52 Weeks of Portraits | Long Island Children's Photography

This year is not starting out so well - everyone in our house has been down with a tummy bug over the past two weeks, so this post is very late and is featuring two weeks' worth of portraits as catch-up. Its also the first time in over five years that I have missed getting a portrait of Lila one week. She spent the week after New Year's basically in quarantine at Eric's parents' house while Logan was ill, so I did not get a portrait of her. 

A little background about the 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.

Lila - Age 5, Weeks 8-9

Little girl smiling while sitting in a booth at a diner.

I love watching you light up as we head out on an "adventure" - in this case, it was a road trip to the house upstate. It was a very rainy day, and we headed out a bit late, so we stopped midway for lunch at a diner. Just a plain old diner, but it was somewhere we had never been before, in a town we had never been to before - so it seemed exciting despite being an outing at a pretty ordinary place. 

When I went out on tour in 2006, it changed my life. It changed me. Travel opens your eyes, it makes you grow, it teaches you, it stretches your limits, it teaches you to be flexible, to be open, to accept the challenges that are thrown at you. We don't have a lot of means at the moment, but I want more than anything to teach you and Logan how to be good travelers, to find the adventure in any location, no matter how mundane. I really believe it is so key to creating open, well-rounded adults, who love and appreciate the world around them. So we may not be able to start with Europe or even Disneyworld. But we can start here in New York. Let's go on an adventure, my love.

Logan - Age 2, Week 30

You are usually a bit more tentative than Lila when it comes to adventuring when we are upstate. The sound of the four-wheelers still scares you, and you really hate putting on your snow gear. You are generally content to watch the action from the porch instead of participating. But on this day, a snowy, cold afternoon, you led us all on an unexpected hike through the woods. You led us down a hill through snow drifts and fallen branches to an open field, painted white with frost. We stayed there until the sun grew golden and began its descent, and soon we found ourselves climbing quickly back up the hill before the light was gone. It was such a long walk for such a small fellow as you, but you led us happily and confidently - that afternoon I saw the spark of adventure alight inside you. I'm excited to see where it leads you next.

Logan - Age 2, Week 31

There is nothing more difficult than seeing your child ill. And oh, how ill you were this week! Your poor little body, already small, unable to hold food or even water down. The anger you expressed every time you were sick, yelling "no! no! no!". Oh, it broke my heart. I cried along with you. This continued for days. Much longer than I had hoped. And then finally, it was over. 

What this all taught me, and it is a great lesson to learn at the beginning of a new year, is that nothing on my "to do" list really matters. Nothing matters but you. You and Lila and your Dad. All those things written down in my planner - those things can be done another time, or maybe not done at all. I did nothing this past week except hold you and nurse you and comfort you. And watch a lot of kids shows on Netflix! And I wouldn't have it any other way. Thank you for opening my eyes to what really matters. I'm so glad you are feeling better.

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!