I met the Dohrenwend family a couple of years ago. Secretly I hoped that they would book a family photography session at some point. When Amber inquired in late November about fall portraits, I was thrilled that I was finally going to have the chance to work with the Dohrenwends here in Tokyo. I was certain that a set with this family would be a ton of fun and would, of course, yield a great set of images.
Before our shoot, I knew several things about the Dohrenwend family. I knew that Amber and Pete are multi-talented and that they are just as much at home in the forests of northern Michigan as they are in their home in the Japanese capital (if not more so). I knew that A&P are artists and educators, thinkers and makers. I also knew that they had a special something in the way they parent their children.
I also knew a thing or two about Dohrenwend girls. They are just as amazing as their parents are. Young E (9) and I (6) are energetic, spunky, and curious about the natural world. They climb trees like monkeys, have amazing senses of humor, and smiles that will melt your heart. And more, E&I are some of the most independent kids I know (a trait I love in kids).
On our shoot day, I met the Dohrenwends at Nogawa Park, a vast and beautiful expanse of space in Chofu, just outside of downtown Tokyo. In the late autumn (early December), the park is ablaze with the deep reds of Japanese maples and the patches of ginko leaves on the ground are circular yellow carpets surrounding the trunks of the many biloba trees. For our session, we decided to incorporate as many elements of the Dohrenwend's ordinary lives as we could. For years the family has played, picnicked, and explored in the park. So it seemed only natural to start our portrait session there in Nogawa.
From Nogawa Park we moved on to Mushashi Koganei Station, a stop on the Tama line that the Dohrenwends most frequently use. While we weren't able to hop the stalls and shoot inside the station (even though E asked the station attendant in perfect Japanese), we were able to meander around the train stop and incorporate a lot of elements of the station and Tokyo's public transportation system into our shoot.
Our family photography session wrapped up outside of the Dohrenwend's home. There, I spent some time photographing E&I playing with their neighborhood crew, riding their unicycles, and spinning around on their scooters. I found a rhythm there in the parking lot of the Dohrenwend's apartment complex and even managed to summon my own inner child while I nailed some shots of the girls doing what kids do best.
In the end, I was incredibly happy with the massive count of photos we created. After spending some quality time with this family, I remain in awe of the Dohrenwends. The troupe of four is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating families I have worked with in a long time. As I had expected, the 90-minute session was heaps of fun. I couldn't have asked for a better day out with one of Tokyo's finest expat families.
Are you searching for a photographer in Japan who is ready to capture your family dynamic? If so, I would be honored to serve you. Learn more about my family portrait services and then reach out to book a session.
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