Sometimes the skies come alongside your life moments and you feel like they are telling your story with you. It was kind of like that on the day of this session by photographer Christine Keegan, who makes her home in China with her husband and children. Christine spent the afternoon waiting in anticipation of the moment when this family would finally meet their son for the first time. She crept around the hotel, taking pictures of the side streets, the rise of the building through the trees, and the empty room where papers would be signed and eventually, their son placed in their arms. She knew that as with so many adoptions, the meeting room would likely be in a hotel or someplace with bad indoor lighting, so when she got the chance to sneak up to the meeting room ahead of time, she purposefully turned off most of the overhead lights and opened the large curtains lining the wall, hoping that no one would notice or object. It worked!
This family was in high spirits, full of anxious energy to meet their son, and it showed with the way they interacted with one another, the social workers, and even Christine as she documented it all. There is always a sense of nervous tension in the moments leading up to your child being brought into the room, and that was definitely present, but the family was very relaxed and engaged with their new child and with each other, and being a photographer herself, the mother was sweetly in tune with the need for good light, so she made it easy on Christine by being aware of the window light.
As a photographer and artist, Christine is drawn to exploring the ways we are specifically and uniquely human. She finds adoption is so powerful because it is an overcoming in the midst of what is broken in our humanity; it is love taking center stage and fighting for what was lost. Birth is such an important and powerful part of our human story, and we celebrate it effortlessly, without even trying. And the Gotcha Day is the birth moment in adoption. So when she is there, she feels all the vulnerability, the excitement, the nervousness, the loss and celebration, the rawness of all that is happening in each person involved, and she seeks to lift up each moment and showcase it, first and foremost to the family, but also to anyone else bearing witness. Christine chooses to stay in the background as much as she can and let their moments be authentic and entirely theirs to own.
Christine’s equipment of choice is her Canon 7d paired with the 35mm f1.4 L lens. She tells us that her favorite images from this session are those where the emotion spills out and causes her to struggle to keep her own composure. One of those sweet moments was when the mom took her new son’s hand and pressed it to her heart and looked into his eyes and said “momma”. Without a doubt, Christine has a knack for capturing these monumental moments in life that will be so sweetly cherished by the families she works with.