March 5, 2019

Fall Family Session : The Duerksens

The first time I met Vanessa was at the gym. She started teaching a class I taking aptly titled “burn out”–where you work one muscle group until it, quite literally, burns out–and that first day, as we were all giving each other eye rolls and exasperated facial expressions and our muscles were giving out, she was chipper and smiling and acting as if she was just having the loveliest time. Not much has changed, now that I think about it. The class keeps changing, but we all still roll our eyes at her, give each other disbelieving looks, and have and running joke about Vanessa trying to kill us. She just laughs and says, “Squat lower! You can jump higher than that. Get that pace down.” And as much as we all love to hate her, we actually just love her. Even when she is actually trying to kill us.

In all seriousness, Vanessa is an amazing athlete in her own right. She was a cheerleader at Iowa and later a cheerleading coach there. She can still do all kinds of tricks and makes handstand walking look so easy. She’s also really close to getting her 5K run under 21 minutes (which is insane to me)! It’s been so fun getting to know her family and I love that I got to photograph them last fall!


Landon is Henry’s age and I just want to squeeze him to pieces. He’s got Vanessa’s non-stop energy and the happiest personality.


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