Entries in baby (6)
The topo map of my internal creative landscape lately looks a bit like I imagine Kansas - wide, meandering contours, vast empty space, point-less. I am used to inhabiting a creative Colorado, ideas jutting up into my consciousness like the million points of the Rocky Mountains and flowing out here like snow melt. Now I'm down here in the flat lands, trying to herd words uphill. Gravity is not my ally in this effort, when it seems like every helium-filled wisp of idea is encased in concrete boots and ditched somewhere around Byers, Kansas.
I bought a fancy new camera, and suddenly all the simple things I usually train my eye on seemed too banal for this equipment, like driving a new Ferrari down West Colfax, waiting at endless stoplights and passing shuttered motels and used car lots. This is neurotic, for sure, but if I have no pictures and if my ideas have all gotten lost somewhere in the central time zone then this space starts to look a little, er, past its prime.
So in case you have been wondering where I've been lately, think Kansas.
I got lucky this week though, when a close friend pushed this little Buddha of a boy out and into our village. This? This was worth getting the Ferrari out of the garage and racing at top speeds out to the University to witness. We human beings do this everyday, this birthing of new human beings. But damn if this nine-and-a-half pounds of confusion and tiny clenched fists isn't a miracle anyway. He is all fuzzy blond hair and fingernails and soon-to-be-blue eyes that are mostly shut hard because why do you have to keep it so bright out here, people? He is 12 hours old when I meet him and he is full of qi and hungry and smells like the fountain of youth.
The gift of all this for me was that I got to have a point. Milestones, rites of passage, these are obvious signposts that beg us to sit up and notice and freeze them in our hearts and minds. This morning as I write this, the baby boy is five times as old as he was in this picture, so I bet when I see him later he'll have lots of teeth and be cranking The Pixies in his room while he writes algorithms.
This makes me want to take note of things - all kinds of things - before they escape to Kansas, never to be heard from again.
My old friend Larisa told me a few months ago that I should enter a piece of writing into BlogHer's annual Voices of the Year competition, and since I usually do what people I admire tell me to do I dropped this piece into the running in their Identity category. And then because I am afraid to ask people to vote for things, I didn't tell anyone about it. And then I forgot about it.
So you might imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail yesterday saying I had been selected as one of the honorees. There is simply no way to adequately convey my delight at being included in this group of artists and truth-tellers, and more broadly, at having this space to air my joys and struggles and fumbling excursions through the wilderness of my internal creative Rocky Mountains. May a million more points solidify here and in our virtual village at large.
Meet Addie, again. It is completely mystifying to me that she could possibly be one year old today. It is amazing how fast the first year of life goes for babies who are not your own. I am in awe of how much fun Addie's parents made having an infant look. If Will and I ever have another baby, I am taking lessons from them.
Also, watching babies dive headlong into their first piece of cake? Never gets old.
My whole family was in town this weekend and I had every intention of being the family historian who took all kinds of fabulous pictures of everyone. It didn't work out that way, as I didn't feel much motivated to take the camera out in the middle of our visit. I still find it strange that there are times when everywhere I look I see pictures to take, and times when, despite the absolute photoworthiness of a situation, I just don't feel right with the camera in hand.
Adelaide visited yesterday where she was introduced to the wonder of the ginger snap. I try not to put too many baby pictures in this space -- cheap thrills and all. But that face, and that excitement over the first introduction of sugar? That's highly motivating.
For most of the two months since Sydney was born, we've been trying to set up a shoot during daylight hours to capture the fleeting moment of her newborn-ness and to try to come up with some image worthy of her birth announcement. Various inconveniences have gotten in the way, until finally, yesterday morning her parents and I managed to get it together.
A couple of things I learned or re-learned yesterday:
1. There's a reason why real baby photographers do this shoot in the first five or six days. Sydney is no longer a pliant, sleepy newborn. She was extremely opinionated about all the indignities that go along with being the subject of paparazzi attention.
2. My god, is there anything better than indirect window light? Definitely among my favorite lighting schemes in which to shoot.
3. Adults, by and large, do not like to look at photos of themselves. The Sydney images are an all-around hit, but the pictures with Syd's parents got a lukewarm reception and some requests for Photoshop magic. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to PS magic (though I'm not very good at producing it) but the response compounds my suspicions (borne out in my own life) that when we get right down to it, most of us don't really like how we look. I think photographer extraordinare Tom Hussey might have it right in the series of photos on his home page. And that makes me both a) sad, and b) wonder how, as a photographer, I can take pictures of adults that make them say damn, I look good!