My eldest turned 3 in September. A few months before, I had finally picked up my film cameras again after having not shot very much at all since he was born, and my son’s interest was piqued.
He was desperate to have a go but I have a few cameras that I really didn’t want him to touch. He may be advanced for his age but I’m still not going to hand him my Pentacon Six! However, I have put aside a camera each for him and his brother. They are both point & shoot film cameras which belonged originally to their great grandmother and great grandfather. I pulled out the Nikon RF2 and loaded it with Kodak Gold and watched as my son went through the 24 exposures in just a few minutes. The excitement and joy was clear, his face a picture in itself.
He has shot 5 rolls to date and I find the whole process fascinating. Being present whilst he takes pictures is almost like performance art. My son has always been the type to chat to any stranger in the street and this was no different, he catches people off-guard, taking photos and chatting to them about his new camera; people visibly soften despite their worries about getting too close, what with Covid-19 and all. He rushes around, excited to take his next shot, which is just as likely to be part of a window frame as it is to be of my chin and it’s contagious. It makes me laugh out loud to watch him.
The energy and excitement show in his images too. The quick compositions scream energy from the frame, you can imagine a tiny child running, stopping, snapping and then running on again. I’d love to share some of his colour work one day, but I’m still working on digitising colour negatives. So for now I thought I would share 5 frames of me, shot on Ilford HP5.
It’s rare for me to be the subject of a photograph, I am usually on the other side of the camera. Plus, photos that have been taken of me in the last 3 years do not bring me joy. Becoming a mother has changed my body beyond recognition and I’m still trying to build up the strength that I had before. It so often now feels like I’m looking at a photograph of a stranger and not of myself. But there is something about these images, I recognise myself here.
What does this say about the uninhibited way he makes images?
What does it say about a subject’s relationship to their photographer, and how that affects the outcome?