Friday, December 5, 2008

Family Photo Shoot: Part 1

It's no secret that I love taking pictures. I also love looking at pictures (and scrapbooking them, too). There's something so magical about capturing a person's element, their spirit in a photo. And I love how the photo lasts forever.
I always go back to my childhood to explain how much I photography. I have very little memory of my life before age 7, and unfortunately, my father died when I was 7. I have hundreds of photos of me, and dozens of him, and handful of me with him. In an effort to trigger some of my forgotten childhood I did a high school project on memory & photographs, inspired by Bradley Speech Team member Carrie Spencer and her rendition of Marion Winik's Sixteen Pictures of My Father. (Carrie was my coach at speech camp the summer between junior and senior year, and I also performed Marion Winik's prose for my high school speech team with her coaching; I found the piece extremely theraputic, and life changing).
In response, the last semester of my senior year I researched the visual as a memory trigger, and after freewriting and journaling while looking at my pictures I was flooded with memories. Real memories, the tangible kind. I recalled the feeling of textures on the fireplace in our apartment, smells of the wood cleaner my mom used, and sight outside the frames of the pictures, simple things like the cords by the television, and the pages of the books on the shelves in the pictures, so specifically I can remember the inside of a small blue antique guide my mom had with Bible-thin pages, and an excyclopedic format. The project was a deep soul-searching, and ultimately healed many of the wounds I had from my father's death.
In junior high I had a camera, and took many pictures. In high school I took some basic photo classes, had my own camera, and fell in love with the nice expensive camera being Drama Club President gave me access to. I became speech team historian, and took hundreds of pictures of the plays, the speech tournaments, and the basic life of my friends and I. I even recall, embarassingly, subjecting everyone to multiple slide shows that were way too long... I had no clue what I was doing back then. :)
In college I was the picture taker, too. I have, again, hundreds of pictures of us doing every random thing, from laughing, drinking, giving speeches, driving, and winning National Titles. To date, I've taken thousands of pictures of my kids, and they are only 4 and 2 years old. I have pictrues of the tantrums, the fights, the bruises, the kisses, hugs, cuddles, and mundane.
Death is still admitedly my biggest fear. The thought of me, or one of my immediate family members passing on paralyzes me. I panic at the thought, and swing into action: hence the blog, the scrapbook, the journals, the stories. I know my husband being a solider doesn't really statisically put him a more risk for death than the average person driving on the freeway in LA, but I still worry about his looming deployment.
That being said, I asked Alyssa to photograph our family together outside, in the best light possible, at the park, near scenic parts of our town. I took many of the pictures myself, in fact all the of the shots I'm not in. But, Alyssa endured a few hours of taking pictures of our family, and for that, I am so grateful!
Here are some shots from the beginning of our session, at a local park. I love parks as a setting for photos b/c the surrounding bring out the kid in everyone. I think we captured the kid in each of us in this small sampling of images.
First, a few of the trees:

The boys:
Dad assists on the slide. I laid in the sand to get this one:

The monkey bars, wild kid Hunter:

As Ben used to call it, the Me-Go:
The kid in Alyssa:

The kid in me:

Jason used his several-pound advantage to trap Theo at the top of the teeter-totter. Thus, we see the kid in Theo, who we see quite often actually:
And, the kid in Jason:

Ben's outer kid:
The first family shot... tons more to come.

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