For the Family – A Bozeman couple’s journey through parenthood

I’ve been excited to post this project for a while now. Over the past six weeks, I documented the journey of a young couple who just had their second child here in Bozeman. I was looking for a long term photography project. Something that would challenge me to slow down and really tell an in depth story through pictures and sound. Upon meeting Rosie, the sister of Knikka (the mother) at the Bozeman Film Festival, I was able to introduce myself to the rest of the family and get the okay to start documenting their lives. It started sooner than expected. That night Knikka went into labor and I met her and Chris at The Birth Center in Bozeman, Montana at 1:30am to watch their new daughter Ryleigh be born. What an amazing thing to witness…the birth of a child. I began this project because overall I was drawn by the sense of family these guys all had. Rosie had just flown out from Connecticut to help her sister and her husband Chris become adjusted to life with a 3-year-old and a newborn. For the parents, Knikka and Chris, it was balancing the needs of their children while juggling their own relationship. Each are working on their degrees while attending college at the Montana State University. The running theme in my head was “It takes a village to raise a child.” I had many different facets to document and I put no limits on myself. I also had no agenda or a deadline. This was a different approach to storytelling that I am used to documenting. So much of what I do at the newspaper is rush around making deadlines. The growing trend of small editorial staffs, budget cuts and big workloads prevent us from doing more of these in depth documentaries. This was a intimate, personal story. One with no clear end or direction in sight. Having a family isn’t anything new. There weren’t any big news hooks to it. It was just their story and their life. A story I felt was worth telling. Through the countless hours I spent watching and documenting this family, I came to learn a lot about them and realized there path in life could easily have been a very different darker one. I focused my approach on telling the journey of the parents Chris and Knikka. I wanted to show how their unexpected journey into parenthood changed them, derailed their previous path of substance abuse and switched course to give their kids the best life they could give them. This multimedia video is the result. I hope you enjoy it. -M
-To read the story and see more photos you can view them on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle website.
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