I send parents a questionnaire prior to every family session. It helps me be attune to subtle family dynamics so that my photographs reflect that family's one-of-a-kind spirit.  Natasha's answers to the questionnaire left me in stitches, particularly the gems describing what the children enjoy: " Vito - Everything about trains (he was born with a Thomas the Train in his hands) and Matteo - Cars, Cars, Cars - he sometimes thinks HE is a race car," as well as their challenges as parents: "We torture our kids with food. They really are not big eaters." I can imagine that Mom's Ukranian heritage and Dad's Italian heritage don't leave much wiggle room for picky eaters! 

Natasha mentioned that the kids might be shy at first, but within two minutes of my arrival, the boys asked "Tzotzya" (Auntie) Yana to watch cartoons with them, Vito sitting on one knee, and Matteo on the other.  The rest of the day was filled with Russian and Italian in the air, complete with a lovely Italian meal (thanks Erik!) and quality time with nona Marilena, nono Alberto, babushka Valentina, and dedushka Valeriy. 

Natasha reflected on our time together: 

We knew Yana for many years and thought that taking documentary style pictures would be very comfortable with her. We didn’t know our two monkey-sons (ages 3 and 5) would misbehave and run all over the place... With all the patience she had, she made it so much fun for them, and with a great talent she made the pictures look fantastic, capturing the exact goofiness of this cute age with all the faces and poses. With the precise artist eye she took candid shots without us even knowing, and as the result we got a glimpse of our own week-end life in the glamorous pictures.  Three generations of our family spent a fun day and now we have beautiful portraits for future generations to cherish.

Thank you for the kind words and your hospitality! I hope to see you all very soon.