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A Morning with Tom and His Son

October 24, 2017  •  3 Comments

Dear Friends,

A documentary family photography session need not be only a mom, dad, and their young children.  A family is how you decide to define family, and that shapes your session.  Recently I had the honor of spending a morning photographing a wonderful man, Tom and his son Cliff.  Meet Tom, who is 91-years-young.  

It was wonderful getting to know this gentleman, who has lived a very full and interesting life.  Tom is the father of five children, grandfather to 13, and great-grandfather to 11 little ones.  Sadly, after 50 years of marriage, his wife Bea died 11 years ago. 

A retired engineer, Tom has always been a hands-on type of guy, taking care of repairs around his house and working on his car and lawnmowers.  Woodworking has also been a long time hobby.  In addition to making the cabinets in his kitchen, Tom made many high chairs for his grandchildren and two grandfather clocks.  To help keep his mind sharp, Tom does the crossword puzzle in the daily newspaper.  He is also an avid gardener and until recently, canned many of the vegetables that he grew.  According to his daughter-in-law, Barbara he made "the most amazing spaghetti sauce."  Admittedly, since he had to stop driving, Tom has had to give up a few of his activities outside of his home including square dancing and volunteering for Meals On Wheels.  Still, I was in awe of his energy and quick mind and was touched by his kind smile and gentle demeanor.

On the morning that I met Tom, his son Cliff was visiting from Massachusetts.  When I arrived, Cliff greeted me at the front of the house and led me to the backyard where I found Tom hanging his laundry.

Tom greeted me warmly and after finishing the laundry was happy to show me around his lovely home and yard.  Our first stop was the basement where he proudly showed me where his grandchildren and great-grandchildren had written their names on the wooden beams.

He then leads me to his workshop, where in addition to those highchairs and clocks, a lifetime of projects was lovingly created and many a broken thing was fixed.

Tom then invited me upstairs to the living room to see one of the two grandfather clocks that he made.

I also learned a little bit about his lovely wife Bea, who was a nurse and a talented quilt maker. 

Tom showing me a framed photo of Bea and her quilts.

We then headed to the backyard where Tom was happy to share one of his other favorite places, his garage.  He ruefully smiled as he looked at no less than five lawnmowers in various stages of being repaired.  "None of them work!" he told me.  "Maybe someday," he added.

We then made a quick stop to admire his vegetable garden, filled with several varieties of beautiful red and yellow tomatoes, split and bursting with ripeness.  

Tom then headed to join Cliff who was busy replacing a set of wooden doors that cover the steps leading to the basement.  Not for a minute did I think Tom would pull up a chair and watch from the back porch.  He did exactly as I expected he would.  He grabbed his tools and worked side-by-side with his son.  They cut wood, measured, hammered nails, talked and adjusted their project plan along the way.  

Finally, when the new doors were in place, Tom did the final inspection, checking that everything was in alignment and that the hinges were tight and secure.  He smiled at Cliff, giving his approval as if to say, 'That will do nicely.'

It was then time for me to leave.  I won't soon forget Tom.  A true inspiration in so many ways.  Thank you, Tom and Cliff, for a truly memorable session.

To see more images from my time with Tom and Cliff, please visit my website, katebuckleyphotography.com and the gallery Tom and His Son Cliff.

 


Benny & Bean --- Spreading Cuteness and Love

September 13, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Dear Friends,

When I come across something that I love, I want to share it with all of you.  Which leads me to Benny & Bean.  This mother daughter-run business is stitching the most adorable, soft, cuddly dolls.  Each doll is handmade with love and comes in a variety of fabric colors and patterns.  With the holidays just around the corner (I know you may not want to hear this just yet but honestly, it's true) now is the perfect time to purchase these sweet friends.  The dolls will make a perfect gift not only for the little ones on your list but also for anyone who likes to snuggle with something soft and cute.  (I've been told that the dolls are a big hit with the college crowd too!)  Benny & Bean's product line also includes bib and matching towel sets, and fabric snack bags.

I recently had an opportunity to photograph the creative, sweet, and fun team behind Benny & Bean, along with some of their products.  Here are a few of my favorite shots from our session.  To learn more about where you can purchase a Benny & Bean doll, and other stitched-with-love items, check out their Facebook page, Benny & Bean.

