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  • Writer's pictureEllie

Documentary Family Photography | Golden Gate Park

My husband Michael and I are both blessed with the wonderful extended families we have. Michael's closest cousin Daniel lives in Phoenix, and he planned to come out to visit the Bay Area with his son Theo in mid-October. Michael and Daniel are the same age and grew up together attending the same schools, and going out for track and basketball together. Being two of three male cousins compared with ten younger, female cousins also meant that they survived many family gatherings together! It has been a pleasure getting to know Daniel over the past few years, seeing his kind heart and the amazing father he is, and the joy that he gets out of learning and helping others.

With starting a photography business in a brand new town, my family (especially Michael - poor guy) have been my go-to models. So, when Daniel told us he would be visiting with his son, I was excited to take some father/son photos for them and experiment with a more documentary photography style. I figured this style would be extra fitting for an active six-year-old exploring a new city. The day before we were going to meet up for a day at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, I got the devastating news that my father had passed away unexpectedly. I was heartbroken and could only handle reality in short, agonizing bursts. I wanted to stay home and lay in bed, but Michael didn't want me to be alone so he called Daniel and told him what had happened. I will forever be grateful for the day I spent with Daniel, Theo, our aunt Ginny, and cousin Natalie. I know that my dad would have wanted me to spend my day in a beautiful place with family and it was comforting getting to document the bond between a father and his child.

We made a pit stop at the Beach Chalet and saw a model of the entire park. The murals by Lucien Labaudt were a wonderful surprise. The frescoes depict life in San Francisco during the Depression. Some of the images show residents enjoying the park.

Theo and his great-aunt Ginny at Ocean Beach on the West end of the park. This was right after we told him what all the white drips on the rocks were from! Cousin Natalie showing Theo how to walk in the sand.

Our next stop after the beach and the Dutch Windmills was the tower in the de Young Museum of Art. What an amazing view of the city!

We visited the Japanese tea garden and the biggest hits with Theo were the steep, half circle bridge and the koi ponds.

The biggest hit in the Park for Theo was definitely the playground by the carousel. I think his dad got into it too...

What a great day with family in a magical place!



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