Standing in the light | Chicago and west suburbs photographer

This post is a little departure from what I usually blog, beautiful families with tiny humans who bring so much joy. But I think throwing something different at you is something you can handle. May even be necessary. I’ve been exploring what my womanhood means to me. & I probably shoud have shared self portraits along with my words, but sharing women who inspire me seemed more fitting. I would say that unless I found myself on the path that I am on I would have never even questioned what I thought about womanhood. These images are from Austin, the last location for the last workshop I hosted. I had a conversation with my friend B via Facetime recently, in which we agreed that for both of us so much perspective and change came about leaving our nests for these workshops. I can’t speak for everyone who has ever ventured out of their comfort zones but for me, I can’t live without the challenge. If I get too comfortable it becomes this nagging feeling that I need to push myself. That’s what these workshops meant. Pushing myself and in the process discovering more about what it means to fail and to get comfortable with the unknown. Im evolving my thinking and have so much to uncover but for now I’ll leave it at this new discovery is beautiful. This new questioning is amazing. Womanhood is dope as hell. I’m so excited to grow more into myself.

Can I also say how important it is to sorround yourself with inspiring women who are living their life in their own way unapologetically. Both Britt and Angela have in so many silent ways encouraged me to live authentically. This ish is hard, I won’t lie. I remember when I first became aquainted with these two women. Their existence and the way they moved through the world made me so uncomfortable. I think it was because to me, they were living true to themselves and I didn’t know at the time how desperately I wanted that to be me. These days I am living and standing in my truth. I know without a shadow of a doubt what I want and I am persuing that passionately. I hope this post encourages you to do the same.

“This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”

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North Carolina alley | Adri de La Cruz Chicago + West Suburbs family photographer

North Carolina alley | Adri de La Cruz Chicago + West Suburbs family photographer

The journey to strong self-love is hard. It reminds me if that shitty Chicago street, you know which one I’m referring to. The one that you brace yourself for. The one that is riddled in potholes and you have to maneuver like MacGyver to safety.

SELF LOVE, I mean. It seems to be a selling point for a ton of products these days. If you love yourself then buy this or that. One thing that no one says out loud is that you can’t fake self-love. It’s apparent in every action we make, in the way we speak of ourselves. I hope that you can see my self love in these images. While I still hold on to a ton of self-preservation, I am also not afraid to share my thoughts and love for me with the world. Does it make me selfish, maybe?. Nearing 30 you just care less and less about what others might think.

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Goodbye summer | Adri De La Cruz- Chicago + West suburbs family photographer

Goodbye summer | Adri De La Cruz- Chicago + West suburbs family photographer

Yesterday it felt like a sweet goodbye to summer. Yes, while I know the weather is so unpredictable I felt this overwhelming need to capture these very last moments of summer for my kids. I turned on the sprinkler for about 15 minutes and captured their joy. but let’s be honest there were also moments of them fighting for the best spot near the water. After this summer I no longer have a kid at home to keep me busy. There is so much change ahead for us. Schedules are getting full, and so are backpacks.

Next week is the first day of school for my littlest, she’s starting prek. I know she’s going to love it, she is one of the most extroverted kids I know. I look forward to hearing all of the stories. Change is never easy. Nonetheless, we just have to keep moving forward.

 

 

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Moments with them, spring beach day | Adri De La Cruz Photographer, Chicago and west suburbs family photographer

Moments with them, spring beach day | Adri De La Cruz Photographer, Chicago and west suburbs family photographer

I hate that it took me almost a year to blog these. This was actually last spring, in April. We had such a warm start to our Spring so I loaded my kids and headed towards Indiana. Just a spur of the moment.

Since last year I bet you can guess how much they’ve changed, They are both so much taller but also a lot less patient with me and my camera tendencies. If you’re a mom and are wanting genuine moments with your kids I would say to stop worrying about the smiles and posed images.