Finally, meet Team Benny & Bean.  Thanks for the opportunity to share your story!


A Visit to Royal Oak School

July 09, 2017  •  1 Comment

It's always fun to make new friends.  It's even more fun when they are outside, running around playing, chasing one another, or just hanging out on a beautiful summer morning.  Such was my good fortune on a recent morning when I visited Royal Oak School located in Hampton Township (where I grew up!) north of Pittsburgh.  

I was delighted to have an opportunity to photograph the great kids attending the summer session at Royal Oak School.  When I walk into any place, with or without my camera, I immediately get a feeling about the people and my surroundings.  And my feeling about Royal Oak School is that it's a very special place.  The staff was professional and kind, and the kids were great!  They exemplified everything that I love about photographing children.  They were funny, silly, friendly, cool, shy, coy, carefree, confident and sweet.  

Enough talking!  I'll let a few of my favorite photos from my visit speak for themselves.

Royal Oak was founded in 1967 which means they are getting ready to celebrate their 50th anniversary.  That's 50 years of smiles.  Congratulations, new friends at Royal Oak and thank you for allowing me to spend a great summer morning with all of you.


A Wonderful Sunday Afternoon

March 08, 2017  •  1 Comment

I'm not sure how I get so lucky.  The families that welcome me into their homes are just so darn nice!  By the time I walk out their door, I honestly feel like I've made a few new friends.  Such was the case with Jyotsana and Adam who recently invited me to document one of their typical Sunday afternoons.  It was wonderful.  Adding to the Cuteness Quotient in their home is their 14-month-old son Connor, and their sweet dog Lulu.  This session is a perfect example of how a family's "ordinary" moments come to life and unfold in the most beautiful way.  Without further ado, I will let their photos tell their story of A Wonderful Sunday Afternoon.

LuLu showing off her listening skills, 

. . . which paid off big time in getting to help with Sunday brunch clean up.

And what's a Wonderful Sunday Afternoon without a little game of billiards?

Followed by a trip upstairs for a diaper and wardrobe change. First, a quick little cleanup.

Connor's nursery was also the perfect place for some play time with mommy.

Connor modeled his special Nepali hat.

Then it was time for hide and seek.

Connor and Lulu had some more fun together.

Thank you again, Jyotsana, Adam, Connor and Lulu for a Wonderful Sunday Afternoon.  To see more images from this documentary family photography session, please visit the Shaler Township Family gallery on my website, www.katebuckleyphotography.com

 


Real Families, Real Life

October 06, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

One of the great things about being a documentary family photographer is the feeling that I have when I realize that a family trusts me to be a part of their daily life.  I consider it a real honor to spend time with a family and capture those moments that only happen when it's "just family" around.  Because as we all know, there are all sorts of moments that can occur on an ordinary day. 

The sweet moments with daddy,

Dads and DaughtersDads and DaughtersWorking at home has its perks as Eva helps her dad send an email. the quiet times to do your own thing, 

Budding ArtistBudding ArtistEva creates works of art in the family office. A Secret KissA Secret KissLucy looks on as Barbie and her prince kiss after their wedding ceremony.  the sad times when only a hug from mommy will do,

Comfort in Mommy's ArmsComfort in Mommy's ArmsBefore nap time everything seems like an opportunity for a melt down. the silly times,

Bunny EarsBunny EarsEva playfully interrupts her dad's work day at the family dining room table. Silly GirlSilly GirlI love this playful image of Eva during a silly moment. the "BUT I WAS PLAYING WITH THAT!" moments,

SistersSistersLittle sister Lena sounds off at her older sister Eva who doesn't seem bothered by a thing. and even the "OK, everyone is tired now" moments.  

Real Family LifeReal Family LifeThe end of the photo shoot and the girls are beginning to show some wear.

But let's face it, these are the moments that make up all of our lives, and I truly believe that these are the moments that we all want to capture and remember.  

So thank you, Jamie, Gabe, Lucy, Eva, and Lena.  Thank you for trusting me to come into your lives and to be there to capture these special moments, so that you have them forever.

Family PortraitFamily PortraitOur busy and fun morning together wrapped up with this great family portrait. To see more images from this great session, visit Cranberry Area Family under Galleries on my website.