Friday, January 16, 2015

Paying Bills with Cat Treats

It has been too long. I haven’t written and then when I think about writing I become overwhelmed by everything that I have to catch up on…and put it off again. So, no more catching up. I mean, I suppose eventually I will because surely there will be days when nothing new is happening, but even if I don’t, I can’t start where I left off or I simply never will. I’ll start…right about here.
Over New Years we got to spend time with my parents, my brother and his wife, and to meet their beautiful little girl for the first time. The last time I saw my sister-in-law she was feeling that not-so-great-early-pregnancy feeling. This whole morning sickness thing strikes me as a rather silly system for nature to have developed. I’m sure there is some elaborate evolutionary explanation, but it still seems unnecessary. In any case, she was feeling much better and we all had a really nice visit.

I stalked the baby and took an ungodly number of pictures. I can’t help it, babies (and kids) are so genuine even in the presence of a camera that it makes photographing them as close to nature photography with people as you can really get. It’s not until they get older and learn to think about what they might look like in the photo that they get stiff and awkward.
My niece also has such different coloring than my kids and so I found it more challenging to take pictures of them together where they would both be appropriately exposed. I think that I would really like to be a portrait photographer specializing in children and babies.

I am sure no one else has ever wanted to do that. Ever.

Okay, probably the only more sought after gig would be to find a salaried position photographing kittens all day.

The thing is that I love to photograph children because of that natural attitude but it gets a bit awkward just to go around taking pictures of other people’s kids. I don’t know why they wouldn’t want a stranger taking a staring kind of interest in their children…how could that be unnerving?

On the other hand, at least half the fun of photographing children is sharing the photos with the parents. As a mother, I know that we all see something incredibly precious in our own children and it’s hard to record that. It’s also something we desperately want to record because, even though it seems like the waking up at midnight feeding lasts for an eternity, they are grown up so soon. I love my 10 year old as he is…but I still miss the baby he was.

There’s also just a pride in the beauty of the creature you’ve produced and love so much and seeing a photograph that catches that is such a pleasurable experience.

It helps that the kids aren’t really critiquing their own photos either. Everybody hates their own portrait (to a certain degree, and Kim Kardashian excepted.) Any picture taken of an adult is impacted by that person’s self consciousness and internal dissatisfaction and so the experience is clouded by ego and low self esteem.

I guess that starts happening even before adult hood. My son, who is 10, looked at a photo that I had taken of him – the one with him and my niece – and asked if I could get rid of the spots on his face. He was talking about his freckles which I think are adorable and it made me sad to realize that he’s already developing small dissatisfactions with his appearance. He’s holding himself up to some sort of standard, probably whatever pre-teen magazine, heart throb, teeny-bopper kind of idol is currently hip, and finding that he doesn’t like the things that make him look like himself rather than an airbrushed mannequin.

Maybe pet portraiture is the way to go though…after all, my rat has never asked me if a photo makes his butt look fat. And I have yet to need to re-shoot because my chinchillas’ whiskers were in disarray.

The problem there is that they pay in kibble and I’m pretty sure my electric company won’t accept an envelope filled with cat treats.