I can remember my mom describing my wild antics but only wished there was a photograph to see them, because I know I was wild. I just don’t have the proof of how much :P. I cannot stress enough how important it is to document your kids as they are.  The way their silly girn was full of tiny teeth or the untamed baby hair or in our case the gallos, a Mexican word for hairs that stand straight up and cannot tame no matter what you try. Below you can see all of that in my kids.  Also my daughter in the way she removed her shirt to match her brothers.

 

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Adri de la Cruz | Chicago + West suburbs lifestyle photographer | beauty of womanhood

Adri de la Cruz | Chicago + West suburbs lifestyle photographer | beauty of womanhood

“The best I can say, it’s like this. A man’s in his skin, see, like a nut in its shell … It’s hard and strong, that shell, and it’s all full of him. Full of grand man-meat, man-self. And that’s all. That’s all there is.

A woman’s a different thing entirely. Who knows where a woman begins and ends? Listen, mistress, I have roots, I have roots deeper than this island. Deeper than the sea, older than the raising of the lands. I go back into the dark … I go back into the dark! Before the moon I am, what a woman is, a woman of power, a woman’s power, deeper than the roots of trees, deeper than the roots of islands, older than the Making, older than the moon. Who dares ask questions of the dark? Who’ll ask the dark its name?”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, Tehanu

The beautiful Jess never disappoints.

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Mama, you deserve to see yourself | P52radness highlights| Chicago + West suburbs Lifestyle Photographer

Mama, you deserve to see yourself | P52radness highlights| Chicago + West suburbs Lifestyle Photographer

So at the end of 2016, I was in one of the worst creative ruts of my career. I say career because I’ve finally owned up to the title of Artist. But, that’s a topic for another day. I looked at my work from the past two years and it was full of conforming images. Stuff I had taken to get up on the IG cycle. That is also a separate conversation, can you tell that I have a lot on my mind.

Anyway, it was a portfolio full of beautiful images that said absolutely nothing to me. Nothing at all, except that my kiddos were cute af, but nothing much.

So I decided that I needed something different, and as I shared my thoughts on my lack of inspiration but, more importantly, lack of seeing myself reflected in my work, I heard the echoes from most of my photographer friends. Who, they were too failing at getting themselves documented. So a simple FB post turned into one of my all-time favorite communities. It a safe space to create and collaborate. Its a place where I’ve felt heard, even as 2017 has been one of the hardest of my personal life + and I guess, work-life combined to some extent. I cannot even put into words how much each of these images means to me, and what they will mean to my children one day. I have always been guilty of so much self-awareness and it is both a curse and a blessing.  As I know and I am reminded every day with a tiny clock in my head that time is limited. As somber as that is, I am the happiest knowing that I am making the most of my time on earth living, and breathing, making mistakes, rectifying some and learning from most. These images are reminders too, to cherish my children and my youth.

So you see, you deserve to be seen, mama. Take time for yourself. If it’s not photography that moves you, paint, draw, shop, dance, read, whatever it is, do it for yourself today. I want to give a huge shoutout to all of those women who have inspired me in a hundred ways in these 52 weeks. Your stories mean so much.

I hope you enjoy some of my P52 highlights.

TO SEE MORE INCREDIBLE SELF PORTRAITS GO CHECK OUT ASHLEY ESSIG’S YEAR .

Find me on IG 

 

 

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Chicago + West suburbs Lifestyle PhotographerChicago + West suburbs Lifestyle Photographer

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TIME is | Chicago and suburbs family photography

TIME is | Chicago and suburbs family photography

Time is

Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.

Henry Van Dyke 

______________________

 

It’s hard to find the words. Having seen my mom cry many times after phone calls wishing she could see her mother. It’s been 15+ years. From the moment she told me she’d be able to see her mom soon, it was surreal. You get used to the reality that you may never see that person again when you chose to immigrate to the USA. This is the story of my family. One that is the story of many.

This topic is not black and white.

