Fifteen:Fifty-One Photography | The Blog » Fifteen:Fifty-One Photography | The Blog

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I want to say that I noticed for the first time around eight and half years in.  I was looking for a specific photo of our family when I noticed that we didn’t have any of just the two of us anymore.  At first I thought it was just an oversight on my part…but the more I searched, I more I realized that I wasn’t missing anything at all.  Except a photo of just my husband and I.

The wife side of me gets it; life happens.  It gets busy, it gets expensive, it gets full of other things that need our time and attention.  But the photographer side of me cringed at the thought; the thought that I could let (wait for it…) nine years go by without having a photo taken of the two of us.  And that’s how long it was; nine years.  Sure, we had the odd selfie while traveling or a quick snap taken in passing at a family wedding, but they were immensely few and far between.

So, for our tenth wedding anniversary, I brought an end to our photographic dry spell…and honestly, they are some of my most favourite photos ever.  We are happy and undistracted and we were us, ten years later.

These sessions have quickly become some of my most favourite sessions to photograph because there will always be a reason not to do it.  And in their own way, all of those reasons are valid.  But more than any of the reasons not to do it, lies one incredibly important reason why we should do it.  Because it matters.  Because who we are in this moment matters.  Because what we’ve been through matters.  Because these lives that we walk, side by side, matter.

And so does taking an hour to capture it.

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Shanna and Jeff.  Just them…nine years later…

  • Linda - August 29, 2016 - 4:53 pm

    thanks for sharing – lovely couple in love – brings smile to my face.ReplyCancel

Every now and then, I’ll be walking through downtown and I’ll suddenly catch something out of the corner of my eye.  Sometimes it will be the way the sun is pouring across the buildings or the way wind blows across the river.  Sometimes it will be a new restaurant that has opened or a store that I’ve passed a hundred times already.  But each time it happens, I find myself thinking the very same thing; “Gosh, I love this city!”

I think it’s easy to take your hometown for granted.  It’s easy to forget all about its charm and beauty.  I guess, like any long term relationship, it’s easy to forget what attracted you in the first place.

That is, until you reacquaint yourself.  Until you get all dressed up and start dating again!  And that’s what I absolutely adore about doing sessions downtown; it gives me a whole new perspective of the city I fell in love with so long ago.

Mohamed and Marwa knew how to do it up right!  With the most stunning attire…some absolutely gorgeous light…and the best spots in town…it’s safe to say that I have officially fallen all over again!!

I don’t know what it is…but there’s just something about it; something about being near water.  I almost feel like it contains magical properties of some kind that enables it to contain our memories in the most unique way.  I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, the moment I find myself shoreline, I feel calmer.  I feel as though the very presence of water makes my soul a little bit more peaceful.

Sometimes I wonder what the waves would say if they could talk?

Alas, we don’t get to know that secret…but we can continue to bring pieces of ourselves there for safe keeping.  And that’s exactly what we did for Anna and Adam’s engagement session; we brought it to a place where the well runs deep and the love is held tight.

Right there, in the beautiful summer night, we stored away a few more memories…among the rippling waves and the quiet of echo the sunset…we’ve added one more thing to come back to…

Of the over one hundred weddings that I’ve shot during my photography career, there is always one thing that makes a couple stand out; they laugh. They laugh through the weather, they laugh through the fatigue, and they laugh through unexpected road closures that stand between us and our destination. They laugh because – through it all – they recognize that, no matter what happens, it’s still one of the best days of their lives.

 And that always stands out above all else.

Julia and Raouf get it. They get that there’s a difference between a wedding and a marriage. They get that cars get stuck and time runs out and the afternoon sun gets hot. They get it. And yet, they dance.

The details can be nice and the food can taste good and the dress can take your breath away. But it’s always the laughter that you’re going to remember most.

I’m going to remember this one for a very long time…

(And big thanks to Jessica Jiang for second shooting with me!!)

Nothing in life has amazed me more than the roads that lead us to one another.  Through trials and tribulation…through joy and victory…through defeat and triumph; we find our way to each other.  And this never ceases to take my breath away.  It brings me comfort and peace to know that, even in the darkest corners of life, we are not alone.

The walk to parenthood is one that looks very different from one person to the next.  For some, that road is wide and vast.  A perfectly paved surface that leads directly to a place that was always meant to be.  For others, the road takes a few turns and requires a few detours.  But for others still, that path is barely even carved out among the woods.  It is nothing more than obstacles and hurt and loss and a constant struggle to a place that is entirely unknown.

Hilde and Christian walked their road and it wasn’t one they expected.  Because none of us expect cancer to come along and rip our dreams out from underneath us.  But that’s where their road led them; down a path that included incredible amounts of devastation…and a path that wouldn’t include carrying a child.

But then there is the human spirit; a force so strong and so mighty that even in the midst of the deep wilderness, it will prevail.

Right there, in the wilderness, is where they met Amy.  She met them along the way…she took their hands in her own…and she told them that they didn’t have to make that walk alone.  And together, they followed a new road; one that brought Hilde and Christian to Canada, all the way from Norway, to meet their daughter…a daughter that Amy would carry for them.

On June 29th, 2016, a tiny baby girl would come into the world and become the very essence of what love can do; it can hold our hands and lead us out of the dark woods…it can stare us in the eyes and catch our ocean of tears…it can carry our dreams and hand us the world.

