I've been retired for over a month now and I've gone back to school. My current professor is one-and-a-half years old, and he doesn't teach using the traditional Socratic method, he's more of a hands-on type of instructor.
I call him Professor Kooky Lukey and he's my second grandson. I know you're not supposed to give your grandsons self-fulfilling nick names, but you see, I want Luke to retain his kookiness. That's what makes him special.
His older brother John is a first born, like me. Johnny is more the serious type; reflective, orderly, and often times obsessive and overly focused. Luke is teaching us that there is clearly another way to look at life.
Professor Lukey has taught me that it's OK to start a book on the last page and to rip out a page or two if the desire to do so makes you laugh. It certainly makes the story more interesting the next time around.
Kooky has taught me that playing an orderly game of matchbook cars driving down imaginary streets on the carpet is always more interesting when the cars suddenly go flying through the air with total abandonment. It's even more hysterical when, Mac, the family dog, retreats and hides in his cage to escape the projectiles.
Professor Lukey has also taught me and Johnny that an occasional unpredictable tackling and wrestling of his older brother to the ground is a keen method of utter enjoyment. Particularly, if Johnny yells, "No, Lukey, No!
Decades ago, in another life, when I was studying to become a teacher, I read all the John Holt books about how children learn. I loved those books, and I loved that Holt would spend hundreds of hours just playing with kids in order to truly understand the manner in which children naturally learned.
I'm fascinated with how two brothers, with essentially the same shared experiences, can be so wonderfully different. Society will assuredly require that Lukey reign in some of his exuberance and Johnny will certainly have to let go of some of his self-awareness and obsessions. Hopefully, from each other, they will reach an equipoise for success. However, I also secretly hope that they retain a healthy level of indifference to what others want them to be.
In any event, I have a lot more to learn from Professor Kooky Lukey. At 65 I can't wait until I see my 57-year baby brother so I can randomly assault him and wrestle him to
Lukey has taught me that life doesn't have to be all that serious and I plan on practicing that a bit more.
Hopefully my brother Robbie still retains some of his childhood laissez-faire. Professor, I'll let you know how my homework assignment goes.
June 18, 2021
Tonight I went to bed and couldn’t get these pictures out of my head. Ann Marie, or AHAH to you, just showed them to me earlier. As I tried to fall asleep I found myself overwhelmed with emotion thinking about them. I knew that my tears were speaking to me so I got out of bed and wrote this note to you.
Someday, when you’re as old as PopPop, you will fully understand the feelings that I am attempting to express.
When I saw this series of photographs of you I was moved with so much love and appreciation for your beauty and your incredible lightness of being at the age of three. What innocence and joy you exude in these pictures and what joy you bring to me on this upcoming father’s Day!
When I was younger I truly enjoyed each moment with my three daughters. But often times there was not enough time for me and AHAH to catch our breath and reflect on how wonderful life truly was. However, with a generation between us, and me being closer to the final chapters, I can now see the circle of life more clearly.
Through these wonderful photos taken by AHAH, I see you as my dad saw my kids, and how my grandfather saw me, and on and on it goes.
Tonight, I am full with happy tears as I know that most of what you will experience in life will be without my earthly presence. You will love and be loved, you will experience great joy, and you will assuredly experience pain and loss.
Throughout the arc of life, I hope that God is good to you and allows you to retain a good deal of your joy and lightness of being.
P.S. When you’re old enough to understand, thank AHAH for her commitment and countless hours in learning the skills to become an artist. Her photographs have enriched our lives and will be cherished for generations to come.
Side note form Ann-Marie:
You have taught me so much and have been my supporter all the way. Love you!
Are you ready to get outside and have some fun? I know I am.
Why not do what this awesome family did and book a family photo session with me?
You pick the place.
Or I can suggest one.
This family choose Fort Edgecomb in Edgecomb, Maine.
You come and hang out with your family and do family stuff. I just wander around and take images.
I usually encourage the kids to run around and play. These two didn't need much encouragement. It was a beautiful day to have fun together.
