When I first moved to Los Angeles, I had the perfect amount of support and love. I was lucky enough to have a few friends from my hometown in the area as well as some family. My great-granduncle on my mother's side (that would be my grandmother's uncle) and his wife had lived in Los Angeles for many years. God bless my Uncle Namon and Aunt Ozie. I came to visit Los Angeles in 2013 and stopping by to visit them was definitely a priority.
They were 98 and 92 years old, respectively, when I reunited with them in 2013. Our family must have made a visit to Los Angeles when I was very young, because I remember their house and in particular their back porch. There was something about their deck which was a few feet off the ground. When I saw it, memories flashed in my mind of playing with my brother and trying to jump off of the deck and stick the landing.
When my uncle answered the door, he immediately burst into joyous laughter. His smile and laugh was incredibly contagious. We hugged and he just kept laughing and shaking me saying, "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!" I was delighted that he was so delighted. It was a wonderful moment. I would make visits to their house from time to time to check in and let them know that life in Los Angeles was going well for me. On one of those visits, I was lucky enough to meet some new cousins. Brenton and Janie Guy, as well as Marcus and Melissa Guy. We are all around the same age and connected on art, photography, travel and just...life. I've had the pleasure of photographing some important milestones for them, including the images here.
Brenton and Janie are expecting their second child, a baby girl. Janie asked if I would be willing to capture a few maternity portraits for her and of course I was up to the task. Brenton and their son, Cayden, joined in the fun and in addition to the maternity shots, we had a great family portrait session at the Underground Museum. My cousin was a bit nervous before the shoot, saying she was unsure of how to pose or just be natural in front of the camera. I did not sense that at all and loved what we were able to create. Janie could only be described in one word: elegant.
Quick disclaimer before the images. Their son Cayden is one of the cutest kid you'll ever lay your eyes on. He steals every image he's in. You've been warned. (And yes, they do have him modeling and auditioning.) Wonderful moments:
Also, from my heart:
In June of 2014, we said goodbye to our beloved Uncle Namon, who passed 1 week before his 100th birthday. As I write this blog post (January of 2018) we recently experienced the passing of our dear Aunt Ozie. I am a man of faith, so the only thing to say about that, is that I am so beyond excited that they've reunited again, and their love story has continued in a much better place.
One more thing. I really believe there is such a thing as a circle of life. I love the timing of how about a year after losing our uncle, Brenton and Janie would birth a son, and now within a few months of losing our aunt, Janie is going to bring a little girl into this world. God knows what He's doing.