Late this summer, I had the pleasure of photographing the Chico Hot Springs family portraits of Annie and Erik in Paradise Valley.
Annie and Erik have been married for seven years and have made a comfortable life together in Louisville, Kentucky. They both love an excuse to travel. Frequently they take advantage of the summer months to road trip across the country. Over the past three years, Erik and Annie have found solace and joy in vacationing with their two dogs, Wallace and Davis, in Southwest Montana. They also make an annual stop to stay at the historic Chico Hot Springs in Pray, Montana.
In Erik’s eyes, Annie makes everything in his life better.
He admires how she intuitively reacts to help others in a time of struggle. He loves how positive a person she is. At times when his attitude can be “a stick in the mud,” Annie is there to bring him back to a place of calmness with a smile on his face – especially when she has baked one of her trademark pies.
Annie loves how taken care of she feels in her life with Erik. As an engineer, his intelligence and handy ability to fix all the things around the house is a gift she does not take lightly. His affection and dependability make her feel loved every day. Sharing family-orientated mindsets, both feel supported, strengthened, and grateful for the love they share.
After a recent family tragedy, this year’s trip to Paradise Valley in southwest Montana held a special need to heal. It would be a time to decompress and be present with one another after the past year of grief.
To mark the occasion, they decided to hire me to document their family portrait experience. Annie and Erik wanted family photographs that highlighted their love of each other and their dogs in a place that has meant so much to them.
Joined by her father and stepmother, Tom and Sherri, we hiked and explored the mountainous hillsides around the Yellowstone River during the “golden hour” of the setting sun. It made for quite a beautiful backdrop for their family photographs. From there we headed to Chico Hot Springs to catch the remaining sunlight and then into the bar for some cocktails and family storytelling.
This family has been through so much and it was wonderful to connect with them, create some lovely family portraits, and bring out their smiles. These are some of my favorite photos from our time together. I look forward to seeing this family in Montana soon, -M