Today it was balmy 24°. Rarely does it snow in Seattle. However, the last two years we’ve gotten a few inches, just enough to shut down the city. Theo’s first snow was on Christmas Day last year, a White Christmas, no big deal.
Ever since our son Theo was born I’ve been shooting with intent, documenting our days. It’s true with kids, the days go by slow but the years go by so fast. Theo will be two years old this summer, see what I mean? It’s been awesome capturing these moments over the past two years. While I value these photos now, I can’t wait to look at them with my son 10, 20, 50 years down the road. I’ll get around to sharing these photos I’ve been making of my family on this blog, but in the meantime I want to keep them to myself just a little while longer.
Document your days.
Today is my birthday. I'm 41.
Gosh, just typing that number is crazy. While I haven't reached official OG status, I'm enjoying this time in my life. I've got a beautiful family, we welcomed a son this year, a gorgeous wife both inside and out that supports me no matter what. I've got no complaints. I won't use this post, to espouse any life lessons I've learned during my 41 years on this earth. I'm still trying to figure all this out.
I will, however, take pen to paper and reflect on the photographic moments most important to me this year and what I'd like to do moving forward...creatively speaking. I've maintained this blog since 2012...that's like 20 years in dog years. It's time to change things up a little bit. The focus of this space has been street photography. I've enjoyed documenting random street scenes. But over the past year I can recall three instances that involved family and photography that impacted me deeply.
While in Ann Arbor, Michigan last year, one of my dearest friends mother gave me a small purse filled with negatives. The purse had to be over 50 years old easy, and the negatives inside much older. She told me that the living family has never seen what's on those negatives, so I offered to take them home and scan them. Just being able to bring those images to life for this generation and next generation was truly special.
Just this past week I got a text message from my brother-in-law who's mother passed away in December of last year after battling cancer. Just a year prior he said his mother would like to get some photos of the family. Not realizing the gravity of the situation, as I didn't really know the diagnosis, I met them at a local park and took some family photos. My brother texted me saying "Almost every week I look at every picture you took this day. This my mom in the happiest days of her life..." she passed away a few days before her grandson was born. This was my brother in laws first Christmas without his mother, but he had those photographs to cling too.
In another instance, my brother met his nephew for the first time this October in NYC. I snapped a few photos of their meeting and framed one for his Christmas gift, his first photo of him and his nephew, his first photo as an uncle. He posted to Instagram, "I damn near cried opening this..."
Today on my 41st birthday, with my son on my lap my wife gave me my present. The label read "To: Daddy, From: Theo." It was a framed photo of me and my son, overcome with emotion I cried. This is the first printed photo of my son and I.
I share all this because, you will start to see the images on this blog change a bit. While one of my favorite things to do is to get out there and walk the streets, camera in hand making images, I don't love it like I used too. As I grow older, I feel a pull to turn the camera on my friends and family, focusing on the people close to me. My most fulfilling creative and photographic moments this year all involved people who I love dearly. That is something a street photograph will never duplicate.
I lied, I will espouse a life lesson for all you photographers. PHOTOGRAPH and PRINT what you love.
I know I will.
Taken I believe weeks before the arrival of our first child.
It's been a long time /
I shouldn't of left you /
Without a strong rhyme to step to...
At least that's the opening bars of one of my favorite hip-hop joints of all time. Indeed it's been a while, something major happened since my last post back in March.
I became a father.
Needless to say, I've been a bit preoccupied and photography took a backseat for bit. As my wife and I prepared for parenthood we've had conversations about not losing ourselves in this baby. In other words, remembering we had identities before we became parents.
For me this means continuing to pursue photography as a means of a creative outlet. That's shooting, developing, and printing my images. With an emphasis on shooting. I would say one of the most difficult aspects of photography, isn't vision, mastering the camera, or even developing film. It's simply making the time to actively go out and shoot. Compound this with a newborn, you get the idea. But like with the people in our lives, you make time for what you love. Besides, I've got a beautiful new subject to document.