It's great when mom and dad join in.
I love how the personalities come out when it's not just a photo session but a family activity.
Of course, I do ask for some family shots. After about an hour, I leave and you can too, or you can stay on and enjoy your family time.
I had so much fun watching these two come out of their shell and enjoy our time together.
In the end, we have created a family memory for you that lives on in the images you will get.
Thank you Erik and Amy for sharing your wonderful family with me.
If you would like to book a family session with me, reach out for more details and booking times by using the contact form below.
Just about everyone needs a headshot. Today an online presence is so important. All social media sites require profile images. This is my most recent headshot, thanks to my friend Diane at Diane Brophy Photography.
She did my previous headshot, too. If you own a business, your photo helps you connect with customers right away. The message you send is important. First impressions count and a professional photo shows you are professional. Profiles on Linkedin with photos get viewed and messaged more often.
Headshots need to be updated. I have changed and I want the picture clients see to look like me. It builds trust. This was my headshot my first year in business. Let's be honest, this is not the me that greets you when you come for a session now. Headshots need to show the real you.
This does look like me now, but it is not a professional shot. Scroll back and see the difference proper lighting can make. Using a photo a friend (who is not a photographer) takes of you, does not convey the same message. It looks like it was done by a friend. Photographers possess skills that help you look your best.
Recently, Thelma came to me for an updated headshot. She sent me her old headshot as a reference to why she needed a new one. The one on the left is her new headshot. I must say, I really enjoy working with people to bring their personalities out in their images. Thelma is a vibrant person and I think this image portrays that.
Amy's look changed, so she wanted an updated headshot. She loves having her headshots done outdoors. I did both. It was so nice to see her again.
If you own a business or are opening a new business, there needs to be a face to go with it. Cecil is opening a new hair salon in Foxboro, Morris & Co, so he needed a headshot.
Laura is a professional musician. She is often asked for a headshot before performances. With the pandemic, she has to do more performances online. The world is image driven, a professional headshot gets her noticed.
Actors need headshots. Ralph wanted a very harsh look for a part he was auditioning for in a movie being filmed in Boston. He came to me to help him out. The harsh lighting was done on purpose for affect.
Evan has been coming to me regularly. He is a young actor and his looks change so quickly as he is growing up. I love watching his career and we have forged a great friendship.
Public figures need headshots for their campaigns and printed materials.
Political figures need images to send out before speaking engagements.
Models need several headshots for their portfolio.
People on dating websites also need a good, well lit image that reflects their personality.
I think you get the idea. Just about everyone needs a headshot. I can help you out. I love taking headshot because I get to meet you. It's a lot of fun for me to work with people and I would love to work with you. Let me know if you would like to book a session. The session price is $150. which includes 5 digital images.
Ann-Marie Ford Photography
15 Oakland Rd.
Sharon, MA 02067
Taken April 17, 2020- not the toilet paper section of the store, but the pasta shelves.
In the spring, teddy bears appear in windows and all kinds of different places. Children and adults can go around spotting them as something to do during the pandemic.
The computer is essential for spending time with family and friends in April.
"Social distancing" is a readily understood and frequently used phrase. My neighbors took to the streets with their daily version. At least most of us got outside a lot more than before. Outdoor parks and trails became overcrowded with people wanting to do some type of activity they could do Safely. Speaking of which, "Stay safe" was another phrase people used on a regular basis instead of goodbye.
Masks are essential and can be a fashion accessory or make a statement.
Sharon PD does their part in helping kids cope with anxiety by offering bicycle safety programs.
Bar Mitzvahs and other family celebrations are very small and like this one, are held outdoors with most guests attending via Zoom.
Haircuts are not available until later in the year. Everyone gets a little shaggy or they learn how to do it themselves.
My church, Hope Church, moves its services outside to a member's home, when we are able to meet in person again.
We move back inside in the fall but also stream online. Attendance is sparse in person. We go back to online streaming again at the end of the year due to a spike in Covd cases.
