Childhood Whizzing By | An after-school tradition with the Belfermans



They grow up fast, and when they do, they'll come searching for THESE photos of their childhood.


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austin documentary family photography

Summer seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? Even Texas fall. I met Katie for a documentary family photography session on a late September afternoon – the kind of day that you optimistically slip on jeans in the air conditioned comfort of your house, and kind of regret it by 10am. But you stick with it, because you’re a Texan and, well, it’s FALL, darnit!

austin documentary family photography

We had been in communication for months, plotting the right day and the right activity to photograph. It was to be a one-hour session, so – well – it had the be specific, and it had to be special to Katie, Matthew, and their boys Malachi and August (baby Sage, at 11 months, was still an easygoing babe.)

Katie knew that life would be rolling right along and before she knew it, things would be different again. Babies don’t keep, as they say, and sweet Katie holds this concept close as she mothers with great mindfulness and care.

Related: something is changing, quick as a blink

Even before we met, I was struck by how gentle, tender, and appreciative Katie and Matthew’s worldview seems to be – both in their relationship with one another and with how they view their children. They all live in a cozy, nurturing nest together. Work hard not to give in to the pressure to move faster. Do more. Compete. I admire that so.

Related: Dear Mama, you used to be cool . . .

In the end, we settled on an afternoon front-yard bike ride. Not because it’s a big milestone that needs documenting, but precisely because it isn’t. This fall, after school bike rides were an everyday tradition – one that was both featureless and family-rich – the kind of ritual that makes you pause once in a while, in the midst, and go DAMN, this is what our family is all about!

Related: What IS family photojournalism anyway?

As a sweet bonus, we got to document a glimpse into the micro-phases each child was in during this chapter of life: Augie had just gotten his first two-wheeler, yes – and baby Sage was just developing that fiery toddler dream of independence, and Chi was enjoying the big responsibility of being the oldest in the tender-most way.

austin documentary family photographer
austin documentary family photography

I’ll leave you with some words from mama Katie, who said it best:

“Right now, there is so much unfolded laundry piled on the chair in the living room that I thought it was a person out of the corner of my eye. This phase of life, parenting wee ones, often feels messy and chaotic both physically and emotionally. But captured here (on quite a messy Monday) are the moments I live for.”

austin documentary family photography