August 7, 2020
This photo session took place at the ruins of Borinquen Point Lighthouse, constructed in 1889 by the Spanish. The lighthouse changed ownership in 1898 when Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the U.S and it was in service until 1918. In 1918, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the island, followed by a tsunami that engulfed the lighthouse. The keeper cited that he had a premonition something bad was going to happen when “the air tightened, birds went silent, and the family dogs barked wildly.” As a result, his wife and children fled before the earthquake and he fled to safety before the tsunami hit. The U.S. Navy constructed a new lighthouse in 1920 just north of this one and it’s still in use today by the U.S. Coast Guard.
After spending six months on the island, I highly recommend to anyone that you learn a little more about the U.S. relationship with Puerto Rico. A good place to start is with this podcast episode by NPR’s Throughline. After learning a little about PR, you might as well continue by learning more about the other permanently inhabited U.S. territories: Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Miriama Islands.
Now to introduce the Peal family. They are what I would call “family photo experts.” The Peals take photos annually and proudly display them in their house and on social media. Because the photos are displayed for all to see, the Peals were able to share so many stories and memories with me surrounding their photos. And therein lies the importance of family photo sessions: the Peals are able to recall so many happy and silly and significant family memories and moments together because they have the photos as a visible reminder.
This session at the Borinquen Point Lighthouse Ruins will cause all the 2020 memories to flood back for them over the years. 2020 is one of those defining moments and full of atypical events that will become the stuff of family legend. For example, I originally scheduled this session for March 16. Well, March 16 became the first day of Puerto Rico’s COVID lockdown, and a lot changed for the Peals. Over four months, everything they planned for 2020 was canceled. They reevaluated their life and their work and much was different by the time we actually took these photos on July 13.
Thank you, Daniel, Laura, and Josie for being you! We appreciate ya’ll tons and are so grateful to call you friends and for all the time we had together during this rollercoaster of a year. We wish you all the best as you continue on the adventure of growing your family!
The session ended with a family tradition: a photo they’ve been taking every session since they first knew they would be Josie’s parents. Love it!