100 Stories, A Personal Project | July Stories

These images are part of a project I started at the beginning of the year called "100 Stories". The idea is to create 100 images during the year that tell a story and to write a little narrative to go along with each.

These are my stories from July.

I love that the two of you are finally at an age where we can go on fairly civilized outings. We’ve been coming to Planting Fields for years but only recently ventured into the mansion to see what the inside looked like. You ran from room to room, more enthralled with each new space. I love that I can share these adventures and new experiences with you - it makes me so excited for the years to come and all that we will see together.

Your love language is touch. You love to be held, cuddled, carried. If you are sitting next to me you stroke my arm, or investigate my back for more freckles. This is not limited to just me. Your Nana is also a lucky recipient of your affection. This image makes me so happy because I know it will be one you will cherish. My cuddly little boy with his beloved Nana.

The days contain a lot of bickering, but the two of you also have such a special friendship. You miss each other when you are apart. I love seeing this mutual admiration grow. You are fiercely protective of each other and genuinely enjoy each others’ company. Best siblings I hope you’ll always be.

"We do not want merely to see beauty… we want something else which can hardly be put into words - to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses, and nymphs and elves.” - C.S. Lewis

The excitement and preparation for Lucy’s arrival was palpable. You had been talking about it for months, anticipating it. In the days leading up to her visit, I could hardly contain you. We decided to put some of your energy on paper. You made her a beautiful “welcome” sign, which we hung on the wall leading up to her room.

That fascinating show, known as “The Car Wash”. 

You three designed and built and dug and decorated for hours. You crafted a moat around your structure and tried to build a protective wall. After all that work you still couldn’t save the castle from the sea. Swept away with the tide. From dust to dust.

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” - L.M. Montgomery, “Anne of Green Gables”

Unimpressed with the view.

It was not your first taxi ride, although it was the first in your memory. It was a hot day, there was a fan blowing on the two of you next to me in the back seat. I looked over at you and couldn’t believe that this was actually my life. A New Yorker, riding in a cab through the city with my daughter and my niece next to me. I had always dreamed of such a life but it seemed like exactly that - a dream.  How lucky am I? Never stop going after the life that you want. Dreams do come true.

I came to the Met for the first time in 1999. I saw an exhibit of Walker Evans photographs that inspired me to take up documentary photography. And now, 18 years later, I am here with the two of you. This life is amazing.

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." -F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

This is probably the last time the three of you will fit in a tub together. The next time we see each other you will be too big to squeeze in as a group. I took this photo to remember this moment. The last vestiges of being little together.

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 or lifestyle videographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family, small business or event, please contact her for more information.