Energetic, sunshine-y, and colorful. Mom is Rachel Thurston, photographer and all around amazing lady. We followed each other online for years before meeting for lunch last Spring. We talked about dreams and problems over spicy ramen, and had the meaty kind of conversation that leaves you inspired and exhausted from how much it makes your brain work. Not long after we met, Rachel and her husband Grant decided that they were selling (almost) everything they owned, taking a huge chance, and moving their lives to Hawaii.

I wanted to be able to give Rachel a full picture of what their lives looked like in this house, so that she would have something to look back on that included her. We decided: early morning routine, cuddles, playtime, and dutch pancakes should do the trick. We shoved a ton of moving paraphernalia into a closet. The oven set off the smoke alarm. It took thirty minutes to establish trust with her daughter, who didn’t feel comfortable leaving her bedroom after I arrived. I talked to her between a crack in the door, we showed each other our painted fingernails in the gap between the door and the floor, asked about Disneyland, made funny noises, but nothing would get her to come out until I finally just went in and sat on her bed. Kids who make me work harder typically end up being the most satisfying for me to photograph. It feels so victorious once you know you finally “got them”.

Anyways, this is all so very normal and exactly what I want to be doing. So, thank you Rachel, Grant, and little ones.

They are, in real life, just the way these photos portray them.

Join the Conversation


  1. you somehow know what a family’s memories will look like ten years from now, and give them to that family in pictures. i love the thurstons—and i can’t stop staring at the one through the big glass doors where nova is laying on the hammock and rachel is leaning over, but you count see her head. brilliant.

  2. I love these, Tara; what an awesome way to remember this house and this life before jumping onto the next.

    I also agree about the kids that take awhile to warm up. Those always end up being the ones that stick with me long after the session.

  3. I can’t stop looking at these. I love them so much. Feeling so lucky to call you a friend. We should set a date once a year to eat that spicy noodle soup and solve the worlds problems. Thank you times a billion for creating these memories for us. They are everything I had hoped for and more. xxoo

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.