One of the things I enjoy about becoming a photographer is looking out for work by others that I find interesting, effective, beautiful or thought-provoking. There are so many different uses of and for photography, comparing one with another is often a pointless exercise. As I study as well as work as a photographer, my understanding of what is possible for me is changing and developing all the time. Do I want to concentrate on observational photography or creating my own images that might communicate something to someone? Studying introduces to me to a wide variety of styles and photographic languages and it’s good to have begun appreciating just how much there is out there.
I know photographing families commercially, as I do, gives immense joy and pleasure to parents when they see the images of their children and families. The funny little scribbles I do on my phone and post to Flickr are like a kind of instant art, colouring-ins that give me immense pleasure and joy as I create them but are ultimately somewhat ephemeral. I’m still trying to work out how I can use photography to express myself and even what it is I want to express although the college work seems be informing that in some ways. (I don’t mind saying I was really rather chuffed to be referred to as an ‘artist, thinker and photographer’ by my tutor in my latest feedback!) I recently stumbled across a highly effective short online film made by photographer, Dana Spaeth, who has put a collection of photographs together to voice her concern about gun violence in the States. It’s a powerful film and the message is stark and alarming – share it, American friends; it is useful for me to see photography being used in this way.
I stumbled across the film on Twitter where it had been shared by a site called Scary Mommy. I’ve not looked at the site fully but my initial reaction was, ‘great, a site that promotes the reality of being a parent’. There are so many messages out there about being impossibly perfect that it’s somewhat refreshing to come across something that promotes a more truthful message. My youngest child is at that amazing age where new language just tumbles out of his mouth every day. As we listen to his developing syntax we are all constantly going ‘cute!!” It’s slightly disconcerting however that he is under the impression when we’re in the car that all people outside the car are called ‘bucking nankers’. To be fair to me I only tend to use the term ‘bucking nankers’ about motorbike riders who nearly crash into my new car (crazy fools because it’s most likely them that would have come off worse; the bonnet of my car could be fixed or replaced whereas their necks are more tricky to deal with) or suicidal pedestrians who step out in front of my moving vehicle. Oh, and the occasional ‘bucking’ aggressive driver who thinks he/she owns the ‘bucking’ road! Still, I probably need to temper my in-car road-rage when the 2 year old is with me.
Here are a couple of photos of my own kids for this week’s blog. They’re not at all like the commercial family stuff I do but I love the reality about them. I discussed whether or not to post the second one of my oldest son with him, and he said he liked the styling so I could go ahead – he was having a bad moment, just as any 10 year old boy (well all of us really) does from time to time. This is the reality of childhood and family life and I do find it quite satisfying to record. The first image is of my middle son teaching my youngest who has just moved out of nappies how to have a pee when there isn’t a loo around. “Thanks, dude,” said the baby!