Friday, July 27, 2012

Ways of seeing

I took my first photograph when I was three, maybe four years old. I have the original 4x5 copy from the late 80s. It's a blurry, off-kilter picture of the two greatest women in my life - Mum and Baci. They're both laughing; the harsh flash reflecting off Baci's large round glasses, Mum in mid-sentence most likely instructing me to push the shutter button. It's one of my favorite photos to date, in all of my 26 years.

What I enjoy most about it is the subjects. They're not posed, but in their natural states. You can see my way of seeing at that time.

This past Sunday I photographed a fellow editor and close friend of mine who also shares a passion for photography. She's nearly eight months pregnant and wanted maternity photos with her family. The afternoon shoot turned into a couples/maternity/family photo shoot at Mount Holyoke College.
Her oldest, Francis, who I believe is seven, has become enamored with photography. Digital camera in tow, he was more interested in shooting next to me than being my subject. At every spot we stopped, he had to be rounded up to join the family. Truthfully, it was entirely cute and endearing. And I loved how patient he was with the slow, ancient model.

There's two specific shots I snapped of him taking pictures of his parents. This is my favorite of the two. I love how he's propping himself against the stair railing, firmly grasping his digital camera with both hands. The look on his parents faces attests to how great they are as role models - this was the sixth or seventh time he had jumped out of the frame, unable to control his need to take a photograph - and yet they're still smiling away for him, not rolling their eyes or looking at him skeptically. (Fellow photogs, I know you know how he feels.) I love his sister crawling up the tree in her polka dotted dress. But mostly, I love viewing what - and how - he's seeing.

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