Photographer Explains His Super-Creative (Viral) Children's Portraits

04/28/2012 at 01:00 PM EDT

Photographer Explains His Super-Creative (Viral) Children's Portraits
Kristin and Kayla
Jason Lee
Adorable. Enchanting. Hilarious. Preposterous.

Each one of Jason Lee's hundreds of photos of his daughters probably deserves its own adjective. As a whole, though, it's a stunning series – astonishingly creative and simply beautiful.

In six years, Lee, 36, has built up a treasure trove of images featuring Kristin, now 8, and Kayla, 5, usually grinning happily in a seemingly endless series of concepts, outfits, scenes and poses.

"I started this project in 2006, when my mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma," Lee tells PEOPLE. "I wanted a way for my mom to see the kids without being exposed to their germs, so I started a blog to document their everyday lives."

He began by photographing them nearly every day, mostly after school. The schedule has slowed to two or three times a month, but it's still a priority – and he tries to make it fun for them.

"I rarely have them taking photos for more than a minute or two," he says. "I think their favorite shoots are the outdoor ones, as they are mini excursions for them. They also like the photos where they have a license to make a mess."

The hardest one to shoot? "The one where they are dressed up as witches flying through the air," he says. (Still, that's hardly the only one in which the girls seem to have superhuman powers.) The girls sometimes suggest scenes. "Sometimes the ideas work, sometimes they don't," says Lee.

Lee's biggest supporter is his wife. She always loves the photos, he says – well, almost always. "Occasionally, she raises an eyebrow and says, 'I hope this one is Photoshop.' "

Photographer Explains His Super-Creative (Viral) Children's Portraits| Real People Stories

Kristin and Kayla

Jason Lee

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