Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back From the Deep Freeze: From Babyhood to Toddlerhood

Am I being facetious to say it's been cold? Somehow, global warming hasn't hit my part of the world colding maybe...Even my nephew who's two can tell us with his limited but burgeoning vocabulary that he's freezing!

It's hard to believe he's grown so much, that he's a toddler. He's really beginning to formulate his concept of the world, developing a personality from this world view, and articulating in simple terms his needs and wants. I guess that's a clinical, sanitized version of events. From the other world view, he's also curious to no end and getting into all kinds of mischief. He's at the "Terrible Twos". He needs to touch everything, to feel an object's texture and hear the novel sounds it makes. Bend it. Bang it. Throw it. Crumple it. Invariably it breaks (common)... On one hand, he can be infatuated by something for long periods of time and on the other, he can be easily distracted. Other than his preternatural affinity for the vacuum cleaner, he's typical. I think... :-) This firsthand knowledge sure helped with a recent family photo shoot session.

I was contacted by a co-worker of a friend. Tina commissioned me to do an in-home photo session with her family which included her husband and two-year old daughter. I met with her (I usually meet with clients beforehand) to discuss location, wardrobe, and direction of the shoot. Tina is an accomplished architect and artist in her own right and her husband a former actor, so they were able to clearly articulate the kind of photos they wanted. We agreed that we were not fans of the staid and posed family portrait...We like the black and whites, the muted – capturing life as it happens and not imposing the camera or our wills upon what would happen. My belief is that something like this can only happen in the home or some place where the subject is truly comfortable.

A week later, I went back to their house for the session. As we'd discussed, they wore whites – in the preliminary meeting I advise wearing simple, solid colors. OK, I'll admit we did begin with some traditional black and white family shots to ease two-year old Tara into the shoot. I brought an old bicycle horn to attract Tara's attention to the camera. It worked. For awhile...

But then we let Tara be and went on to shoot in other parts of the house. She became the little director AND star of the shoot. And that's the magic of this kind of photo shoot. Unencumbered and uninhibited. Playing. Being fascinated by the simplest of things, things we adults take for granted. Tara being Tara. Mom and dad parenting. A true document of life.