kids of summer
What is/was your personal project and what inspired you to start it?
My personal project is titled “Kids of Summer.” One hot, summery afternoon, all the kids were playing out in the front yard, and it was just one of those picture perfect moments; one of those scenes that reminded me of my own childhood. I grabbed my camera and hid in the corner of the yard and just let them continue playing the way only children can play, so carefree and innocent. That’s when I decided that I would chronicle my kids’ summer. My goal was to capture them as they are – no pretty dresses and just bathed or combed hair, so these photos are what you would see on a daily basis – them at play, just being kids. Something they can look back on as adults, and remember their summer more vividly.
Are there any challenges or ruts you faced during your project and how did you overcome them and keep a creative eye?
It’s always a challenge for me to photograph them without becoming a director. I’m sure I fell into the director’s chair a few times, when I saw something that was particularly inspiring or interesting, if only they’d sit in that perfect light or wear that cute outfit, etc. I had to continuously remind myself, that for this project, that’s not my goal. Along with that, I had to help my children overcome that ugly Photographer’s Child Syndrome or PCS! They see mom whipping out the camera, and they immediately go on the defense. They hide or they do that cheesy camera smile. I had to keep reminding them, “I’m not here, just keep doing what you’re doing!” And thankfully, they usually did just that!
I also found it challenging to even find time to work on the project. When my children are out playing with the neighbors, I tend to use that time to get some housework done, cook dinner, or read a book. So I had to remind myself that I needed to get out and shoot, if only for 5 minutes at a time. I kept my camera on the kitchen counter, ready to grab when they were doing something memorable, especially if it was in that golden hour!
What have you learned through your process with your personal project?
Shooting every day doesn’t mean that I have to plan out a session each and every day, or even that my kids have to be clean or wearing clothes that match. Shooting every day just for me, just for memory’s sake, can be therapeutic and enjoyable. Also, I’ve learned that my shooting style changes depending on my subject matter, my mood, the lighting, etc. My photos don’t always have to look the same or be processed the same. A colorful beach scene is going to require different processing and evoke a different mood than a dirty child playing in the woods.
Is there anything additional about your project that readers may find interesting?
Getting out and shooting was only part of the process. It was important to just shoot quickly and candidly, but then when I uploaded them for editing, I was able to take my time and really find out what would make these photos shine. Often times, shooting candidly, doesn’t give you much time to clean up the background, or wait for someone to get out of the way, etc., so I did have to perform some cleanup in post processing; for example, in this photo, I couldn’t exactly move the swing or the generator or the park table, so I removed them in post and am much happier with the results (and to think I wasn’t even going to use this one, but when I saw his beautiful face all lit up by the sun, I had to find a way to make it a keeper!!!):