One of my favorite things to photograph is what I call Family Dinner sessions. It started a few years ago when a family I loved asked me to do an extended family photo, and I agreed, with the condition that they would let me hang out with them and photograph them when they all prepared and ate dinner together afterward. I felt like I was collecting treasures as I saw little moments of this family doing what they do when they get together. Every family is different. Some sit down for a formal meal with china, others graze and use paper plates. I love seeing the unique culture of each gathering, and in every case, though families do things differently, I always get to witness love play out in the small gestures between the generations.
So in June I got to be with one of my very favorite families that I got to know when I photographed their daughter Abbie’s wedding. The occasion for the get together was to celebrate Abbie’s mom and dad’s 37th wedding Anniversary. We took a few posed shots, played at the park, and then went to Don and Kim Chi’s house (known as Chi Chi and Grampy to the kids). The kids ran around Chi Chi’s magical patio garden and explored all of the fancy antiques around the house. Grampy and Chi Chi have all four grandkids a few days a week, so the story of the kids exploring the house, and laying on the floor together, and eating and getting chased and cuddled, is actually a snapshot of what daily life looks like for them in this stage.
Kim Chi made her famous traditional Vietnamese food and the family sat at the dinner table. The kids had their own kids table in the kitchen and peeked in or ran into the formal dining room every once in awhile to get on a lap or make funny faces at the parents. Kim Chi insisted on watching the babies while everyone else ate, and she finally sat down at the end after everyone else had finished. I loved how Abbie and Justin know Casey and Kristin’s kids so well, and all four kids will sit on any parents’ lap because they spend so much time together. I told Abbie and her parents as I was leaving that they have something so special. And Kim Chi sent me home with vegetables from her garden and a plate full of her famous egg rolls.
With love for this Booth family, here is a peek at some favorites
The three oldest cousins
Kim Chi spends hours every day maintaining her garden
Chi Chi feeding one baby while another baby shares her tic tacs with Grampy