My heart was a lump in my throat for these families before I even set foot in Barnes Field House. When I had planned to photograph these soldiers arriving home from Afghanistan they were supposed to get in right around dinner time. Text message after text message alerted me to their later arrival times. Finally I set my alarm for 2:30am and headed to bed figuring they would arrive later than sooner. I've been in the shoes of these husbands and wives, waiting on eggshells for the plane to land, waiting and fidgeting as we received word that they were finally boarding the buses at the airfield. It is nearly impossible to wrangle the babies and toddlers, half asleep in their footie jammies, barely understanding the enormity of "daddy coming home"!
And so it was, around 3:15 in the morning that they finally filed into the field house, exhausted from their travels, excited to kiss their spouse, hug their parents or children, meet their newborn for the first time. It was a privilege to wander the floor and capture a few of these moments. I wish I could have gotten an image for every single, totally deserving, family there. I've posted some of my favorites here in this blog, to see the rest and save them for your own scrapbook, please click on the link HERE to access a Shutterfly album of your redeployment. May God bless you and keep you safe during this time of readjustment and reintegration, and heartfelt thanks for your service to this awesome country!
I cried when I saw this picture download off the camera. It's one of those images that I didn't see completely when I shot it.
He turns one year old today. Time has never flown by so quickly. He has surprised us so many times. He himself is a surprise. His quick and easy arrival was a big surprise to me. His easy going nature, relaxed demeanor, patient presence, has all been a delightful surprise. Everyone remarks at how even keeled this little guy is. In fact, the first year has been so mellow in his presence that lately, during play dates, should he express an opinion or distaste he is met by gasps and laughter from the mothers who know him and didn't think him capable of a complaint.
This baby is so funny. He is so very charming and coy, flirtatious and giggly. His smile is easy and his tears seldom seen. He's becoming extremely independent. He's fearless. Which of course makes me terrified. Our dining room, leading to the staircase, has become a kind of lock system, similar to those that allow boats to move up and down canals. Multiple gates temporarily stall his progress but it will only be a matter of time, minutes probably, before these baby gates become mere hurdles for this child.
I thank God that I am a photographer. Every tiny detail that makes this tiny person unique is bound to change dramatically from month to month over the coming year and sometimes it seems as though I cannot record enough detail and preserve it for all time. Someday he will talk back. Someday he will storm out of the house and slam the door. Someday he will have his heart broken by a girl. Someday he will call home from college and ask for a batch of my cookies, I hope. Someday he may become a father himself... And on those days I will want to reflect back to these easy going times, and the simplest of images.....
Happy Birthday Darling Boy!
I don't think she knows this, but my friend Pauline was the first person to know that I was pregnant with my third son. We were newly moved to Fort Huachuca in the summer of 2009 when Pauline called me and introduced herself. We met in person for the first time at Buena Highschool Senior Registration Day. It was on this day I was carrying around the surprising and somewhat overwhelming news that I was pregnant, again, rather unexpectedly, and I confessed this fact to Pauline. I think it's rather common to confess big news to a stranger- after all, you get to release something aching to come out, and practice the words before telling your family, and you probably won't see this person much anyway. Fortunately for Pauline and I, the "not seeing more of each other just hasn't been the case". One year ago at 9:22pm I was in the middle of a blissful, epidural induced, nap. They would eventually wake me up and ask "Mrs. Kuniyuki, are you ready to meet your baby?" And the following day a dear friend would visit me in the hospital to meet my new little man. Over the course of 2010 this friend, Pauline, and I would share countless stories, insights, creative thoughts, realizations that we are two people of very similar tastes, opinions, and interests. Pauline shares many special gifts with our family. The gift of her musical voice and strumming fingers rang out clear on Christmas Eve as we lit luminaries on our historic block. The gift of her friendship, her inviting home, filled with delicious smells and always a fresh cup of coffee. The gift of her love with generous hugs and silly remarks for my children who always giggle and smirk and linger in hopes of another tickle. The list is endless. Today there was an extra special gift. Today my friend produced a treasured family souvenir, a kimono from her days living in Okinawa, a baby kimono just the right size for my birthday boy! Only this friend, a fellow photographer and creative mind, could see the potential images combining my sweet little guy and this precious vivid piece of cloth. Thank you so very much for sharing your many treasures with us, we love you so very much!
If it weren't for all of the "Beware Of Rattle Snake" signs, I'd be trying to figure out how to live at Empire Ranch! I saw the historical landmark sign by the road a few weeks back and knew that when my parents were here visiting we would have to go back and explore Empire Ranch. It's located about ten miles outside of Sonoita, AZ, to the north, on route 83 which leads to Tucson through some of the most beautiful rolling hills one could hope to drive through. The ranch has an incredible history that is detailed on the walls of the still standing ranch house. There are nature paths and restrooms, essential for traveling with little ones, and is well worth the drive if you bring a picnic lunch and stay a bit. I already have Red River, starring John Wayne, in my NetFlix cue, as it was filmed at Empire Ranch and I'm dying to know what this beautiful property looked like in it's hay day. Check it out if you're local, just watch out for those rattlers!
(If the images in this post appear blurry, click on them individually for a clearer preview.)
I'm always really excited when my client is a tiny person. I love tiny people. Sometimes I think I should only photograph tiny people. They are challenging, adorable, always changing, and such a joy to work with. When this gorgeous little man arrived today for his 7 month old portraits I was immediately smitten with his beautiful baby blue eyes and eyelashes that super models would kill for. Seriously, his lashes were almost 3/4 of an inch long! We sat down to chat for a moment on the floor before starting and he relaxed right into my lap, what a doll! I can't wait to present this collection of images to his parents; I don't know this baby well but I know that I captured some of his most treasured "looks" today. Thank you for sharing your precious little one with me today! Enjoy your sneak peek!
If I could get married again there are few things I would change. But one thing I always think about it how not clever I was about my details. These days it's my job to notice the little details, and they are everywhere! If I were a bride today I would not shy away from an unforgettable themed wedding, a totally western wedding, or a Hollywood glam wedding. I would definitely wear shoes with bling, or red shoes, or blue shoes, or vintage shoes, or couture leopard print shoes... I would choose a bouquet of succulent cactus instead of roses, I would carry a bouquet made of vintage butterfly pins, YES there is someone who now makes those on Etsy! There are so many ways to make a wedding special, and most of them are a photographer's dream come true... Speaking of dreams come true- I am so desperate for the opportunity to photograph a traditional Indian Wedding I think I would do the leg work for free. Know someone having an Indian Wedding?