I have struggled a lot lately with how to document my son. Partly, it's a schedule thing combined with an available light thing. He is either at school or a sanctioned event. If he is at home while the sun is still out, he is inevitably doing homework, reading a book or(most likely) on one device or another. It leaves me with very little documentary options....especially options when he is clothed because on the weekends, if we aren't out and about, he tends to lounge about in his underwear for a good part of the day. And, goodness knows that posting images of him in his underwear is not an option ;) Especially in light of his understanding that now, anything I post can be seen by anyone who googles him. Or me. He doesn't want his friends to see some of the more 'intimate' moments of his life...nor, does he want them to hear many of the stories I wish I could tell ;) And, I can respect that.
When I started out documenting my kids online, I never dreamed of how the online world would grow. I never dreamed that one day there would be entire online schools dedicated to teaching moms the 'best' ways to capture their children's lives. Or Instagram feeds showing the best of the best to 10's of thousands of other moms. I never dreamed that people would realize who I was by recognizing my kids...and that my kids might not like that. I never stopped to think about what I was doing at all, truth be told. Until the last couple of years that is.
And, now, if you want to learn how to use your camera, you aren't on your own. You don't feel alone...the way I felt alone. Well, that isn't entirely true...you don't feel alone until your children hit about 8 years old. For some reason, in the online documenting of kid's lives...it sort of stops there. We see a lot of toddlers and babies, but very few tweens and teens. There is very little inspiration about how to go forward. Partly, because the new wave of momtogs(a word I detest but it aptly fits) has not had the time to see their children grow up yet. So, the momtogs of 7-10 years ago...if they are still, in fact, documenting their own kid's lives, are a drop in the bucket by comparison. So, here we are again...treading unchartered waters. With very little inspiration to draw on. That fact used to really hold me back. I mean...my kids aren't cute anymore ;) At least, not the way a 3 year old is cute. But, I still want to document their lives in a way that honours our experience without telling the whole truth behind it because that feels more sacred now. Like, as they develop into who they are, it is THEIR story to tell NOT mine so much.
With all those muddled thoughts in mind, I have been trying more earnestly to document my kids. Even if it means that I don't share the images with all of you. Because, in the end, they are for me. And, for them. But, I am hoping to share more now that I am getting my own head wrapped around how to document them my way. Here are two images of Jack from last night when he somewhat reluctantly agreed to let me do a 5 minute project with him as the subject. You can see the rest of them here: http://5minuteproject.com/ A group photography project I run with a bunch of awesome collaborators.
And, if you know of anyone documenting their teens and tweens in an awesome and authentic way...please leave the link in a comment somewhere as I'd love to see how they are managing.