Twelve In White [Oceanside Lifestyle Portraits]



People stare at you when you're walking down a pier flanked by twelve in white. And I'm not talking white coats. Just white. And some khaki, too.

Who is He? Who are They?

One of the twelve joked they're my private body guards. [ I can dream ]. Another quipped we're a cult.

But the truth is much richer. These twelve are a posse of close friends [ plus a man's-best-friend -- that's a lot of friends, eh? ] who wanted to create a lasting record of their camaraderie through the eye of an outsider. Nina contacted me with her proposal to synchronize everyone for a late afternoon session on the beaches of Oceanside. I photographed a session with Nina and her cousins down in San Diego a couple years back, but I think this gig might just hold the record for my biggest portrait bonanza yet. In fact, I should have conducted a head-count at the beginning of the session and then again at the end, just to make sure I didn't lose anyone over the side of the jetty into the Pacific. We shot the whole gamut –– from big, bustling groups to quick-fire micro sessions: boyfriend-girlfriend, sister-brother, cousin-cousin, two legged-four legged. The boundary between family and friends was a genuine and wonderful blur.

And as I was shooting, I was reminded of that golden rule of writing; "show, don't tell". It's a great canon for photography, too. When you've got eleven of your best buddies anchoring you down so you don't float away into the upper atmosphere with a grip of balloons, that's a true show of friendship. When you and your gal pals get ambushed by a chilly wave, and pull each other into a tight warming huddle, that's what friends are for, too. These are the moments Dionne, Stevie, and Elton crooned over.

Thanks again, twelve, for welcoming one more into your circle!

Thirteen never felt so lucky.