If you’ve been following my Instagram or Facebook page, then you already may have seen my newest collaboration with Monica & Andy called BLUSH where we feature an inspiring mom each week and take an inside look into their life as both a career woman and mom. But that’s just the boring way of putting it I suppose.. (I like to think of the photos as the fun part)
Fast forward to a few months ago when I first met Monica of Monica & Andy, a new clothing line for babies and kids based here in Chicago, I casually mentioned the idea to her and she was like, um, we totally need to make this happen.
So the first shoot she and Sam Berngard set up for me with this project was of Josephine Lee, the president and artistic director for the Chicago Children’s Choir. Monica and I went together on a Tuesday afternoon to their home, dubbed the skyhouse, and as soon as Josephine’s husband, Kevin opened the door it was like entering the gates to a photographer’s heaven. They had completely gut-rehabbed their condo when they bought it, eliminating all of the walls making it one giant living space with white everywhere and a view of windows overlooking LSD and Lake Michigan. The first thing that struck me was, not surprisingly, a grand piano in the corner. Hm, I’ll have to ask them to play for me later…
That and the fact that they insisted we have some wine with them. It’s the little things that let you know a lot about a person or a family, which for me ultimately tells a bit about how my time with them will go and how best to approach getting them to open up to me (cue the wine).
I put a roll of film in my camera which is always a good conversation starter in itself. Oh wow you work with film? I didn’t even know people used that stuff anymore! Or in Kevin’s case, he actually used to work with film himself and shared some stories about shooting with an old Hasselblad.. Okay, today is going to be a breeze. I dig these people.
I started off by posing Josephine and the kids next to a window just to get things rolling and immediately Benny tucks her sweet little face into Josephine and mumbles something about her nails still needing to dry. “She’s such a girly girl, I don’t know where she gets it from.” Josephine says to me. Made me think of how my mom used to always say how much of a tomboy she was and her sister was a total girly girl, loved shopping and getting her nails done. “Of course my sister had all boys and I’m the one who gets a daughter, go figure.” My mom would lovingly say.. but I digress. Back to the nails drying. What was I thinking? Of course, I totally get it girl. A good manicure ruined with that tiny smudge on your index finger because you thought you could get away with going to the bathroom and unbuttoning your jeans. Drives me crazy.
And as we waited I snuck in some photos and things kept moving along.
Checking out their home, they had the coolest little details. Like, tangerines as a centerpiece – in my opinion the cylindrical glass that held the tangerines was a quite modern and unique take on the classic fruit bowl in your kitchen.
And next to the tangerines laid a set of coasters Josephine & Kevin got as a gift years ago. I turned one over and noticed a number penciled on the back. “They were made from the marble from the Taj Mahal.” Oh, right. No big deal.
I snuck in more photos.
And then, the piano. I asked and they happily obliged as they sat down and played for me. Unfortunately this is one of few times that photos kind of *I cringe to say* fail as no matter how pretty or interesting, will just never quite convey the beautiful angelic sound of an extremely talented woman playing on a grand piano for you with her adorable Partridge-esque Family back up on guitars.
Joesphine, you are so pretty.
And so what was supposed to be a one or two hour photo shoot turned into a six hour afternoon spilled over into evening as Josephine & Kevin invited me to stay for dinner (they even invited Vasili to come over too!). A few more glasses of wine and lots of good conversation later, one of my favorite things they shared with me was when Kevin said, “We only have white, tan and orange in our home and no artwork up on the walls. We like to think of the people as the artwork.” *i die*
Benny’s nails dried and her sweet little personality poured out of her.
All the little bumps and bruises on kids’ legs… I love that kids just really dive right into things before growing up and learning boring shtuff like caution and risk management.
Perfect portraits are so overrated.
Oh and I almost forgot. Their 80’s chic bathroom. Oh the 80’sed out bathroom! Josephine said it was the one thing they left original in their place, and f’real. How could you part with that? She also said guests always go take selfies in there so, like any good guest, I went in and took a selfie in their bathroom with their old school giant cell phone.
Thank you so much Josephine & Kevin for inviting me into your home and for your hospitality and graciousness while hosting me. To check out Josephine’s interview with BLUSH for Monica & Andy, head on over to HERE. xoxoxo