Ivette Ivens, a 26-year-old mother of two and photographer from Chicago, Illinois, first went viral three years ago when she shared breathtaking photos that celebrated the beauty of breastfeeding.
Ivens says she shared her breastfeeding photos as a way to raise awareness and was thrilled with the reaction that she received from the images. “The positive response that I received from media and people worldwide was just so encouraging and kept me going further,” she tells Babble.
Since then, Ivens has become an in-demand world photographer and splits her time between traveling for work and hanging out with her sons Dilan, who turns 3 in May, and Kevin, 5, along with her husband Todd, 32.
Originally from Lithuania, Ivens came to the U.S. after meeting her husband, who lived in the states. When they married, she left behind her own family, and now, her children get to see their grandparents about once a year when Ivens’ parents come to Chicago to visit.
Inspired by the loving relationship that her children and parents now share, despite their limited time together, Ivens began her next photography project, simply titled “Generations.”
The new photos capture the joy and love shared between the older and younger generations in the same beautiful way she first captured the bond between mother and child.
Like many parents, Ivens shares that she and her husband didn’t fully come to appreciate their own parents until they welcomed children of their own.
“When we are teenagers we don’t really appreciate our parents that much, and we have no idea what parents love actually means,” she explains. “Seeing my parents playing and bonding with my children, fills my heart with a billion tons of love and warmth. My children forget my husband and I even exist!”
From a photographer’s perspective, Ivens notes that she loves capturing younger and older generations together, because they both share the same free spirit. They aren’t worried about what they look like, or sucking in their stomachs, or finding the perfect pose to show off their good sides. The realness and rawness of their unfiltered spirits are what make their photos so stunning.
“Children and elderly people are just so genuine and pure,” Ivens says.
And while Ivens’ photos evoke a magical, ethereal beauty, she assures us that her real life is just as chaotic as ours.
The family splits their year between two locations, living in Chicago for six months and Hawaii for the other half of the year, all while Ivens fits in her business around her kids’ various activities, such as guitar classes, ice skating, swimming, and karate.
With such a creative career, Ivens also makes sure to invest in her artistic side.
“I spend at least a few hours a day just dreaming, researching, planning my future projects and ideas,” she explains. “It’s quite a process, very good for my soul, always bringing out a new creative side of me, which is great for my business, too. The more I find myself, the more I’m able to express myself through my art.”
As much as Ivens treasures her work, she also recognizes that the gift of having her parents spend time with their grandchildren is made more precious by the fact that it’s a bond that will not last forever.
“My parents are older and every time I see them I can’t help myself but wonder, ‘Will I be lucky enough to see them again next year?’” Ivens says. “I feel so blessed that my children are able to experience the everlasting love and guidance of grandparents. It’s so important and life changing, really.”
Luckily for all of us, Ivens is sharing that life-changing bond with the rest of us, who may just be prompted to snap a picture of our children and their grandparents together.
Because it really is a beautiful thing to see the people we love most in this world loving each other, too.More On