It is SO HARD, Can you relate?
In the world of technology we have created, picking up a camera is not hard work. We have them everywhere. That doesn’t mean it comes easy. Teens have a funny way of wanting control over their own life all of a sudden. They don’t want to be treated like infants and they obviously learned where there voice is. I applaud that and want my children to feel comfortable enough to acknowledge when they don’t like something. But I don’t want to shy away from photographing those people that mean something to me. So, challenge accepted!
Be prepared to see more.
I noticed recently that by taking my chances at documenting my teen daughter without asking for posed smiles, I opened a key hole to a world that scares me. I found raw real emotions I might not have noticed so effortlessly before. Feelings fled through my bones for her. Like, was she able to feel confident? Was she struggling with something? Or was she feeling good with life? And I also struck a chord within my parenting self reflection. Was I doing the right thing, setting the right example, providing the right tools? Am I going to have to watch her suffer through the same typical teenage struggles I went through or will she carry herself differently? I began having trouble looking away. I focused straight on to her little details that might have gotten side swiped by that teen “coolness” that goes on.
Just know it’s worth seeing.
It might be the toughest part of childhood to look closely in on, but it is 100 percent worth the attention. In fact, I am SO grateful I am a mom in this time in life where I can constantly pick up my phone for random imperfect moments to be wrangled up in photos. Seeing her struggles so I can do better at supporting her. Focusing on her growth so I can remind her of her strengths. Recognizing her success and happiness so I can lift it a notch higher with affirmation. This parent life always stays so busy and when teenagers start to be more independent it can be effortless to let the slack build up in our connections. But the truth is, we still need to keep close.
Take those random moments and learn.
I took these images of my teen one weekend when I asked her to be ready to go out with the family. She was taking longer than the rest of us and we were getting impatient. As I walked in there I was silent but curious to check in. My daughter is almost 16. She just started driving. It is a whole new level these days and she has portrayed a sense of confidence to us throughout. I randomly had my camera because we were getting ready to walk out the door for a day adventure. When I chose to snap a typical “oh thats cute!” photo, That is exactly everything went down. Something I instantly recognized, but feared. That look in the mirror twenty times in a single minute. The double checking from side to side. The counter full of products. This tiny room seemed even tinier when I saw her lack of confidence and her muted self love. A tiny moment I almost ignored when I checked in. Sitting there, I watched, listened, and learned. I am not sure I would have had I not taken a second to film such a mundane second in our life.