Sometimes when I’m hanging out with my kids, the mom side of my brain is present and having a conversation with them, but the photographer side is yelling, Do you see how the light is reflecting in his eyes right now? Look at his lashes! Then I slowly sidle over to my camera bag, saying, “Really? Yes. Mmm–hmm,” all the while, until we continue our conversation with my camera in hand. My kids are used to this, and maybe it’s not the best parenting practice, but such is our life. They think photo shoots are normal, like going to the dentists. Sometimes you just have to suffer through them.
Other times, the opposite happens. I’m hanging out with my kids, and even though the light isn’t perfect and my inner photographer is lamenting, I still sidle over to my camera bag, chatting all the while, then resume our conversation with camera in hand. But this time, even though the photographic conditions may not be perfect, the kid is.
Could I have asked him to move over a foot? Sure. Was the blazing midday soon less than ideal? Of course. But were we having fun talking, being silly, taking pictures, and would me getting into Photography Mode be a buzz kill? Definitely. So in times like this, I capture Jax as he is, basking in the sunlight and being my boy. There’s nothing less than perfect about that.
Is he used to having me peek at him through my lens? Yes, and probably too often. He humors me in this way. But he knows that even when my eye is behind the viewfinder, I am listening to him, and that connecting with me as a photographer is just part of being my kid. But I won’t ever let my camera come between me and him. I love every nuance of this face, every inch, every expression, even the grouchy ones. Sometimes I just have to document it all before he goes and changes on me yet again.
After all, he wasn’t just the one who made me a mama. He’s the one who made a photographer! My very favorite subject.