I have been lucky enough to photograph so many of the stages of Jessica and Andy’s lives – their engagement, wedding day, pregnancy, and most recently, their time at home with their newborn daughter, Alice. Photographing these stages in peoples’ lives is a gift, but doing so during a pandemic has made the privilege feel even greater. I photographed their maternity session in late September, on the anniversary of their wedding date. We walked the neighborhood near their apartment for it, finishing in their home, in the nursery where their baby girl would be sleeping just a few months later.
Alice entered the world at a time when the pandemic had recently worsened – case numbers and hospitalizations were rising, and the city took a few steps back when it came to assessing risk and considering how “open” things should be. Jessica and Andy decided to wait until Alice was one month old to have me come by for her session, and I knew immediately how fortunate I was to get to see and meet her at a time when so few of their friends and family had been able to do so. Furthermore, I got to document this new stage of their life at a time when many of their loved ones had yet to see them in their new roles, either — they had quietly become parents amidst the falling snow and holiday season, and their family members who had the ability to quarantine + friends who could meet them on chilly walks outdoors were amongst the few who had witnessed this.
I got to see the Christmas decorations they’d hung by the fireplace, and the way they warmed Alice’s toes as they sat near the tree. I watched Jessica bounce on a yoga ball as she held her baby, and then Andy as he later held Alice across his forearm, each of them trying their hands at the ways they’d learned to soothe her throughout the past month of her life.
There was a diaper change and an outfit change and a feeding, and we all hung in their bedroom together chatting as Alice ate. We talked about tv shows and audiobooks and childrens’ toys as their cats made their way over to Jessica and Alice on the bed. Jessica held her baby in one arm and was petting her cat with the other, sharing with me how she’s learning to let go of expectations and the constant pull so many feel toward productivity during this time. I found myself feeling so proud of her and all of them — as both a friend and a person who has been lucky enough to be a witness to their adult lives, it was pretty incredible to watch them figuring this whole thing out. To see them recognizing and vocalizing that there had been and would continue to be some serious ebbs and flows to the whole parenting gig, some wonderful, memorable days and some real tough ones. I was in a bit of awe at the end of our cozy little session — excited to see who they continue to become not only as parents but also as people, and what a fortunate kid Alice will be with the two of them in her corner.