24 August 2010

"Going Home" -An Essex Photographer's Blog

I'm thinking of a title for this post and this one seemed the most logical. I recently had the pleasure of doing my niece's senior pics in St. Joseph, Michigan. I lived in St. Joseph for 9 years, the rather informative ones. My dad was transfered there from a little town in Ohio called Chesterland. From living memory until the end of 4th grade, Brooklane Road was my childhood. I mostly rode things in that phase of my life. My mom set me in front of her in the saddle of our mare, Chica, before I could even walk. The next thing you know, I have a Big Wheel (oh geez, some of you are guessing my age, aren't you? Do they still make those things?) After that it was a banana bike, then a 10 speed bike. And yes, I had my own pony. But after 4th grade, we packed up the inside of our world and moved to St. Joseph, Michigan. Snowball the pony and Chica did not go. Luckily, my dog, Spanky was invited!!!

But we couldn't take Brooklane Road with us. We couldn't take the expansive woods, the creek I used to play in, the vines I used to swing on or the tree houses we used to tell secrets in. We couldn't take my best friend, Renee and we couldn't take the long driveway where we used to play Mother-May-I and Red Light, Green Light. We couldn't take the acres of neighbors yards where we played Hide and Seek. We couldn't pack my childhood....

It was a hard move for me, but eventually I settled in to St. Joseph. I made some excellent friends, one of whom I still keep in touch with. She's still my best friend. Her name is Jennifer, but please don't call her Jenny! From 8th grade on, we shared our secrets, our fears, and of course, our boyfriends (although I'm not sure "share" is really the word!) And even though I went o a different High School 3 out of 4 years, she was always there to hang out with during school breaks. She's the only one who never dropped a beat. So naturally, when I got to Michigan earlier this month, I gave Jenn a call. She doesn't live in St. Joe anymore, but I was able to hook up with her around Grand Rapids when I was on my way to Cadillac. (Probably gotta know a little about Michigan to figure this map out...) As always, she didn't drop a beat.

Before I met up with Jenn, as you can see, I spent some quality time in St. Joe at, of course, the beach! When I was a teenager, Silver Beach was THE place to hang in the summer. I am happy to report that it still is! But WOW, it's changed a bit. The older houses look more posh now and the newer houses are practically ostentatious.  I used to park my little '74 VW Super Beetle right on the beach. Those days are gone and they now charge $6.00 to park for the day! The pier to the lighthouse looks much longer, (although I'm sure it's NOT!) they've built an indoor carousal and a fountain to play in. But despite all the changes, I still felt the familiarity of the sand, the gentle lapping of the lake, the cool, fresh water and the warm Summer-In-Michigan sun.

Megan, my niece, picked some fabulous locations to do her senior pics. The first place we went to flooded me with long filed memories of Jenn and I just hanging out. In those days the little stretch of beach at the south end was like a secret, quiet paradise. In many ways, it still is. The huge boulders, rusted metal and water logged pylons made for a simple and textured background.

Later, Megan and I went down to the pier, with the muchly photographed lighthouse at it's end. Megan is a great dancer and we had done some shots at the dance studio, but I really wasn't feeling the love there. I wasn't too sure if a teenager would feel comfortable in a tutu on the pier, but Megan didn't blink an eye when I suggested it! She even put on her point shoes and gave me some seriously elegant ballet poses. As I do, I wanted to make the most of her shoot and ended 3 times with, "Just one more location, just one more." It was a day well spent, and I'm still editing the images over a week later!

So why am I settling on "Going Home" as the title of this post? I haven't called St. Joseph home in a very long time. I've lived in over a dozen places since then and if you ask me where I'm from, I'll tell you Colorado- a long way from Michigan! In the end, I decided that "home" IS really where your heart is. And your heart lies in your memories. I have some awesome memories in the cobwebs of my brain- about St. Joe, Silver Beach and Jennifer to name a few. And Megan may not live in St. Joe all her life, but I hope that her Senior Pictures will keep some of the cobwebs in her memories away in her later years. Although it's hard to imagine young, vibrant, fun Megan as she'll be at 30 or 40 years old, I'm glad I got to play a part in her future's past.

I'd love to record special memories for you too. Contact Faith Stone Photography if you'd like more information on our Senior Packages, Portrait Packages, Wedding Packages or any other project. And if you live in St. Joseph, Michigan, I can be there next summer to do some pics for you too! (I gotta free place to stay:)

Now Live, Love, Laugh. I'll take care of the memories.

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