“The sanctity of an individual’s private beliefs should be respected” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Barbara McLaughlin by © Emily Dozois

“Barb and I have been going back and forth trying to arrange a shoot throughout the year, but we were never able to settle on a concrete date. Luckily, she just happened to be a guest at a birthday party I was photographing and we snuck off to take her portrait at the same time! I had so much fun chatting with her about everything from tattoos to handwriting to grandchildren. She has such an outgoing, friendly demeanor, and I loved watching her eyes light up every time she spoke of her family. I hope to run into her at many more birthday parties in the future!” – Emily D

Image © Emily Dozois

An Interview with Barbara

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. When my granddaughter was born on my birthday 2 years ago.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I don’t have a worst. My birthdays are always full of family, friends and fun.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. A white pure-bred Himalayan kitten on my 50th. I had always wanted one.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

A. No. I like to go out with my family though and often choose calamari.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. Reflecting on the past year and feeling blessed that I am celebrating with my loved ones.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. No. We change it up as suits the person or age. The main thing is that we get together.