All families have a different way of doing things. Some scream at each other from across a room, trying to keep it together but ultimately never getting along. Some exchange glances in the midst of awkward silence whilst eating their annual Christmas dinner. Others genuinely get along and have playful banter over a casual home-cooked meal every holiday and birthday. Certain families, however, are so full of love that as soon as you meet them you are awestruck by the connectedness they share. That is the type of family the Capuanos are. Well, the Capuanos and all their extended parts that is. I say this because if you saw how big the family was it would take you days to figure out how many people were a part of it.
Walking up to Anna’s 99th birthday party I felt nothing but joy around me. When I entered the room there was endless chatter; relatives embracing and trying to catch up since the last time they had met. The smells of homemade Italian food filled the air and decorations lined the walls complete with a slideshow of previous family photos. Immediately I was welcomed, camera and all. I went around to each of the tables making small talk and, of course, taking pictures. Candids were plentiful as well as several group portraits. Everyone was courteous as I clicked away, making kind remarks and occasionally cracking jokes. It was comforting to be in that type of environment as it made my job that much easier.
In between some photographs one of Anna’s daughters made a heartfelt speech about how much everyone appreciated her and how each and every single person within that family loved and supported each other. It was hard for her and her mother not to tear up. After hearing the whole thing, everyone in that room must’ve been on the verge of tears as well. I was immediately honored to be able to capture this moment in time for the whole family to have even when Anna was gone.
Pictures are a way of remembrance, like a wake up call saying, “Hey I know things aren’t what they used to be but there was a time where everything was alright. Please remember these times.” The logic is simple, if there’s something you can do to make someone’s day brighter and make them feel better, of course you’re going to do it. Pictures are a way of making those feel alright, and Anna’s birthday party is a clear example of a memory someone would want to keep for the rest of their lives.