Over the years, you have learned - without realizing it - that your real life is ‘ordinary’. You have learned that the everyday moments, those regular things that happen daily, are less than ‘special’.
By extension, you have learned that photographs ought to be made of special things - you, in your best clothing. You, with your best smile toward the camera. The kids, hugging and grinning, squared on to the photographer.
Special moments, you have learned, do not occur daily. They do not happen naturally, and without a fair amount of orchestration.
You have learned they need to be planned for days or weeks in advance. That outfits need to be choreographed, faces need to be food-free, and everything needs to be just so… in order to be photographed.
What you have learned is a lie.
It is an unintentional lie that you have internalized.
It is not a malicious lie. It is not meant to be a damaging thing. It happens quite inadvertently, and quite unnoticed.
It happens when we stack our events in our lives, and assign them ratings based on importance & rarity.
A graduation is more important than one of the many regular days of school, we reason. It is the culmination of something great. Yet, without those many days of school, a graduation would not have been possible.
A wedding is more important than the many thousands of small touches, glances, kisses, or acts of kindness partners express toward one another every day, we reason. Weddings truly are wonderful things, and often times they bring together family and friends and all the love of the world under one roof. Yet so are the ‘everyday’ moments leading up to the union of two people.
So, memories - the most precious memories of your life, I bet - are of the everyday. They are of the things that happen without us planning it.
fragments from my childhood:
…I see a beam of light and a thick piece of freshly baked bread, spread with a generous layer of homemade butter and jam. It is the summer, we are at the village, and I am devouring this buttered bread with abandon. All summer long, we do this, the kids.
…Now I see frost, snow, ice. I play on the swing-set just outside our block of flats. All day long, I play outside with the other children. It is the winter, and I do this every day.
…I am hoisted up high, on the shoulders of my grandfather. We are in his living room, on the twelfth floor of his apartment building. My grandmother is at work. My grandfather has been reading me a story, but I was getting bored. Now I’m riding around the living room on his shoulders, taller than he is, asking him questions about the 1000 Arabian Nights and marvelling at just how much he knows about the world, about stories.
These are just a few of my memories. I revisit these memories. I do not have photographs of them, though I wish I did.
They do not represent moments that were orchestrated.
Yet they are special. They are extraordinary to me. They have remained in my memory for over thirty years.
I have put together a slideshow of my work in 2018, of all the photographs of the families I met last year. I hope they demonstrate just how extraordinary real moments in our real life can be.
Turn on the sound and enjoy!
And when you’re ready, visit my contact page, and we can document some of your everyday extraordinary moments together 😍