Alicia and her fluffy dog Scout wandered into their living room. I had just finished a portrait session with her partner Pat (you can see his interview here) and now it was time to swap positions. I loved the idea of taking portraits in this room of their house in Frelard because this is where I photographed her getting ready for her wedding just a few years ago. There is something really special about being able to document the changes in life that people have within the framing of the same windows.
We began our conversation discussing how life was going. I like to ask how the last year has gone. Aside from the politics that dictate so much of life in the last while, Alicia was really happy with the way that her life is going. “[we are] in a sweet spot of life that we’re going to look back on where we’re out of college, we’ve been in our jobs for roughly 10 years, don’t have kids yet and have dual incomes in Seattle… As cliche as that is, it’s a fun time in life when you can pick up and go to Vietnam for a few weeks and put up wallpaper in your master bedroom, and work on a blog and take time off work and you’re not worried about kids or health or whatever.” It’s a time to get to do things with people and continue to explore the directions that she wants her life to take.
One major change in her life in the last few years is her ability to say “no” to people. Alicia joked that most people would probably say that she and Pat are really busy, but for her, she has made a conscious effort to be engaged where she is, to not have FOMO and be prepared for life. She talked about feeling a little sick and needing to cancel dinner with a friend. In the past, she probably would have pushed through, gone to dinner, felt worse, shared the sickness and perpetuated that feeling rather than taking the time she needed to really get better. Now she is learning not only listen to her needs but not feel bad that she’s missing out on things because of those decisions.
With that ability to say no to things, she is also feeling more empowered to really love the things that give her joy. Alicia’s mom passed away from cancer a few years ago. She feels that she’s finally to a place where she is OK being happy. That isn’t to say that there isn’t still raw grief, something that she shares with her dad who is the only family member close by, but together they’re progressing in the ability to hold both the pain of the past and the joys of the rest of life together.
If you’ve ever eaten Alicia’s foods, you’d be quick to ask for a recipe. Over the last year, her passion project has been her Dahlia Kitchen food blog. It is something that she has really enjoyed doing, growing, celebrating the little milestones and is really excited about summer foods. I had never really thought about the fact that a food blog could have a “busy season” but she talked about how the foods she had to share in this upcoming warm time of the year were things that not only fed her belly but are recipes that she was passionate about as well. Also, be ready for pie. It’s going to be tasty.
One reason that I love this portrait series is to sit down with people and hear the dreams that they have about the future. What is next? For Alicia and Pat, it is still wide open, but they’re really enjoying that beginning of imagining what could come next. It can be hard to test the waters on something new because of needs for stability or that if you step out of a job, it can be hard to get back in (especially in something like nursing because of the need for practice, change in rules and constant new updates in technology). But, even though the need to keep one foot in the known world, they’re beginning to imagine a life down the road that is further from the known and more in line with their love of family and friends.
For this session, I chose to use Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white as well as Kodak Portra 160 pushed one stop in color. Both of these films render in really clean ways (with minimal film grain). I wanted that because I don’t think of grit and grunge when I think of Alicia. That isn’t to say that she can’t get dirty, but I think of elegance and joy. Both these stocks give those options.
Thank you again to Alicia for sitting down and sharing her life with me. I really enjoyed hearing her thoughts on self-care in your 30s and the transition that happened when she reached that spot in life.
If you’re interested in being featured in a 2Roll portrait, please send me an email at Joe@JTobiason.com and let’s chat!
Joe Tobiason | Seattle Portrait Photographer