While in the classroom, I used photography and videography as ways of documenting skills that the students worked on. Parents loved seeing their child hard at work and the other professionals in the classroom were able to see progress when they were not there for day-to-day activity. I used these photos during IEP (Individualized Education Program) meetings as friendly reminders of the sweet student that we were talking as well as explanation of specific type of class work. This became the norm as a way of documenting in the fast paced preschool classroom. The focus of the cute photo with a grin from ear-to-ear turned into an activity focused photo with student as a secondary focus.
Fast-forward to life with your own sweet baby and all you want to do is take photos of that sweet face! My cellphone became swipe after swipe of newborn gas smiles and sleeping baby photos. I couldn’t share enough of them with every family member possible and even the cashier at Harris Teeter. As I looked back at the photos that were a few days old, I realized that I had fallen to just capturing a cute little face and missed the entire reason that I was taking the picture. For example, I wanted to show all the relatives that she was pushing up while on her tummy; but the only things I was capturing were her chunky cheeks and shoulders. I reevaluated my purpose to photos and have yet to look back.
Now, the photos that fill my phone are primarily content based as well as cute! I am able to commemorate the moments to include the whole memory, not just what her facial expression was. Now don’t get me wrong, if she tries a lemon out of a glass of water, of course I’m going to capture that sour, squishy face; but when she is trying to create art, I’m going to capture her technique and the final product.
As I made this transition, I received comments from acquaintances about the mysterious look of photos that I have posted to social media. Some questioned if I was trying to keep her identity private–which it started out as but has turned into something much larger than privacy. It is about the process. How many times have you seen a mommy friend post a picture on Facebook of their child doing something (maybe a cool sensory bin filler, fun art project, or great family outing) and all you see is a sweet smile?! How awesome would it be if that photo was zoomed out a bit so you could really see what was happening? My challenge to you (the many folks that are going to read this…) is to think about the content of that adorable photo before clicking away. 🙂