Photographing Childhood: the image & the memory
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With childhood photography it’s important to personalize it, remembering that we’ve all personally experienced this time no matter how vivid or f… Read More
With childhood photography it’s important to personalize it, remembering that we’ve all personally experienced this time no matter how vivid or faded those memories of childhood may seem. The secret to unlocking childhood memories is to do away with pretense and collaborate with the young child before our lens. A funny thing happens when we open our world to perspective of a child; we begin to see with our own childhood eyes. We remember our own age of innocence and wonder. It's about visiting them in their world rather than dragging them into ours! When we combine this perspective with the mastery gained through experience know-how, we have an authentic formula for a great photograph. Photographing Childhood: the image & the memory is a book dictated to the artist-photographer of childhood; someone who wants to inform their work rather than just push a button. The very first chapter, titled "The Authentic, The Idyllic & The Fantastic," is about identifying your intent and understanding your objective as a photographer. The second and sixth chapters are informational galleries of international historical and contemporary work. These chapters feature photographic greats like: Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879, Great Britain), Lewis Hine (1874-1940, USA), Edward Steichen (1879-1973, USA), Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004, France), Sebastião Salgado (Brazil), Emmet Gowin (USA), Joyce Tenneson (USA), Takashi Homma (Japan), Rania Matar (Lebanon), and Achim Lippoth (Germany). The contributing contemporary photographers offer insight to inform readers of the thoughts behind there work made possible by interviews by the author. The third and seventh chapters are the "nuts and bolt" chapters that cover all you wish you knew about your digital camera and what to do with the images once they've been taken (from workflow to presentation), but does not miss the most important element of a photograph, next to the child themselves, and this is light! Lastly, the well of the book is complete with a 4 page fold-out of the timeline of childhood and what to expect at different stages (newborn to teen) and the philosophy of considering both the image and the memory when working with children. Photographing Childhood: the image & the memory is all about allowing the child to take you on the journey and enjoy the ride while capturing and sharing the images. Read Less
Published:
Photographing Childhood: the image & the memory
published 2011 by Focal Press, an imprint of Elsevier
This book is the result of many hours of historical research, introspection, collaboration via interviews with amazing contemporary photographers combining seamlessly with the know-how of over 20 years of experience and education (shout out to The School of Visual Arts Masters in Digital Photography program).
Below are outtakes from the book. It is available to order online or to be picked up at your local bookstore. 
I am really pleased with the resulting book and feel grateful to have a publisher that allowed me the freedom to create without heavy-handed direction. 

Consider this book as a gift to anyone who seeks a holistic approach to photographing childhood, someone who seeks to be an informed artist-photographer and not just a button pusher.  Creatives, you can feel confident in recommending this one to your friends!  ;)

196 pages - Softcover (random excerpts from each chapter posted here)

Amazon
Queen Anne Books ...a small "Mom and Pop" bookshop in Seattle,WA   
*pay a bit more, feel less guilt because you supported the little corner book shop!
“WHICH OF MY PHOTOGRAPHS
IS MY FAVORITE?
THE ONE I’M GOING TO
TAKE TOMORROW.”

– Imogen Cunningham

THE BACK STORY...
 
When I was asked by Focal Press to write a "how to" book on taking pictures of kids I was both flattered and horrified.  They had come to me after a recommendation they received to view my work, and they liked what they saw. Still, I felt it was very flippant for them to think that I could provide a "one, two, three formula" for others to produce similar images.  "That is just so wrong," I thought. 
 
It has always seemed to me that there are far too many books sold about "taking pictures of kids" with the premise that a formulaic approach is possible.  None seem consider the individual child or the individual artist-photographer at all. I didn't feel I could be a part of that deception and stifling of potential creativity.  Is this what they were asking?

When I voiced my concern, while turning down their offer, the very wise and wonderful Cara Anderson St Hilaire of Focal Press asked me how I would write a book about photographing children and then allowed me to pontificate about my thoughts on respecting and collaborating with the child, the importance of viewing and seeking to understand great work and its context (both historical and contemporary)—allowing it to inform one's own work, and the importance of technique only if it supports the capturing of light as a co-subject (I'm not just talking about exposure). It has always been my opinion that technique and "systems" alone do not make good photographs and, although none want to hear it, being a good photographer requires work but being an artist-photographer requires authenticity of subject, shooter and context.  Blah, blah, blah... and so I went on...

After hearing me expand on my initial thoughts Cara simply said, "Can you put together a proposal of what you think would make a good book about children and photography."  
 
This response totally caught me off guard in so many ways and the pause between her question and my answer seemed very significant (at least to me).  Hmm? It was really easy to speak off the top of my head about this, but to put it all in writing in an approachable way just seemed incredibly daunting (no wonder no one had done it); I'm a photographer not a writer after all (or so I thought).  Yet, I accepted her challenge and within the cracks of writing new curriculum for three separate college level courses I put my thoughts to paper and turned them into Focal Press a few months later.  

It was maybe a month after that when I received word that my proposal had been accepted and another few months more and I was able to corral an amazing graphic designer, Matt Simpson, to work on the grid with me (how lucky am I), and enlist the help of the very talented Davian Roberts Ogilvie to be my ideas editor (helping me shape my thoughts and writings into concise bite sized morsels of information).  I decided to step away from shooting for a spell and lived off my savings.  I got to work on the manuscript and design and almost a year later the book was published!

Again...
 
Consider this book as a gift to anyone who seeks a holistic approach to photographing childhood, someone who seeks to be an informed artist-photographer and not just a button pusher.  Creatives, you can feel confident in recommending this one to your friends!  ;)
 
...and so ends my shameless self promotion.
 
196 pages - Softcover (random excerpts from each chapter posted here)
 
Barnes and Noble
Queen Anne Books ...a small "Mom and Pop" bookshop in Seattle,WA   
*pay a bit more, feel less guilt because you supported the little corner book shop!