How can I adequately express what it means to me to photograph a child? Much of a shoot with a young child is spent chasing and attempting to contain their fluttering butterfly spirits, and it can sometimes be exhausting. You just can’t predict the direction they’ll take or where they’ll suddenly land, and so the only thing to do is to become the breeze they create and let it carry you.
There is perhaps a selfish quality in my photographing. Outside of making sure the child is safe and not afraid, I really don’t care what anyone else thinks when I‘m working one on one like this. I’m not considering the parents and what they might want. I’m not striving for a cool shot in order to impress. These kinds of thoughts can visit either before of after the actual moment of photographing, but never during. There is only the desire to connect with the butterfly spirit.
The accumulated years that I’ve lived have caused my own wings to become rather laden and heavy, and the truth is I need the children I photograph. Their
feather light wings carry me back to me.
How can I adequately express what it means to me to photograph a child? Maybe I can’t. Maybe all I can do is keep photographing them in hopes that the portraits I make will one day tell the story for me. What I do know is that in this moment of pressing the shutter release I’m none of the labels I might otherwise think I am. I’m not at all what other people think I am. I’m really not even a photographer in the 1/400th of second it took to make the image. As clearly as I can see, I’m only a being on a bench. But I’m fully there, and it’s everything.