Sunday, February 13, 2011

to 200

Sue asked us whether or not our photographs accurately reflect what our life is like (or something like that, I'm too lazy to go back and look at the exact question). It's hard to say for sure. Part of my interest in this project was to "document", for lack of a better word, this year at home, with all the big changes that were happening. The truth is the photos don't necessarily reflect the day-to-day.

I don't, for instance, have a photo of me on Monday carrying all three of my children at once (two in slings, one on my back) up the street from the streetcar stop because the Toronto Transit Commission is all but inaccessible with a stroller (and I'm lucky, I can't even imagine what it must be like with a wheelchair or other accessibility device), and my just-six year-old was in a mild state of shock after her vaccination. In fact, I have very few photos of me carrying any of my children, even though it's how I spend about 90% of time.

I don't have a photo at all from the day when I had a complete breakdown, shortly after a friend gently reminded me that I don't have to do *everything* and shortly before another friend called me to do labour support at the birth of her child. That's #191. And in the spirit of Sue's question, I'm not posting a replacement.

The truth is, the moments which are most indicative of my life this year are the moments when I am least able (or willing) to pick up a camera. It's just as difficult to capture the joy I feel in hearing Joe sing a totally inappropriate song to babies over the baby monitor. Or the laughter shared when we discovered that big sister shouting letters of the alphabet elicited giggles from six month-old infants. Or a quiet moment where Joe and I promised that we would find the time to be friends, lovers and co-conspirators again, rather than just partners in the business of child-wrangling.

But it's all there, in a way.

192:365: New Hutch

193:365: Pee Break

194:365: Child's Play

195:365: A Little Sugar in My Bowl

196:365: Self-Portrait VII: Mind-Full

197:365: Because Sue Asked

198:365: Jumper Discouraged

199:365: Dapper

200:365: Gliding


  1. So very true. I think it's impossible to document yourself. What you can choose are the pieces of life you see as you go - then the photos are moments recollected in tranquillity. Nor am I sure how to measure enlargement, improvement, other than to applaud techinical advances and lucky captures.
    Having said so, I marvel at the colour and joy in your life, burdened and harried as you are. It comes through in the photos. I look forward to each batch.

  2. I read this post a week ago and have been mulling it and all the issues both you and I and other crew members have raised over and over again since then. For me, everything keeps coming back to what my expectations of the project were/have become and what I think the project in effect does and can't do. It cannot offer a snapshot of the fullness of my life--the pretty, the dirty or the dirty pretty--; there are no tears on anyone's faces in the pictures I have taken, yet many have been spilled. I cannot see my daughter's crippling anxiety in the fall nor can I see my sister's cancer or the emotionally heavy phone calls I share with my other sister on a regular basis. There is nothing represented of the news--of local and world events that have a great impact on me and on those I love.

    But what the project does do well is to reflect the immediate space I occupy on a day-to-day basis: a sunset here, a wig there, a skeleton in the osteopath's office. Those are the minutiae of life that are so quickly lost. Project 365 is also teaching me about my character--what I can and cannot shoot and what limitations my own personality brings to the lens. It's also proven a pretty good yard stick of mood as well. I now look back and notice how I've somewhat unconsciously used light, perspective and framing as a continuation of the emotional place I am in at that moment behind the camera. The trick is to now learn how to do all this consciously. And, of course, Project 365 has been very good at forcing me to know my camera better and to understand photography just a wee bit more than I did before (as the person behind the lens, in front of the lens, and in front of other people's pictures).

    I like the first example you give in your post: of you carrying all three children home from the street car. For me it hits on the nub of this conversation: Project 365 shows only a limited view of the things we see; it does not show all that we carry.

  3. Can I add that I love the collection of pictures you've posted above, particularly the loly pops stand? It looks more like the loly pops last stand in many ways.