First lets talk about the literal definition of documentary. Whether you use this word as a noun or an adjective, it simply means official pieces of written, printed, or other matter or a factual record or report. This is Google's definition. In my own words, documentary, is a real life account of events. No choreography or staging. It is not a fly on the wall approach for me, because let's be honest, flies are always right in the middle of everything. While I do observe and anticipate what might happen next, my goal is integrate into your family, get close and step back, as any self respecting toddler with the a camera in their hand would do.
While I have studied posing, lighting, and have followed all the rules to learn my craft; rules are meant to be broken right? In a documentary session there are no rules, no posing, no guided interaction, or intervening (unless someone is doing something that may kill or seriously harm them self or another). I am hands off and integrate as another kid in your family.
You read right, I become a kid. I'm on their side, even though you paid for the session, because it is their trust and unique character and how they interact with you, mom and dad, that we want to capture. There perspective will give you insight into their world. It also give you the unintended consequence of gaining confidence in who you are as a leader, as their mom or dad! It's honestly pretty cool if you ask me!
Documentary photography is the observation of real life emotions and connection throughout mundane tasks and adventures alike. After all, it is those everyday moments, the goofy, sticky, tantrum filled moments, that you are going to want to remember so many years in the future. Why will you want to remember these in between moments? Because I promise you having photographic evidence as you regale stories of your everyday or grandiose adventures will bring them alive like you would believe. Seriously, your future self and your future children will thank you.
Unscripted moments documented are proof you lived, proof you tried and failed, proof that you existed with your children. Documentary photography is powerful in the moment, in a couple of years, on that rainy day, and when you are recounting life in the much more distant future.
Think of it this way, a yearly school photo may capture grow, but it can't capture you or your children's unapologetically being as member of your family and as a human in this world. I don't mean to bash school pictures, they have their purpose as stated above; growth, a record of a hair cuts and missing teeth. Documentary photography goes beyond growth to capture their fluid place in this world, as a member of your particular human unit.
That was a lot about kids, but documentary photography is also an account of your parenthood. It is a series of still frames that show your strength, perseverance, and love. We don't often have the opportunity as parents or even adults to see how much we are loved, how beautiful we appear in our surroundings, yes, even if that is a messy kitchen or toy infested living room. Sure we are tired most days, exhausted on others, but our journey with our children and partners is astoundingly profound.
Whether it be your child's unparalleled passion to share their emotions or your unmatched desire to remember the good and the bad, I hope you consider a documentary photography session with me or an artist in your area, because your story matters in this crazy adventure called life.