why documentary photography is so important to me // AND august promo!

UPDATE: in light of the horrific events this past weekend, i will be donating an additional 20% of sessions booked in august to the victims of the domestic terrorism in charlottesville. let's take a stand against racism and bigotry together. 

when i was 18, my dad gave me a really incredible gift. shortly after i was born, he decided to document my life by writing down memories, collecting significant photos and mementos, and keeping them all in a journal. growing up, i was unaware of this project and when i graduated from high school he gifted me five journals, each one full of memories from my childhood.

that evening I stayed awake all night, reading through the journals, feeling all the feels. i couldn’t believe that i had a chronicle of the first 18 years of my life. each page contained important moments, some i had forgotten and others i did not remember at all. they were all written down for me, to read over and over again. i had a window into my story, told from my dad’s voice.

while reading through the journals for the first time, i remember feeling especially nostalgic and excited when i came across a photo. the photographs were glimpses into who i was and snapshots of my family’s story. some of them were posed, but most were real life moments. pictures that documented what we were about, how we lived our life, and what was important to us. our family traditions, our everyday routines. dance parties with lionel richie on the record player, father-daughter bike rides, backyard badminton matches, sneaking out of bed late at night to swing and watch the stars with my dad, building legos and playing board games, slow-eating ice cream contests. i longed to have more of those. i wanted more photos that helped tell my family’s story.

i deeply believe that photographs can be just as powerful as words when telling a story. when i look through the photos in my journals, i feel strongly connected to my childhood. each photo contains so many details of my life: our modest but sweet home, the brown 70’s furniture and carpet, the wooden swingset in the backyard, the playhouse we built as a family, and all of my favorite toys (and even the way i would organize and line them up). i feel incredibly fortunate to have these memories documented for me.

and this is the gift i want to give my clients.

naturally there are memories that will be forgotten, no matter how significant they seem now. i want to help document your story, your real life, so that you can look back and remember the little details, the rituals, the unscripted moments that make up your everyday. the moments that should be remembered forever.

so starting in august, i will be launching 1-hour mini storytelling sessions. these will be similar to my longer storytelling sessions as my intention will be to document a bit of your story, but these sessions will be more activity-focused. lots of playing, no posing. the activity can be a meaningful routine/ritual or something that you enjoy doing together. or it can even be an outing to a significant place that you frequent. you get to plan a date, and i’ll come along to capture the experience and moments that matter most.

i’m super stoked to be able to offer these shorter sessions, to capture your beauty and magic, and create meaningful images that represent you. sessions will be priced at $550 and to kickstart the launch, i will be offering 20% off the session price for the first 10 people who book during the month of august (the session doesn’t have to be scheduled in august). 

once you book a session, i’ll send over a questionnaire to help you plan the session and give you an idea of what to expect.

questions? 

ohhappydawn@gmail.com // 408.829.1832

xo jenny

 

 



 

 

 

the gaumnitz family // morgan hill, ca

this past january, charlotte (3) was diagnosed with cancer. and despite the challenges that this family now faces, they allowed me to come document their new "normal." a season of life where hospital visits are often, treasure boxes are filled with band aids and bandages instead of hair bands, days without vomit are celebrated, stuffed animals have become patients who are comforted while they get "tubies" and bandages, and playing outdoors is limited so finding creative ways to be entertained inside has become the new routine.  

i was moved by this family's beauty. despite the fact that they now have to deal with the reality and horror of cancer, there was still so much love and joy overflowing from their home. 

i am grateful for their openness and honesty and for allowing me to document such a vulnerable and sacred season of their life. 

xo

voluntas project.

voluntas. {good will toward others. purpose.}

on march 25, 2014 i had all of my photography equipment stolen from the trunk of my car. everything i had worked so hard to build was taken away from me and i was completely devastated. but i could have never imagined what would come out of this horrible misfortune. within a week, so many wonderful people came together to organize fundraisers, raffles, and support to help me get back on my feet. i had never experienced such compassion and generosity. when i look back on that month, i will not remember the loss and heartache. i will remember the community. and the people who came together to build me back up and champion for my little business. 

and my photography business means so much more now. i have been deeply affected by the kindness and generosity of my own community, and i want to spend the rest of my career extending that same kindness to others. i want to use my work to give back to the community, in the same way that my community has given to me. 

and so each year i will donate documentary family sessions to those who are dealing with illness or going through a difficult season. to capture their life together. and to help tell an important story: that even in the midst of hardship, there is still so much love.

if you know someone who might appreciate this gift please consider nominating them.