Personally, I’ve found that there are moments or even days when time passes so slowly; morning routines blend into afternoon chaos and the evening slips by in a blur of food, mess, bath and bed. Suddenly the day is done, the week has slipped by and the ‘To Do’ list remains untouched on the fridge. These days can be full of laughter and play, puddle splashing and squeals of delight, and they can also be full of tears and frustration. I find myself laying in bed wondering what day it is and laugh at how my life has become something so far from what I once imagined. And then suddenly, I can’t recall what my son’s first word was, or what that face he used to always make looked like. You think in the moment that you’ll never forget, but time melds together and memories fade quickly.
Sometimes I just sit back and watch moments happen, the hugs, the tears, the expressions. Its gold. When a precious moment arrises, I grab my camera (always near by) and take a few quick snaps. Then I go in and find the best the best angle, the best light. I don’t crop out the mess or the books, I don’t wipe the sauce from their faces. I like to tell the story, the story of right now, our family as it actually is. I don’t wait until the house is clean or the kids are straight out of the bath because it wouldn’t be honest (or happen often), at least not in this family. We’re messy, we have piles of books and puzzle pieces strewn about. All horizontal surfaces have stacks of things on them in an attempt to be organized. And I want to create this gift for them, a gift of photographs that tells their story and brings them back to these moments in this house with these people.
When I photograph my clients in their homes, I tell their story. Sometimes its not even a story they had acknowledged before. Little moments like Mom cooking or cleaning with the kids at her feet, Mom curled up on the floor reading books to her kids, Dad throwing his child up in the air right after a bath, a child in deep thought looking out the window, quiet tea parties under a sheet. These aren’t the typical family photos session moments, but they are the typical family moments and the moments that you want to remember more than anything. I love storytelling family photography because I love authentic interactions and expressions with children. And I love moving a mother to tears when I show her a photo that captures her child’s personality or captures her as a mother and the love she has for her children.
Try taking photos of your own kids during the day, keep your camera in easy reach and wait for the moment. Forgo the posed portrait this year and try something something more organic! I want photos of my kids that move me, photos that make me say “that’s exactly him” and leave me feeling nostalgic for days past… even if I don’t know what day it is.
These images are from a photo session with the Mantrop family last month. Paul is a talented and accomplished landscape painter and Andrea is the owner of Azzura, a well established and wonderful restaurant in Collingwood. Their two kids were so much fun to photograph. They were full of beans and ran/jumped/bounced non-stop for about 40min through their art filled house.