Monday, September 27, 2010

Documenting our kids lives

I have about 6 photo's of me from my childhood.  In those days having a camera was a luxury, film was expensive and more often than not a 24 photo roll took months to consume, weeks to develop and then the precious photos were sent to far off family never to be seen again. 

I have about 4,000 photo's of my daughter who has just turned 6!  I can't help myself, I just want to document as much of her as I can because as the saying goes "they grow up so fast". I also have a child who loves to perform, and she in turn has a mother with a shocking memory.  Oh I had great intentions of keeping a journal of the pregnancy and her childhood, things like first words, dates of big things like teeth, first steps etc.  But I never did get around to doing that - thankfully I always have my little camera and phone handy and so the photo's have become that journal (and they very considerately date everything and put them into little folders for me).  Despite not having a video recorder I've made many 2 minute long clips on my digital camera of my daughter talking to me and making up songs, so I've handed over the documenting to my fairly basic technology at hand.
Taken on my phone one mornin last week - Sanja the Sun Princess
Having Belleville has been a double blessing.  Apart from fulfilling the dream of having a unique store that catered for stylish kids and their adults, I've also had to have several photo's taken for the store.  Who better to model the clothes for me than my daughter Sanja and the kids I've gotten to know through the store and the community around me.  And so I've been lucky enough to get some professional photographs of my daughter to tack onto the MANY amateur shots of mine.

I've never been the type of person who would have considered having a professional photography shoot for either Sanja or myself (or heaven forbid, a portrait of the two of us!).  I honestly couldn't justify the cost and more importantly didn't really ever think that posed shots would ever be as beautiful at capturing a moment that just happened by chance.  But I'm completely converted now.

Over the past year I've had 4 very special photographic experiences.  The first was with a shoot for Brisbane's Peekaboo Magazine with Naomi Vassington as the photographer.  Sanja was photographed alongside several other children who had specifically been selected for the shoot (I think you'd call them child models).  Whilst the other children seemed perfectly at ease with natural gentle smiles, flicks of hair and poses, Sanja had a very sombre face and nothing could make her smile.  But Naomi clicked away and the result was beautiful.  She looked etherial and that pose has become her little trademark, much like Zoolander's Blue Steel.
Next came Liz Jones from Redboots Photographic who was first a customer of Belleville then friend and photographer. She's taken 2 shoots for Belleville and we've posed for her together as part of her portfolio.  With each shoot Sanja is more comfortable with the camera and brings more and more of her personality out.  Seeing her confidence grow has been a wonderful thing.
Last week we were priveleged to have Benjamin Nichols of Big Fry Photography & Video come into Belleville and take some shots of Liz's delightful boys Reuben & Ben and my Sanja.  I've been a fan of Ben's photography for a while and knew he would capture the kids and the store perfectly.  I even braved it enough to have my own photo taken.  His approach to the shoot was just wonderful, the way he made the kids feel comfortable and turned what could have been hard work into a fun morning was enough to make me start planning a personal shoot for Sanja and I - told you I'm converted!  I've never liked having my photo taken and now twice in as many weeks and more planned.

Then just days later I discover that one of my favourite customers Hailey Bartholomew is also a photographer and we spoke about how lovely it is to have special photographs and videos documenting our lives.  Looking through Hailey's website and blog was so much fun, her photo's are like what I'd LIKE mine to be, with perfect focus, great lighting and amazing clarity.  She captures those moments that I love, there's nothing staged about them and they are as far from those unattractive portrait shots I never wanted to have as is humanly possible.

Family photographs are no longer rigid and contrived in a blank studio, but shot in your house, your yard or anywhere that's important to you.  They are spontaneous and fun and capture moments that never can be posed for.  They are also no where nearly as expensive as they used to be and are tailored for your budget and needs.

There's a new breed of photographer out there, and I'm quite happy for them to shatter my delusions that I know what I'm doing when I take my happy snaps.  Not that that will stop me, but I will definitely be putting aside money each year for some special photographs to be taken of both Sanja and I.  Photographs that we will both treasure when she's grown and off on her own adventures. 

Have a look and tell me what you think.


1 comment:

  1. Great shots - I started blogging as a journal for my family (My Dad wanted photos sent to him weekly when Amelia was a baby) From there I started to blog as a crafter.

    Love those pics - off to check out the photographers - we are in the market for a family shot at the moment.