My Grandfather | Whops

Very rarely do I drag my camera and gear to family gatherings. I even leave it at home for some vacations (gasps!).  And not because I don’t want to capture it, but because I want to be in the moment. I want to sit and enjoy it, talk and laugh and submerge myself in good company. Even though I love to be behind the lens, it’s hard for me to be part of the moment with a camera in hand.

So oddly, I have very few portraits of my family that I’ve taken. Sad, right? This has been a project lingering in my mind for a while, and finally brought it to the forefront on a cold February day. :D

This is my Papaw, but he got ever so lucky to be tagged with the name ‘Whops’, ‘Whopsy’, and Papaw Penny from a few of his grandchildren. ;)  He put up with us everyday of each summer, after school and when my parents went on vacation. He let me do donuts in his car on his field, probably gave me my first taste of beer, passed on a few cuss words and showed me how important his garden was to him. He was patient with us, and our needy calls of help on the farm when my parents were out-of-town, picked me up from high school on many occasions, and we always had Whoppers together when there was a BOGO free coupon lingering in the paper.

Such a huge part of my childhood revolves around this hardworking man.


He still owns his childhood home, and even though a bit aged to the average eye, I knew this was a perfect place to do a quick (and cold!) portrait session with him. My only request was that he wear his normal everyday clothes. I wanted to see him, as him – not in a new outfit and slicked back hair.


We call this home the “Big House”, full of big rooms, peeling wallpaper, random treasures and for him – priceless memories.



These photos above were taken in his childhood bedroom.


Whops is full of  shenanigans. Some of my favorite stories include accidentally burning off his eyebrows burning a barrel full of trash, his trips with friends to Las Vegas and Key West, and his constant beat up hands. From catching animals, working on his lawnmower and random projects, his hard-working hands showed a memento from each little adventure.


And his handsome smile is obviously contagious. <3


Behind my grandparent’s home is “The Creek” (we were obviously original in our name choices) where we would fish, swim, catch crawdads. And this little sinkhole is where Whops would show off his amazing ability to float on his back – for HOURS. And it’s true guys, he taught me to do it too. <3  I know – watch.out. I’ve got random skills for days. ;)



And because we share the same weird sense of humor, this portrait session wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of American Gothic inspiration. LOL. This seriously cracks me up.


My Nanny thought we were a little crazy, but she came out for a few too. This is my favorite photo ever of the two of them together.


This simple little shoot has been one of the most personal and meaningful ones I’ve ever done – and inspiration do to this occasionally with other family members who have an amazing story to tell (read: all of them). So be watching out for more of my personal side, my family, silly quirks and funny photos.

I love my Whops, and I hope you can see a tiny bit of that through these photos.

Happy Saturday Folks! Big hugs and much love!

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