The Brandys / by Travis Cobb

I've kind of lost track of the number of times I've photographed Jon, Christine, Jacob and Cooper -- a lot, I suppose.  I've said before that I feel oddly fortunate to be able to be a part of someone's family, to see everyone grow and mature and to see little kids turn into little people.  Jake and Cooper are exactly that, little people.  My approach to photographing people doesn't always meld well with kids in the sense that all mom and dad want to see are smiles and all I want to capture is the absence of smiles.  But, it tends to work in my favor -- the more I tell a kid not to smile, inevitably the more they end up smiling.  The difference being that those smiles are genuine smiles, genuine emotions and genuine reactions...there's none of that "say cheese" crap here...except for Christine, I'm pretty sure I heard her say that once or fourteen times.  Kids are a hard read, too (might as well be photographing cats).  They don't want to be there but mom and dad made them get up early.  They don't want to see my camera pointed in their general direction.  But they also don't want to suffer the wrath of mom and dad if they don't cooperate with me, hence a handful of the aforementioned genuine expressions below.  For me, I would much rather see the personality of my child shine through in a photograph a hundred times over versus a forced and transparent smile -- that's what school photos are for.  I want to remember the personality my child had, in that moment, because that is how I will remember my child -- not the child with his hands on his knee holding a pose as he says "cheese".  Thanks again to Jon and Christine for keeping me around as long as they have and for being the friends they are.