damn this is good baby photography.
all photos of Maxx and Lucy from Maxx & Lucy (click over there just to see their header, cause it’s good looking). Some photos by Christopher Kuehl.
Did you know Katie Chastain is the aunt (by marriage) of these kids? Check it out.
I do wonder what kind of bizarre psychological effect is wrought by having experienced a childhood that in no way lives up to the glamorized version of the childhood that has been presented to the world as the one you experienced. (This is, by no means, limited to the Made Shop folks, of course.) Anecdotal observation: americans seem to be increasingly obsessed with the notion of an idyllic childhood, and of the portrayal of their childrens’ childhoods as idyllic — to what end? I’m interested in this question.
Do you mean, what will she/they think when they look up their parents blog and see this idyllic vision? I think about that a lot, what will the things I document here betray in the future? It was hard for me to find even photos of my parents before they had kids, the only things I know about my young days are the things I have specifically asked about.
But also think, content-creation-wise, that we are finally taking back our childhood and our children’s childhood as idyllic. We’ve been seing the juice ads, the Disney pitches, the pre-framed black and white photos in gift shops, for years—feeling that other people had that idyllic life, but not us. Now, added with our blogs, instagram filters, and cameras, we’re saying: “look, our lives are awesome! and so picturesque.” Because they are, aren’t they?
Not so much the blog, but the copious photographs that will exist on external hard drives in every family’s house that will represent childhood to that child. But maybe including the blog.
I find the importance we place on self-presentation (myself included) around our experiences problematic. And what about when the person whose life is presented (child) is not the person doing the presenting (parent)? For instance, for whom are we really documenting our children’s “idyllic” childhoods? Almost certainly not just for our children, and I don’t even think that much for other people: for ourselves.
Errol Morris (on twitter, no joke) has some very interesting things to say about this. “Every photograph is a lie” or something along those lines.
Not sure that I agree our lives are awesome and picturesque, nor that the good life that has been marketed to us is desirable at all. Why would I want my memories and conceptions of my life’s experiences to more closely resemble Disney, pre-famed photos in gift shops?
But and so, yes, they are picturesque and awesome, but is that the whole truth, and is that the truth that it is most important to tell?
Put more plainly: are we actually interested in what it is like to be a child (in my memory of childhood, it is a dark and mysterious place, which lends it its magic, beauty and awe, but picturesque and awesome are not anywhere close to how I would describe it) or are we capturing a romanticized, stylized notion of childhood that fits our conceptions of how we hope our children and others see us and our family? And what disservice do we do to ourselves and to others by only capturing and presenting the awesome and picturesque? And, in fact, isn’t the non-awesome and un-picturesque the most powerful narrative of all?
Well what about pictures that get taken and then never looked at again? It seems like most digital photos (Instragrams, especially) sort of celebrate their own transience. The satisfaction is immediate, and not really contingent on the idea of looking back on it years from now. Like the Field Notes notepads that say “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.” Is that how that goes? The point being maybe we’re not so much projecting our ideal self to future admirers and biographers, but producing some brief and very temporary statement of self-conception, like a little reminder or credo. So pictures of childhood might not be for the child, or even about the child, but for the sake of a parent sorting out their narrative about what their life looks like, and what colors dominate their particular spectrum.
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After all, my erstwhile dear
My no longer cherished
Need we say it was not love
Just because it perished?
-E. St. Vincent Millay
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