Photographer Ivette Ivens, best known for her stunning breastfeeding portraits chronicled in the book Breastfeeding Goddesses (as well as her baby-and-puppy-bulldog shoot), is back with a new project, this time dedicated to grandparents.
The collection, called "Generations," captures the special bond between young children and their grandparents. The subjects of the series are Ivens' own parents, father Romualdas, 76, and mother Jadvyga, 73, and her sons Kevin, 5, and Dilan, almost 3. Originally from Lithuania, Ivens now resides in Chicago. She makes the trip back to her native country to see her parents about once a year.
"My parents are not that young anymore, so every time I see them I wonder how many meetings we have left," Ivens tells CountryLiving.com. "It's a very sad thought but I just can't help it. I understand that one day they are not gonna be here anymore, and I want to be able to show my children these photographs to remind them of the beautiful moments they shared."
Growing up, Ivens says her mom was strict-"I couldn't wait to move out, but now I'm grateful" -while her dad was the more easygoing parent. Now that they're grandparents, Ivens says they're more relaxed with her children. "I'm a very easy-going mom, pro-gentle parenting, and always remind my parents to let go of expectations, schedule, and, in general, thoughts of how it's 'supposed to be,'" she says.
Ivens likes working with young kids and older adults because they're not as self-conscious in front of the lens-they don't try to pose or show off their best features, or care what they're wearing. She describes the bond between the oldest and youngest generations as "pure and innocent."
"I love seeing my children and my parents teaching each other, playing, and telling stories," she says. "It takes me back to my childhood and reminds me of the most important things in life."
When asked about her own grandparents, Ivens says her parents had her later in life, so she only knew her paternal grandmother. "The memories I have of her, [up] until I was 7, are truly unforgettable. I wish we had more photos and, of course, more time together."
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