Ever since having kids of my own, I have been amazed at the dynamic between adults and children. Much of the time adults seem to look at young people as lesser beings-- something to be controlled and dealt with rather than individuals, OR as adorable, sweet little people with much of their value being based on their cuteness. At least that has been my perception. Adults typically don't seem to take kids seriously. I hate even calling them kids-- they are still human beings, after all. As a parent who photographs my boys a lot, and who sees other parents doing the same thing, it got me thinking: I photograph my sons because they are interesting and cute and people generally like to see pictures of cute kids. Every parent does the same thing. But do we really care what our kids' point of view is? Do we honestly care about what they have to say, or how they feel? It is something I try to do as a mother, but I'm sure I don't always take them/their concerns/their feelings seriously. It was a matter I wanted to both evaluate and explore, as an artist, through my favorite medium: photography.
For this project, instead of trying to give my sons a voice by photographing them, I decided to let them photograph me. I was always pointing a camera at them, why not let them do the same to me? My oldest son Ezra (who was 4 at the time) was able to decide when and how the photographs would be taken. I helped him set up the camera to be able to use and he pressed the button while pointing it in my general direction. I helped him with post-production in editing them in a way that he liked, keeping the images saturated and light.
By doing this project with him, I opened myself up to the vulnerability of being photographed when I wouldn't normally choose to be. I had to be open to seeing the way my son sees me, and I had to be able to let go of control.
I think for the most part Ezra was proud of what we did, though he didn't seem very interested in it for the most part. And I did have to remind him to take pictures for our project at times. At the young age he is, I am sure he doesn't fully grasp the symbolic nature of what we did, and why I think it is important that everyone has a voice-- including children. But for now I hope it can serve as inspiration to anyone wanting to be inspired. In the future, my hope is this is something we can look back on that will not only bring the memory of a certain time in our lives, but also serve as a reminder that his point of view has value.
When I asked him what we should title it, he said: "I took pictures of my mom."
Though we decided together which images would go to the exhibit, I have included a few more in this gallery that didn't make it to the show due to gallery space restrictions.
This series was a part of a group fine art photography exhibit at the Provo Studio during the month of May, 2015.