Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Simple and Summery

When Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin were interviewed for the Globe and Mail by Susan Krashinsky for an article entitled "Motherhood or career? A dynamic duo's case that women can do both" published June 6, 2014, one particular line in the piece really resonated for me: 

"Parents often develop greater patience, empathy, and coping skills. Those are traits bred out of necessity when faced with a tiny, screaming, irrational being, all while sleep deprived. But they can also be valuable in a work setting."

I have photographed quite a  few children over the years, both before and after having my own child, and I have to say, I really do have a different perspective now as a result of my own experience. One might say "well, duh" but I had some very smooth and happy shoots with babies, toddlers and children, before. I loved working with kids. Except for one brutal shoot that I will never forget. If only I could go back in time. 

Anyway, a few years ago I did a quick personal test shot of my son, never intended to be shared, and without much attention to detail or concept, but which had elements about it I really liked. I looked at the test print on my bulletin board every day for a long time and finally decided, with my now 10 years-in-development (parental) perspective, it might be worth redoing, with the same bright, simple feel, but with some planning, and a point. 

I knew the model I wanted to use, a certain little girl I knew to have a bubbly, slightly mischievous, but charming, independent and spirited personality. So I went in knowing full well I was really just going to have to let happen what would happen, within the somewhat loose (maybe not all that loose) framework I had created. And what happened? We shot over 200 frames and this little five year old girl was the most well-behaved, cooperative little trooper ever! (Note: she is not a model. But she could be!) What happened!?

The floral arrangement, which could not have been more perfect (thanks to a highly intuitive, and, really, spot-on interpretation of what I was looking for), was the work of my new friend Maija Reisenauer of the whimsically named Midge Flower Boutique. One of the newer creative tenants in our building, Maija brings ten years of experience (coincidentally the same amount of time I've spent experimenting with parenting!) to her art. The multi-talented Maija has also founded a successful line of cosmetics, and sells unique and lovely gifts in her boutique. How handy!

One final note: I realized going into this project that once again I was creating an image that doesn't really fit seamlessly anywhere in my current portfolio. Last year I 'threw out' a ton of images and made a concerted effort to define my vision more precisely. But honestly, I'm not interested in doing the same thing over and over again. One of the great things about being a photographer is that one can play with light, and play with subject matter, and create completely different images based on the way one combines those elements. That's what I love doing. And I'm going to keep doing that as long as I can. 

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