Marissa and Paul
Marissa, 27, and Paul, 29, are expecting their first baby. They are full of anticipation, nerves and happiness. Hearing them rave about their first ‘Bump to Baby’ photo shoot, Marissa’s mum suggests a ‘time capsule’ ‘Living arrows’ commission to match.
Paul and Marissa love the idea and soon start answering a mix of questions. It’s so beneficial to take this time to talk together, understanding each other’s outlook more in the process. Since theirs will be the first grandchild in their families, I also involve their parents Teresa, Kim and Ian. All three relish the prospect. Once we’ve gathered the information needed for the first section, we take a break while Baby Lanahan decides if she’s ready to arrive.
2 weeks later, little Josie is here and each contributor sends their final ‘homework’ so I can finish writing. Together, we’ve created an extraordinary photo book account of this family’s transformation.
Elke and Ranjeev
Elke, 38, and Ranjeev, 36, have just become parents for the second time, welcoming baby Amira, a sister for excited big brother Toby, 6. Now their family is complete, they’d like to celebrate with a ‘Living arrows’ commission – a family portrait in words – though they’re also planning a photography shoot later. They decide to involve Elke’s parents, who live overseas, as well as Ranjeev’s siblings, who play roles in their day-to-day lives.
I begin by gathering information about Ranjeev and Elke’s experience of parenthood. They’ve learned, changed and shared so much, but rarely have chance to talk properly, so savour the opportunity. I also contact nominated relatives asking for their take on this happy family’s evolution. Toby says he’d like to have his say too.
The final framed text, the embodiment of all those emotions, realities and hopes, is something they can all delight in together, again and again.
Valerie and Pen
Valerie, 40, and Pen, 44, have wanted to become parents for as long as they can remember. Their adoption route hasn’t been easy, but now it’s confirmed their son Marcus can stay, it’s time to celebrate. A fabulous party is already in the planning, but they’d like a ‘Living arrows’ commission as a more permanent testament in words to becoming a family too.
We agree we’ll involve their families, a trio of closest friends and their Social Workers, James and Gail, who they’ve gradually become close to. Our aim is to create a narrative that helps Marcus make sense of his new family situation and for Pen and Valerie to take stock of all the recent changes in their lives.
Their album becomes a touchstone for them all as soon as they first share it together a month after his adoption is confirmed. It helps Marcus know where he belongs.