Background Switcher (Hidden)

Photographing Kids

Monday, June 1, 2009

Liam on the Pig of Good Fortune.

When I take photos of other people’s kids they invariably stop what they’re doing, spin around to face me, and flash a camera smile, one that has nothing to do with anything, and isn’t a happy smile anyway. It’s just a face they’ve been conditioned to make when they see a camera. Who wants to see that? I want to see what they were doing before they noticed the camera.

He doesn’t know how beautiful he is to me. He doesn’t understand why I take so many pictures of him, but he usually doesn’t mind, either, and that’s why I get photos that mean something, not just grinny static snapshots, but little pieces of his soul.

When he does pose for me I wait until he's almost done posing to take the photo. When he's done making the face, the real Liam creeps back.

Phoebe is proving as elusive as a fawn where photography is concerned. I have a tough time catching her off-guard. It's all part of growing up, of half-hour showers and picking out just the right outfit for any situation, no matter how inconsequential; of the self-consciousness that comes from having your body change overnight into something entirely other than what it was.

So I stay back, behind, hoping to find her lost in thought or in something she's doing.

And marvel, because every image tells of the growing.

She waits for the bus, dawn finally painting the sky before she boards. It's been such a long, dark winter, and we'd just gotten a little daylight to enjoy when Daylight Savings Time plunged us back into darkness. It seemed counterintuitive, to call it that, to take it away on the blessed morning end. Finally, the birds are singing when we meet the bus. Just in time for school to end.

She stands under the sentinel pin oak that has weathered so many storms, so many fences, so many snowplows and graders, even had a chicken of the woods fungus poking out of its belly button two years ago. Still it stands, and each morning it watches this young sapling grow.


What can I say? You have lovely kids and you are very fortunate to have this blog while they are young...I'm envious and wish I had a blog fifteen or twenty years ago when I had a little girl...

When I had a little girl, too--now mine both married and starting families of their own.
Though, the image of a slender girl beneath a venerable old oak, I also remember--mist obscuring the details of its surroundings--it could have been anywhere, any child.

You're right to capture these glimpses, even though they may wince as the camera follows them along.
More valuable with each day, visions of the child.

I like that you wait and are patient for the very moment when you can really "see" them. It makes for such poignant images. Love that one of Phoebe with the daylight breaking behind her.

Is nostalgia and sentimentality a natural part of this time in our adult life? I've been right there with you, Julie, and I know several others--both men and women--who are in the same spot.

Julie, you have such an eye for what makes life beautiful. Thanks for the great photos and for provoking thoughts that would otherwise remain undiscovered.

You have said it. I love the boy poses, and I find at any age, if you take a photo of the goofy face, you get a perfect shot of the genuine smile directly after. And those girls - my favorite shots are when they have ceased to care that you are taking pictures, stopped the cheasy grins and drama poses to look off into the distance in thought. Capturing those moments are priceless...

Hey Julie,

Where does the time go? My little baby just turned 5. It only seems like last week I was rocking her to sleep. She's at the age now where she begins acting silly when I bring out the camera - making funny faces & poses. I don't mind, I just keep snapping away.
I especially liked the last photo of the large pin oak, old mailbox & Phoebe under it...would make a wonderful painting.

[Back to Top]