I'm a firm believer that photography enables us to capture moments in time. That the right moment can evoke powerful emotions, that the right photo can capture an emotional moment that happily becomes a part of the mind's eye.
It can be about the composition, certainly. The setting also plays a part. For me, however, the job of a photographer is to pull all of the pieces together so that the photo showcases a scene, an emotional canvas for the audience. Sometimes it's about that particular instant, and sometimes it's about the bigger picture as well. This is part of the reason why I like to get to know my clients before the session. The more I understand you, the more I'm able to capture what is important for you at this moment in time.
This is one of my favourite recent pictures. In terms of equipment and set-up, it's fairly simple - a quick snapshot I grabbed on my phone while playing on a snow day. Compositionally, I'm happy with it. From a photographic perspective, other than not using my "big" camera, I think it's a solid shot.
However, it's both the overt and deep meanings of this shot that stand out. This was taken on a local snow day - the 6" of snow covering the ground coupled with bright sunshine is a rarity here. My husband was working from home, so I was able to grab a few hours with my older son for a mommy-preschooler date, a rarity at this point in time. And this was our first time ever sledding together on a true hill - one with speed bumps, gullies and trees at the bottom of it.
Hearing my son shriek for joy as he glided down and ran up the hill repeatedly was...simply... amazing.
Perhaps most poignant for me, is this moment in time. Watching him sled down the hill, I saw him travel away from me, growing smaller and smaller until he nearly blended into the scenery. It was hard letting go, particularly on that first run. My voice called out to him the rules of the hill, what to do if he got too close to anything I deemed dangerous. (Which, of course, was everything.)
And then I suddenly realized that I'd done what I could. As he picked up speed, my voice faded into the wind. As hard as it was, it was my job to stand back and let go, and somehow find the trust that I'd given him the tools to be okay on his own.
The little man starts kindergarten in a few months. Like his sled rides, time seems to be picking up speed. It feels like I was just pregnant with him, and yet he's about to join the "big kids." As a parent, it's bittersweet. Letting go may be a necessary part of parenting, but it's certainly not an easy one.
As he climbed back up the hill after one of his first rides, he looked tiny to me. And yet his shadow is no longer the little guy he once was. There's a growing boy in there. No longer the toddler, not quite the big kid.
After this ride, he asked me to ride down with him. I want to freeze this moment in time, when he still asks for me to join him on the sled. For no matter if he's ready for the big hills or ready for the big school, he'll always be my baby. Even if it's my job to let go, and to watch him soar.