She had put the inquiry out via email to the Cambridge Vineyard community. I responded to her request for a family portrait. After our game of mini-phonetag I spoke with Julie, who after I said yes very sweetly slipped in that this was no ordinary family photo. Seven families would be involved. I swallowed hard, considered the options, and agreed once more.
Her children were christened at mass earlier that sunday, and they had used the occasion to bring together family from everywhere. We're talking France. I showed up to our agreed location in Harvard Square, saw the stretch-SUV, and knew it would be an interesting experience.
Then I went up to the sunny, bright, and elegant "Upstairs on the Square" in Harvard Square, where I found what seemed like 100 people celebrating life and love and family with champagne and chocolate toasts. I started snapping a few candids, because no photographer could walk into that room unmoved.
What followed was an extremely chaotic photo session of epic proportions. It involved lots of children, English as a Second Language, one sleeping baby, and beautiful beautiful people.
Though it was certainly a challenging scenario, I thoroughly enjoyed this international family gathering (I grew up in a family full of people with Attention Deficit Disorder, so chaos and spontanaiety are second nature to me). Some of the children were easier to work with than others, and simply put children were everywhere. This is a family who do "elegant chaos" brilliantly.
I only wish I was connected with more families in New England. If I could do this type of event every week, I think I would feel very satisfied.