John + Carmen | Hills District Family Photographer

I was contacted by Anita earlier this year about doing a film for her father and even though my schedule was full, I immediately said yes. You see, her father John had been diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, also known as PSP and they weren’t sure how much time he had before his quality of life would deteriorate past the point of even being able to do the session.

PSP is a rare neurodegenerative disorder that affects your body movements, eye vision, thinking, memory, speech and swallowing problems and unfortunately there is no cure for PSP. You can learn more about PSP HERE and if you’d like to help support those living with PSP you can donate here.

May is PSP awareness month, and the campaign hashtag to learn more and continue the conversation is #Unmute.

Sadly, not long after John was diagnosed with PSP, Anita’s mother Carmen was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer. As a result, she has had to have surgery and thankfully she is now on the road to recovery.

Initially we talked about just getting the whole family together for an afternoon to film John and Carmen with the grandkids. But knowing how much it’s meant to me to have audio of my own grandparent’s voices, I decided to record an informal interview with John and Carmen separately, before the session with the rest of the family. This way I could ask them questions and get them to tell some stories about their life.

John + Carmen and their gorgeous kids and grandkids.

John + Carmen and their gorgeous kids and grandkids.

When I arrived at Anita’s house, everyone was just hanging out doing their thing. Then pretty soon a backyard soccer game started happening.

Playing backyard soccer with the grandkids.

Playing backyard soccer with the grandkids.

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Naturally everyone wanted to get involved!

Naturally everyone wanted to get involved!

There’s no letting the kids win around here.

There’s no letting the kids win around here.

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It’s the in between moments, the subtle expressions of love, that I love the most.

It’s the in between moments, the subtle expressions of love, that I love the most.

They started playing this game where you put whipped cream on top of this ledge and take turns pressing a button to see if you get slapped in the face with it. You never know if your turn to press the button will get you!

They started playing this game where you put whipped cream on top of this ledge and take turns pressing a button to see if you get slapped in the face with it. You never know if your turn to press the button will get you!

Carmen didn’t play but she got a kick out of watching everyone else play.

Carmen didn’t play but she got a kick out of watching everyone else play.

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Naturally things escalated.

Naturally things escalated.

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John was always joking and playing with the kids, which I loved capturing.

John was always joking and playing with the kids, which I loved capturing.

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I loved watching the girls play together. This is a very close knit family, where cousins are more like sisters.

I loved watching the girls play together. This is a very close knit family, where cousins are more like sisters.

There was a quick game of hide and seek.

There was a quick game of hide and seek.

And there was often a crowd around the fan outside.

And there was often a crowd around the fan outside.

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I’m in love with this image in particular. This epitomises childhood nostalgia to me.

I’m in love with this image in particular. This epitomises childhood nostalgia to me.

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I made sure to get some portraits of both John and Carmen as well as the whole family at the end of the session.

I made sure to get some portraits of both John and Carmen as well as the whole family at the end of the session.

 
 
Thank you so much Anita for asking me to create this film and these images for your family. I loved every minute of it.

Thank you so much Anita for asking me to create this film and these images for your family. I loved every minute of it.

 

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