The Portrait of a Child

I find myself staring at these images today. To me, they are a great example of what I strive for when capturing portraits of children. I want to be there when they are experiencing real moments in their life. Of course I love planning the beautifully styled shoots as well, but to capture powerful moments like these is very special to me. I think it's important to consider both types of photo shoots as I capture your family over time. A child playing is one discovering their world. They are learning things that shape who they become. To photograph them when their natural talents come to the surface makes me enjoy what I do even more. 

As adults we become so much more guarded with how much we allow ourselves to be seen in our photographs. We have been practicing the same smile and tilt of the head for years. It takes a great photographer to help us forget those overly practiced poses and find something a little more honest. I think the more the photographer can understand that, the better they will become in all types of photography.

Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is the one they would like to show to the world... Every so often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe.
— Irving Penn

I don't mean to say that it's any easier to photograph a child. Often times there is fear of the camera or they are shy to meet me. A lot of kids are used to having pictures taken of them with a small phone, but many have never seen a large camera. They get a little nervous because they don't understand what it is. I am willing to teach them about the camera, get on the ground and follow them and wait for the moment to happen. It cannot be forced, I just have to be ready. However, a child is not afraid of how their image represents them in the world, they don't care if they have dirt on their face or messy hair, so it is far more likely they will allow me to capture the moment when it happens.

And if I may take it a step further, I believe once these children become adults and look back on these images, they will appreciate the truth I captured.

As adults, we aren't as willing to share that part of us as quickly as we did when we were children. However, we are happy to share that version of our younger selves with those who we believe to be judging our current image. I believe that is because, as Mr. Penn stated, we know that who we are at the core is wonderful. A great portrait is a powerful thing, I think it should start before the person finds the face they think the world wants to see, it should start with the one that finds adventure in what they do everyday, and maybe they will be able to hold onto the ability to show their true face just a little bit longer.