"OK, which toy do you want, Jason."
"Ummmmm, I want the girl ducky."
"Yeah, that one."
"You know, you used to call this one the Jason ducky."
"That's not a Jason, that's a girl."
"Why do you think it's a girl?"
"Because it's a girl ducky."
"What makes it look like a girl?"
"See that? That's the make-up."
"You mean the little eyelashes? OK."
"Yeah, those eyelashes are called make-up. My eyelashes don't have that."
"I guess not."
"You know what mine are called? Mine are called merner."
"Merner? That's not a word, Jason."
"Sounds like a word to me."
Water In The Eyes
Last year at his dance recital, Jason kind of froze up. I don't know if it was the lights or the crowd noises, but he looked a little like a deer in the headlights. At the very end, though, he did his somersault at just the right time, and the crowded erupted at the cuteness. I felt like my chest might burst, so much was I swelling with pride and love.
This year there was also a boy in the dance who froze up, but it wasn't Jason. He looked confident and like he was having a lot of fun. And, as you can see, both cool and adorable.
How is it possible to feel so much joy, so much love for a person? I don't know, but I do.
The first time through, he got stuck and shouted for my help. I gave it, and he continued on.
The second time through I was there waiting for him, and reached out to give him a leg up before he could get upset. I followed beside him the next few times, ready to push or pull as soon as he asked.
But before long, he had figured out how to climb over that steep spot on his own, and thereafter he didn't need me anymore.
But then he turned and beckoned me to follow him in. "Daddy, come on!" he shouted. "I want you!"
It's nice to be wanted.
I mentioned that my camera is kind of busted--well, my first reaction upon seeing this frame was annoyance, followed by chagrin. You can get enough of a sense of what each individual capture looked like to tell that both of them would have been keepers for this particular assignment, and knowing that I'd lost them to a camera error both frustrated me and made me sad. As the days go by, though, I find that the result of that error is really sticking in my mind.
I'm not usually one for camera tricks, and multiple exposures are usually one of the first things that you play with as a budding photography student--certainly my friends and I all did, back in high school. Moreover, I tend to view art as something purposeful, and the accidental nature of this image's genesis is the sort of thing that makes me think it's a throwaway.
And yet, I can't stop thinking about it.
There's just something about the chaos of it all, the happenstance. The way things come together at odd angles, and the way that the little gestures of each individual exposure come through on their own while still seeming to contribute to the resultant whole. I find it compelling.
Maybe I'm reaching, but I think there's something there.
A Quiet Moment
I love this picture. I think it's my favorite from the entire session we did for Juliette's dad. I love it for a lot of reasons. I love it for technical reasons: the lighting, the textures, the selective focus. I love it because it looks like what Jason looks like right now. And not just the way his features look, but his personality, too--the way he's fiddling with his shirt, belying the calm, almost tired look on his face. It's a truthful picture in many ways.
But it's funny how pictures can lie, even when they're telling another kind of truth. When I look at this picture, it looks like a quiet moment. There's a serenity to it, a peacefulness. It's in the gesture and the light, the way darkness brushes over half his face. And that's not what that shoot was actually like.
In reality, Jason had his normal morning energy. He was playful and silly, full of smiles and constantly moving, even when he was sitting still. In order to keep him engaged enough to actually get his picture I had to wheedle and bribe and tickle and make faces.
And yet, it's funny how pictures can tell the truth, even when they're lying. Because, as I said, the way he looks in this picture, that's him, too. It may not have been him on that morning, but it is in him, and for the split-second of this photograph, that's what he showed me.
All this, and more, is why I love photography. And parenting.
Arts and Crafts
Pictures from Preschool
This year for Teacher Appreciation Week, I decided to be a bit more organic than last year's interview: