In the previous posts I have given you ideas on the what’s, where’s, and how’s to document your children. Today, I will conclude with the why’s.
And it is actually rather simple. Why do you want to and even need to photograph your children? Because you are telling their life stories through photographs. You are documenting their changes from babyhood to adulthood and every step in between. From their first smile to their graduation day, you, as the one with the ability to take great photos are responsible for writing this part of your child’s history. Think about all the history classes you had to take in school. How do historians know these people existed or the events actually happened? They know because of written record and photographs. So, by documenting these moments for your family, you are THE most expert historian of your family. You are providing them with tangible memories to pass along to other generations. But much of that depends on one thing. You must carry through and actually PRINT these images.
We live in a day in age where pretty much everyone has access to a device or camera that takes photos. I am willing to wager that many of us have literally thousands of images sitting on our phones and hard drives. And I am just as guilty as the next person in that I have trouble going to the last step and printing my images. We spend so much time actually taking and editing these images, yet we rarely print them to enjoy them. My youngest son asks often why doesn’t have any photos of him on the walls or even tucked away in a photo box. What makes it even crazier is that he is the one I have photographed the most over the last five years. I need to take my own advice and stop them from “hiding” in my computer and get them out and into our hands. Without prints, it will be difficult to pass along these images to our grandchildren so they can pass them along as well.
Another big why I have for wanting to document my kids deals with my heart. Since I started my daily photo journey, I have truly gained much more peace of mind and the ability to relax when it comes to mothering. Back when I was single and had no children, you could say I was fairly rigid in my routines and anything unexpected would through me off my equilibrium resulting in stress. Now, twelve years into marriage and raising three boys and documenting them obsessively over the last almost six years, I have learned to let go and not sweat the small things. Like mud. And messes. And all the rest of the chaos raising these three young men entail. Sure, some days it seems like I am living a life right out of Lord of the Flies, but these moments are real and allowing myself to embrace them instead of cursing them under my breath has been refreshing. I am very thankful that I have been able to let go and just observe and document them being 100% kids. No longer do messes give me panic attacks, as long as they make them in the prettiest light. The raw emotion and authenticity of our daily lives moves me to continue capturing all the moments we experience in our family.
I am passionate about being my family’s historian. Over the last several years I have found things that work (and do not work) in regards to documenting true moments. My skills as an artist have improved drastically and challenged me to photograph in a variety of lighting situations and locations. I know my camera and its functions as well as I know how to use a television remote. From the mundane to the exciting, I cherish each image I am able to create when I photograph my children.
OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
Allison Wheeler is a lover of lifestyle photography from Norman, Oklahoma. Her eyes were opened to photography by toying with Instagram in 2010. She got a camera soon after and learned to use it by documenting her life with her husband and three young sons. She now happily does the same for others, from births to weddings and almost everything in between. To see Allison's most recent work, visit her Facebook page. She often gets on Pinterest to avoid cleaning her house.