Jul
13

This is a really hard post to write. I have so many feelings about this shoot that i’m struggling to express all the joy this job has brought me without sounding disingenuous.

Maybe I should start with how much I love driving through this country of ours, alone at the wheel except for my thoughts, watching the scenes rush pass me, listening to an audiobook or some groovy tunes. Road trips fill me up. When I’m worn thin from too much work, too much kid wrangling, too much life…an hour or two in the car with my thoughts is my medicine. I don’t know why this is…it just is.

This beautiful family lives on a farm in Bathurst so I had eight soul filling hours of driving there and back. Over the mountains, through a countryside kissed by winter sun and wide blue skies, listening to Missy Higgins, Elton John, The Beautiful girls and a healthy dose of my 60’s folk collection. (Song of the trip: Fleetwood Mac…Landslide).

Then I should tell you about Jennifer Stocks, the wonderful mother of this dear family. She is herself an extraordinary family photographer and highly respected in the industry. It was a lucky day for me, the morning we met at a Jinky Art workshop about four and a half years ago. She invited me to join a flickr group created by a collection of women starting out as family photographers in Australia. By this one little act she was instrumental in my journey to becoming the photographer I am today. This group is literally bursting at the seams with talent… seriously some of the best Australia has to offer. It is through this group that I found knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement when all the chips were down.  This group has shown me the path to make it in this business and everyday i’m thankful for access to these wonderful minds.

Then we should talk about her three boys. I’m a mother of boys so I have a particular affinity for shoots of this kind. Jen’s boys were already so familiar to me from years of looking at Jen’s wonderful personal work.  These three are like all boys when confronted with a family photo shoot…  lets just say, sitting still and smiling for the camera was not high on their agenda! Which of course was totally cool with me as I love to capture kids and families being true to themselves.  This is one of the reasons I love boys on shoots…they rarely ham is up for the camera and what you get is real. Genuine is so important for me  with my style of photography and this family wholeheartedly gave me their real genuine beautiful selves. I love them for that!

Then perhaps we should talk about the land these guys live and work on. The Stocks are a farming family and this is their patch. You could have knocked me over with a feather as I jumped out of the ute to confront the scene that faced me in the latter photographs on this shoot.  I don’t think I could have been presented with a more beautiful Australian rural landscape then this!  I’m so accustomed to shooting coastal landscapes that it was a welcome breath of fresh air to capture the beauty of such a different scene.

Oh, and then there was the amazing late afternoon light, the blue skies that went on forever, the connection between five (soon to be six) independent individual souls all coming together in this impressively cohesive family unit.  A credit to Jen and Damien!

It was confronting and just a little bit scary to photograph a family with such a talented mum. But I’m proud of these photos. I love them all. I’m delighted to been presented the challenge to jump so far out of my comfort zone.   I feel like I’m finally hitting my stride with where I want to be as a photographer and I’m SO honoured that I could capture this time for someone I respect so highly!

Ok…so that was a bit of an essay!  I did tell you I was struggling here : )  xx  Sophie

24 Comments
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  • oh oh oh…..where do i start.. the light.. the location.. the beautiful people in them. the beautiful person taking them……..love them.. truly love them..

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  • Oh my goodness Sophie! I absolutely love them! I’m beyond thrilled – they are exactly what I had pictured in my mind. Im so excited we decided to document this momumental change in our family with some portraits, late as we left it! Best decision ever! And, I knew we had chosen the right photographer to capture our family, our life, our affinity with where we live. When I heard you talk about your appreciation for the landscape of this country and the fullness and richness it brings to you, I knew just how much you ‘got’ that part of us. I cant wait for Damien to get home so he can check them out. They made me tear up over and over – at the lovely life we have created and at the opportunities that we have been given. You are darn amazing girl, and thanks for your lovely words xoxo

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  • In tears here Sophie…those photos are just INCREDIBLE, and the words that you wrote about your roadtrip and how you know Jen just hit me right in my heart like a sledgehammer. I love jen’s work but you are just incredible, honestly. I love the little flickr group too, it is so much a part of me and my own journey…I remember meeting both of you at that same workshop all those years ago and am so grateful to know both you talented ladies. Love every one of these images and the connection they represent – not just the connection between you and Jen but of course within this family. And the dog. And the ute. And that incredible Aussie landscape. All just stunningly captured with true, strong colours. Great work!!

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  • fifila

    Ah Fran…i’m remember that workshop like it was yesterday : ) It was so pivotal… not just the amazing teachings of Jinky but the network we created through it. We have all come a LONG way since then eh!

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  • These are GORGEOUS!! Jen…you looks stunning…and your family are just gorgeous! LOVE the shots in the back of the ute…perfect xx

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  • Wow Sophie, you have really done a beautiful job! Jen looks absolutely amazing and you have captured her beautiful family with such love, light and life x

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  • Marsha

    Oh my goodness. Whilst I don’t know Jen personally I am an avid fan of her work. You seemed to have captured the true spirit and essence of her family. These photos are breath taking. Her styling impeccable and contrasts perfectly with your well captured blue skies. I am a “dog” person from way back so I just adore the inclusion of their kelpie in the family photos!

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  • Sophie such a beautiful family and a powerful setting. The textures and the colours are so tactile. I almost feel like I’m the one taking the photo. You have a natural talent of making the observer a part of the experience.

    Such a beautiful family. The boys have amazing faces.

    We are so lucky that Australia (or even just NSW) has such a diverse landscape to compliment our different cultures. Truly the canvas was empty and you yet again have captured a real masterpiece…

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  • Holy crap. They are so awesome, I just swore. On somebodý’s blog.

    I don’t do that.

    But

    Holy Crap.

    Wow.

    Xx

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  • Well I’m officially speechless! There is so much to say about these incredible images that I have no idea where to start so for now you’ll have to settle for ♥♥♥

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  • You have done it again Sophie, absolutely fabulous, every single image! You have a gorgeous family Jen xxxx

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  • I just absolutely adore these, what a beautiful, loving, gorgeous family you have jen, and a wonderful place to live and share! Sophie you have done a brilliant job capturing the love, the location, the light and colour.

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  • Thanks so much for your lovely words everyone. Feeling wonderfully encouraged!

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  • These are fabulous! what an amazing property! Can’t wait to meet the new Stocks!

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  • So much fun, I adore absolutely all of them. What a wonderful family xxxx

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  • You have done an amazing job and Jen, you and your family are just gorgeous What beautiful images x

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  • LOVE them all! Jen is just glowing! Gorgeous images!

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  • sally l

    just gorgeous … the family, the weather, the images … perfect :-)

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  • They are truly stunning Sophie…you’ve captured Jen’s family SO well, I wish you lived closer to us!!

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  • I would have been beyond daunted to photograph Jen and her family, you did such a fabulous job and you should be proud!!!! What a gorgeous place they live in (complimenting a totally gorgeous family!!). Absolutely beautiful, and Jen, your family is divine. Gorgeous work xxx

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  • Wow, a fantastic set, the B&W one on the back of the truck is stunning… Love it :)

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