Breakfast in Bury St Edmunds – Documentary Family Photography by Tove Hansen

My parents still live in the house I grew up in; meaning I have a physical place to match with my memories. The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize how unusual it is that my daughter can sleep in my childhood bedroom when visiting her grandparents. I love the idea of her making new memories in the place that holds mine. My husband’s job requires us to move every few years, so our children will have a different sense of home than what I experienced. As a result, I have an insatiable need to document everything about their environments from their favorite rocks in the back garden to our daily walk to school.

My children share this segmented childhood with plenty of others, including one very special boy they call “Baby Calvin.” You may recognize this beautiful family from previous sessions (check them out here and here). Jackie and Pat have been my biggest supporters and cheerleaders since officially launching my business nearly a year ago and have invited me into their lives with open arms. With their time in England coming to a close, they wanted to document a standard day-in-the-life before leaving this beautiful place indefinitely.

These three are truly my dream clients – I arrived on a Saturday morning as they were starting their day and having a leisurely morning. I loved that they trusted me enough to NOT get ready for their session. This is always the goal with a documentary shoot as it makes for the best and most authentic pictures. Jackie and Calvin were playing in the living room while Pat began prepping breakfast.

There’s a different pace of life when you have just one child under 12 months. You’re still basking in the newness of welcoming a little person into your life and savoring all their new skills and milestones. There are no extracurricular activities to rush off to, no school events, and no little friends competing for attention. It’s a special but short-lived season subject to the nap and feeding times of your smallest family member.

Like me, Jackie finds cooking to be a bit… challenging. Thankfully, Pat loves to cook (and is very good at it), so Jackie was tasked with making coffee and scones. I nearly fell over in laughter when she managed to burn the scones in the toaster and Pat had to take over because it is EXACTLY something I would do. I swear I have a curse when it comes to cooking appliances.

After breakfast and a snooze feed for Calvin, we walked into Bury St. Edmunds to browse the Bury Saturday market. Jackie and Pat both agreed this would be one of the things they’d miss most about English living. Pat even showed me his favorite stall as Jackie mentioned he has a slight addiction to CDs. While we grew up thinking our dad’s record collection was old and outdated, Calvin will get to browse his dad’s jewel cases filled with music collected all over the world.

We did a bit more shopping, stopped for lemonade, and finally made our way down to the Abbey Gardens so Calvin could stretch his legs and have another feed. His middle name is Edmund – a tribute to the town where he was born – so of course, we had to get a few shots with the Bury St. Edmunds cathedral in the background.

While I love the unposed, candid style of documentary photography, I’m also not opposed to grabbing a few beauty shots at the end of a session. I keep it quick and casual, particularly when there are little ones involved, as no one wants to end their time with a massive meltdown. As always, Calvin was contagiously happy and full of smiles. I have serious love for this little boy and his parents, too.

• • •

After their session, I asked Jackie about her experience. As usual, she responded with a beautifully worded and thoughtful reflection of our day together. Way to make me almost cry, lady!

I knew I wanted to try a storytelling session, but I was having a tough time deciding what to actually do during the shoot. I reached out to Tove, and she helped me plan out the most perfect Saturday by just asking a few quick questions about our weekend rituals. Once we had a plan, I was extremely excited, but of course became more and more nervous as the day drew near. Would it be awkward? What should I wear? I decided to follow Tove’s advice and pretend as though it was just another Saturday. I woke up, threw on something comfortable and cute, and put the kettle on just as Tove was ringing the doorbell. Before I had time to be nervous at all, she was snapping photos and casually chatting inbetween. There were a few moments where my husband or I would awkwardly laugh or hold a pose for too long, but she would kindly remind us to act natural and go about our morning. Next thing I knew, we were all enjoying our time together and coming up with fun, spontaneous photo-opps. Originally we had planned to have breakfast and go to the market, but we ended up doing so much more. This is what I loved most about the natural-style session; it captured the details of our everyday life.

I love the true emotion that shines through. The focus in my husband’s eyes as he preps the bacon, the happy frustration as I attempt to put pants on my squirming nine month old, the LIFE that shines through in candid photography. When I look at my photos from our session, I am instantly taken back to that day. I can feel the joy and remember all the details. The photos truly do stand alone as a story, and it is one I will read & reread over & over again.

If you’ve considered a storytelling session for yourself, let’s chat! There’s no obligation to book and I’m always happy to answer any questions. Even if you say, “We like to watch sit on the couch and watch movies. What would you even photograph?!” I’m confident your story is special and worthy of being told. 


By | 2017-08-08T15:42:57+00:00 August 8th, 2017|Hygge|2 Comments

About the Author:

Wife, mama, graphic designer, and documentary photographer. Never met a piece of chocolate I didn't like. I love celebrating special occasions, exploring new cities through their local cuisine, and kissing my babies incessantly.


  1. Dawn August 8, 2017 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    That was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. I had the pleasure of meeting Jackie and Calvin as my daughter, Lisa and grandson Eric were great friends together! A lump instantly forms in my throat when I think of the four of them together. I only hope one day they can spend time together again!
    You are an amazing artist❤️

    • Tove Hansen September 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      Thank you for the kind words, Dawn! Jackie, Pat and Calvin are a pretty special bunch and I think anyone who is able to call them friends should certainly count themselves lucky. I know I certainly do! <3

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