Shooting Portraits with Children

The Family's Next Generation

Shooting a model for the first time in May 2008 opened a door that I didn’t know till then was there, and a whole, new world opened. A cliché but true, I felt reborn: a new me, a new way of looking, a new way of looking at me.

This morning, I shot a family portrait. It’s actually the second time I photographed a family but the feeling was much like how I felt in May. Maybe some doors take time to really open. Maybe it was having children at the shoot. I love taking pictures of children! They can be difficult but their lack of self-consciousness is a reminder of Paradise Lost. With experience they’ll collect hurts, regrets, losses, embarrassment, pride and they’ll lose that primeval innocence.

Watching children can take us back to our own innocence, back to a time when emotions were simpler, not fraught with the memories of the years. Children are so much closer to the heaven some of us believe we’re headed for. In children that heaven is still visible, a truthfulness we lose with common sense.

Picturing children feels to me a task with which to gift all humankind. We all need to be reminded of where we were and where we can be headed for. Not to be a child again, but to rediscover the wonder of childhood, the wonder of once upon a time that with William Butler Yeats we can sing:

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands

I will find out where she has gone

And kiss her lips and take her hand

And walk through long green dappled grass

And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon

The golden apples of the sun.

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