The first time I met Kristen was in December of last year.
It’s weird to say that, because she’s one of those people I’ve known of nearly my whole life. Our dads were friends in college, and played in bands together, and our big sisters went to college together too. I’ve kind of followed Kristen’s life from afar for years – while she managed Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, NC, and then the Music Farm in Charleston.
And then a few years ago, we became Facebook friends, and I watched her meet Michael, date him, get engaged and married…all through the internet (The internet is weird and wonderful, am I right?).
Then, last year, she sent me a Facebook message to tell me that she and Michael were looking into transferring to the London office of the marketing company they both work for now. Of course I got excited – because I love it when people from home move closer to me, and also because this meant I might FINALLY be able to meet her in real life.
A few months later, she let me know the transfer had gone through – and that she was expecting her first baby. When she moved to East London in November, she was 6 months pregnant. She asked me to come take maternity photos of her, and when I finally hugged her neck, I couldn’t believe we’d never actually hung out before. Hearing her fresh-out-of-the-south accent was like a breath of fresh air, and we all talked so easily that work didn’t feel like work at all. Plus, these guys lucked out with the LOVELIEST flat in Dulwich – massive windows, big, airy rooms, and their very own garden. A garden, guys. In London.
That’s why I was so excited to get back there this month to photograph them again – this time with their baby boy, Riley. Kristen and Michael have settled in so well to being parents, and Riley’s just slotted right into their London life. Some people might have shied away from moving thousands of miles away from family and friends and having their first child – but I love Kristen and Michael’s hearts for adventure, for saying, “Why not?”
And I’m so glad Kristen and I are finally real-life friends…my internet stalking was getting a little embarrassing.