Monday, April 23, 2012

{Preview} Gus

When you have a newborn, time blurs like grass beneath your swing.  Four days to four months to four.  Hours move slowly.  Looping, knitting themselves into an endless stream.  Dreamlike because of exhaustion, and the desperate sort of love you wade in.  

I ached for the time when my children were small as I watched Anna and her Gus - swinging him slowly, gingerly, tender - like a bare beating heart on her sleeve.  Never more than a fingertip between them, his palms clenched and twisting fistfuls of hair.  Molding to her any-which-way.  It's a wonder how so many minutes of deep, silent, wordlessness can speak so loud and clear.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Working Hands.

My parents taught us hands were made for working.  And when we worked, we worked together.  Sometimes we made beautiful things; sometimes we worked on things that just needed to be done.  But whatever it was, I never saw my mother or father hire a plumber or contractor, painter or landscaper.  We did everything with our own hands.  We painted walls, held ladders so my father could scale too-high places, pushed wheelbarrows, learned to grout and lay tile.  Our small hands worked alongside theirs.  When I think of all the important things my parents have taught my siblings and me over the years, this is the one I always come back to:  hands are made for working.  The older Jane and Henry grow, the more I love watching them develop a relationship with their hands.  Holding, building, digging, gripping, never too young to realize the strength, flexibility, and thoughtfulness embedded in each small finger, direct extensions of their soul. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

{Preview} Amnesia

I never go more than a few hours without taking a string of photos.  But it has been a few cold, wintry weeks since I have shot children other than my own, and now that the earth is plush and forsythia’s burst everyone seems itchy to book a shoot.  I am unseasoned enough that inquiries still make my heart race wild, crushing over the thought of new faces, crafting images, and capturing children doing what they do best - being beautiful.  Then about ten seconds later, I am pacing the kitchen.  Panicked.  The dog is in the way.  I’m tripping over Legos, in a fog.  Was that ME they wanted to take photos of their family?  Quickly I’m searching catalogues for my favorite images, peeking into the blackness of my camera bag to remind myself…  YES!  I have a camera!  I have done this before!

Over the years I have given canvases that took months to complete away to complete strangers.  A few years ago, I released a handcrafted birdcage, painstakingly made with minute nails and a tiny saw into a dumpster.  I have spent too many dollars framing paintings and sketches that are now ever-so-carefully stacked against a wall in my basement.  The older I get the longer the trail in my wake.  A tangled mess of unwanted, unfinished, just-not-good enough.

This weekend, I asked a dear friend with a long history in the performing arts if seasoned actors ever get over stage fright.  He looked at me deadpan, and said, if they do, there is something wrong with them.  I took this as no remedy needed for the oversized Monarchs doing lazy circles in my stomach.  Sometimes the only medicine for this fierce amnesia of mine is a batch of photos like these -- deliriously lovely children, goofing around, light setting the hair around their faces on fire.

So I look.  Then remember: pick up the camera again. 

Let the spring season begin.