Session: Photography by Rachel Joy Baransi, Columbus, Ohio.

Rachel Baransi calls herself a “visual anthropologist,” which, without seeing her work may seem like a hip way to say “photographer of people.” And it is hip — I kind of wish I’d thought of it myself. But when you have the happy opportunity to see Rachel’s work, you discover she isn’t simply a picture-taker. Her images tell the story of the humans in front of her camera: their love, their quirks, their happiest moments. Every frame carries with it not only faces and places, but also glimpses into the personalities of the people she’s tasked to capture.

This couples session with Anna and Miguel “was a fun evening where my husband and I sat with them and learned about their love’s beginnings,” says Rachel. “Silly stories about Miguel showing off and kicking a ball so far over a building on their college campus that the ball was lost forever (at a cost to Anna, since she’d rented it).”

Rachel’s work shines because of her commitment to getting to know her subjects. She sits with them, shares with them, and creates art that’s beautiful because it’s a reflection of who they are. Kind of like visual anthropology.

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