In the stillness of the night…love, can bring us life…



  • Marie-Eve - July 12, 2016 - 1:45 pm

    Amazing <3!!ReplyCancel

  • valerie - July 12, 2016 - 3:09 pm

    As a mother who has gained children through giving birth, adoption and step parenting this touched me
    .thank you…ReplyCancel

  • Lorraine Barbeau - July 12, 2016 - 4:23 pm

    Amazing! So beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Beale Vaughan - July 12, 2016 - 4:28 pm

    Beyond beautiful. The last picture gave me chillbumps.ReplyCancel

  • Judie Murray Bortolotti - July 12, 2016 - 4:47 pm

    Such an incredible gift! Amazing ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Karen Cavin - July 12, 2016 - 5:20 pm

    A miracle in so many ways…ReplyCancel

  • Gwen Dunn - July 12, 2016 - 5:27 pm

    So amazing!! What an incredible gift of love!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Borchert - July 12, 2016 - 5:58 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Valerie Armfield - July 12, 2016 - 6:10 pm

    I can’t quit crying. What an unselfish act of love! What a miracle for all involved. Beautifully captured.ReplyCancel

  • Cara Thiel - July 12, 2016 - 6:38 pm

    Beautiful …. amazing pplReplyCancel

  • Cindy Brady-Zahab - July 12, 2016 - 7:20 pm


  • Andrew Kellie Burkhart - July 12, 2016 - 8:08 pm

    Words can not explain the beauty of this…and thankfully, your poignant and powerful photographs do it instead. Such beauty in every way! God bless them all! ~ KellieReplyCancel

  • Julie Warwick - July 12, 2016 - 8:24 pm

    Some of the most beautiful photographs I have ever seen.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Guynes - July 12, 2016 - 11:27 pm

    Beautiful! These pictures brought me to tears.ReplyCancel

  • Antoinette Hayes - July 13, 2016 - 1:49 am

    Always and ever…the miracle of life with such beautiful, giving hearts.ReplyCancel

  • Jorid Holt - July 13, 2016 - 8:30 am

    Fantastisk nydelig- GratulererReplyCancel

  • Dianne J Cameron Chisholm - July 15, 2016 - 2:15 am

    Oh My Glory, thanks so much for telling me about this today. I’m just in awe, now I’m going to read the story. Julia was born on Paddys fathers birthday June 29. He would have been 79. It is also the date that Paddy’s brother Eddy was buried.ReplyCancel

  • Asif Masih - July 26, 2016 - 12:33 pm

    God Bless you and its So beautifulReplyCancel

  • Hayley Kew - July 27, 2016 - 4:19 pm

    Beautiful 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Cayer - July 27, 2016 - 4:35 pm

    There are so many beautiful, selfless, kind people in this world. Amy has given Hilde and Christian such a beautiful gift and it is incredible and inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story. God bless this beautiful baby girl and the new mom and dad and Amy.ReplyCancel

  • Michèle Simpson - July 27, 2016 - 6:45 pm

    So beautiful! Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures ♥ReplyCancel

  • Kim Be - July 27, 2016 - 7:20 pm

    So so gorgeous! What a beautiful story!ReplyCancel

  • luce McNicoll - July 28, 2016 - 11:59 pm

    Une vraie histoire d’amour….un don de la Vie…et un don de soi….quelle grand bonheur pour ces deux mamans! Que de parents heureux….avec ce bébé.ReplyCancel

  • Luce McNicoll - July 29, 2016 - 3:54 am

    Rien de plus beau….miracle de la Vie…précieux cadeau…..sentiments profonds pour moi!ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl Goossen - July 29, 2016 - 4:30 am

    Speechless ! #loveisallweneedReplyCancel

  • Andria Hopwood - August 2, 2016 - 5:54 am

    I am fighting back tears How heartwarmingReplyCancel

  • Jenny Pendragon - August 2, 2016 - 10:24 am

    So beautifull ,cant stop crying xReplyCancel

  • Lisa Nicolaou - August 2, 2016 - 10:45 am

    This is the goals of been a surrogate , the priceless look on the parents face , I have been lucky enough to see this look twice and plan on seen it once more xReplyCancel

  • Pinkie Zandy Mtshweni - August 2, 2016 - 11:13 am

    Hi I’m interested I want give someone a giftReplyCancel

  • Wilna van der Merwe - August 2, 2016 - 6:10 pm

    Awesomness ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Kelly-Rae Wahl - August 3, 2016 - 8:47 am

    Wow how beautifulReplyCancel

  • Carli Cheyenne - August 3, 2016 - 12:25 pm

    I love how you are able to catch such raw emotion and have it look so beautiful and effortless. You have a gift ❤ Congrats to everyone ❤ReplyCancel

  • Clare Sherman - August 5, 2016 - 5:22 pm

    Can’t wait to do this myself my friends baby due mid January. Such a beautiful thing xReplyCancel

  • Julie Worrall Moore - August 5, 2016 - 6:17 pm

    Just beautiful and amazing. ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Meredith Marchand - August 6, 2016 - 6:22 am

    Amazingly beautiful pictures and story! You are truly gifted Gen! I’m am blessed that our paths have crossed. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kathrine Fehr - August 6, 2016 - 2:19 pm

    So amazing Took the breath from meReplyCancel

  • Crystal Welch - August 6, 2016 - 11:09 pm

    Not only are these photographs beautiful, but your writing is so eloquent. It sets the stage for the experience you were able to capture.ReplyCancel

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