On November 26, 2009 I opened my brand new little black sketch book and started a business plan. I wanted to stab myself in the head with the pen before I even started because I had just left the pharmaceutical industry where everything was planning and spreadsheets and forecasting and I wanted to be done with that.
The first page lists the objectives of Applehead Studio and the first three things I wrote are this:
1. Have Fun Most of the Time.
2. Spend Time with Family
3. Be Creative
Ironically enough those are the three things I struggle with every day. I’m learning to put the iPhone down when the girls are around and be present with them. I think it was Dane Sanders who said, “There is no such thing as a work/life balance. All you can do is commit 100% to whichever one you’re in at the time”.
My plan then, and now, was to shoot however the hell I wanted and hope there would be a tiny market that would identify with it…whatever it was. My position that “I don’t shoot families” flew out the window when we came up with the Table Sessions and more recently the Family fiction Series for one reason. It was fun. A lot of fun. There are no rules and every shoot begins with a conversation. No longer are we shooting and proofing 200 lifestyle type photos of families. The goal is to create that one signature image that says something about the family. Sometimes thats burying a body and other times it’s the general chaos of children at the breakfast table.
The response to this stuff has been incredible and while we expected to shoot 2 or 3 over the winter it’s quickly turned into 1 or 2 sessions a week. I love that there are families out there as twisted and real as we are. I love that you’re excited about being different and getting all dressed up and into ‘character’. Don’t get me wrong, as a Dad and husband I realize the importance of ‘the typical family portrait’ with everyone looking at the camera as the sun sets slowly over the ocean or grassy field. As a little added safety net, with all of our Family Fiction shoots we set aside 10 minutes to do the ‘group’ shot and include it with every shoot. It’s simple and easy to setup and it keeps the grandparents happy.
How do you know if you’re the right kind of family for a Family Fiction Series kind of shoot? There are a few requirements that will ensure we’re the right fit for you:
1. You have outdated food in some sort of container in your fridge.
2. You’ve sent your kids to school or daycare with socks that don’t match but you don’t really care.
3. You make 2 different kinds of dinner because your kids don’t eat vegetables or meats and cheese whiz just fills em up so they don’t wake up early and hungry.
4. As a family, you’ve never worn jeans and white shirts at the same time.
5. You sleep very little and/or fall asleep before Wheel of Fortune is over.
6. Your car doubles as a dried fruit and cracker storage container and smells like sour milk.
7. Your laundry doesn’t ever stop. Ever.
8. Your dog, once your best friend, gets out much less than they used to.
9. Your dog gets tortured by your children.
10 and last but not least, as a family, you try to have fun most of the time.
These guys are one of my favourite families of all time and for the entire shoot, the girls wanted to listen to the Foo Fighters and kept screaming, “throw me around, throw me around”.