Archive for 'Family'


And I don’t just mean your immediate family but your family in general?

With Christmas fast approaching us here in Sugarbush it struck me this week that this is the first time my family will be celebrating Christmas together in many years.  For the 5 years Jen and I were in Australia, we certainly weren’t here for Christmas.  Before that, we were living in Yellowknife and while I don’t remember the last time we were home at Christmas, I know it was several years before we left for Australia.  So, I suppose, this could be the first time in a DECADE!!!! that we’ve been together for Christmas.

Now, I’m sure my mum will correct me here and remind of the last time we were here for Christmas, but I have no recollection of it, so it must be a while back.  I’m kinda looking forward to it.

We had some great Christmases in Australia, for sure.  While we never experienced the quintessiatlly Australia Christmas scene lolling around on the beach, we certainly enjoyed some serious seafood Christmases.  Remembering the insane gastronomical delights of Griffo’s first Roxby Christmas, just now… So much seafood, I don’t think I’ve ever seen!

Anyway, what’s my point?  Well, this year is pretty special then isn’t it?  Oh, I haven’t mentioned the other bit.  I think my sister’s wedding is probably the last time we were all in a photo together, too, and that was more than just a few years ago – though, as a typical brother I don’t remember just how long ago!)  Right so, you can probably see where I’m headed with this.  My family doesn’t know it yet, so shhhhh… oh rats, mum follows me on twitter so she’ll see the tweet when this gets posted, so I guess the cat’s out of the bag anyway.

Oh right, sorry.  So, yeah.  Family portrait and Christmas together.  Momentous occasion!  This year as we celebrate Christmas we’ll also be celebrating that we are all together again and healthy.  And we will mark that celebration with a family portrait.

I have something pretty special up my sleeve for this portrait, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise but suffice it to say, I think it’s going to be pretty darn cool.

Now, back to my lead-off question.  How often is your family together?  How do you celebrate that?  How often do you mark the occasion with a fabulous portrait?  And here’s a thought, the portraits you have now, are they up-to-date?  Is it something that is always on your to-do list?  Why not make this year the year to get that item stroked off your list?

Oh, and just quietly, Jen and I are around all through Christmas and New Years, so if you’d like us to help you out with a family portrait, just give us a shout and I’m sure we’ll be able to squeeze you in!


The day started out as a straight forward family portrait of an extended family.  After an initial phone chat with Ginny about her family and her desire for a family portrait, Jen and I went to their house on Lake Simcoe for a pre-session consultation so that we could get to know our client and have a great understanding of their expectations.  The basic requirement for the day was a tasteful, traditional portrait in a casual setting on their lakefront property.  The family dogs being just as important as the people, the challenge was set to produce a fabulous portrait with two girls under 5, 3 dogs and 6 adults.  Bring it!

Yes, you read that right.  Many a photographer would run for the hills after hearing that specification!  Fact is, most photographers shy away from the traditional family photograph as it is, let alone mixing in the dogs.  With not one, but three dogs, it’s a recipe for a challenge.  Good thing we love working with kids, dogs and families.

Come the day, not only did we capture this terrific family, but we managed to create some fabulous pet portraits of the three dogs and the pooch being doggy-sat, a second family portrait, again with their two dogs, and we squeezed in a mini-couples session for the newly-wed son and daughter-in-law.

Definitely a big day, but we’ll let you be the judge.

Stayed tuned (or subscribe!) for coming posts about the pets and the newly-weds…

(Oh and be sure to hit the full-screen button on the slideshow – the images look WAY better super-sized!)


Christmas Cards?  I know right?  It’s that time again already!  I was working at The Creative Space today, a really cool creative coworking space in Barrie, when I overheard someone call out “30 days to Christmas!”  Holy cow.  Merry ho-ho is nearly here again.

This year I thought I would be clever and put my Wish List into a shared Evernote notebook that I can share with my family so they can see what I might gush over if it happened to appear out of Santa’s Sac this year.  The best part, of course, is that it’s a living, updating document so I can add to it and they instantly have access to the latest and greatest.  I can even add pictures and URLs so they get just the right thing, even order right from their computer and not have to go driving all over the county looking for it and getting upsold by some eager commission-based salesperson…

Ah, but I digress…

What I’m wondering is?  What are you doing for your Holiday Cards this year?  While time is starting to get tight to do something as creative as thsee cards we’ve designed for our friends and clients but the window hasn’t closed yet.  Or, if things are a bit hectic now in the lead-up to year’s end, how about putting together New Year’s Cards to go out with your family letter in the New Year.

Or, if yours is like many families, you have family members scattered all over the province, country, even the world and getting together for a family portrait is pretty challenging.  We will be around during the Holiday break and available to get together with you while the whole family is together for the holidays and create a beautiful portrait of all your loved ones.

Everyone not going to be in the same place at the same time?  Why not ask us about some of the creative ways we can put together a killer portrait from a number of separate sessions that work around your hectic holiday schedule?


It’s funny.  Not funny haha, but funny – this is interesting.  Through my photography this year I have met and made friends with a lot of people south of the border.  No not the Mexican border, sheesh, the Canada-US border.  As a result, I am much more aware of American Thanksgiving this year than I have been in years past, what with Canadian Thanksgiving nearly a month and a half earlier in October.  Granted, it is hard not to notice that it’s Thanksgiving in the States this weekend, what with the flood of Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales and deals pouring into my inbox this past week.

