These three year old twin sisters have been my photographic subjects since they were fourteen months old. There is a certain unpredictability documenting really young children that I adore. Their last session was when the girls were two and a half, a little over a year ago. As they say, children grow up in the blink of an eye. At their recent session, at three years, the girls seemed so grown and mature. It is amazing for me to see these changes as the little people evolve into bigger people. The girls sported the cutest Tea Collection dresses, one of my favorite clothing options. I asked the mom if she could share a little about her experience working with me and she sent me the lovely note below. Can I just say how happy I am that Chantal spotted my work at Palo Alto Medical Foundation? I always wonder how many people actually look at displays while at the doctors? Thank you, Chantal and Jai for letting me capture your memories.
I’ve been a fan of Alpana’s work ever since my husband first showed me some photos taken of one of his friends and her family four years ago. My husband was impressed with the photos and when I came to look over his shoulder, I could understand why. His friend and her family were walking through a field and resting by an old fence in the photos, which sounds simple enough, yet the photos were extraordinary. The colors and landscape were beautiful, but in each shot the photographer had captured a shared moment between some of the family members. That was the star of each photo- that subtle moment. We loved the story told in those photos so much that my husband called his friend to compliment her on them. She told us the photographer was “Storybox Art”, which seemed like an apt name to us, but we never thought about it further as our friend lived in New York and we never imagined this particular photographer would be working in our end of the country (California).
A year later, I was walking into our doctor’s office when I looked up and spotted a photo of a young child holding a dandelion with his mother blowing it away. I hurried to my appointment, but kept thinking about how much I liked the photo and on the way out I stopped to admire it and read the caption. The photographer was “Storybox Art” and when I looked around I noticed a few other photos by the same photographer, each more striking than the next and each documenting a moment between family members that told a whole story about their relationship. It seemed too coincidental that this photographer would share both the name and the unique style with the one whose work we loved from New York, but after some internet research, I was delighted to learn that indeed, it was her! Her office is based 15 min from our house and though we’d never had professional photos taken before, we felt compelled to call her to talk about a possible discussion. That was a choice I am so happy with.
I think Alpana’s photos speak for themselves, but I can tell you a bit of the backstory of working with her for three separate photo sessions over the years. During our first shoot, our twins were 1 years old and constantly on the move. This was no problem, as Alpana was definitely practiced in photographing very young children. She generally seemed pretty amused by our girls’ tendency to charge off in separate directions and she has lots of tricks up her sleeve for photographing little ones on the move. For example, sometimes would capture them running and other times she would draw them in and give them something of natural beauty around us (a leaf, a rock, a dandelion, etc.) and photograph their fascination with it. Later, when I see the resulting photos, I notice that the seemingly ordinary object looks beautiful in just the right light, so through her lens I can really understand a child’s fascination with it.
During our second and third photo sessions when the girls were a bit older, we decided to go on an easy hike and our girls loved every moment of the shoot. We enjoyed the chatting with Alpana as we walked and we’d stop now and then for her to capture something she saw us doing (talking together, cuddling the girls, etc). She takes lots of photos of small things, like my husband or I fixing our girls’ hair, etc., and often these become the photos I love the most from the whole day. She really has an eye for light and landscapes, but these moments are her specialty. She captures them naturally, just letting us all play together and taking photos, so the process is pretty organic and as a result we all feel comfortable and we are genuinely having a good time. I think there are probably layers of things to appreciate in Alpana’s photos, but what I most love about the ones she took of us is that every photo reminds me of the story behind the photo. When I look at her photos of other families, I can imagine that story, and I think that’s why I love her work so much. Her photos really do feel like “snapshots in time”.