Gawwwwwwwd I love these people.  I love them in a way that makes me want to check if Jet Blue is running any sort of free flight program from Boston to San Diego if you make the trip once a week...which they're not, by the way.
Isaac and Erin were friends in high school, started dating at 18 years old, and have been married for ten years.  Somewhere in their courtship they moved to San Francisco from San Diego.  They met Jon Gray in San Francisco.  I'm certain they met others while they were there, but they met a soul mate in Jon.  I too met Jon Gray in San Francisco, 11 months before Isaac and Erin met him, 14 years ago. Jon talked so much about these two people that their two names soon sounded like one: Isaacanderin.  Jon gushed pretty hard about the people he loved and he gushed CRAZY for this couple. They sounded awesome so I started asking about them every time I talked to Jon.  Though I didn't know them, I kept up with their lives through Jon. I knew they moved back to San Diego, got married, had two girls, taught high school theater and music.  I felt like I knew this family so I was always happy to hear that life was still rad with Isaacanderin.
Jon died suddenly in Brooklyn on April 21st of this year.  I got in touch with Isaac immediately. I introduced myself, he had heard of me. Without ever meeting each other, Isaac helped me endlessly through those first few nights of realizing Jon was gone.  Finally, after 14 years of hearing the lore, I met IsaacAndErin at Jon's memorial in Brooklyn. I loved them immediately.
As anyone knows who has lost someone they love, the sadness and loss comes in waves without warning. One particularly long and sad night in June grief hit like a sledge hammer. I was desperate to connect to Jon so I decided I needed to photograph Isaac and Erin and their girls in San Diego.  I asked if I could, they seemed psyched, we booked the trip.
I arrived at Isaac and Erin's home with my camera and plenty of luggage. I stayed for three days.  It might have been the most wonderful three days I've had in a very long time. They have a life I have never seen.  They have it all: a beautiful marriage based on friendship, love, and FUN. Their home is constantly full of musicians and artists making music together and having fun. Their GIRLS!?!?!  Their girls are kind, hilarious, smart, happy, sweet, adorable, generous...and they harmonize when they sing together!  It is truly one of the best families  I've ever seen. It's a harmonious, happy, low key, giggly, fun life.  The three days I spent with them showed me a life and lifestyle I didn't know was possible.  They truly have it all.
Jon has left us with such an incredible gift and this friendship will always be focused on keeping him alive, always celebrating him, talking about him and loving him hard.  All the way to heaven and back, baby.
Jon, your generosity has floored me.  I love all the people you loved.  You had such good taste, man.  I love and miss you.  We all do.
Tell the people you love that you love them.  Don't worry, you won't regret it and you won't scare anyone.  Being loved feels good.
The Langen family, baby... enjoy. I did. :)
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This is how Iris pees at the beach. Cute? I mean....kinda. (!!?!?!?)
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Comments
Zoe says:

Beautiful Tara! I'm at work, probably shouldn't be reading/looking at this stuff on their time, but colleagues are asking if I'm OK and I'm a little teary!! Your words and photos evoke such emotion and capture the best of people. Thanks for the happy tears!! xxx

(07.26.11 @ 02:55 PM)
Lauren says:

I have but one dream in this life: to be loved the way you love everyone. HARD. (Lucky for me I've found a darn good man; dreams do come true). The love you bring to everything, your work, your friends, your interests, it bursts forth from eveything like rays from the sun.

(07.26.11 @ 03:53 PM)
Marce says:

I was thinking about Jon and saw your link on his facebook page about visiting his friends in San Diego. How perfect. Of course, LOVE the photos, T...but even more than that, it's such a moving statement. To see something positive in the midst of loss is somehow reassuring. Maybe even uplifting. Thank you for that. Much love...

(08.03.11 @ 10:49 PM)