tew family. And that's truly enough for me. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you're a photographer, trust YOURSELF and if you're hiring a photographer, trust THEM. Good things happen. 

(Mamiya 645 ProTL, Canon eos3, Fuji 400h)

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sweet moves

My favorite part of this session was when I asked Dav what he likes to do in his spare time. His answer? "Hip hop dance."

These three were easy breezy to photograph and, when we were done, Dav showed me some of his sweet moves. I call that a win win. 

(Mamiya 645 ProTL and Canon eos3 with Kodak Portra 400, Portra 800, and Tri-x film)

best friends

Is it just me or are preteen brother and sisters supposed to irritate each other and not love hanging out together, holding hands, and definitely NOT voluntarily hug and cuddle?? I mean, never, ever refer to one another as "best friend." Right!? (Cue my sobbing.)

I have literally never witnessed a more genuinely loving sibling relationship. And get this- they treated their PARENTS with the exact same level of adoration and respect. Whatever it is these four are doing, they are doing it right. 

(Mamiya 645 ProTL and Canon eos3 with Fuji 400h and Tri-x film.)

our side of the mountain

There are some people who have been unnecessarily kind and supportive and encouraging of me and my work for a while now. Karen is one of those people. So when she asked me to come capture her family at their home, the pressure was on because I just so badly wanted to knock it out of the park for HER. As if giving her amazing images could, in some way, repay her for all the kindness she's so generously thrown my way. 

But that's just the funny thing- getting to spend a summer evening playing with her sweet and spirited girls, observe the stalwart and gentle love between a mom and a dad, and, of course, finally get to meet Karen herself in matter what the images I shot ended up looking like, I knew that I was the one who got the very most out of our time together.

Lately I've been considering that's this is all actually not so much about the photographs as it is about the tangible human relationships and connections we have the opportunity to create with one another. Thank you, Karen, for being another reminder of that for me. 

(Mamiya 645 ProTL and Canon eos3 with Fuji 400h and Tri-x film)