com· mun· ion
Communion. Wow. Communion.
Every spring, I’ve wondered what it is about these First Holy Communion mini shoots that makes them feel so, well, divine. I thought maybe it was the golden light, the flowering trees, or the specialness of this event in a child’s life. But it is so much more than all of this. And I thought, too, about how, when I was a kid, Communion photos were taken by a department store photographer, against a fake blue backdrop. And I wondered why, for me, that didn’t feel right.
As we work, I hear stories of a mother’s Communion medal from 1976, rosary beads that were a precious gift, Bibles that have been in the family for generations. Dad’s tie pin. Mom’s wedding veil. A cousin in Ireleand whose granddad is definitely shining some light down on us. Stories of children who were hard to conceive and born prematurely, and the parents watch as we shoot, amazed that their children are each old enough and strong enough to receive First Holy Communion. A few happy tears have been shed, for sure. (Or maybe just tears of relief, or gratitude….)
This year, though, a theme kept repeating itself when I talked to clients, fellow photographers, and anyone who follows my work. That theme is connection. When my families and I come together for a shoot, as we work, I feel especially connected to them, they tend to feel connected to one another, we are connected to the nature that surrounds us, and our images seem to capture that. For me, it is absolutely a spiritual exchange. A shared emotional experience. And so, when a simple Google search revealed the definition of communion above, I knew for sure that I was onto something.
It’s so simple, really.
Camera + Photographer + Nicely Dressed Kid + Family + A Little Light from Above.
Even in all its simplicity, I know for sure that whatever it is that we’re sharing here, it is most certainly much greater than the sum of its parts.
After such a short time – 20 magical minutes of connecting profoundly and shooting purposefully – I go home to begin editing our images.