Iconic Photo Series: The Fine Line Between Childhood and Teenage Years

I’m one of those sentimental people — a hoarder of some sorts — of memories.

I still have a (really tattered) shoe box of letters that I’m so grateful for, and I’m truly saddened by the loss of the tangible memory.

This moment for me is huge, because as young girls, we face so many weird changes with our bodies — especially at this awkward age of 12. My daughter, Ella, started to grow armpit hair (fast), and was ready to enter the semi-adult world of shaving, but the thought of putting a razor to her skin freaked her out. So, my little sister, Taige, who’s exactly three weeks older than Ella, took matters into her own hand.

Lift up Ells,” she said confidently, and guided her across that line from childhood into teenage years.

This picture is going to mean everything to them one day. The laughs they’ll have when they see this together, years from now, will be priceless. They’ll thank me, knowing that I thought this was important enough, to me, to document.

I shoot what I know I’d want to see, and this has worked out beautifully.

When I show clients their images from the Day in the Life sessions, they cry. A mom wrote a really long letter to me about her experience, and it is one for the books. Every potential client needs to read it.

I started off with one hour sessions, I’d try my best to get those “candid” moments, and I did to an extent. But in an hour session, when everyone is dressed up, perfectly coiffed, it’s hard to be natural, because the parents want what they’ve paid for: perfection.

When I started the pure photojournalism, documentary sessions, it all clicked, even with my clients. Luckily, I had past clients who had the one hour session with me, and then the Day in the Life sessions.

They made books from them, posted the sessions everywhere and went to town on marketing for me!

The funny thing, is that the one hour sessions are technically amazing – sharp, clean work. Day in the Life images? Well, they’re like life — messy, grainy, cluttered to a point, emotional, sad, happy, off-color with crappy white balance. I mean, it’s NOT perfect in any way, but the imperfections make it perfect to me, and to my clients.

That works. 🙂

I used to spend days comparing my work to others, spent hundreds of dollars on presets to make my work look like others — that de-saturated, film look? Still haven’t discovered it! But luckily enough…

I don’t want it anymore.

I’ve realized that photography isn’t a contest to win, isn’t a race, it’s not a competition, it’s not about the number of likes, or comments, or shares an image gets. Of course, it’s nice when it happens, but once you realize, deep down what photography means to you, all that other nonsense falls to the shadows (no pun intended!).

I used to really get down on myself when I looked at my competitors Facebook Pages, but now I can appreciate their style, and be confident in knowing, it’s not my style.

Knowing who you are and why you make pictures is THE only way to be confident.

Photography is simply about preserving memories for me, and for my clients, and yes, in a beautiful way.

The memory is first and foremost, and the ability it make it beautiful is just the craft we’ve learnt.

Photography is not about making a gorgeous picture, with perfection in mind. I’d rather have a grainy image, slightly out of focus image that makes you stop and think, cry or laugh, than a perfectly exposed, tac sharp image that’s blah.

Writing and photographs contributed by Aniya Legnaro.

About Aniya Legnaro: Aniya is a documentary wedding and family photographer living in the island of Barbados with her husband, two daughters, Ella and Adi, two furries, and five turtles.

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Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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