Friday, July 12, 2013

An Ode to the Photog

I’ve been walking around saying we’ve never had family photos before. Which is true, but not true.  We’ve had a few attempts, but nothing solid.

A few days after AJ came home, I attempted to take some photos of him.  I cried, and cried, and cried.  He could not sit up, he fell asleep.  I wanted to see those big brown eyes.  I couldn’t make him laugh.  I took some photos of him lying on our guest bed.  Looking, back they certainly look like newborn photos.  He was that small and that precious.  Despite this, no one really cared for those photos.  It broke my heart.  Something was wrong already, and I couldn’t even get a cute picture of my baby boy.

The following spring we attended an event for Wisconsin families that have adopted from Latin America.  They offered a photographer during the event, so we thought we’d try.  Things were great, until we told the photog and her assistant that AJ was deaf.  She immediately panicked, as did her assistant. As if we weren’t already nervous and anxious already, their reactions just made it a whole lot worse.

I remember sitting on the stool, posing a fake smile, while AJ was sliding down my lap losing it.  If she shook that Elmo any harder his eyes were going to pop out.  I felt tears welling in my eyes.  My one eye stung terribly and held a blood spot from the cancer drug that had been injected into my eye the previous day (no cancer, just a brilliant person figured out a specific drug usually used for cancer patients worked for my condition).  “You know, not all children are perfect” my heart screamed! 

Taking him to a studio is just out.of.the.question.  That's all I'll say about that.

Later that summer, we had a photog come to our house to shoot family photos.  She came, early in the morning and, well...that too was a disaster.  The mosquitoes were terrible and bit every inch of our bodies.  She couldn’t get him to turn and look.  She had no idea what to do with him.  We paid a ridiculous amount of money for a whole lotta nothin’.  Out of those pictures, one was precious enough to print.  One.  Not one of them showed his sweet grin. 

After those experiences, I vowed to take AJ’s photos myself.  He’s not easy to catch much less encourage to smile when you’ve got a camera in your hand.  I thought we’d never have family photos.  Which may not be a big deal to some, but for me, it was heart-breaking.  I think I did ok, considering how difficult it is to take his picture.  There were always pictures of AJ with one or the other of us, but never us as a family.  As he’s gotten older, there have been more attempts, but nothing solid.  How’s that for candid (pun intended)?

When I began thinking about his birthday party this year, I thought it would be fantastic to have someone else take pictures.  Someone whose sole job that day was to capture the day’s events.  So, I asked a friend’s husband, who had ironically just gone public with his media company, to take photos.  Praise heaven he obliged. 

I have never, never, never been around such a patient photog.   Several kiddos at AJ’s party had special needs.  He captured everyone, beautifully.  I have never seen so many pictures of my son smiling.  Grinning.  Cheesing it up.  We got a family photo-with my sweet hubby in a pirate hat.  Who knew men could look sexy in a kid’s pirate hat.  I digress…

The photos were incredible.  I was less stressed and thrilled he got every shot we requested. 

So when our placement adoption agency emailed and said, “Please send family photos with the hard copy of your letter.  They cannot be casual photos”, I panicked…and then emailed our photog.

With just a day’s notice, he took on our request.  We met at a park and he took some INCREDIBLE shots of our family.  AJ’s curiosity and contentment were center stage, we just followed his lead.  I have never seen anyone so patient with a kiddo and photographs-much less a kiddo that can’t always hear you, er-chooses not to hear you sometimes, wanders off in the middle of shots, won’t sit still for 2 seconds, and makes candid shots a running sport.  He captured AJ in his element.  We took many photos without him smiling, but the sweetness behind the candid snips of time shows and that is what matters.  He did smile, and giggle, and we enjoyed every minute of the shoot.   If you are waiting to take family photos, for any reason, don’t.  Go for it. Capture the here and now and leave the perfect in the dust.   I promise you won’t regret it.

To top it all off, our photog brought some prints and our photos disc over the same night so that we’d be able to sleep knowing I wouldn’t have to run and get prints made the next morning to send to Bulgaria. 

We’ve said thank you a thousand times, but Mike-we really hope you get the picture as to how talented you are and how that talent has impacted our lives….and the life of our future daughter.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Directions for Leaving a Comment:

Scroll down to the bottom the post you wish to comment on. You will see the time/date stamp on the bottom along with the number of comments and a small envelope. Do NOT click on the envelope! Click on the "0 Comments".

A text box will appear for you to write your comment. You can use Anonymous, just leave your name at the end of your comment so we know who you are! Thanks!