lilac in hand

meet the family

Sometimes finding someone who is "the right fit" on a personal level is just as important as the work itself.

the russells

Meet the family behind the business

Many years ago, this all started as my little side hustle - something I was interested in but wasn't sure if I could pursue as a true career. I roped Dylan in as my *unpaid* help when I photographed an intimate wedding for a family friend and soon after, Lilac in Hand was born. The name comes from our shared love of music, a song from one of our favourite artists.

We've been together for almost 14 years and have built (or should I say are building) a life together in Summertown in the Adelaide Hills. In 2022 we welcomed our son Ardie Jude, after a long and difficult battle with infertility. He is our whole world and the reason we get up every morning (literally).

We are progressives, love a hearty and honest conversation and are loyal to a fault. In our (limited) spare time, you'll find us tinkering with things around the house, crafting with Ardie, gardening, attending gigs or watching films in the cinema (although this one is more a distant memory and dream for the future since having Ardie).

A lot can change in a year (or two)...

In July 2020 we took the plunge into a lifetime of debt and hard work by purchasing an overgrown forest in the Adelaide Hills. We had no idea what we were in for, but we've somehow managed to build our forever home and have been pinching ourselves ever since.

The first photo is us shortly after buying the block and the sec0nd is two years later in the same spot.

inside our home

Jessica Russell

mother, Photographer, aspiring green thumb

I've been a photographer since 2011 and have been doing it full-time since 2018. Like a true creative, I dabble in many things - photography just happens to be the thing that stuck. I studied Interior Architecture for a couple of years before turning photography into more than just a side-gig. I have always had an interest for interior design and it's still something I am drawn to today (hence the gallery on our home).

I always wanted to be a mother and I am so grateful that science and modern medicine afforded me that luxury in 2022 when I had my son Ardie - my third pregnancy, but first birth. Experiences shape who we are as people and I found my journey leading to him (and following) to be the most poignant. Infertility, miscarriage and parenthood are super challenging topics and ones that can divide us unintentionally. Even though painful at times, photography was in many ways my therapy through these times - documenting and sharing the good times alongside the hard. I found myself connecting with people on a deeper level through my art and on a personal level through our shared experiences. My hope is to honour that by providing a safe space for people to see and be seen.

Dylan Russell

father, Photographer, arthouse film buff

I am the self proclaimed "other half" of Lilac in Hand Photography. While Jess nails the essentials, I focus on the in-between moments that may seem unremarkable - a hand on a shoulder, a glance through a crowd. These moments - often fleeting or unrealised - are why I am a part of this business. Originally an extra pair of hands for Jess, I have embraced the opportunity to preserve these moments as second-shooter.

My work is complemented by a love of film and music - and just a general desire to be inspired. Since the arrival of Ardie, I have taken a step back from the business so I can revel in fatherhood but also balance my full-time job in politics. Our quiet country life is never quiet with Ardie often drowned out by ardent conversation about art and politics - because art touches everything and everything is political. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many far-flung places, the favourite of all being India. My approach to the world mirrors my approach to photography – it is grounded in curiosity, respect and understanding.

"What a dream to have ever felt the air so warm, what a dream to have even ever been born."

- kevin morby

Our greatest achievement yet, Ardie Jude.