Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Beautiful Children of Bristol

Back in the day, in my former life, I was a school teacher with a room full of students. The first day of school, I would begin the year taking pictures of my children, and I continued to document our year together. My bulletin boards were crammed with pictures of the kids reading, laughing, and playing. When I met Chuck in the fall of 2014, and we decided to get married that Christmas, I knew I would be retiring from my teaching career, and my days taking pictures of little ones would end.

Or so I thought. Chuck whisked me away from my school teacher life in Utah, and brought me to Illinois where we spend many week nights shooting pictures of children performing at Marquee Youth theatre. I have my little friend Violet who comes to play, and allows me to take pictures of her while we go to the playground and bake cookies at home. And the most delightful discovery I made since moving to the midwest is the Ren faire in Wisconsin.

The Bristol Renaissance Faire is a photographer's paradise. There are people in costumes who love having their pictures taken. There are quaint shops, shady glens, decorated stages, and even a small pond which make beautiful backdrops for amazing portraits. The Ren faire has everything from peasants to nobles, horses to knights, hawks to owls, belly dancers to fairies, and even a unicorn. Yes, I've died and gone to photographer's heaven.

Of all the things to catch this photographer's eye, do you know what my favorite subject is? The children. 

Many families enjoy a day at the faire, watching the shows, taking part in the Ren Quest adventure for children, and visiting the Kids' Kingdom. I love to see the magic that takes place between the fairies and the little ones who interact with them. There are children who come to the faire because one or both of their parents work there, and they become important threads in the tapestry that is Bristol.

It is fascinating to watch these children who spend their weekends at the faire interacting with their parents or the nursies who tend them, and playing games of long ago. In keeping things authentic to the Renaissance period, it is no surprise they don't entertain themselves with video games or cell phones. 

They enjoy simpler diversions; hobby horses, recorders, checkers and chess, and simple crafts. They play games with each other. Remember blind man's bluff? A simple dish towel is all that is needed to have some fun.

No longer do I have bulletin boards full of faces that belong to the children I teach, but thankfully, I still have plenty of opportunities to use my camera with littles. 

My Facebook albums are bulging, and my Light Room library is growing, thanks to the beautiful people at Bristol. My challenge is to capture the innocence and playfulness of the children without their being aware of me and my camera. It isn't easy, but it's a challenge I love.

These are some of my favorite faces from Bristol; the beautiful children who make me smile as they laugh and play the Renaissance way. 

A big thank you to the parents of these youngsters for allowing me to use the images of their children in Randomocity. Thank you for allowing me this privilege. 

*Coming soon: "It Takes a Village," featuring the mothers and fathers (and aunties and others) of Bristol with their children. 


  1. This is amazing!

  2. You have captured some great moments! They all look so happy, and authentically Renaissance! Wow, again I am fascinated by the idea of the Faire. Thank you for sharing Denise!
    p.s. do you miss teaching?

    1. JB, I do NOT miss going to work. I miss spending my days with children, and seeing my teacher friends before and after school. Faculty meetings, district inservice meetings, parent teacher conferences, grading papers...I do not miss them at all.


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