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The Gift of Being Seen

Jendowner1 © 2009 she saw things : jen downer

There is a certain vulnerability that goes along with letting someone into your home to be a witness to your existence.


This past weekend we were blessed with an opportunity to be seen. We welcomed someone new into our home to document us: the subtleties, the connections, the support, the silliness, the four of us.


Jendowner2 © 2009 she saw things : jen downer


I first met Jen Downer a few years back through some random online
connections. We had dinner together in Portland and talked about life and creating and kids and special needs and photography. We talked about having her take photos of our family at
some point in the future. Fast forward a couple years and the addition
of a new family member seemed like a really good time to be seen.


To be honest, my first thought about having someone take our photos was this: we take so many photos already; we capture each other as we go about our daily routines; Chris and I are quick to grab the camera before moments pass by - why do we need someone else to take more?


Those first two photos are the reason why.


There is really something amazing about having someone else come into your home with a camera in hand who is willing to casually interact, blend in, and document us as we are. Jen captured things that we just can't do on our own, with a sensitivity to the dynamics of our family that was truly appreciated.


Jendowner3© 2009 she saw things : jen downer (butterfly mobile from Royal Buffet)


When she emailed these first few images to me yesterday my immediate response was that these images were my heart.


Jendowner5 © 2009 she saw things : jen downer


Jen and Simon hit it off from the start. I had prepped him this past week that my friend was going to be coming over to take photos of our family. She even got to witness his full production/reading/acting of Green Eggs & Ham. He got to hold her camera and take a few shots.


Jendowner4 © 2009 she saw things : jen downer


What a gift.


Thank you Jen, for seeing us. 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell some new stories.

I can't wait to see the rest of the photos.

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102 thoughts

  1. Lara says…
    06/08/2009

    Beautiful!!!!!! Looooove the perspective of the first few! What treasures these will be!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Nicky from Canada says…
    06/08/2009

    How wonderful - love them

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. kixvix says…
    06/08/2009

    very beautiful pictures. thanks for sharing them!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Jenn N says…
    06/08/2009

    How wonderful to have someone else take photos of you and the family. These look quite special so far. It will be interesting to see what she sees in your family from a different perspective.
    I wish I had a Jen to come in my home and document us. I'm not even in pictures...
    Enjoy yours.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Heather says…
    06/08/2009

    Gorgeous photos Ali! Scott and I will be back in the States in July. Maybe we can figure out a way to see my new little cousin!
    xoxo
    Heather

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Robyn says…
    06/08/2009

    What a stunning idea, especially love the one of the three of you in black and white. It tells a story all on it's own:)

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Jane says…
    06/08/2009

    Thank you for sharing! I don't think a bad photo of your family can be taken!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Loretta Artful Yogi says…
    06/08/2009

    Simply fabulous. Nearly breathtaking shots. Very well done.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Debbie says…
    06/08/2009

    Fantastic!!!
    I see Simon is still wearing "longs"!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. soulemama says…
    06/08/2009

    These are stunning, Ali. What a beautiful thing to do for your family!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Jana says…
    06/08/2009

    oh these are amazing! what a wonderful addition to the daily documentation. i've got to keep learning and practicing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Jennie D says…
    06/08/2009

    Simply beautiful. What a blsessing...can't wait to see more!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Kal Barteski says…
    06/08/2009

    Love these moments. Love them.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. hedwig says…
    06/08/2009

    BE AU TI FULL pics, i can soooo imagine you to be happy with these. Thanks for sharing them with us!
    Hedwig

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Amanda says…
    06/08/2009

    Priceless captures!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Erin says…
    06/08/2009

    awesome. priceless.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Christina Moquin says…
    06/08/2009

    What beautiful photos by a very talented lady.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Sandi Keene says…
    06/08/2009

    What a treasure these are! That photo of Anna is amazing. Love that smile.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Samantha says…
    06/08/2009

    wow! that's all I can say right now. What beautiful shots and a beautiful family :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. jules d says…
    06/08/2009

    So wonderful. Thanks for letting us into your life everyday.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Vicky says…
    06/08/2009

    Ali, these photos are absolutely amazing! It's so nice to see the four of you together. I love the first pic. Can't wait to see how you frame/scrap it. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Elise Blaha says…
    06/08/2009

    oh, Ali.
    just perfect.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Michelle B says…
    06/08/2009

    amazing, powerful pictures. love it!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. casie says…
    06/08/2009

    those are absolutely perfect.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Gretchen Skovron says…
    06/08/2009

    Oh my word these are stunning! The first picture is so so beautiful! treasures.

    Reply 0 Replies

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