I’ve been waiting to write about this family for such a long time, and I’m so happy that today is the day! Last weekend, the Richmonds met me at sunrise at Chisholm Park for a very special family session. Photographing a family that you’ve known for so long just brings a comfort to the session.
I first met the Richmond family in the fall of 2011 when I was photographing and running lights for a show at the local theater. Zach and Brittany were new to the theater and were volunteering as technicians for their high school theatre teacher. Zach and I hit it off immediately with constant sarcasm, where Brittany was more shy and didn’t really want to interact. She was my twin and I knew it from week one. After a couple performances, Brittany started hanging out with us more. Late nights driving around in my spaceship car and talking for hours at Steak and Shake… We’ve been best friends (unwillingly on her end) ever since.
Over the next few years, Brittany, Zach, and I worked probably 25 shows together and became super close. Eventually, I became more involved in college, Zach went off and got married to his wonderful bride, Alexis, and Brittany started working for my mom at the local preschool. We all stepped away from the theatre world, but Brittany and I were closer than ever. Throughout our time in the theatre and the school, I got to know the rest of the Richmond family. We all shared the same sense of humor and sarcasm with each other, and they truly started feeling like my own.
Like I mentioned earlier, Brittany and I are basically twins. Not only do we have a very similar look, but our personalities are identical. Think April Ludgate from Parks and Rec. I’m a bit more loving and affectionate, though. Our moms also share the same first name: Denise. Weird, right?
We often share similar highs and lows. The worst one that we share is cancer. My dad was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer in January of 2019. Brittany was there for me through the entire process and was one of my biggest supports. Unfortunately, at the end of 2019, Denise was diagnosed with multiple cancers. What are the odds of it happening to two best friends’ parents? In the same year! I knew exactly what Brittany and her family were going through, and we both became each other’s supports even more.
I’ve gone through a lot of loss in my life, and in the early years, I was always disappointed by the fact that I never had many photos of myself and the ones who passed. I had the memories, but not the physical images to share with my loved ones. I hated it. When my dad was diagnosed with his cancer, capturing all of our moments together became my top priority. I made sure we had updated family photos when my brother came down for the holidays and photography was our top priority at our wedding. These values are the same that I hold for my clients.
I spoke to Brittany about this a lot, and really wanted to capture this time with her family. Denise has been fighting this cancer like a badass, but she’s gone through hell and back during the process. I wanted to make sure they remembered the good times this year, not just the rough.
Brittany reached out to me a week before Thanksgiving and FINALLY took me up on my offer. The only stipulation was that Zach would only come if our pup, Rocky, joined the session. Brittany is one of Rocky’s favorite people and dog sitters. It was a no brainer. We met at Chisholm Park for their family session around sunrise the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Rocky in tow. Everyone was full of smiles (as much as Brittany can be around me) and in great spirits. Denise told me that they hadn’t had photos taken since around the time I met the Richmond family, and it broke my heart. I knew how much these photos would mean to them and wanted to make sure I captured their family perfectly.
Brittany, Zach, David, Denise, and Alexis: Thank you for trusting me with these memories and thank you for always making me feel like part of the family. I couldn’t ask for a better and more sarcastic group to call my friends. Brittany and Zach, I know we hate affection, but I love you guys and I will always be here for you.
Take a peek into our Chisholm Park family session in St. Cloud. I hope you all enjoy.
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