Where It All Began.
Updated: Apr 16, 2019
We are Jen and Russ, or Russ and Jen Derksen depending on your degree of conservative world view. It has been over eleven years since our own wedding day, and yes that is a fact, though we still get ID'd. We were somewhat high school sweethearts as we met the summer before grade 12 began, it was not a romantic set up, but rather we met through mutual friends at the time. We were friends for six months before we started dating.
After graduating high school Russ left for college in BC and we embarked on our one year long distance relationship. This was pre-FaceTime days and we had to talk on the phone to keep our relationship going. Awwww, cute... not really. It was hard but we knew that if we could come through that with trust and connection it was going to work for the long haul. We were married the summer of 2007 as 19/20 year olds, whoa, and the rest is history.
Ha, just kidding, that's not real life.
The last eleven plus years have been filled with big ups and downs, including the loss of many dreams, paying bills, having three kids in three and a half years. We have a girl and two boys. Our youngest son has albinism (albino) and thus has severe vision impairment, along with sensory struggles. Our middle son is also in the process of working through some health concerns that have been a struggle since he was tiny. And our daughter is turning into quite the avid bookworm.
In that time Russ has worked at a small, local propane supplier and is now manager. Is it fancy? No! But it is steady and works well for our family. After chasing emergency services jobs for years and working hard to be fully qualified and beyond and yet denied continually, he is happy to "live the dream" by being a family man. As for myself (Jen), the full time gig before kids was as a florist specializing in weddings. Since having little people I'm a mom that runs kids to and from school, appointments and everything in between. For 2.5 years I also started and ran an Etsy business and was quite busy, beyond my capacity. This ended after burn out. Years following I found income in serving, along with the occasional floral and wedding/grad hair jobs. If you truly want to see how people are, serving is the place to be.
Creativity is a passion, a gift, that runs deep in me. Russ loves people and technology. Pursuing photography has been a discussion between us for over 5 years. We had sold our camera after the birth of our second child to support a family in our community and later purchased a small mirrorless camera to capture our kids lives. While running the Etsy business our kids became "brand reps"/models for other shops in the e-commerce/Instagram world.
Taking photos of our own kids was straight up challenging. They taught us that despite our own vision, they had theirs and we needed to go with it.
Russ loved learning settings and Jen loved envisioning the set up. We talked about doing this for real. However it was never our time, the time commitment and financial investment wasn't within reach. But NOW is our time. We work better together and are deeply rewarded by this opportunity. Celebrating the moments of people around us, capturing the emotion of our world is a gift. We are both quite sensitive people and read the emotion of the world around us with our own emotions, this is both a blessing and a curse. Blessing in that we are deeply empathetic and will adjust our course based on those around us. When we are invited into a nervous bride's morning, we capture that and calm. When we are invited to capture the first look of a couple on their wedding day, you know we will have tissues along for the couple and possibly ourselves. Life is too short not to feel and love.