Documentary Sessions

Zee, Eee and Cee's Newborn Documentary Photosession

Z E and C Baby Documentary Photosession-16.jpg

Yes, their actual names are not Zee, Eee or Cee but this is a special for a good friend :)

I've known Zee and Eee for a while and they've been great friends. When they asked me to take photos of their brand new baby Cee and they wanted it in a documentary approach, I was more than delighted to spend some time with them and take their photos. The day I arrived, Cee was about 2 weeks old so he was pretty new to the world at that time. 

 Sometimes I'm right in the action, other times I'm far away. I do a lot of moving around during these sessions... in a way, almost dancing with my subjects as I work to get the best frame I can.

Sometimes I'm right in the action, other times I'm far away. I do a lot of moving around during these sessions... in a way, almost dancing with my subjects as I work to get the best frame I can.

There was little to no posing (as is my usual approach) as I focused entirely on the interactions between Zee, Eee and little Cee and their new lives together. If there was one thing I realized is that new babies sleep a lot. However, near the end, we saw Cee starting to open his eyes before crying a bit and then going back to sleep. Ah, the life.

Here's the gallery :)

Dana and Family Documentary Photosession

 I remember having a train set like this one. I guess Brio is still a thing!

I remember having a train set like this one. I guess Brio is still a thing!

Being a documentary photographer means being a part of people's lives. I've found out over the years that cameras, film, technology and other things really have little to do with a photo... although, of course, you need these items to actually make a photograph. Yet, much of it is about connecting with your fellow human and relating on a personal level. Too many times I find myself hiding behind a camera to take photos only to realize that the best ones I take (at least to me) are ones where I've connected with people.

When I met Dana, she introduced me to her two boys and her husband. One of the boys, like my nephew, is autistic. I automatically connected. Dana realized that getting two boys to sit still for posed photographs was going to be next to impossible and so, after looking at my work, she contacted me and we arranged a date for a photoshoot. 

When I gave her the 4x6 prints, she mentioned how she loved the photos but also how she was glad that I was able to create something that they could not do on their own. 

This photoshoot was not orchestrated at all. Other than a few location suggestions, I was hovering around the family and their dog in the backyard and even in the bedrooms. From the moment I stepped into the house, I started photographing and after a few minutes of some slight awkwardness, Dana and her family eventually let me document a day in their life.

Further into the photograph set,  you'll see a photograph of one of the boys crying. This is due to the boy falling through the crack that separates the two beds (the boys were jumping on the bed). Dana later told me this was a pretty common occurrence for them. Fun fact: There's a video of me back when I was a kid jumping on the bed and, of course, falling over the side and onto the ground. Tears ensued. I was 29....er.... 2 years old or so.

While I tried to get some time for Dana and her husband together, it was only a few moments before we heard the boys rush into the room and start jumping on their parents' bed. All the moments in this photoshoot were real. Life is real and never really perfect... but it's in that imperfection that we find love and we find what makes families.

Stan and Jen Engagement Ses.... Oh Crud, Is That Rain?

 We had an umbrella and cereal box ready in case of rain but didn't need it!

We had an umbrella and cereal box ready in case of rain but didn't need it!

It was rain. As I drove up to pick Stanley and Jen up to take them to Pitt Lake, I saw the rain droplets coming down. We had planned this date a few weeks prior and my mind was already racing trying to think of alternatives or possibly even cancelling if the rain started to come down really hard.

Thankfully, the Lord had oher plans and when we arrived at Pitt Lake, the rain cleared up into a bare mist and Stanley and Jen got to enjoy time with each other.

Nick and Dayna (and baby Stefan) Engagement Photoshoot

Sorry for not blogging in a while. It has been incredibly easy here at Jonathan Desmond Photography. The Summer wedding season really picked up and every week or so has been at least one or two assignments... not that I'm complaining but it's definitely wedding season!!! 

Trying to create a documentary style out of a more-posed engagement shoot is kind of tough. In the midst of all the static poses, I try to find the little moments in-between. At times, I've found myself telling couples to just talk to each other while I photograph them walking, sitting and holding each other and watching and waiting while I patiently observe their interactions and react when a moment arises: a laugh, a smile, etc. 

Even "posed" photographs can be natural.

I will be photographing Nick and Dayna's wedding in the next few weeks and am uber excited to blog about it soon enough. In the meanwhile, here's their engagement shoot with their baby Stefan. :) Nick and Dayna (and even Stefan) were so natural that I felt like I didn't really have to do much other than direct and wait for those moments :) Love it!

Jesse and Patricia - Engagement and Lawrence Books and Cafe&Crepe

Jesse is a good friend of mine and we go back a while. I remember we were at a camp once (around the time I was in University) and he brought in these two foam sticks covered in duct tape that we used to practice self defense… on one another. They were aptly named “beating sticks”. Oh, Jesse. And no, my self defense has not improved at all.

When he asked me to photograph his wedding, I was extremely excited for the opportunity. You see, Jesse gave me a one-liner that has stuck in me since he said it a few years ago: “You have such a passion for wedding photography that if anyone should be doing it, it should be you." Jesse usually has some really funny one-liners but he also speaks from the heart :) Thanks, Jesse.

I had recently met Patricia as Jesse would bring her to improv shows and meals with friends (East is East…mmm…) and dinners at his place. Patricia has a love for books and the arts and Jesse has consistently considered her as the “good-looking librarian”. 

After I documented Jesse proposing to Patricia at a Mediterranean restaurant, brainstorms occurred and months later we soon found ourselves at Lawrence Books on West 41st in Vancouver taking engagement photos among the various paperbacks and hardcover books. I had Jesse and Patricia hide notes for each other and they had to find the notes amongst the books. Thankfully we were able to find them all, lest we leave a mysterious love note for some future book purchaser to find!

Being able to see their love, friendship and humor with one another brought a smile to my face. Friendship is the true base expression of love.

A HUGE thanks to Anne at Lawrence Books for letting us take over her store for a good hour or so!!