"All right, no one move! Everyone look at the camera and smile on the count of one... two... three!"
We often think of the perfect portrait as poses on point! Everyone smiling and looking at the camera, not a hair or fabric out of place. Sure, I have fine art and posed "smiling at the camera" portraits in my home. However, looking around, one might notice that most of the photos in my house aren't the "perfect posed portrait". My favorite thing about photography, and one of my biggest inspirations, is capturing the essence of who we are and what makes a moment so special.
Being able to capture a moment in time, and allowing the memory of that moment to be relived over and over again. A perfectly posed photo is a "nice" portrait. "Oh, you have a beautiful family." But, imagine a portrait that takes you back to a time and place, allowing you to feel as if you're living in the moment all over again. You can hear the laughter. You can feel the sand between your toes. You can see your children playing. You go beyond what's just in the frame. You relive the whole experience. Your mind takes you on a journey back to that moment.
Imagine ten years from now. Your children are older. They grow so fast. They'll have changed drastically in ten years. Their childhood is just a memory of the past. Now, imagine being able to travel back in time to when they were little. No, time travel does not technically exist. But, imagine getting to relive certain moments. Such as certain smells can trigger memories forgotten, a photo that tells a story can invoke emotion. It can take you back to a time and place to remind you what it felt like being in that moment. We remember the tiny details. It can take you on a journey through the whole experience, unlike a, "One... Two... Three... Smile!" photo.
Capturing the essence is more than just a lifestyle portrait. Lifestyle photography has been popularly trending on Pinterest over the recent years. I do love lifestyle photography, but instead of searching through boards for inspiration, I look to my own children. I watch them play. I study how they interact with the world around them. I change my perspective to see through their eyes. I see their little minds full of wonderment. I think back to my own childhood and remember what it was like exploring and imagining. I want my photos to show that there was a whole experience behind a moment.
As adults, we see a blade of grass as nothing more than just grass. Actually, we probably don't even notice it at all. We just walk over it. It doesn't even exist to us. But, to a child, a blade of grass is everything. They see it. They stop what they are doing, and their whole world momentarily revolves around it. They see it as beautiful and interesting.
I could have stopped my son, and told him to look at me to smile for the picture. That picture would have just ended up stored in a scrapbook somewhere, or worse, a hard drive. Yes, I would have loved it because I love any picture of my kids. But, it wouldn't have expressed the reality of that day. His childhood innocence. His imagination. His interest in the world around him. This photo has become one of my all-time favorites. It captures the essence of who he is.
This photo was taken in 2016. The older he gets, the less interest he has in the world's tiny details. It happens to all of us. The closer to adults we become, the magic of the world slowly fades away. I will always have this photo to remind me of his childhood. Not only what he looked like at that stage in his life, but who he was on the inside.
The essence, to me, is capturing the experience. The magic. Capturing who a person is. Telling a story.
Looking around my home, I'm reminded everyday of the joy our memories hold. I'm reminded of things that I might have otherwise forgotten. I'm reminded of the little details. The details that often get overlooked. Every photograph in my home takes me on a journey.
I love watching them grow, even though I wish they'd stay small a little longer!