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We met just after 9am on a cold morning, two days after Christmas.  We drank coffee while facing a window that overlooked the quiet street.  We chatted about our holidays and the driving conditions and then finally, the question came up…

“So, how long has it actually been?”

Nearly twenty-years.  That’s what we calculated.

It had been nearly twenty years since Christine and I had last seen each other.  And not far from this very same spot.

Christine and I went to high school together two blocks from where we were sitting.  It felt so long ago and yet, all the while, as we looked out towards the park on the other side of the street…it felt like very little had changed.

Now, we were simply making different decisions; choosing spouses, buying homes, having children.  But we didn’t feel that different.

There is something comforting about knowing that you can find your place again.  Even in old lives and old memories.  It’s nice to know that you can sit down together – twenty years later – and pick up where you left off.  It’s nice to know that life will only progress as quickly as you let it; that we can still hold on to certain pieces and slow them down a little bit.

On this particular day, I got to meet Christine’s fiance who proposed while they were in Europe.  I got to hear about the beautiful baby boy they are expecting.  I got to see photos of the new home they are moving into soon.

I got to hear all about the future, while feeling immersed in the past.

And then we went out to take some photos…so that we wouldn’t forget the present!

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“Babe, it’s happening…this is actually happening”

This is what I said to my husband one day as we were going through a walk in the woods when I was nineteen weeks pregnant.  It’s happening.  Life, is happening.

I tend to be a worrier.  I am prone to thinking too far ahead and often times, I don’t think ahead to the best possible scenario.  Which can sometimes lead me to miss what is happening.

But on this day…in these woods…I stood still for a moment.  On this day, I was able to stop and recognize that life was really happening.  We were happy…we were healthy…we were having a baby.

We often feel like we need a reason to capture times in our life; marriage…babies…families.  But sometimes, the best reason is just because life is happening…and that alone is worth holding onto.

This is Victoria and Ryan.  Right here.  Right now.  At this place in their lives.

And for other reason than because it’s happening.

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  • Charlie - December 15, 2016 - 6:26 am

    Awesome location for this photoshoot. Great work!ReplyCancel

I feel like the most memorable people in our lives go back to the very beginning.  Or, at least our memories of them do.  I believe that we remember the very first moments in which they became a part of our lives and even the subtlest of details get stored in that place where everything matters.

I remember the very first time I met Tor.  I remember where we were and what the weather was like.  I remember how stressed I was and how calm she was.  I remember that there was exactly three people in line between us at the coffee shop.

Tor and I are the story of two people who were meant to meet.  We even have the mutual friends who would say “you really need to meet my friend, Tor…I think you two would really get along” to prove it.

And so, finally, one day, we did just that.

I remember grabbing my coffee, running up to her in all of my frazzled glory and giving her a huge hug.  I remember apologizing to her profusely for being late and disheveled, and she looked at me with the most compassionate eyes and simply said “it’s totally okay!  Come as you are!”

Come as you are.

Four words that I will never forget and four words that will always make me think of her.  Four words that immediately showed me why I needed this girl in my life.

I think we spend a lot of time thinking about how other people make us feel when we are around them and not enough time thinking about how we want other people to feel when they are around us.  And Tor taught me this.  She taught me this the moment I first exchanged words with her and she has continued to teach me this throughout our friendship.

Come as you are.

Very few people had ever said that to me before.  Very few people had ever looked me right in the face and said, “Gen, it’s okay.  You are enough.  Right here…right now.”

Months later, she would sit in a parking lot with me as I poured my broken and battered soul out to her.  Tears filled the car and every word of our conversation.  Yet, it was okay.

And that’s the thing about my beautiful friend; it’s always okay.

You are not expected to be perfect or “better” or even fine.

You are just asked to come as you are.

It was obviously a big deal for us when this man came along that took hold of her hand and her heart.  It was a big deal to hold our breath as this new person walked into her life.  It was a big deal to watch a person we love find her perfect match in this world.

For me, it’s been a year of photographing friends.  It’s been a year of standing on my side of the lens and watching their lives unfold in new and wonderful ways.  And even more so, it’s been a year of being able to breath deeply because all of these people I care about – they have chosen someone who embraces their dreams…honours their strengths…and protects their hearts.

They have chosen people who have asked them to come…just as they are.

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When I first moved to Ottawa, there were only two people that I ended up knowing for any length of time; my father…and my new hair stylist! I stumbled upon this girl one beautiful fall evening when I was in desperate need of a trim and from there, I was hooked! I ended up following this girl from salon to salon as her career progressed until one day, I received a phone call letting me know that she was moving to another country.

Honestly, I don’t know that anything induces an identity crisis of such serious proportions as losing your hair stylist!!

So the hunt was on for someone new…and the hunt led me from one disastrous experience to another. Until, nearly three years later, I found Caitlin; this gorgeous little bundle of amazingness that has helped make me feel human again for the last number of years!

Here’s what’s so amazing though…

We never just “stumble” upon people without a reason. We come across them with purpose. And Caitlin has become this beautifully uplifting and soothing soul in my life. She has become my friend…my shoulder to lean on…and more than she will ever know; my inspiration. The amount of grace and ambition and courage this woman possesses is beyond stunning.

Then there is Kyle. Her other half. Her equilibrium. Her love. And together, they are pure magic.

We seldom become the people that we are all on our own. We become those people through love and support and encouragement along the way. We become those people because of those that open their arms to us when we are finding our way.

Caitlin and Kyle get to take credit for the people they have each become and the couple they have grown to be; a couple so deeply rooted in commitment, respect, loyalty and all things the world needs a little bit more of.

And my beautiful Caitlin, well, she gets sole credit for making me presentable enough to be seen in public!!!

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When I was pregnant with my son, my first baby, the anticipation of his arrival nearly drove me crazy.  Time seemed to go by so fast and all the while, he couldn’t get here soon enough.  Waking up each morning knowing that day could be the day was such a surreal feeling.  And on the Wednesday night when my husband and I went to bed, there is no way we could have prepared ourselves for the feeling of knowing that it would be our last night together, just the two of us.

The arrival of our second child brought on a very different feeling though.  A more aware feeling.  The feeling that came with understanding how fleeting our time alone with our son really was.  Due to complications, our daughter would come into the world via scheduled c-section, which meant that not only did we hold on to those last moments with just our son…but we knew exactly how long that would be.

And on that last night before our daughter was born, I looked at him in a way that I never had before because I understood that we were experiencing a moment that we would never have again; his last moments as our only child.

Our beautiful friends, Marie-Josee and Mat, are in that time right now as they count down the weeks and days until they enter into a whole new stage of their lives.  But first, there is now.  The time in which they hold on to these moments that are uniquely theirs; two parents and their beautiful only child…

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