You don’t have to be a photographer to know some moments cause you to SPRINT for your camera: like when you walk into a room to find your kids have painted their entire bodies. We first: run for the camera. Second: clean them up.
Or, when we go into the bathroom to find an empty bottle of bubble bath and a mountain of bubbles where a kid once was. We sprint for the camera, then give them the talk about how we won’t be doing this again.
Some moments you can’t NOT document.
This day was one of those days. I find myself picking up my camera when I notice the wonderment of my children.
On this day, they’d awakened to a new bug observation kit, and that meant bug-catching started at first light. One of the most glorious parts of parenthood is watching our children grow and change. Seeing them speculate and hearing the ‘whys’ of the world is a treasure.
Our children are ever evolving. I always find it interesting to see the bits that stay steady and the bits of them that shift and mold as life happens. I have two little girls, so the whole business of bugs could end at any moment, which is why I knew I had to document our day full of bugs. Tomorrow snails may be way too yucky to touch, let alone to let slime up their bellies. I suspect that won’t be the case for a while, but a day like this may never come again.
And that’s why I ran for my camera.
This record I’m keeping of my kids’ evolution has been surprisingly important to them.
They want to see the story, and even more so they want to share their stories.
I often wonder how these photos of our daily life are shaping them and how they’LL reinforce the memory of their childhood. When they share the story behind the picture, they light up with a greater sense of pride in who they are.
I don’t have many printed memories from my childhood. We took plenty of photos on film, but they never were printed and ended up being destroyed.
I have no doubt that if I could see some of those lost photos, I’d have a rush of memories fill my mind. Small important pieces of my life which brought me to where I am today, that are lost to my mind’s memory.
Today, my act of documenting is a selfish one, as I really do it, because it’s something I love so much. That said, with tomorrow’s eye, I can see that I never want my kids to lose that piece of themselves that’s lost within me.
Blessed be the gifts you never notice,
your health, eyes to behold the world,
thoughts to countenance the unknown,
memory to harvest vanished days,
your heart to feel the world’s waves,
your breath to breathe the nourishment
of distance made intimate by earth.
– John O’Donohue
What a lovely sentiment and blessing, as it’s unrealistic to document every moment of our lives. I hope the pieces we have in print are enough to help our memory to harvest vanished days.
With the new cell phone epidemic, parents are taking photos and leaving them in cyberspace. In twenty years, will our children see those photos? Maybe, but what about in fifty years when they’re grandparents? How will they share their legacy with their own grandchildren? Printed photos have a strength about them, a type of preservation that nothing else can quite match.
These photos are more than moments frozen in time. They’re gathering places in our home. They’re proof of our living. A visual story of growth, change, and sameness.
Story and photography contributed by Britney Hales.
About Britney Hales: Britney is a storytelling photographer who specializes in family films and birth stories. She lives in Layton, Utah, shares her life with two daughters, husband, an annoying Goldendoodle, and a grumpy ewok dog. Her days are full of wiping noses, combing through morning bed-head, and playing tea parties. She loves to create films for her clients that feel like nostalgic memories. She also can’t stop documenting her two little girls and their relationship to each other and the world around them. Britney loves making photos which are iconic to different phases of life: parenthood, childhood, sisterhood. Moments that other people can relate to even if they aren’t part of the picture.