This is one of my long time favorite portrait, and it wasn’t planned, scheduled or commissioned. It just happened.
I was at the Kahala Resort in Honolulu photographing a couple, Susanne and Jim, two friends who were recommitting to each other. We had started on the upstairs lanai, then moved down the glorious orchid staircase and out past the pool and into the garden. The gazebo was a natural attractor point. Susanne had brought with her a beautiful red rose, and there we were, all wrapped up in our photo shoot, while hotel guests were doing their thing all around us.
Until this little girl, who was there with her family for a celebration in the nearby pavilion, wandered over, curios as to what we were doing, but mostly attracted by the rose. We were essentially done including it in our photos, so Susanne gave it to her. The little girl was fascinated, and spent a little time delighting in it. I was quick and captured the moment before it was gone. Then the little girl ran over to rejoin her family, and we moved on to another location for a few more images.
Later, as I was editing the photos, I thought the portrait of the little girl was really beautiful, and wished her parents could have it. So I completed the editing process, then ordered two large prints. When they arrived from the lab, I drove to the Kahala Resort thinking that they might be able to help me track down the family. I talked to a lady at the front desk, told her the story and gave her the date and time. I was not expecting for a name and address, of course, but I asked her if it was possible for them to let the family have the prints. She promised she would do what she could, and I could see she meant it.
About three weeks later I received an e-mail from the little girl’s mother, thanking me profusely for the photographs and saying how much she loved them. As it happened they were not visitors to O’ahu, but Honolulu residents. The little girl’s name was (is) Anya, and they were all gathered that day to celebrate the life of Anya’s grandmother – the e-mail writer’s mother – who had passed away a few weeks earlier.
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