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© 2020 by Ashley Eve Photography

Toronto, Ontario | info@ashleyevephotography.com

  • Ashley Ples

A day in the life with Leila and Edem


I’m always looking to tell the story of real life. As a family documentary photographer, there’s nothing more special or meaningful than capturing the honesty of true bonds between children and their parents, so I was honoured when Leila contacted me to photograph her and her son.

What stood out about Leila, a single mom in Toronto, was how worldly she was. She was a lawyer, an entrepreneur, an artist, and a curator of beautiful images on her art blog. She spoke of all the places she had lived and how her adventures would continue to unfold when she moved to Spain in the upcoming weeks. This move was the catalyst for her contacting me; she wanted to document a day in her life with her three-year-old son, Edem, hoping for a lasting memory of their time together in Toronto, the beautiful city he was born.

In the true spirit of documentary photography, our day started as any typical day would for the pair: we met outside their condo and took a short walk to their friend’s restaurant for coffee, a routine they had every morning. While documenting a “day in the life” it’s important to recognize those moments of comfort and familiarity, and as Edem was jumping from booth to booth while Leila was laughing with her friends, I could tell this restaurant felt like home to them.

Leila and Edem loved to explore, and so afterwards, we all hopped into a cab to venture around the city. When we stopped at a restaurant for lunch, the bond between mother and son became quite obvious. From the way Leila helped Edem with his food, to how engaged he was with his mom, and how caring she was with him during a quick outfit change in the washroom, the love between them shone through. It really felt like the two of them in their own world and all they needed was each other. I felt privileged to capture this love in a photo.

It was raining that day so, after lunch, it was off to spend time indoors at the mall. Edem seemed older than his age of three. He was amazingly patient and found ways to entertain himself while his mom was trying on clothes.

They were so playful together as they enjoyed dance-off video games in front of a store. They were having so much fun that a crowd started to form around them. The day finished off with some ice cream, which unfortunately ended badly when the ice cream fell right off Edem’s cone. Luckily, mom came to the rescue and quickly got him another one before he even had the chance to get upset!

The bond between mother and son is a truly beautiful experience. I felt so lucky to catch a glimpse of this in a day in the life with Leila and Edem, hand-in-hand, saying goodbye to one of their last rainy days in the city.

This is the first in my monthly photo story series that I'll be sharing in Milk & Heels Magazine! You can view the original article here :)