People often ask me if I anticipate building a studio some day. And while I do bring a few simple things to newborn sessions, I don't currently have any intention of opening a studio.
After breakfast today, Lucy & I spent a few hours going through a box that contained collected memories-----bits of my life passed. Among them were photographs, (bad) poems I wrote as a teen, letters I wrote to Lucy while I was pregnant and decade old love letters from my husband.
Sometimes before I fall asleep, my mind wonders, if this house were to burn----if I could salvage just one thing---it would be this box. I always know where it is. And, from time to time, I peek through it and I'm reminded of when I sported awkward white girl dreadlocks (Yep). Remembrances the year I was a shark, with dirty white sneakers, for Halloween. Or what my mothers body looked like just days before giving birth to me.---I will spare you here, mom, from posting this photo online.
Photography enriches our lives because our memories fail. Our minds lose parts of the past that distance themselves more with each passing day. These images fill in the gaps. They make us dream.
When I look through my box of memories, it's never the formal school photos that make my heart smile. It's never the photos of our family that were taken on a white studio backdrop. While certainly they tell me what I looked like, and what my clothing looked like, they give me nothing more.
They tell no story.
They lack connection & context.
I wanted to share a few of these images from my life. It's not really the likeness of our faces that make these important. It's the story each images tells from my life. Stories, that would be lost without these photographs to tell them. The context-- the environment--is a crucial element.
The realness of my life is what I want to hold onto most.
With each photograph, my imagination is left to fill in the blanks. Photo one--my first day of school. The expression on my face suggests that my mother yelled for me to quickly stop for a photograph before I took my seat on the bus. I like seeing the bus driver in the photo. I like to imagine what crossed his mind as he realized he too would become part of this snapshot. Also his excellent sunglasses.
In the second photo, the context shows that we've taken the truck off of the road and into a field. And while I certainly don't know what we were really doing in this photograph, I am free to imagine parts of my life when we would drive the pick up into a field. It's winter here, I can see the snow. Perhaps were going to cut down a Christmas tree. We often cut our own trees when we were children. I have really fabulous memories of strolling through the woods, looking at each gnarly, wild pine, trying to decide which would grace our holiday. The crisp air and pine smell lives with me still today.
The third and fourth photographs tell me that I had big people in my life who weren't afraid to act like children. Men who would sit on a big wheel tricycle and talk to me. Adults who who dressed in absurd smurf costumes, simply because it made us happy. It brought us together. There is love in the ridiculousness.
The 5th photograph--I'm with my mother. It's obviously Easter, what with that enormous bunny and all. We're all dressed up, likely for church. There is a phone, attached to the wall, with a real-honest-to-goodness-cord! I would give anything to see my mother in that dress again.
The 6th photograph needs no explaination. The connection is obvious and makes me a little tearful even now.
Our real life. It was unkept. It didn't always comb it's hair, or wash it's face, or even wear a shirt. It forgets to shave sometimes. It's house gets messy. It's a place for loving & yelling & kissing & fighting & making up. It's a place for growing & changing & becoming. It's a place I like to remember.