“The world of the unknown must always be respected” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Mary & Elizabeth Goodwin by © Camila Gargantini

“Mary & Elizabeth appeared quite shy in the beginning but as the shoot progressed, they loosened up. Their dog, although not in the picture, was very keen in assisting me with my light stand. This shot was taken in a tiny room in their mother’s home in Toronto, with me on top of the bed, back against the wall, light stand and dog directly in front of me. After a few shots, it became obvious that Mary (right) is the serious one, while Elizabeth cannot help but make faces at everything. It was a lot of fun.”

Image by © Camila Gargantini

An Interview with Mary & Elizabeth

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

Mary: My 16th birthday was really fun. A big group of my friends from different parts of my life all came over. People were taking lots of pictures and we had the most delicious brownies instead of cake.

Elizabeth: My 14th birthday, we just kept it small and simple. Our mom took us out for manicures and pedicures with one of our closest friends and then we had a super fun time going for dinner at the Keg. Then we had a sleepover and it was just a perfect night. I still laugh about my mom cutting me out of the candle blowing out picture but it was all just a great night.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

Mary: My 18th birthday was the day before my 9am chemistry exam. I spent the day studying, then opened a gift from my roommates. It was also the first year I didn’t get to see my sister.

Elizabeth: Last year I had a huge anatomy exam on my birthday so I spent the entire day studying. It was also the first year I was away from my twin. It was also a great day though because all my friends made collages and posted them on facebook, those really lifted my spirits. I also got a chance to skype with my sister and friend later at night.

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

Mary: One year everyone gave me money except one person. She gave me a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Elizabeth: It was a Tuesday and we got out of school early, so we went out with a couple friends to half price movies and we went out for dinner. Then we went home and our friend told us the best surprise. She planned on not finding out the gender of her baby but she told us it was GIRL that night.

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

Mary: I usually just insist on going out to eat somewhere. I love restaurants.

Elizabeth: Not particularly. I just like to indulge and eat foods that I can’t have all the time. Last year I just had an entire lobster, that was great.

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

Mary: It’s important to spend the day with the people who are closest to me.

Elizabeth: Looking back at the memories throughout the years, and reflecting on my journey through the year. I really value memories and my birthday is a great time to focus on them.

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

Mary: My grandmother would always call early in the morning to sing happy birthday before we went off to school.

Elizabeth: I share my birthday with more people than the average individual. My sister, our Grammie, and some friends. I always try to make sure I remember to wish them all a happy day. I try to make the day about spending time with people I care about and making memories. I like doing something different and new each year.