Amy Blair was my boss for 8 years when I worked for The Old Salty Dog on City Island. That is how we met, but it is not indicative at all of our relationship. I have said it before, specifically to her at my wedding last year, but she is probably the best person I have ever met. Legit. And it’s not like she makes an effort to come across as an amazing individual, or smiles constantly because she wants you to like her, or is sweet to your face but insincere in reality. She isn’t this way. She just is this woman who really cares for the people she cares for, goes to the ends of the earth for the sake of others, and sees all the silver linings in every storm. When I was going through art school, she came to my shows. Very few people I knew came to those. She helped me with my schedule when I was dying from exhaustion during thesis, but really throughout my entire career at The Dog. She helped me through terrible breakups, she was there for my very personal highs and lows, she taught me patience (best she could), and above everything, she constantly supported my creativity.
When I started shooting a ton of images of my brother and my sister in the beginning of my Ringling College experience, Amy really loved them. I always wanted to take pictures of her kids, but between our combined schedules it was an impossibility, for forever. She has these two beautiful girls, Emma and Ali. Amy was meant to have kids, and I think, these kids in particular. Emma is crazy shy, always has been. She has gorgeous pale skin and tiny freckles and voluminous red hair. Ali is very different. She more often than not, has a look of pure mischief drawn across her face. She will let you in with the right code. Her hair is long and her smile wide. You can see into both girls very easily through their eyes.
I was talking with my wife Hayley about Amy, and about how I’ve always wanted to take the girls’ picture. She urged me to get ahold of Amy’s husband Bill, just in time for Mother’s Day. He and I set up a shoot day, a couple of weeks down the line. The girls came over, and they were both so tentative. I don’t think they trusted me up front. So I showed them some pictures I had taken of other people. I showed them all of my equipment and what it did. I think by the end of the shoot they were into it. I really love some of their expressions in the series. We made a little book and gave it to Amy for Mother’s Day.
Here are my favorites: