One of the many things I love about being a photographer is the opportunity to capture important moments and milestones in people's lives. Sometimes life gets crazy and we pass over these moments without recording them. Oh, sure, we have a few pics from our smart phones, if we remember to take them, but all too often these milestones fly by.
People seem to be much better about capturing the moments that happen early in life. Tons of professional and amateur photography document baby’s first days, first steps, and first solid food. The first day of kindergarten, first day of high school, senior prom, college graduation, and so on.
But, as we become grown-ups (whatever the heck that means...), the photographic documentation of our lives seems to fade away. Apart from the wedding photography, the occasional family portrait, and perhaps some phone photography of “date-night,” our adult moments stop being quite as documented, and our milestones of achievement pass by unremarked but for, perhaps, a line in a social media feed.
"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." - Han Solo
And so, when my amazing husband turned forty, I did what any photographer-wife would do: I made him a cake-smash photo session. Why should babies get to have all the fun? Half of the one-year olds I shoot couldn’t care less about the cake anyway. And is turning one any more of an achievement than turning 40? My husband worked pretty hard to get to forty so I thought I would honor his milestone birthday by letting him eat cake with his hands.
“Stay on target.” - Gold Five “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” - Yoda
My husband is a pretty good sport and so agreed to participate in my lark. I wanted to make it personal, so we gave it a Star Wars theme, as the Star Wars movies have always held a special place in his heart. Which is to say, that the man has every word of Episodes IV, V, and VI memorized. I combined some of the traditional elements of a cake smash session, like balloons and fabric bunting, with more unique details, like a Tauntaun fur rug, a Yoda flask, and Jura scotch (it was the only whiskey I could find with a Star Wars name. [See http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jura_Ostrogoth]
"That's no moon." - Obi Wan Kenobi "Yes, Greedo. I was just going to see your boss. Tell Jabba I've got his money." - Han Solo “When 900 years old, you reach… Look as good, you will not.” - Yoda
We got a small, but delicious cake (thank you Hey Good Lookin’ Cake: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=hey%20good%20lookin%20cake)
"Here's where the fun begins." - Han Solo "One thing's for sure, we're all going to be a lot thinner." - Han Solo
And then we were ready for action. It was pretty hard to keep our kids from getting involved, and eventually they joined in the shoot (and the cake!).
"Laugh it up, Fuzz ball." - Han Solo "Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you? " - Han Solo
"I am your Father." - Darth Vader I hardly ever get in front of the camera, but I had to do it this time, you know...for posterity.
"Wonderful girl. Either I'm going to kill her or I'm beginning to like her." - Han Solo
The shoot started out as a joke, an excuse to do something silly. And I guess it kind of ended as a joke too. Even so, we now have pictures of my husband as he was at forty, with photographic evidence of our children and me with him in that moment. If nothing else, years from now our kids can look at these pictures and not only see what we all looked like when Daddy turned forty, but they might even remember the silliness (and cake) we had that day as a family.
MAY THE FORTIES BE WITH YOU!
"Remember...the Force will be with you, always." - Obi Wan Kenobi