Start with the Story at Home

My boy is utterly fascinated with the moon.
My boy is utterly fascinated with the moon.

All day long, though he knows it is rarely visible in the day, my boy is asking about the “mooyn”. Every circle is a moon, not a ball or even a sun…it is a moon. Even my SmugMug camera strap, which features a simple smiley face (two dot eyes and a crescent looking mouth) is a moon and two stars to him.

I rarely post family-related photos here, because I want to keep my focus. I make this exception, because my focus has changed! I making more of an effort to use documentary photography, telling the stories of life around me instead of just taking isolated, nice-looking shots. Well, when I’m 64, I sure hope I can look back with pride at having told the most important story to my very best: my family.

I take photos of my boy lining up his toy cars; it describes how he thinks. I take photos of his sweat drenched head with a little chuck of fried chicken stuck to his forehead. I know my little girl smiles, and I want to have a photo to show to her grandmother (who lives on the other side of the world). I even have silly things like a photo of the first time my boy clapped his hands.

As a quick aside, I feel very sorry for my children when they have to put together one of those wedding slide shows…it will take them months to work through even the favorites…that is, if I have told those stories well!

It is great experience too. I experiment a lot on my family. In the shot above, I was playing around with the lighting balance between my boy (simple bounce flash off the balcony walls) and the sunset. I should have started earlier, but still managed to squeeze a little sunset out. I was also trying out different angles, trying to use the geometry of the photo to draw more attention to my subject, but also itself to tell more of the story.

So, that is all to say, in my quest to tell the stories of life, I cannot overlook the stories I know the best, to which I have complete access, and which will probably mean the most, in the end: the story of my family.

Cooper Strange Written by:


  1. 2009-05-19

    That is a beautiful picture!
    Often pictures of other people’s families are dull to those on the outside, even if the photography is technically good… But that is a real exception right there!

  2. 2009-05-20

    Thanks. That is one of reasons I have kept family photography off the blog for the most part. It is too easy for my biased opinion of a shot to totally bore non-family.

    Funny you mention it, but I have been trying to loosen my grip on “technically perfect” photography. I am shooting more manual (focus & meter) to help. I really want to focus on composition and, more importantly, the underlying story.

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