It’s kind of a funny thing to photograph a family I love and respect as much as I do Bob, Jena, and little Georgia Beth. On the one hand, I’m looking for the best shots in the locations we’ve chosen, thinking my way through situations as I try to hold up my side of the conversation, etc. On the other hand, I’m looking at this trio of people who love each other so much and wondering if I could ever make it look so easy and sweet and natural with my own kids. To add to it all, I’ve known Bob since we sat together in “Coach” Ponce’s spanish class back at Myers Park High School, when he was rail thin and ran cross-country. Reconciling my two Bobs can be a little dizzying sometimes.
For our shoot, we meet up at First Ward Park in uptown Charlotte. That Bob and Jena chose uptown was kind of a no-brainer considering how important a role the city plays in both of their lives. Bob is the head mixologist at The Punch Room inside the Ritz-Carlton, and Jena runs a performing arts studio, JBP Entertainment, inside Spirit Square. Both are fixtures in this town and have been for a long time. The city really means something to both of them, and vice versa.
For her part, Georgia Beth is a natural performer. I’ve known her since she was tiny, and watching her grow into this self-assured little spitfire has been a joy. This girl is always on. She’s sassy but warm, and she knows how she fills a space. Her amazing confidence makes it all the sweeter when she crawls into her mom’s lap for a few shots, or when Bob hoists her onto his hip as though she were three instead of seven. Seeing those little glimpses of little-kidhood shine through Georgia’s burgeoning big kid persona is precious.
We make our way gradually from one corner of the park to the other, and as we walk, we take advantage of the beautiful landscaping, which is well designed and new enough that it hasn’t overgrown yet. Of all our locations, my favorite is at the far end of the park, near the Charlotte Lab School, with the cityscape in the background. When I ask Jena to crawl up on top of an exhaust grate in her heels, I’m sure she thinks I’m a little batty, but the images I captured of the Peters crew snuggled up in front of the city they love were so worth it.