On this day we arrived far too early. 3 hrs to be precise. We kept waiting anxiously for a familiar face. We even brought balloons, ones that my little 2yr. old released onto the ceiling of the airport shy of the meet and greet. We stat there, staring at strangers reuniting with their loved ones, passengers glad to be back home and kids excited to run the halls of the airport.

When we finally saw her, rushing through just as I remember her. It was a quick moment of disbelief. Her features much more pronounced, time showing heavy on her skin. Her eyes much more beautiful than I remembered, just as kind as always. The hugs were deep, and the tears flowed. Only broken by a moment of laughter as my Aunt emerged from the bathroom upset that she had missed her first sighting. We hope to have her visit us much more often. We hope we can also travel out to her as well. I am so happy to have captured these special images for them.

 

 

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Summer is back | Chicago and suburbs family photographer

Summer is back | Chicago and suburbs family photographer

OH HALLELUJAH !!

Summer is here! and of course we’ll soon be complaining of the high temperatures, mosquitos and the traffic. But for now we bask in the lovely honeymoon phase of when summer returns. Those few days when it is warm enough to get wet and be ok with it and not freeze outside. It is a joke in Chicago that our spring is non existent we go from one extreme to the other.

So finally! We explored with the beautiful sun shinning over us. We were searching for frogs as we always are. As usual we catch none. My son was sad, but quickly recovered playing in the water and being able to see his other favorite bugs and birds. My littlest is just happy to be where her brother is, learning along the way. She of course also wanted to get naked and jump in.

I can’t wait for more exploring and fulfilling our summer bucket list.

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My boy

My boy

This parenting business is no joke 

As long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be young enough to enjoy it all. When we got married, we got pregnant immediately. I was 21 and with a little boy. It was wonderful, it still is. But now life is so much more full. We have so much going on. Life has changed.

Lucas is 4 going on 14. He has opinions and ideas, he yells and he screams.Boy does he scream.  He is angry, he knows mean words, and uses them. He isn’t that little person who fit in between my chest. It is so hard to remember that little person. I’ve been ashamed of my lack of patience with him. I usually forgive myself because I know we all have bad days, and he. He is so forgiving. He loves me unconditionally.

I want to try and be a better person to him. Remember that, even though  he may seem so incredibly mature for his age and so very smart, he still needs guidance. He still need me to help him cope with all of his feelings.

He is the best son I could have ever wished for. He loves so much, and is so passionate about everything he is interested on. Him and I, we are so alike. I hope to build a relationship of trust. For him to know that no matter what, I am here. Not to judge, but to listen and help. For now, we’ll deal with the daily power struggles of a boy who wants it all …attention, love, time, toys, tv, icecream and me.

 

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A little more of that please | faceless portrait Chicago IL family photography

A little more of that please | faceless portrait Chicago IL family photography

Every Year I look forward to winter.

I guess every year I forget how inspiration + winter just do not go together. It can be hard to find a spark of creativity among the same four walls you see daily. I’ve struggled just like everyone else. I am also currently doing a 366 , and I have to admit I’ve put some pressure on myself to share daily. Unfortunately I don’t thrive on repetition. I love going to new locations and surrounding myself with light, greens, and blue skies. So these last few months ( or weeks according to the groundhog)  inside these walls will finish off,  not so very creatively.

Here is my girl, in just some  pretty light. We are tackling the topic of faceless portraits + details with the TWELVE group . I thought this was perfect for that. I saw her wandering towards the window and playing with her spinning top, and of course I ran to get the camera. The focus can be thrown off when shooting directly into the sun, which is why i do it manually to get this magnificent sun burst. The last shots of her in the shadows and shapes of light did not happen organically but I though it added to the depth of this light story!. What do you think.

I love this light, and wish it were light this every last day of winter. I will take a little more of it please.

 

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Come read through tour BLOG circle with the TWELVE group. Next up is Stephanie from IN her Lens