An album for my kindergartener - Vancouver Photographer
I’m making a photo album for my son. He starts school in September and I want to gift him his early childhood in a book before he starts this next chapter as a big kid. It’s one of those things I’ve put off for too long now. I have thousands and thousands of photographs from his childhood, mainly because it’s my profession, passion, and way of processing my big feelings. For this album I'll include anything that moves me, anything that has to do with his milestones, anything that represents him. It’s not going to be a work of art, but a work of heart.
In looking through these photographs I've taken over the last 5 years, it strikes me how little I see of myself. I’m the one behind the camera, as in most families one parent takes on the snapper role and is often omitted from the photographs of family life. There are some pictures, mostly phone-snaps taken by other people, and I’m thankful that I had enough presence of mind to ask them to send me the photos right away, before they got lost in the images of that persons phone. It is so important to me that he sees that I was in fact there. It is not enough that my presence is known, I want him to actually see me. See what I looked like, how my face changes when I look at him, how much I love being his mother. And that can’t be shown by just showing the pretty pictures I made of him with other people.
I had an epiphany sometime last year. I was looking through the thousands of photographs I have made of my journey into motherhood, and I realised how incredibly lucky I am to have these pictures to gift them and how incredibly sad I am that I’m not pictured much. It was that realisation that led me to create a business around photographing people in their homes. Grabbing their memories into a time capsule for them. I wish I had known about documentary family photography before, and within the next year I’ll be hiring someone to do our family. Because I want my kids to see how we are as a family. Not just how I see us, but how someone else would see us. How hard we work at being their parents. How much we love them. How loved they are by the both of us. It's our family narrative in a visual form, and to me there is nothing better than sitting down on the couch, snuggled up with a kid, remembering together through a book of photographs.
Now I’m making albums, with my photos and photographs from other people who included me in the frame. My hope is that when he’s out of the nest and having his own adventures, maybe he’ll take these albums along for the ride. Hopefully to remind him, in all his rebellions, that we’re here, that we love him, that we have always loved him and want him to find his happy.
In September he starts school, his first step away from my embrace and into becoming an independent human. I feel really sad about it, but also really happy he's starting to carve out his own path.