52 Weeks of Portraits | A Personal Documentary Project

A little background about this project: my 52 Week Project is a portrait project that documents the growth of my children. For each of their first years, I did a photo a day project of each of them... this is a simpler continuation of that. One portrait a week for the year - not your typical "sit and smile at the camera" portraits, but "environmental portraits" - photographs of my children, taken in their element, documenting this moment in their lives.

I try to write a few short words about each child under their portrait to record any details or milestones of the week.

This project was inspired by a gorgeous blog called You Are My Wild

At the end of each year, I make a memory book of the year's portraits.

I was deleting old photos and videos from my phone this week and was hit in the face once again with how fast the time with our kids just flies by. It is so hard to see in the moment (especially when they are home 24/7 in the summer and I've just heard the word "mom" for the eight billionth time since breakfast), but every once in a while I am given the reminder. Seeing those video clips and old instagrams from when Logan was a newborn was this week's reminder. I had completely forgotten that he used to purr like a cat. 

Sometimes this project can be a slog - writing especially does not come easily to me and I am woefully behind printing the kids' books (mainly because I just can't afford to get them printed at the moment), but I know I will be so grateful that I did this when Lila and Logan are grown and gone. 


Lila - Age 5, Week 34

We definitely had our ups and downs last week while we traveled. I so want to instill in you and Logan a love for adventure and the excitement of the unknown, as I believe that travel makes you grow in so many beneficial ways. You are a couple of kids who love your routine, though, so this is sometimes a struggle. Hopefully the more we practice, the more flexible you will become. We had some really good times though despite the challenges, and I loved how much fun you had with your Granny and Grampy. 


Logan - Age 3, Week 4

You are having such a good summer so far. I love how happy you are and how content you are to play on your own or with Lila. You did pretty well with all the travel we did last week, aside from being afraid of some chickens at the lavender fields, forcing us all to leave after a short while. You loved the trampoline at the rental house, though, and I was very proud of how brave you were at the beach and at the falls, despite your fear of water. More adventures ahead, my love.


Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. If you'd like to see more of her recent documentary family photography, head over to her Facebook page or follow her everyday adventures on Instagram. If you are looking for a family photographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family's story in photos or a film, please contact her for a session!