Technically this is just fabric. In reality though, it is so much more. It is comfort and love. Nunny left behind, still in sight though, because her darling Clover is big enough now to want to play without her sometimes. Not often is she left behind on an adventure, but it is happening more and more. Time is passing and that is exactly what this image says.
I find so much personality in things. Pretty sure it is the main reason I love to go to thrift stores (OP shops if you are Aussie) as the items for sale come with a hidden history. It is something that I can’t always see see, but I certainly feel. Places and objects hold personal stories and that is why I am drawn to photographing them. It may not be what gets shared on the blog or Instagram the most, but I am always collecting these little portraits of time passed. Later I sit with them and let them speak quietly to me. It was like the days after my father died and I just stood in front of his closet and stared at his shoes. He was no longer there, but the places those shoes had taken him hung in the air before me.
One of the things I find compelling is portraits of children’s lives where the kids themselves are not even present. Images of the traces of them pull strongly at my heart. Maybe it is because I wanted children for so long before I actually had them or it is just the constant realization that their time living at home with us is so short. As an expat who is so physically far from her own mother, I am acutely aware of that bittersweet reality. The little girl I nannied is graduating high school this year. It seems like yesterday that I was meeting her as a five month old baby. A friend’s child whom I can vividly remember buying the present for her birth (a little jacket from Esprit) just backpacked her way through my Melbourne guest room on her way around the world. She is twenty now. My kids will be out on their own someday. There will not always be juice boxes in my fridge. We have already gotten rid of the bottles I had to warm. The bottles I painstakingly pumped full of milk I no longer produce and never again will. That time is gone. And that is why I photograph the details. For me, they are powerful road markers on this journey.
Something I rarely celebrate with photos is the mess that kids leave in their wake. In fact, I grumble as I wipe it all up and put it back in order. Yet, I have never forgotten this post from Heather Spohr nearly four years ago, just a few months after she had lost her daughter Maddie. That mess they leave behind? It is such a tangible proof of life lived.
I found a new blog yesterday that aims to capture all of those things. The objects and the mess that celebrate time spent with children in our homes…these photographers make it beautiful.