Saturday, December 29, 2012

the 52 project

In late 2011 I started thinking about a portrait project. I was in awe of Georgia and her 365 photos of the year; even more enamoured with the thought of a hard-cover printed album at the end of it all. But I know what I'm like, and I knew that a photo-a-day would fast become a chore. From the beginning I wanted to create something that was rewarding and achievable. I loved the idea of taking a portrait of my children each week, capturing an expression, an emotion, a gesture. 

52 weeks later and I have 104 portraits; photos that tell the story of Che and Poet's year. It's quite overwhelming to scroll through the weeks and see such growth and expansion. I think my favourites are the unportraits; the ever-gorgeous top-knot, the hesitant boy on the edge of the pool, the twiddling of toes (a family trait). 

While some weeks I had a number of photos to choose from there were times when I spent late-Saturday afternoon taking photos (in preparation for my Sunday deadline). I often smiled at the unity of the portraits when they came together, especially the gaze, the blue, the bubbles, the polka dots, the light and the connection. This project was perfect for improving my photography skills, for understanding when to stand back and observe and when to engage. I learnt a lot about the light in my house too - its softness and its colour and how it changed with each season.

Mostly, I learnt about the importance of memory keeping. Because honestly, this year felt like 22 weeks, not 52. It was abundant but quick, a brimming blur of routine, school, work, play, love, life and sleep. And I'm so grateful I stopped to capture the little people amongst it all. I dog-eared a page in Happier At Home a few weeks ago and it seems apt to share it with you. Gretchen Rubin says:

One night, as some friends and I walked out of our book club meeting, I said, "Lately I've been feeling very wistful. Childhood is speeding by so fast. It's such a cliche, but it's true."

"I know exactly what you mean," one friend answered. "Whenever I get annoyed by the mess stuck to our refrigerator door, or about having to keep a stroller in the hallway of my apartment, I remind myself that these are the good old days."

"Yes," I said. "Now is the time to appreciate it."

As I walked in the door of my building, I thought, yet again, of how much I wanted to make my home a haven of comfort, warmth, and tenderness. We were in the rush hour of our life now, and everything was moving so quickly, and every day seemed so crowded - more reason to remember to slow down, stay patient, take photographs, and play Hide and Seek.

When I look at the photos I took throughout 2012 I see real life in still life, our busy weeks encapsulated in one moment. Memories that made up our year.


I'll be posting my first portraits for 2013 on Sunday, January 6th. If you are joining in, here's a button (created by the ever-so-talented Rebekka Seale) to place on your sidebar. You can link it to all your "52" posts or you can link to Che & Fidel - I'll leave it up to you. The first button is 250px wide, the second 170px wide.

Just one question: would you like me to include a link icon at the bottom of each 52 post, so you can leave a link to your blog?

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