When I was little, I loved to color.
I loved it so much, and was pretty good at it, that I won several coloring competitions held in my town one Halloween when I was about 5 years old. While I may not color much anymore, my youngest child shares the same joy for coloring that I once did. Of my 3 kids, she’s the one most likely to color inside the lines too.
What does this have to do with photography? Plenty.
Photography is all about your creative perspectives. This obviously applies to the choices you make as far as lens, settings, angles, light, and processing but it also has to do with how you think about photography itself. I got into photography to capture my children, but what I didn’t realize is that I’d be photographing myself through them. Darken the hair and remove the curls and photos of my youngest coloring could just as easily be me.
(left: me, age 5, with all my coloring ribbons. right top and bottom: my youngest)
The same goes for my son. I often think he resembles my side of the family most when it comes to looks but his personality couldn’t be more like my husband’s. Not only do they act the same and have the same sense of humor, but they share the same interests. At a young age, my husband showed an interest in mechanics by taking apart a VCR (remember those?) just to see how it was put together. A few weeks ago, my son told me he wanted to see what was inside electronics so we pulled out a broken DVD player, gave him a screw driver, and let him disassemble it. He’s completely fascinated by the pieces and has gone on to take apart a few other items around the house, with our permission of course. Not only have I photographed my son’s interests but my husband’s as well. If I processed this a bit more vintagely, this could easily pass for my husband.
And the crazy ensembles my oldest comes up with? Yeah, she got that from me. I may not remember putting these outfits together as a child but I now get to relive that experience through her. She may not resemble me much, but I have now eternally captured her and a part of me she did inherit. I love that I can photograph my childhood quirks through my children!
(left: me at age 3. right: my oldest at age 3)
Photography is no longer just for me. When I photograph my children, I’m doing it for them and for my parents and in-laws so we can all continue to relive these temporary moments that my children will also get to relive through their children. This perspective has helped to influence my photography and creativity.
April Nienhuis, Oklahoma
Director of Online Media | CMU Instructor
website | facebook | pinterest | instagram
Lover of thunderstorms and despiser of socks, April lives in rural Oklahoma with her firefighter/EMT husband and their 3 homeschooled kids. For CMU, she teaches the Exploring Creative Photography workshop, showing others about her love for unique perspectives, exposures, and compositions and not tying yourself down to one style.