So today, when I checked in with my Facebook account, I noticed a link to a blog post about giving thanks by my friend, Lisa, who is a fabulous family photographer in Milwaukee, I took a couple of minutes to read her post.  Lisa starts talking about how easy it would be to not be thankful this year, seeing how this is the first year her family is celebrating Thanksgiving without her dad.  But very quickly she realises just how much she has to be thankful for, such as the memories she has of her relationship with her father.  She also talks about how much she values a portrait she has of her with her father and how the expressions and gestures in that photo take her right back to the moment.  I doubt very much that she would give up that portrait for anything in the world.

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The Cordy Clan - January 2009

While the entire world is reflecting on Steve Jobs and the incredible impact he and Apple have had on life as we know it, another legend has passed on.  You may not have known Bill Cordy.  In fact, you probably don’t.  But those of you who have had the pleasure and honour of knowing him, know that he too, is a legend.

The photo above was made the second time we met Grandpa Bill. We had met briefly during a Christmas party at the Cordy’s in a year or so before when Bill had come up with Rob and Irene to spend Christmas with the family that would go on to become our very best friends in Roxby.

The following year, 2009, we went to Grandpa Bill’s place on the river in Moorook for the Australia Day weekend and had a blast skiing, kneeboarding, and just relaxing and chilling out.  It was a special year for Bill that year, celebrating his 90th birthday, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  We were honoured to celebrate with him and we all went out to a local winery, Banrock Station, for lunch.  “Bring your camera”, Scott said, “We’ll get a big family photo.”  As it turns out, this was our first family portrait.

I remember his son, Rob, and grandsons, Scott and Jamie, telling some of their favourite stories about Bill during the birthday celebrations at the river that weekend.  Coming of age stories.  Learning to drive stories.  Farming stories.  Relationship stories.  A lotta love in those stories.

You can see Bill there in the middle of it all.  As bright and cheerful as ever.  Sharp as a whip.  I mean this guy had it going on.  He was always the first one up in the morning at the river and you could hear him whistling as he went about his morning.  He would trundle off to the corner store as soon as the papers arrived to get his daily crossword and news fix.  In my family, all of the elders have finished off their days in increasing levels of care, so meeting Bill and seeing him still living life to the fullest at 90 was refreshing.

We caught up with Bill several more times over our time in Australia and always the same cheerful attitude.  Always made us feel welcome in his home.

It came as a shock to learn a week or so ago that this mighty fellow had been taken down by a heart attack that laid him up in the Loxton hospital.  Our hearts and thoughts were with our friends as they all converged on the river to be with him.  Up and down he went, but after a week he was looking pretty good.  The doctors weren’t going to let Bill go back to his home though, those days were over.  Not that Bill was particularly pleased with that.  Not a nursing home kinda guy, you know.

Then, this morning it came as a shock  to receive a note that Bill had passed during the night (our night, Australia’s arvo).

We wish you god’s speed Bill.  You will be remembered forever.  You will be missed.  You will not be forgotten.  You made your mark.

I invite all of you who knew Bill, or were touched by him, to say a few words in the comments below… (you might have to hit the jump to get to the comments)

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When we launched the website for our family and children’s photography a few weeks ago I mentioned my friend Pamela Joye and what a huge influence she had on the development and refinement of our presentation.  I can’t thank Pamela enough for the time and energy she shared with me while we developed our site and our focus.  I also promised at the time to write a bit more about Pamela and her art.  At the time I envisioned an interview-style piece directly with her, learning about her inspirations, focus, priorities and art.  While I would still like to do this, today Pamela publicly presented her most recent personal project, the Little Witches of Salem, so I felt it timely to put this short piece together.

Pamela lives in Salem, Massachusetts, home of the infamous witch trials, where she is focused on producing fine art, soulful black and white photojournalistic portraiture.  Her’s is a business that is focused on following your family for an entire year and creating showcase art and albums that celebrate a year of your family’s life.  It’s been a huge commitment and challenge for her.  It’s a narrow niche.  It’s a trying economic time.  It’s a significant investment.  The results, however, are extraordinary.  I’ve reviewed some of her recent sessions and her talent of capturing authentic moments in time in a family’s life and their interactions with one another is brilliant.

Whilst focused on building this niche product, Pamela has also been pursuing a fine art personal project to present her take on witchery in Salem.  The result of this project is her showing of “The Little Witches of Salem”.  Asked to detail her concept for this project, Pamela replied:

The concept of the “Little Witches” challenges the stereotypes associated with a “witch” as one who is dark, mysterious, powerful and one to fear. My point of view presents an alternative view of a witch symbolized by little girls (I worked with seven year old twins) dressed in whimsical clothing roaming the streets of Salem. The point is to equate a witch to the magic of the freedoms we had when we were kids –to laugh, dance, play, smile, say what we felt at any time. The images provide a memory of what it was like to live in the moment and to lose oneself in things that made one smile. That is my definition of magical living…of being a “witch”.

Putting a project of this scale together is obviously not something that one does in isolation but rather collaboration.  Assisting in the development of the concept, design and styling and providing the art direction was Damien Delaney.  Providing fashion design was Alikya Wingate.

At this time I invite you to head on over to Pamela’s site and check out the slideshow she has put together to showcase this work.