the gerhard family at home in washington d.c.

i photographed this incredible family of four on what would have been my 9 year wedding anniversary had i not gotten divorced this year. spending a magical evening in the glow of their love reminded me of what has changed in my own life, but moreso inspired me of the life i want to build. they were nailing this thing we call living--priorities right where they should be. an existence built around nurturing one another, a garden growing beautifully in the back yard. a home constructed around the things that matter most; family, connection, health, one another. they made it seem so effortless.

but there was this moment -- an exchanged look between kelsey and myself, when i teared up while shooting her in her husband's embrace--and the look of empathy and caring in her eyes shocked me to my core. she seemed to understand my hurting heart, and in those few seconds i felt like i knew how hard she must have worked to build every little bit of beauty around me that seemed so natural and easy. how much of herself she must have given. the time dedicated, the things sacrificed i'll likely never know about. she didn't just have it. she earned it. and i wanted to earn it too.