Story Dated: 16.02.12
i saw an angel in the marble
and carved until I set her free
I read this quote in a book I keep by my bedside table, and thought it perfect for beautiful baby Angelica. I probably should have left my observations at that, but it seems that I can’t move on without saying a few words more about this session, and what it means to me to capture not only a new baby, but a new member of a family, in their own home. Because I am fascinated by relationships, it is of essential interest to me to observe, and capture not only the new baby, but a little of the atmosphere of change that has just taken place in a family home, with its own mood and sensibility, and history. The home can be seen as providing the context of the family, just as the family unit provides context to individual members of that family.
This is why I will continue to offer in-home newborn photography (even after my studio space opens mid-2012). There is something very special about how a home feels just after a new being has joined the fray, that cannot be duplicated in a photography studio. There is the sofa where mum curls up to feed baby, in the wee quiet hours of the morning. The same sofa that big brother hides in, and dad collapses into to rest at the end of a long day. I believe that photographs have the unique ability to reach back to us through time and space and remind us how these moments felt, long after fatigue and aged have softened the memories of rocking our new baby to sleep, safe and warm in our most precious spaces. Our place, and the objects we lovingly select to furnish it and make it comfortable (our ‘nest’) do become imbued with our energy and our memories, in lots of ways. Think back to the photos of your own childhood: ‘oh, I remember that wallpaper! It was in the bedroom we shared’, and ‘oh my gosh, remember that record player? In that house? Remember how we used to tie mums scarves to our arms and do roller skate-concerts for all the parents?’*
And I also love that in one single moment we can go from the deeply relaxing mood of the sleeping infant, the soft touch of the blankets, the gentle strokes on her forehead, the sweet baby smell and low soothing music, to the crashing open of a front door, a 3 year old announcing his arrival with thundering footsteps down a hall and an entrance in the room that is all unreserved excitement and pure energy. Then it’s up on the sofa bouncing and jumping, all ‘look a me, look at me, look at me now!’. Sure, I like my new sister, but look at THIS! I think I’ll come kiss her AFTER I show you my train set.
Another element I am really drawn to is the lack of control I have in these situations, which means that the photographs I capture are more dictated by the personalities of my subjects, than they would be in studio. For instance, when I am on a 3 year old’s turf, he is in control, not me. Even when I am there to photograph his baby sister. And part of who she is, and the family she has arrived into, is to be a little sister. There will be so much joy in that for her, and maybe a little being sat on.
Children are so multi-faceted and so very interesting. These little people are constantly surprising us, often managing to delight, amaze, amuse and frustrate all in the one moment. I suspect this is one of the very reasons many of us have them, and more than one at that*. I do not know any parents who are bored.
I think that welcoming a new baby is a perfect opportunity to celebrate every member of a family, whether it be parents who don’t want to be photographed (lol) or 3 year olds who do, or infants who would just like more of that lovely milk, take or leave the photos.
Congratulations to a beautiful family. We wish you a long lifetime of happiness.
*Maybe that was just me and my sisters. Sorry.
**Also we want people to visit us in the old folks home, but that’s a different blog post.