Our Haven Family Mission :: Denver Family Documentary Photography

Sometimes I feel like the idea of ‘Haven’ is not something I communicate about very clearly. For me, the idea was such a revelation that rooted itself deeply in my heart, but I’ve realized this week that that revelation came after a long journey of self-searching and discovery. And to be honest, just because now I’ve put a name to one point of revelation, I am still on that journey. I suppose it’s truly just the journey of life, mixed with joy and sorrow, motherhood and marriage, adventure and day-to-day life. As we all get older and have more life experiences and experience a variety of relationships, it seems we hone in on the things most important to us. For me, it is this idea of having a safe place for me and my family. It’s about having a place where we can be 100% us, even if that’s ugly. It’s about not putting pressure on each other to do or be anyone other than who we feel like being today: happy or sad, energetic or sleepy, inspired or discouraged. And for me, the desire for this space has always been intricately linked to my photography. 

It honestly began as an idea on how to get Drew to be more comfortable taking family pictures. We had just had Henry, and hadn’t had professional pictures taken since our wedding. Drew really always tries to be a good sport, but the self-timer at Christmas was about all he could stand. But as Henry was about to take his first steps, I was desperate to have more images around of all three of us. I happened to see a blog by a foreign photographer about a family session that was way more documentary style than portrait, and that was the spark. The idea honestly hadn’t really taken off anywhere in my photography circles, so I struggled to find anyone who could capture the vision of what I was hoping for: us in our little apartment, in our pjs, eating pancakes, just being…normal and boring. Finally, I connected with a childhood friend and his wife who were in art school at the time. Their photography style was naturally more photojournalistic because their subjects were rarely portrait oriented. They came to stay with us for the weekend and captured our family and in my heart I knew this was everything. All the pictures we received back were like looking at pieces of our souls captured. It was a testament to the talent behind the camera and also how comfortable we all felt in front of the camera. TONS of those pictures still cover our walls today and any photo session since has been in our home. We laugh because in all the years since having kids, I don’t think any of our Christmas cards have pictures of us looking at the camera, because we hardly have any pictures of us all looking at the camera. But all our pictures are full of hugs, kisses, smiles, giggles, tickles and even sometimes tears. They are real life.  

One of the biggest surprises in this whole things is how blessed I know my hubby has been in the journey. Though he would not call himself creative, he has become one of the biggest advocates for me, for Haven and for this way of taking pictures. He is such a good sport now and just texted me this week to say, ‘I was just thinking we should have pictures taken when the garden gets bigger ‘cuz I know you’ll spend a lot of time out there this summer.’ (Heart melting.) I’ll hear him telling other Dad’s who say they don’t like taking pictures about how this idea and these sessions are so comfortable and encouraging. (Still melting. OMG!) Then this week, he offered to write a few words, from one Dad to another. And he hates writing. (Total puddle people.) 

So, please welcome my hubby for his blog debut, and pass it onto your husbands ladies. Help him treat you on Mother’s Day with a session, mini or otherwise. And whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope it will be with you surrounded by those who love you, those who call you Mama, all of course, in your Haven. 

From Drew: 

Like most Dad’s I know, I do not enjoy having our family photos taken.  I just can't do it. I just don’t feel comfortable having my picture taken.

But, I love documenting life in our home where I'm relaxed and comfortable.  Some of my favorite pictures of our family were of our regular Saturday morning snuggle time in bed when Henry was just a baby.  I love looking at the pictures from that session blown up big in our living room and I know it’s a true representation of how we enjoy spending time as a family and who we really are.  They are also a constant reminder of the blessings in my life after a long day of commuting and being in the office, and I smile every time I look at them.

Rachael has always prioritized finding photographers that kind of stand back and let us be us in our own space when we’re having our pictures taken.  Over the years she has become that type of photographer as well. She is insightful, unobtrusive and calm. 

For those who just can’t get over not wanting to be in the pictures, the Mini-Motherhood Sessions are a great way to celebrate your wife as a Mom. Gifting her a session with Rachael where she will be photographed in your space with your children will bless her and let her know that you see her and all the work she puts into caring for your family.   Let Rachael capture those mothering moments that you watch all the time, but maybe she doesn’t see herself. In all the craziness and sometimes discouragement kids and family life can bring, any session with Rachael will give you pictures that are a constant reminder of the true blessings and joy in every season of life.  The memories you will make are worth the investment!

Leave Drew a comment if you have a chance today to encourage more of this writing behavior! Thanks friends!