I haven’t blogged my sessions in a very long time; this is something I am promising myself and my clients that I will do more often. I pride myself on each event and session having a story that is told through images but I also love to write about them.
Quincenera’s are always full of stories, details, traditions, fun, family and friends. I have had the honor of photographing several over the last few months and I am quickly falling in love with the day and all it entails!
This day had some additional meaning to Ariza and her family. I wouldn’t completely understand until later in the evening but what I did know in the beginning was that adult siblings were planning this big day; I would later know, it’s a very small town, that they had suffered the tragedy of loosing their mother to cancer and this tradition was left to the siblings to plan and make perfect for Ariza.
Ariza’s day started with photos meeting me in Lowell to capture one of the most iconic areas here in Southeast Arizona with its display of vintage buildings and especially the lined street of vintage cars. This was a perfect backdrop to capture her in all her beauty. A dress only a princess could wear, a brother willing to ensure that it was perfect for every image and a 15 year old girl ready to show off the beauty that comes with growing up. We even lucked into an owner who was willing to let us use their personal vehicle to work into our session.
We then drove to meet Ariza’s Quincenera court at the park in Old Town Bisbee. She defied tradition and had 5 males in her court. They were the BEST. They made sure her dress was well taken care of, not letting it drag all over the ground; they did their very best to get the photographs that Ariza wanted and they had a lot of fun. It was obvious that they were there to support their friend and to make her feel special on her big day!
And yet this day was only beginning. As we strolled through Old Town Bisbee we met up with Ariza’s very excited family. I began to watch relationships as they were apparent in the interactions during pictures and in between. Each dressed to perfection and ready to celebrate this amazing day and tradition in honor of Ariza.
Watching Ariza with each of her siblings told a different story; spoke of a different relationship that was very connected and loving. I would later see so much more of this and how this family has come together to support this young lady and show her all the love that is possible.
Mass is often a big part of the day for a Quincenera. Throughout the young ladies life she is taught about Catholicism by her family, church and classes that are required for her to complete in order to receive the blessings of a Quincenera. During the ceremony her family and friends hold their hands upon and above her to ensure that she knows blessings are to come as well as their promise to be with her through out this journey, that they support and love her.
Ariza was not allowed to see any of the decorations for her reception. She was surprised, emotional, happy and grateful for the detail and thought that went into making her day even more special. As you walked in you saw a beautiful display dedicated to her mother who was there in spirit and even in direction. After a rough 4 years of helping their mother fight cancer Ariza’s siblings made the decision that a Quincenera just wasn’t something they could do. Fundraising, financing, the emotions, the ups and downs had them all tired, ready to try to find their new normal but something spiritual happened. As they went through their mother’s things, there was a notebook. The cover read Ariza’s Quincenera. Upon opening the notebook written by their mother were the details of what she would have for Ariza on that day. Special details, specific details and a plan that they felt they could not ignore. That is when the planning for this day began.
Traditions continued. Ariza’s brother Eric changed her shoes signifying the change from a child to a young woman. He danced with her and created cherished memories. Her sister tapped in to support Ariza and to twirl her like no other. Their bond evident in the way they held one another and in their smiles. While dancing with her mother’s image a letter written by her mother, found in the Ariza’s Quincenera notebook was read aloud, professing her love, her pride, her hopes and dreams for her daughter. There was not a dry eye in the house and it was such a beautiful moment added to a day that one little girl expects and needs her mother. It wasn’t long before another aunt was holding, comforting and feeling with Ariza. This family amazed me and while I am sure I do not know the entire story I can tell you that what unfolded that day way something beyond love, beyond amazing and just beautiful. I can only hope I gave their story justice.
And then just like that, they were ready for the celebrations to begin. They danced the night away knowing they had given Ariza a night to remember, one her mother would be proud of and one that they as her family could call a sucess.