Monday, November 9, 2015

Parenthood: Week 126 - 10,000 Frames


That’s a conservative estimate of how many photos I’ve taken of Ollie. That’s about 10 photos for every day Ollie’s been alive. Mind you, this is a estimate is on the low side, since I’ve deleted thousands of photos of Ollie that were blurry or out of focus.

Ollie’s generation is the most photographed and video recorder of all time. The digital camera cut people loose from the restrictions of film and the smartphone added a level of accessibility to cameras that most people had never experienced.

I wasn’t all that into photography. Even after getting my first digital camera, a Canon Powershot, I didn’t use it that often. What got me really inspired with taking photos was Buffy.

A puppy is the perfect model to learn how to use a camera. They look good at almost any angle; they are constantly doing things that are interesting and cute. As much as they run around, they also can be very still.

I learned a lot from taking pictures of Buffy. There was no need to limit the amount of shots I took so I started taking a ton of pictures and got comfortable with only having a minority of the shots turns out. Since Buffy’s eyes didn’t respond well to flash, I focused on utilizing the light in the room, which made for much better pictures. Buffy’s size as a little puppy forced me to take many pictures lying down the floor, which taught me a lot about perspective.

My brother, Ed started getting into photography and I was really impressed with the quality of shots he was getting with a higher end digital camera. With the SmartPhones on the market, point and shoot models were becoming less relevant so camera companies started making DSLR cameras which combined the ease of use of a point and shoot with the functions of a higher end camera. A couple years before Ollie was born I got a Sony DSLR and my photography world exploded.

Shutter speed, white/black balance, and aperture became parts of the way I thought about photos. The possibilities of this camera seemed overwhelming at first but like a larger palette of colors, the control I had over the images became liberating.

I loved the way that people reacted to my photos and I loved how the world looked through my lens. The stillness of the photos allowed the meaning of moments to express themselves in ways that memory overlooks.

When you are taking photos, you are pulling yourself out of a situation. For a couples seconds you are no longer participating in the moment. While there have been many magical moments I’ve captured on photos, there have been others that I’ve purposely not photographed (often through Diana’s suggestions) that live in our memories.

Some photos bring back memories but others don’t. They are just reminders of things that we’ve forgotten. In this way the memory of the photo itself sometimes takes over the memory of the event.

Yes, I partially take photos of Ollie to show off to people. He’s pretty damn cute. Photography is an important way that my mom, family members and other friends who aren’t local, stay involved in Ollie’s life.  I don’t think I’d take as many photos of Ollie if the only people who saw them were Diana and me but I would keep taking photos.

It’s true, kids grow-up really fast. Looking at photos helps you take a moment to reflect. Pictures of Ollie help us remember how much he has grown as a child and how much we have grown as parents.  They are documents of the blessing of parenthood, the ultimate adventure in our lives.  I don't know how much these photos will mean to Ollie when he is older but they mean a lot to me.

The hope for the future is motivating and the present is an exciting ride, so much of the meaning of parenthood comes from the past.  Our memory is imperfect and photographs don't fill in all the gaps, but they help a lot.  

But 10,000 frames?  Really?  Well, that's what happens when you take a weekly photo of your kid and your dog . . . more details about this with a later post.

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