I was in Evanston yesterday for the Evanston Art Center faculty exhibition (I have a photograph in the show). As I was leaving I saw a family I recognized from a preschool I photographed at last January. I recognized the boy’s face and then thought, “But he is so little!”. This reminded me of how often I see the subject of one of my pictures again later (a person or a space) and they seem much smaller than I remember. It is like when you go back to a place you haven’t been to since you were a kid and it seems like all the buildings have shrunk or like you have grown (which I guess in fact you have).
I find it really funny when this happens with my pictures. I spend so much time looking at the images I feel like I know the “reality” of what I captured, but then one day I find myself back in front of the subject again and it feels like I’m a giant! There is this weird moment of disorientation that I really love. Here are 3 pictures that has happened with:
The most fascinating to me has been with the preschool pictures. I would spend the morning hanging out with the kids, talking, playing and taking pictures, then go home and edit the images. The next day when I would be back to photograph again and I would be amazed when I saw the kids, they looked so tiny! and then I would remember, “oh yeah, he is only 3!”
I think this may come about partly because of the way I photograph them, making them dominant in the frame, and then spending all that time seeing them that way while editing the images. But, I’m wondering too if it isn’t just my imagination. While I was making the pictures I was in their world, engaging them on their terms, their reality…. the oldest ones seemed like the BIG kids (being 4 and 5) but then like the boy I saw yesterday from the 4-5s class, he was so small! There was a boy in the 2-3’s who really liked posing for the camera (first guy in pictures below), kinda seemed to be a tough, super hero sort of thing to his poses. So I would go with it, taking his picture and talking, experiencing him as he was presenting himself to me. Then later I’d spend that time choosing the best images and editing them, come back the next day and there he was, this little guy, three years old! He is still so much bigger in my memory of him…. In my mind and in the frame of the camera, he is this full sized person with a BIG personality. All of them are. I love that I can have that experience of a shift in my reality through engaging with kids and taking their pictures.