Restaurants have to adapt and many are open only for takeout and delivery. Sadly, many close down completely.
"Car parades" become a way to celebrate people and events.
Sharon High School's graduation is very different. Cars line up at the train station in a "car parade" to drive to the high school to graduate one at a time and then drive on.
Marlene Chused is celebrated in the new way after she retires from her position as town clerk after many faithful years of service to Sharon.
School is online and my son-in-law and grandson are guest speakers for an online session with an elementary class.
The train station is empty. On this evening, the train stopped and no one got on or off.
The streets were so empty in May, it was so easy to experiment with long exposure night shots, in places that wouldn't have been safe to do so before.
This is my neighborhood after a fall wind storm. We live very close to the train station. Normally with the high level of traffic coming to and from the train station, these leaves would have been blown aside, but they blanked the road all day until the wind started up again.
There was no trick-or- treating on Halloween, but there was a very imaginative and well done "trunk-or treat" event organized by the town Rec. Department. Families stayed in their cars and drove though the displays made by various groups or individuals. They collected a bag of treats at the end.
I know you we are all still experiencing the pandemic, but I felt compelled to do this blog post to be able to look back at it in the future. Photography is so important for documenting life.
What a year it was! Trying to select my favorite images from 2020 was hard. I really wanted about 100 of them. I tried for the top 20, but couldn't do it. I couldn't leave some of them out. So their are 25 images here. I love capturing people, so I am not surprised that most of my favorites are of them.
Sometimes I use my cell phone. This is one of those pictures. Composition, subject and lighting, all win here. Focus is not sharp but it is over ruled by the content. My grandson loves animals, and they seem to be interested in him, too!
When I saw this women fishing, I loved her silhouette, kinda like a twist on the "Marlboro Man." I love the colors and the edge light.
I love so much about this one: the light, the color, the lines that lead to her, the ease in expression. The skirt billowing out in the opposite direction she is looking, makes it for me. It breaks the symmetry, adding a bit of interest. She just looks at peace in a place she loves- the beach.
A tiny newborn cradled in dad's arms. The head cupped in dad's hand and his gaze get me. The choice of black and white pulls them together more with like tones. A moment captured between a dad and his daughter.
its all about the color tones and subject in this one of my husband.
I like how down low this one is. Your eye moves around to the different parts of the image because of the lines. The ice on the recently withered wild flowers with the dramatic sky and sunset, add to the sense of time here.
This is all about the color of the light skimming the edge of this little girl and the her loving the texture of the sand.
A crisp and clear image with true colors. I like the intensity of color in the reflections in the water, framed by some wildflowers in the foreground.
Fog and layers ,with the fishing boat in the horizon line, work for me here.
It's the lighting here that I love.
I challenged myself to learn new skills during the times when I couldn't work. Here is a long night exposure in Camden, Maine. It was easy to do right after sunset in the spring because there was no one around. Two cars went through as evidenced by the light trails. I really like doing these kinds of pictures and will be doing more of them.
I love the color and expression here. The image is enhanced by the little bit of breeze to blow her hair so it delicately frames her face.
Johnny Ford Dumais sits at Chief John Ford's desk. The Cheetohs covered face, the eyes upside-down in the name placard, the leading lines, and of course, my grandson, make this image for me.
All the negative space works for me, here. Lines color and framing help to make this image.
This just looks like a painting of my friend, who loves the ocean so much.
The story telling aspect of this image is what I love about it. The haircut did not happen.
Another cell phone image. It's the content that matters. This one also tells a story with my other grandson. His personalty is revealed without even seeing his face.
It's the facial expression here on my husband John, is what I love.
A portrait without a face.
I love experimenting with light. My husband had the idea for this one, and I'm glad he did.
The colors and connection with me, make this one.
I love the way the blur of the train makes the subjects stand out. Her hair and expression make it, too.
The setting , light, and expression make this one a favorite.
The peacefulness, detail and colors, of these last two images, make them stand out in my mind.
