It’s simultaneously an honorable and a stressful request when a respected photographer hires me for a family documentary session. Double that when the session is for her parents!
Outside the northern sprawl of Dallas and Forth Worth is Celina, Texas. Quiet, slow, open, and kind. Immediately on entering the gates of the ranch, rolling down the bricked drive, passing native cacti and rustic relics, you marvel at the resident landscaping talents. It’s my first cue into how hard they work, and how much of that work is born from their hands.
With very little idea of what their daughter signed them up for, Dave and Althea welcome me inside. More than most, their home looks very different from mine. There are three decorative themes: Texas, longhorn, ranch.
We sit amidst the iron, wood, and leather hides, talking about the Harley trips they’ve made around the country, the unique treasures they’ve returned with, the value of family, life on the property and – especially – the heart and sweat they’ve put into it. After hearing how much of their time is spent with the longhorns, we head out on the land to see what the herd is up to.
I admit I initially thought the pride in their cattle was of culture and of labors. And yet, at times even more outwardly than their affection for each other, this pair deeply loves their long-horned family. Each cow is met with great kindness, respect, and an empathic understanding of her unique needs and stories.
In just a few hours Dave and Althea taught me a great deal about loving the life you live. Or living the life you love. Or however you say it.