I don’t really celebrate Easter–at least not in the traditional sense of dressing the kids up in their Sunday best and heading off to church. I haven’t actively participated in any religion in longer than my daughters have been alive and I had no intention changing that for the sake of tradition. Still, they had baskets and dyed eggs, chocolates and bunnies galore. I had every intention on spending my Easter at the park with my sister, niece and my two daughters.
I completely screwed my diet that day. I ran around with the kids, ate junk food—ran some more. I laughed with my sister until my sides hurt. I planned on going home after that, counting it as an Easter Sunday well spent.
Or so I thought.
Somehow, I found myself roped into an impromptu photoshoot with a mutual friend of me and my sister’s. She was dying for some professional looking photos of her children—and her nephews and luckily, I keep my camera on me—usually. I never know when I am going to be inspired and what to take some beautiful shots of…whatever I see. I love abrupt beauty. It’s the sort of breathtaking moment that you don’t see coming, but when you capture it on camera, it is absolute magic. When I consider the sort of photographer I aspire to be, I don’t quite see myself as someone well put together enough to pull off something that requires organization. Of any kind.
I agreed to have her meet us at the park with her kids. And even now, I have to admit that they were really adorable. They were all color coordinated and polished while my own kids were covered in at least two layers of dirt, albeit, having the times of their lives.
The mother was polished as well, somehow navigating herself effortlessly through dirt mounds and high grass expertly in 4 inch stilettos while I was tripping over the laces of old sneakers that had seen better days—hell, better years!
The day was beautiful and sunny and warm and…I would have never thought it would be the day that I swear off child photography.
That’s right. I’m not being dramatic neither am I being facetious. I really have no desire to take pictures of children. At least not in the sense where I have to…you know…be near them. And I’m a mother. I have spent the last seven years of my life changing diapers, being thrown up on, peed on, coughed on—you name it, it’s been on me. I also have hundreds of pictures of my children all over the place. And don’t get me wrong, kids are great to photograph spontaneously. But a whole shoot dedicated to them? Not my cup of tea. Now to be fair, the older kids were a dream to work with. Their mom did a lot of the posing. She essentially took over the shoot and—well, yeah. I think the turning moment for me, was when I was asked to hold down a kicking and screaming toddler who wanted to play, not sit pretty. And I think I had more fun photographing his epic tantrum than taking pictures of purposely posed kids.
I’m not good with other people’s kids. They tend to like me because…I don’t know. But they make me nervous. And that kid, as gorgeous as he was, was too close to ‘baby’ for comfort.
I prefer, in a nutshell, photographing older kids (tweens and teens) and adults. No tantrums. No bribing someone to be still. No accidentally losing the kid you’re supposed to be photographing (because he maybe, kinda ran off while I was adjusting my lens). The more I progress in this entire journey the more I discover my style and how I like to do things. I think, for a week, I felt absolutely guilty when I realized that I didn’t want to go into child photography. It’s not for me. And that’s okay. I am being true to my art, and in turn, being true to myself. And while I’m not completely sure exactly what my niche is—finding that out is really half the fun!