Photo Exploration: Theo on Stairs (Gratitude)

If you have a child, or know some­one with a child, you’ve got a ready-at-all-times pho­tog­ra­phy sub­ject. They move in unique ways, their per­spec­tive on every­thing is often quite enlight­en­ing, their expres­sions and emo­tions are far more unin­hib­it­ed than when we get old­er. And they nev­er seem to do the same thing for very long so there is always some­thing new to photograph.

This pho­to was tak­en just a cou­ple of months before Theo turned two. It had been a pleas­ant after­noon strolling around the Bilt­more Estate gar­dens but Theo was ready to climb some stairs on his own. Stairs are tricky things, espe­cial­ly for those in their first year of walk­ing upright. As walk­ing is basi­cal­ly con­trolled falling, the idea that in order to climb (or descend) stairs one must fall up or down onto a dif­fer­ent hor­i­zon­tal must be quite an adjust­ment. It makes for some won­der­ful sto­ry-telling — this new con­quer­ing of land­scape. An acqui­si­tion of a skill that will prob­a­bly nev­er leave.

Theo, Bilt­more Estate. July 2012. Canon A‑1, 50mm f/1.8, Ilford HP5+

Pho­tog­ra­phy helps me remem­ber moments. My days seem to be so full that I can get con­fused on remem­ber­ing if some­thing was a cou­ple of days or a cou­ple of weeks ago. But with pho­tographs, espe­cial­ly if I am dis­ci­plined in record­ing when a pho­to was tak­en, I can go back and have per­spec­tive on some past moments. It helps keep my mem­o­ry lin­ear­ly intact. And while there is some­thing to be said for hav­ing a gen­er­al jum­ble of feel­ings, I do like to have my own time­line at least some­what organized.

This Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day I am grate­ful for the abil­i­ty to watch and engage with Theo’s life as he grows. It does some­times seem to hap­pen in the blink of an eye,  but with pho­tog­ra­phy at least I can cap­ture it in 1/60th sec­ond bursts.