This is my SEVENTH consecutive year photographing my oldest and best friend's family for the weekend. (pause! Quickly check out their shoot seven years ago to see how the kids have grown)  This time I didn't go to their home in Wisconsin.  Instead they let me tag along on their family vacation to Disney World.  Kristen and I met when we were three years old so you can imagine how many times we talked about going to Disney together.  It was a long shot and we knew it, but it never kept us from fantasizing about it.  Fast forward lots of years and there we were together at Disney.  It was, truly, the best vacation ever.  I mean, I actually wanted to die of exhaustion because we hit three f*cking parks a day and went on every f*cking ride at each park for five days, BUT...but I had a blast.   There were many, many highs and a whole bunch of lows...for the kids.  For the adults...it was all hilarious roller coaster fun and then we drank a bunch of wine.  I am so beyond honored to be treated as part of this family.  I love them so much, I have loved watching these guys grow up.  Kristen is my right and left arm, my heart, and both my legs.  I do not know one day of this precious life without her, and I gotta say, I hope I never do.
Here is Kristen and Mark's amazing family.  Enjoy the photographs. Call your best friend.  She loves you.
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Kristee Kimball says:

These are literally priceless and I'm not even IN this family... There is so much personality and joy in these faces... What a wonderful moment in time to capture for these people to remember. Your talent is immense, Tara:)

(01.30.15 @ 01:47 AM)
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(04.11.15 @ 04:41 PM)
Lucky me.  I got to spend the day outside of LA with the coolest little crew going.  I went out to visit them a couple years ago when little Emerson was an only child, a sweet little girl.  Well, lucky for everyone, along came Edward about 2 years ago, and the world got way better.  I chased these little people around all dern day and loved every second.  This is what I saw this time 'round.  Enjoy. Thank you. Love.
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When Muji was a baby his mother nicknamed him Baby Cool Breeze because he was so easy going and chill, never cried, never fussed.  I know babies, and grown folk, who are like this and I admire such gentle spirits.   It didn't surprise me at all to hear that Muji was such a cool breeze from the beginning. 
Welp, when a gentle soul happens to be encased in a large, strong, athletic frame whatchya get is a gentle, cool... linebacker.   Muji played football for University of New Hampshire, and I'm sure he enjoyed that experience along with the vast cultural diversity up there in the granite state. ;)

In August 2011, so about ten minutes ago, Muji and his brother were in a car accident.  The car burst into flames and Muji lost the bottom of both of his legs and the fingers on his left hand. His brother, from what I understand, has also suffered very serious burns.
I bet if you take more than three minutes you can remember exactly what you were doing in August of 2011.  Maybe your life has changed dramatically since then, maybe it hasn't changed at all.  Maybe you *meant* to finally get the job or lose the weight or start the program or end the bullshit or start some bullshit, I obviously have no idea.  I can rest pretty easily on the fact that few lives have changed quite like Muji's has.  This motherfucker is so strong and so talented and so warm and so cool, and in the past three years he's...well... learned how to live, walk, run, be at peace, struggle, persevere, test himself, test the people he loves, and bring a SON INTO THE WORLD!!  He bought a gorgeous home, partnered off with *the* prettiest, coolest, chillest chick ever, has became a motivational speaker, and frankly realized that that accident in 2011 has opened more doors and more opportunities for love and life and connection than he could have EVER done without it.  Can we get a fucking AMEN on that please?  Can we get a fucking amen on the beauty and perseverance and STRENGTH of the human soul? Of THIS human's soul. 
Baby Cool Breeze?  Damn fucking right.
Muji Karim is a star among us, y'all.  It is an EXTREME HONOR to have been trusted to spend the day with this guy.   All we did was laugh our asses off all day and then I watched this guy RUN ON BLADES!!! 
GAHHHH!!!!!  I'm so on fire right now with MAD RESPECT and LOVE OF LIFE!!!    Muji, thank you SO MUCH for taking your journey with SUCH grace, man.  You are AN INSPIRATION TO THE ENTIRE WORLD, bro!   There is NO ONE LIKE YOU!!!!  I love you so much!  Have since the moment we met. 
The best is yet to come, Muji.  Hang the fuck on.  
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!
 
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Jamie says:

This post brought tears to my eyes Tara. Muji, you are incredibly strong and your story is outrageously inspiring. A reason for me to stop bitching about...well... anything.

(11.15.14 @ 07:19 PM)
Lori Black says:

I have no words. Just tears in my eyes as usual Tara. This pictures are amazing!!!! Thank you BOTH for being outstanding human beings and sharing this story with us!

(11.16.14 @ 09:02 AM)
Six years in a ROW I've been with this incredibly special, giggly, light, playful, hilarious, beautiful family.  Every year, the weekend before Thanksgiving, I head out to Osh Kosh, Wisconsin to visit my oldest and best friend, Kristen.  It's really no coincidence that Kristen is the matriarch of truly one of the best families I know.  She is endlessly and reliably kind and gentle, soft and thoughtful, funny and goofy, understanding and playful.  Her children truly adore her and her home is absolutely bursting with a childish lightness and everyone loves being there. She married, simply, the best guy ever.  Mark is also hilarious and goofy, kind and thoughtful, but also an incredible provider, a steady rock, a gentle soul.  I couldn't have imagined a better guy for my girl. 
Their children are Drew, Beau, and Maeve.  If you have a second, I'd love for you to see my first shoot with them just so you can see how they've grown.  Our first year is HERE. You'll absolutely fall in love with all three of them for one reason or another.  I hope watching them grow up in photos will make you smile.  I hope you either have or will have a family so incredibly special as this one.  I'm certain you will if that's what you want.
Thank you, Kris.  36 years and counting?  Well, aren't we somethin' else. ;) I love you.  A huge thank you to both you and Mark for treating me like family.  It means the world. love.
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So..... Kendra has been one of my best friends for 25 years.  Hard to believe it's been that long sometimes.  We have shared so many firsts together and have a lifetime of memories to talk and reminisce about.  As little girls we used to perform elaborate dances, have epic photo shoots, and ridiculous scavenger hunts. As we got older we shared many tears, lots of secrets, way too much alcohol, and averted much danger while we got into much trouble.  We both, oddly, went to college in Alabama (me at Uof A and she went to Auburn).  We saw each other through the years and I loved her boyfriend turned husband, Wade, from the moment I met him.  Wade, by the way, is just about the best dad and husband there ever was.  Love that guy from the bottom of my heart. 
I flew to Atlanta to shoot a wedding a few weeks ago and surprised Kendra...more like I scared the shit out of her.  I spent the day photographing her and her beautiful, kind, funny, smart, cool kids.  Kendra is a wonderful mom and it was an honor and a trip to see her as the cool, fun mom I knew she'd be.  She's in love with her life and she glows.  That sentence can be said for her through her life.  Kendra is a positive, kind, fun, funny, smart, truly gorgeous woman.  I'm so very proud to be her lifelong friend.  I am so very happy to be able to give these photographs to her.
My love, you know the rest.  You have permanent residence in my heart.  Always have, always will.
Enjoy. Thank you. Love
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