Benjamin Combs
Jul 15, 2015 · 4 min read

I met Roderick Thompson the night before I was to photograph his family. It was his and his wife’s anniversary the following day, and they had reserved a suite at The W Hotel (formerly Hotel Washington) in downtown Washington DC.

We met at the hotel the night before to take a look at the space and try to find some good places for photos. I had just taken a bus from New York to DC, and sent him a text to let him know I had arrived in the city and was on my way to the hotel. He replied and said that he was waiting in the lobby: “I’m the big black dude with two crazy kids at the hotel bar.” I knew immediately that we were off to a good start.

Sometimes people are surprised to learn that families are one of my favorite things to photograph. I don’t post many of my family shoots on my instagram feed, or my website, but I’m thinking that needs to change. There’s something profoundly gratifying about meeting and instantly bonding with a family. Every family has their own forms of intimacy. Those quirky things they do together that makes them unique. Their inside jokes. Their tailor-made jabs that they take at each other, and the way they express that familiar love that can’t be replicated outside of their private world. When a family takes you in as one of their own, it’s hard not to feel that love…And being present with a camera to capture that relation is what I tend to love so much about photographing them.

The Thompsons were on the best end of that scale. They were warm and welcoming, and didn’t shy away from being themselves around me. That alone allowed me to capture some truly genuine moments.

I asked Roderick that night what his family’s favorite thing to do together was. His answer was simple: “We like to laugh.”

So here’s to the Thompsons. And here’s to families.

Benjamin Combs

Written by

IG: @b3njamin |

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