shoot at the airport [latham]

oh man, did this shoot bring back some memories! i was so happy i got the chance for another session with ryan & lauren, this time with their "pawpaw" at the hot springs airport. when i stepped onto the steamy tarmac, visions of the past danced in my head. and by "past", i mean the mid-70's,  if this picture didn't clue you & i sporting some peachy pant suits & my big brother tracy in an izod and pooka shells. my dad used to fly our family everywhere we went - and it was always quite an adventure. on saturdays my dad would go to the bartlesville, oklahoma airport and take practice flights, and sometimes he took me along. he had a little red two-seater he liked to fly, much like the bright yellow plane in this shoot. i would sit behind him with my head-set on, his preschooler co-pilot, singing songs into the little mic. those guys down in the control room really got a kick out of my "itsy-bitsy spider" rendition. i'm sad i don't have any pictures of my dad and me by that cool little plane, but i'm so glad i got to record these precious airplane memories for lauren & ryan. when they are my age, i hope they will look back at these images and cherish these times, in spite of the arkansas june 98 degree tarmac.

when i arrived at the hot springs airport for our special session, i had the pleasure of meeting lauren & ryan's grandfather, elgin hamner III for the first time. i must admit, i was a teensy bit intimidated.... mr. hamner is kind of the strong silent type. however, when i spied the twinkle in his eye as ryan squealed "pawpaw" and crawled up his leg,  i relaxed a bit. it was instantly clear that the hamner kiddos have experienced their fair share of time around airplanes. they had a great time in, around and on TOP of them! i found out that lauren has been flying since she was five weeks old, when she took her first trip from texas to arkansas before she moved here, and ryan's first flight was at eight months. mr. hamner has a bit more extensive aviation record - he began flying at the age of 21. according to his daughter, mary, it's been the love of his life (next to his beautiful wife jennifer, of course!).

this taxi-cab yellow plane holds some bittersweet memories for mr. hamner. he had recently sold the plane to dr. edward cooper, who was like another son to him. if you are not from the hot springs area, you may not be aware of the tragic plane crash that took the lives of dr. cooper, his daughters, catie & libby, and dr. martin draper. and if you are not from around here, you are probably not aware of the palpable void their loss created in our close-knit community. countless people, including mr. hamner, continue to walk with a heart heavy from this unbearable, unspeakable loss. i suppose this is why that twinkle in his eye when he's with lauren and ryan is so touching, as it embodies that hope for the future that only children can provide. thank you again, mary and mr. hamner. i view this shoot as quite an honor.

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