Danielle Hatcher is a storyteller. Whether in her personal work or her commissioned work, she seeks the moments and light that add to the narrative of her images above everything else.

On this day, she and her family were on their way home from an excursion in Southern California. After attending a wedding, visiting with friends, and a trip to Disneyland, Danielle found herself without many photos documenting their trip. And so what does a storyteller with the urge to photograph do with eight hours in the car? She picks up her camera and finds the light from the passenger seat.

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And in this set of images we get the story of their travels told as only Danielle can: The mood of the sky as it changes from ominous to rainy to clear; the setting of the car with its finger-printed windows and its confining seats; the characters of the children as they manage their boredom with idle toe-picking and blank stares and naps. The road as it stretches out ahead simultaneously hopeful and daunting in its endlessness. These aren’t simply pretty pictures from the front seat of the car, but rather they are the universal story of road trips for parents everywhere.

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All photography by Danielle Hatcher