"We need someone to take our family picture. This was our attempt." is the text I received the other night. I knew right away that they were going to be a great family to work with, they needed something I could deliver.
They booked a session and we headed out to create memories.
I love to encourage everyone to have fun while we are out. It didn't take much to get these guys going.
Authentic smiles are the best!
Some really sweet moments happened.
Then there were some silly moments.
I think we managed to get a few great family pictures by the end of our time together, but what was even better, was the fun we had! Thanks Maureen and Justin
, for sharing your family with me.
Windows are one of the things that I often photograph.
In these three images, I like the reflective nature of the windows with vibrant colors.
Having something in front of the window as you are looking out, adds an element of interest.
Capturing people through a window, tells a story.
The color of the light and the shadows that are created through window light, create a certain mood.
The contrast of old wood with panes of glass, is appealing to me.
Animals love windows. Making images of them in windows or looking out of window, gives the viewer a little slice of life with pets.
Sometimes it's all about the color in or surrounding the windows.
Other times I feel monochrome simplifies the image making it more peaceful.
These last two images are result of me just trying something creative.
Get out there yourself, or stay in and look out. Try your hand at making images that include windows. Have fun!
I know I'm a bit late, but I always like to do a year in review. Having been too busy to get to it, is a good thing in this business. Fair warning, there are a lot of images. Many are not technically correct, but that is not what it is about all of the time. I sometimes only have my cell phone with me and I see an image, so that's what I use.
One of my first sessions of the year was my own daughter Emily's engagement shoot. We went to Maine, one of her and Corey's favorite places. The weather was perfect and the colors and tones just worked.
My Husband is so supportive and will often let me try ideas on him. Here, its all about the window light and focus fall off. ...and how much I love this face.
When you're just sitting and chilling and there is a dog butt in your face.
The fact that my grandson, at less that 2 years old, loves to play with my old cameras, delights me.
This one was taken in Hawaii, as will be several that follow. It is a beautiful place full of color and texture. This image struck me because of all the layers.
Striking contrast and horizontal lines with symmetry, had me here.
I love the color tones and the story you can get from this one.
We went to a local high schools hula night. I was so moved by how beautiful the dancing was and by how embraced it was by all the students in the audience.
The devastation that was caused by the eruption of Mount Kilauea, was mind boggling.
The vast variety of landscape is just amazing in Hawaii. I like the color tones and leading lines that I saw and of course the subjects.
Here are my parents at my daughters's bridal shower. They are always up for a good time.
I just find this funny, so full of expression!
Just pure sweetness between a grandfather and his granddaughter. Leading lines help tell the story.
I love fog. I go out in search of a good shot when I know there will be fog. This image has good layers; foreground, middle ground and background. It was in Maine.
When this client contacted be about doing some boxing shots, I was so excited. I had been wanting to try out some creative harsh light shots. She was willing. I love the intensity in her eyes with her arm forming a leading line to them. I also like the slight shadow on the wall behind her.
Here she is wrapping her daughter's hands. I used some intense rim light.
The harsh shadow was just what I was going for. The selective color was a suggestion from the client. It's great to have people willing to collaborate together.
This was a very unique happening. The fawn was all by itself and very attracted to my grandson.
I was at an arts festival in Belfast, Maine when I spied this artist's palet. I was srtuck by how beautiful it looked . I loved the colors and the story it tells about painting. The paintings in the booth were just beautiful. Come to find out, the artist, Erik Minzner, is the husband of a wonderful women who hired me to take her headshot earlier in the year.
This was maiden voyage of the vintage wooden Penn Yan boat that my husband lovingly restored. He took my son-in-law, grandson and myself out on our local lake. We made it half way across and the engine died. It has yet to start again.
What a privilege it is to be able to record the birth of my second grandson, Luke.
Just an amazing moment for a the family. Let your eye travel all the way from the front to the back of the image. There is so much going on, here. Notice the looking on of the nurse all the way in the background.
