A common idiom spoken of children is they ‘can never sit still’. These words whether communicated verbally or by means of an exasperated look were expressed in no uncertain terms on countless occasions when I was growing up. We must all pacify as we grow older – that evil restlessness that took possession of our young mischievous minds subsides and in its place resides a much more docile and mature adult. (For most of us).
In photographing adults, I never find myself perplexingly maneuvering my camera to capture a glance in my direction – more often than not, people want their photo taken. With children however, like anything… it is a novelty at first but very quickly loses its appeal. As soon as a camera appears, 3 year old girls become beauty pagaent models and little boys become cowboys or superheroes however… After a few minutes the excitement wears off, the camera becomes yet another competitor for their attention and a bored look of indifference and stubborn rebellion starts manifesting itself upon their once eager little faces.
I took a series of photos for a friend and her two young girls a few weeks ago. The original plan was to take some family portraits, however our plans were thwarted by the absence of Dee’s husband who had come down with the flu only a day before. Nevertheless, not wanting to miss the rarity of a beautiful and sunny Winter day, the four of us girls decided to spend the afternoon together down at the park.
In the several hundred photos I took, no less than half would have one child (or both) hanging perilously off her mothers arm in desperate attempt to escape or otherwise be examining some leaf, stick or foreign object in effort to ignore the camera. I ended up putting my camera on burst mode hoping for one ‘fluke’ opportunity where I might by chance capture three faces looking at me and smiling… a very rare and sought after moment.
I had a wonderful afternoon and loved many of the pictures because they did, in their zany and somewhat unconventional composure, capture children as they naturally are – inquisitive, moody, possessing a very short-attention span, adventurous and crazed by an uncontrollable restless nature. It certainly wasn’t quite as “easy” as a formal photo-shoot with adults who are very particular about the way they look, stand and appear in front of the camera, but it was indeed a lot more fun!