Thursday, 10 October 2013

AM I MISSING THE MOMENT?

His cheeks are rosy, flushed with the redness worn by a 1960s child actor. They’re picture perfect and if they weren’t a sign of teething, I’d wish he’d wear them forever. I noticed them clearly as I captured the moment on film.

It was an event made for the lens. He wore the food on his face as though it was war paint. He grimaced with disgust as he licked the rubber spoon dry of its rice cereal (mixed with breast milk). One second it seemed sour; then bitter. The facial expressions changed with every lethargic chew. After the swallow, his enthusiastic eyes beckoned us to feed him more, as though it were sweet.

“Smile mate,” I said gaily, more out of habit. Not only was it an instruction for Anna to hold the spoon still, it was to steal Freddy’s concentration to the camera and away from the next spoonful of off-white sludge. He obliged.

Freddy predicts that every few hours he’s going to get a camera lens in his face, with one of his parents hiding behind it. (It’s the only routine he’s in.) He’s a conditioned poser. Worse, at the presentation of a camera, he stops what he’s doing, looks to the lens long enough for the photo to be taken, before resuming what he was up to.

And so it was, during the first feed of his life, I interrupted it by trying to ‘capture it on film’.

“Put the bloody thing down, you’re going to miss it,” I was told.

“Miss it,” I thought. “I’m watching it. How can I miss it if I’m filming it?”

I love taking photos and videos. Nothing makes me more satisfied than when I take a photo of Freddy in which he looks innocent, engaged or happy. We’ve developed a great record of his short life, but it’s got me thinking: have I missed some of his best moments?

The last four months have flown by, and it’s hard to remember everything. In fact, the first two weeks were such a blur, I can barely recount how we got home from the hospital. We do have amazing photos of the time, but I can’t quite recall many of the discussions we had, why we cried a lot, or how we managed to stay (slightly) sane.

While I was capturing the show, was I missing the moment?

The excitement I felt watching Freddy swallow his first ‘solid’ was immense. When I put the camera down, and focused on the face-pulling display in front of me, I realised I was witnessing a hilarious yet pivotal occasion in our lives. It was more than the realisation his poos would be more chunky and smelly. It was more than snaring his look of disappointment at our decision to make his first meal a gluggy, white sludge. It was a moment no photo or film could ever truly embody. It had emotion; it had laughter. It was a memory.


13 comments :

  1. I understand why you wanted to capture this moment, and others like it, on camera. But I do think it's important to sometimes put the camera away and just enjoy the event without seeing it through a view finder. We went to our boys' school musical last night and I did feel that I wasn't able to watch their class performances properly because I was so busy making sure the video camera was steady (holding it up above my head) and that I was getting everyone in, and should I zoom in now etc. Yes, I can watch the video back but it's not the same.

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    1. Leanne, thanks for stopping by. I imagine for a play/musical that once you commit to filming it, you can't stop. The feeding was hilarious. The photos (and I still did take a few, I admit) are gold. It's like he has shown his 1000 faces in a 20 minute period. But I have noticed that I speak about the experience with so much gusto, and I just may not have done that if I spent the whole time filming him.

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  2. I remember one Christmas I filmed everything, then when I put the camera down I really felt as if I hadn't been there. It was sad. Now I take less photos but I enjoy the moment more.

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    1. Yeah the camera's good for the odd photo. But it certainly shouldn't take you away from the food or the smiles on your kids' faces.

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  3. I'm the opposite, I don't think I take enough photos and vids, but it is hard to strike the right balance isnt it. I feel like we should take more as our extended family live overseas so its the only way they will see whats going on but you are right it is good to just immerse yourself in the moment and enjoy it.

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    1. I'm always conscious of striking a good balance Rhian. My family's interstate, so I am always trying to send them pics, but ultimately I think I have to treat myself to the moment.

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  4. I think about this often too as I've forever got my camera in the girls' faces, these days I try to catch the candid moments rather than trying to set up the perfect shot which I think makes a difference.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Emma. I guess with smart phones, we have good quality point-n-shoot cameras always at the ready anyway. So if they're being cute we can whip them out and snap them.

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  5. I love to take pictures too - and with a child all grown up and small children you realise that the memories that to mesh into one so it is nice to be able to look back at a photo and share the memories.

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    1. That's true. This is going to sound weird, but I look forward to looking back at the photos of us all when the boy was just weeks old. And I guess that's why I've got so many of them.

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  6. It's a tough one because sometimes you can take photos and then look back years later and say yes I remember that, when otherwise you wouldn't! We had 3 kids in 3. 5 years and lots of those were a blur, but photos/videos help us remember. I am taking less now though and just trying to enjoy being in the moment. Although I do LOVE videos, they are great to watch. So how about that for a useless, hedge a bet both ways comment?! :)

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    1. Emily, sitting on the fence? Haha. I think I am too on this. To be honest, I don't think I'll stop taking heaps of photos...maybe just a few less. Thanks for reading.

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  7. I take a lot of photos and a lot of video. For me, I find that it's a great trigger for remembering things later on (as Emily said) and I have a REALLY bad memory. Like, shocking. Although, I try to put the camera down once I have taken some shots to be in the moment (and have something to remember) and when I video, I tend to point my phone (generally) in the right direction and watch 'in real time'.

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