As a general rule, I often say that I don’t shoot family portraits, I don’t photograph weddings, and I don’t do maternity shoots. My speciality is photographing chefs, restaurants, and food. But for some of the chefs who I have worked with for many years, their lives are so intertwined with their work that I couldn’t say no to photographing them—and their families—occasionally outside of the kitchen. And no one fits in this category better than my friend Jason Quinn.
I met Chef Jason in 2011. He was opening his hugely popular Playground DTSA right around the same time I was starting to take on restaurant clients. I excitedly responded to a tweet about the restaurant’s soft opening and, sight-unseen, he invited me to photograph the event. That marked the start of a 6-year-long friendship and professional partnership through which we’ve both grown.
So when I heard the news that his family was growing, I knew I wanted to make an exception to photograph Jason, his beautiful wife Hillary—artisan pasta maker of @mrsplaygroundspasta—and their soon-to-be first child Cannon Stanley Quinn.
The Quinns both spend their days at the restaurant, and they live in a loft above it, so it was the natural place to begin documenting their family. The sampling of photos below includes those from inside their loft, in the artistic East End Downtown Santa Ana alleys surrounding their home, and in front of Santa Ana’s Old Orange County Courthouse.
Like most busy chefs and restaurateurs, Jason only had a short window when he could step outside the kitchen. Hillary, only a couple weeks from her due date, was relaxed and patient on the cold and damp January morning we met up. Little did we know then that they would meet Cannon even sooner than anticipated. Cannon, whose name was inspired by the Quinns’ beloved Arsenal Football Club, just arrived a few days early, as I was preparing to post these photos. So, perhaps we’ll have baby pics to accompany these maternity photos soon?! Welcome, Cannon Stanley Quinn, and congratulations to my dear friends.