From Sterling’s Perspective

How do you tell the story of a life, of a family—the richness, the joys and challenges, and the spark that makes them so wonderfully exceptional? You capture it with images that are as carefully crafted as the complexity of the people who will inhabit the frames beyond their lifetimes.

Here are some of our favorite stories from the artist’s perspective. We invite you to add yours to the Sterling album.

✦ Many sessions take place at our clients’ residences and for good reason—it is homes that house the memories. Homes where children were raised, where the family dog curled up by the fireplace on winter nights, where gatherings and celebrations were held and tears of joy shed. Whether it is a first house or a forever home, a portrait can preserve the memories of these special moments and add a historical perspective for all those that will follow.

The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco was originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art in classical elegance. It served as the perfect setting for a mother and father and their teenaged daughter who lived far from the rest of their family and wished to show the beauty and wonder of their adopted city. The palace and the people together reflect beauty within and without. It is a portrait with a purpose.

It is a given that everyone has wedding photography, but for one young couple it was the honeymoon in Bermuda they wanted to capture. To ensure that their time together was not disturbed, we scheduled four short meetings in four different outfits in four unique locations on the island taking up less than two hours of their honeymoon but appearing like we had spent the entire week with them. Now, instead of a mish-mash of poorly-lit, out-of-focus, and oddly-composed snapshots made by waiters and tourists, the couple has a beautiful coffee-table book of memories to share and treasure for the rest of their lives.

Kiawah Island, off the coast of South Carolina, meant one thing to dad—the only place where he could take off his silk tie, hang up his designer suit, and put away his Italian shoes. For a powerful man in a demanding career, an island vacation home represented that rare opportunity for him to be himself. To relax, to run in the sand with his wife and children while the family dog chased the waves. No watches, no schedules, no expectations. Their portraits capture that feeling and emotion and now are a treasured part of their family lore.

Everyone gathered at Emerald Isle in North Carolina. Grandpa was there, so were his children and their spouses, the grandkids—one huge fun-loving family together for their annual beach vacation. All except one. A son, developmentally-impaired, was at a residential facility hours away. So we changed all of that. When creating the family group portraits, we left room for the absent brother next to the sister who dearly missed him. We then traveled to photograph him so that he could be included in his family portrait. In the end, the images created more than an album, they were a homecoming.

It may only be an hour from the city, but it is worlds apart. Sandy Point State Park on the Chesapeake Bay offers an intimate beach experience. With the Bay Bridge in the distance, the shoreline features a vintage lighthouse, craggy rocks and dune grasses. Here lovers walk hand-in-hand in both gleaming sunshine and morning fog. Children run free with arms extended as if they could soar like the gulls overhead. You can almost sense the footprints of generations that have gone before. It is the backdrop of memories made and those still to come. It is a favorite destination for families who know that beach play is not just for the children.

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