Photographer Rachel Perlman beautifully reimagined the Pixar classic with her grandfather Richard and son Elijah.

By Maressa Brown
September 13, 2019
Rachel Perlman Photography

From PAW Patrol to Aladdin, many parents expertly weave their child's favorite film or TV characters into their birthday celebration. Philadelphia-based potographer Rachel Perlman recently managed to take her son Elijah's proposed theme to the next level by beautifully recreating the Pixar classic Up in a photo shoot. The little boy, who has a twin sister, asked his mom if he could dress up like Russell for his annual birthday photo shoot. Perlman then invited his 90-year-old great-grandparents Richard and Caroline Bain to join him to portray Carl and Ellie.

Rachel Perlman Photography

"Elijah is very particular," Perlman shares. "He is borderline addicted to Up and has been for several years. Its the only thing he draws and colors—the house with balloons—and the only books he wants to get at the library, and the only toy he wanted when we were in Disney World last year. So, inviting his great-grandparents was my idea and a surprise to him. He loved that they dressed up!"

Rachel Perlman Photography
Rachel Perlman Photography

The Bains, who had admittedly never seen the animated flick, "were thrilled to participate and loved that I asked them," according to Perlman. "Grandpa even went to the thrift store to get the jacket and hose. He said, 'I noticed in a photo Carl had a hose over his shoulder.'"

Rachel Perlman Photography

Meanwhile, Elijah's twin sister requested a unicorn-themed shoot. "Emilee loves all things girly and princess, so her photo session was a surprise after trying to find someone who would let me put a unicorn horn on their horse, and she loved it," Perlman notes.

Rachel Perlman Photography

The mom of three opened up about the emotional inspiration for doing "magical photo shoots" with her kids for their birthdays: "Five years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer, right after my twins were born and had fears if I would even get to see their 5th birthday," she shares. "My oldest Mikayla was 5 at the time and I hated not knowing if I would get the same time with them that I got with her. So, for their 5th birthday, I wanted to celebrate the things they love with photos! It's a celebration for me and them!"

As for the children's take on the experience? "The kids loved the shoots," Perlman notes. "They see me leave frequently to take other people's photos, so they were excited to do something special. In fact, they are excited now to find out what we are doing for their big sister's photo session, which will likely be a little more 'grownup' since she is 10 now."

If it's even a fraction as whimsical as the twins' shoots, we can't wait to see the result.

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