Macro lenses are so much fun to work with.Getting good focus involves lots of patience.
This is Faith. She is awesome to work with. Here I am experimenting with shadows.
Faith frolicking in the daisies.
Faith in soft window light.
Johnny visiting John E. Ford, in his office.
Johnny's first flight early in the morning.
Just a dad at the beach. Too funny!
Beautiful sunset in North Carolina.
Mom and Dad. They are so cute.
This little guy was such an easy subject. He looked good, no matter what!
These two are getting married in April. We spent some time at the Arnold Arboretum for their engagement pictures.
I can't wait to photograph their wedding. They were a blast to work with.
There are some wedding when you get to really have fun with the guests.....
Brooke and Taylor’s wedding was that wedding. I had so much fun.
They met at Boston College and that is where they got married.
She was a stunning bride.
This is Ford, my niece's son. This image is just so him, he loves the water.
This is Ashley, a very talented and equally nice, past student of mine.
This just captures her soft beauty.
I got down even with the table to document this beautiful wedding reception table in Rockport, MA.
A great mom and her two girls. Colors, leading lines, expression and how Willow, on the left is always her own little person, only one hand under the chin for her.
Another beautiful bride that I had the privilege of photographing this past year.
Her mom was awesome, so much fun to be around.
Twin sisters and their mom in a moment.
They caught me trying to get creative shots. I LOVE how grandma waved at me and grandpa is framed between the boards on the covered bridge in Newery, Maine.
They are all cute, but the expression of the little one on the left, just makes this image it for me.
Another past student, Ben and his mom, what a treasure for her to have this image before he goes off to college next fall.
The light on Chelsea is as soft and beautiful as she is.
The interaction between Chelsea and Jamie and the reaction of the people in attendance, is why I love this photo.
The colors and soft background make this a great headshot.
Rim light and bokeh are what I like about this one, and his expression.
This was a great pumpkin patch day with family.
This picture just captures my sister and her husband perfectly. I love it!
Fall is the perfect time for donuts on strings and matching Carhartt clothes.
My Daughter's family are always willing subjects.
Thanks for making it all the way through. I love sharing my work.
Bringing out the Christmas decorations every year gets me a little sappy. So many of them evoke special memories. This ornament didn't even make it on the tree, my daughter just handed it to me as I was decorating the sideboard. She said she knew it was a favorite because it was really "vintagey." She was right.
Then there was the year when we did everything in blue, all blue ornaments and lights. Not too many of the blue glass balls are left. Johnny decided to throw one and to his surprise, it shattered into a million pieces. He thought it was a regular ball.
Then there was the red and white themed year. We had two trees that year, one upstairs and one downstairs.
This ornament was given to me by my mother-in-law. She knew how much I loved Christmas. It holds a special place in my heart. It reminds me of her love and acceptance into her family.
My sister-in-law, Yvonne gave me this one. It is tin and beautifully painted.
My girls did Irish Step dancing for years. We had a love hate relationship with it.
Tommy Gouthro, who was a teacher I used to teach with, made this. It brings back great memories of him working in the wood shop at the middle school. He was a well loved gym teacher, who has since passed. My husband and I still miss him.
This well worn ornament was a baby's first Christmas ornament. It was given to us when Maddie was born.
I asked Sarah to pick out an ornament that she liked. She picked this one. I asked her why. She said, "Because the feet are chewed off." I'll leave it at that, a typical Sarah reply.
This is the backside of my favorite ornament. This was from our first married Christmas. We had decided to make presents for everyone. I was painting little wooden hearts and was struggling. Painting is not my talent. John said "Let me help you. "In about 5 minutes he painted this:
That was it! I put everything away. I couldn't compete with that. No one got a painted heart from me that year, but I got one.
While taking pictures for this blog, I noticed something on the mantle that I did not put there, the glass doorknob with the tree attached to it. Wow, how cute! I asked my husband where it came from. He told me he made it and put it there. I know what I will love to put out and remember next year.
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.