An Afternoon with the Gonder Family | Sydney Family Photographer

The first time I met Sarah, I instantly connected with her. She is one of those people who puts you at ease, and makes you feel comfortable straight away. Sarah and Nick hold a very special place in my heart. They were where it all began for me when I first started shooting client sessions with a more documentary approach. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it feels to have done three shoots with this family now, to see them grow as a family and in the meanwhile see myself grow as a photographer. It's incredibly rewarding.

Let me tell you a little bit about Sarah and Nick as parents. When I spend time at their home, I feel this sense of peace and tranquility wash over me. Their eldest Ollie, is kind and compassionate, observant and inquisitive. A direct result of the patient and nurturing parenting that Sarah and Nick provide him with on a daily basis. He has a beautiful garden to play in, loads of opportunities to help out and learn by doing, and as a result he is a secure and confident little boy. This year they welcomed another little boy into their family, Lachy, and I am certain he will thrive with Sarah and Nick as his parents as well. He fits into the family as though he's always been there, and Ollie is completely smitten with his little brother.

One of the most interesting parts of this family's story is how they came to live in this beautiful old home that's been in their family for generations. So I've asked Sarah to share with me a little bit about how she and Nick met, how they came to live in this house, and what it means to her to raise her family there. This is what she said.

The year we welcome our second little boy into the world is also the year we celebrate 15 years as a couple. We met at church youth group when I was 16 years old. A friend invited me along on a Friday night, in my final year of high school, and I remember meeting Nick and laughing and laughing—I wanted to be friends with him right away. He was warm, and funny, with the most infectious smile. I laughed so hard my sides hurt, and couldn’t wait to meet him again.

And I did. We both loved the beach. We’d both spent our childhood holidays in the Snowy Mountains, and shared a dream to one day spend the rest of our lives there. We both loved the Beatles. And, well, the rest was history.

Three and a half years later he proposed as we walked along a trail in the snowy mountains, and four and a half years after we met we were married, at 21 and 23 years old.

For the first few years of our marriage, we lived in a leaky, rundown house out past Blacktown, until we were offered something pretty special—my grandma’s house. Right next door to my aunt, uncle and youngest cousin (my best friend!), and backed by another cousin and his fiancée (who’d later have a little boy born right inbetween ours—I know they’re going to have the most wonderful friendships as they grow up together), it felt so right, and we were so glad to share this little corner of a block. In the middle of the suburbs, I sometimes feel that we’re in another place entirely, far away from the busy roads, shops and life in a busy city.

Nestled in amongst leafy trees and gardens my grandma established and my husband has nurtured, my mum and I always commented that this house gave us such a lovely feeling. Welcome and comfort and calm. This house is filled with memories, and reminds me of family, and I’m so lucky to be able to raise mine here. The walls were painted by my aunt and uncle and cousins. Nick and my mother and father in law worked together building the deck my gorgeous two year old plays on every day. Every evening we eat dinner at the table my mother ate at as a child. While I’ve always believed home is people, more than a building—I’m so glad to call this house ours.
— S Gonder

It's such a gorgeous story, and I just think their house is amazing. I know exactly what she means about it feeling welcome and calm. It's one of those places that you could go to and stay at until the sun goes down without realising you've even been away. It feels like a country home, yet it's in a busy suburb of Sydney. Old homes aren't easy. The amount of love and care that goes into making it a tranquil place to raise a family in doesn't go unnoticed, at least not by me. I can see how hard they both work at it. To create this beautiful, peaceful place for their children. 

This session went for 4 hours, and included a set of images as well as a family film. Memories documented in motion. Lachy's smile, Ollie's laughter, Sarah's nurturing heart, and Nick's playfulness. All wrapped up in a beautiful film just for them. Click play below to watch.