Photographing your real life, not just your internet worthy life.
We talk a lot about taking more everyday kind of photographs. I think there’s lots of reasons that many of us don’t necessarily take those snapshot moments quite as much anymore. For us, we’ve mostly got a particular style of photograph in our minds and have recently recognised that most of our everyday things are often taken on i phones. I’m sure we’re not on our own here!
but what will this mean as we all grow older? Will we still keep those memories safe? or will they be locked away on memory cards and masses of uploaded but never seen again files?
Last year we had the great pleasure of watching a talk held by Sian Davey. Her photographs in film told more about her own personal life and captured emotions that were so key to that particular second of time, that they brought both James and I to tears. She has such an incredible way of watching, waiting and taking photographs of a time. A time that won’t be back again.
Hearing Sian speak so simply about why she took all of her photo projects has stuck in both of our minds. We wanted that for our family, so so much.
I think perhaps what she taught us in that hour, was that life is not always about the perfect. Real is just as incredibly beautiful. Especially in years to come when everything has changed so remarkably.
So here’s our personal view of why we want to photograph more of our real, everyday, in the hope that this somehow resonates with you.
Our family feels at times, to be the LEAST photogenic possible. I know.. hard to believe right? Margot is a toddler and obviously super cute at the moment, but she pushes our buttons and doesn’t always leave room for additional thought. She is though, full of life and personality and I WANT TO REMEMBER THAT SO MUCH. I want to remember the way she walks to the bath when she’s naked, no cares and wiggling her bum as she goes. I want to remember her wide apart teeth and how much of them you see when she’s uncontrollably giggling at James. I want to remember the feeling of holding her tiny smooth hand in mine.
Logan Is in his last year of Junior school and is coping the best he can. The last few years have brought him difficulties as he struggles with a processing disorder and finds routines work best for him to enable his memory to work. He regularly obsesses over time and is so fussy with the food he eats, that even the slightest change can throw him into a spin. He’s hyper aware too and can pick up on other people’s emotions in a flash and absorb them. Bless him, at times it’s tough and all of these daily challenges can mean we’re also left a little frazzled. But I want to remember his particular ways. I want to have those memories of us reading together and seeing his face light up when I tell him I’m so so proud of his efforts. The times when he’s jumping up and down as he’s super excited about baking and feels like he just KNOWS he’s going to be a chef one minute, one day, and another day doesn’t even know where he left his school bag.
Ash is twelve and going through some serious transitions right now. One minute in need of some physical contact and then next, frowning at us in disgust at our lack of understanding about life as he sees it. He is also incredibly awkward at times and struggles with panic attacks and huge rushes of anxiety when he has to do something new. It’s so hard to watch when you’ve suffered yourself, but I’m always so proud of how he manages it and comes around. He’s started Boxing recently and it’s really not what we expected he would try. It’s tough on him as he’s never really been one for exercise, but is keen to get fit and strong and well, I don’t really see that as a problem if that’s what he feels he needs right now. I know this time will pass and it feels so incredibly important to capture ALL of these moments, just as they are.
So how do you become more of a documentary photographer, the one that watches and waits and asks permission to take these very intimate family stories?
It’s something we’re really working on this year and if it’s something that you would love to do more of, then take a look at Sian’s words and work. She could really spark your creativity and give you the push you need to pick up your camera.
Here is a list of some of our favourite documentary family photographers, the ones that capture the real, raw and emotional moments.
I will attempt to share with you as much as possible as we enter this journey of documenting, rather than curating. In the hope the the experiences we share, will help you to capture your own precious times.