Photo Stories

This is one of my favorite family photographs.

It is all about body language and facial expressions, a new dog and an escaped toddler. It is about the child in the red hoodie who is always in the middle and the wisdom of the oldest child which she is sharing with her sister.

If you were writing a story for children could you describe your characters from this photograph? 

Learning to take photographs which tell stories is very fun. I have done if for years and have created small books for grandchildren using the smallest little moment. It is possible to take just one picture of a person or people in such a way that it is truly worth a thousand words and it is so fun to find those words !

I have learned that several things make it possible to tell your family’s stories through photography and they include:

Using a telephoto lens on a nice camera. 

( I know, I know about your cell phone with the wonderful camera. I have a cell phone, too, but it isn’t the same.)

Almost never telling anyone to look at you or smile unless you are taking a passport picture.

Training yourself to anticipate “what might happen next” in order to take photographs of real life happening and never take only one shot of anything important.

Keep in mind that I am a Grandma and so the things I do and think about will seem old-fashioned to most of you because they are.

Here is another example of a family photograph that is full of life and interest.

How often do little kids sit still in real life?

Almost never.

How often do you see a one-year-old counting with his fingers?

Beats me.

I much prefer this type of photograph over one that has tears on the cheeks of the children who are being held in a vice grip by strong hands and threatened if they move.

You know the drill.

When I saw the jaw breaker in George’s hand, I started in on the jaw breaker admonitions about not swallowing one and thus choking or not biting one which would break teeth.

I had a telephoto lens on my camera and so I was able to watch the entire jaw breaker event unfold from a distance but close enough to perform a rescue if I needed to.

There is nothing ordinary about a child eating a jaw breaker but you can’t record every minute because it takes about 45 minutes to suck the life out of one or reach the point where it is small enough to bite.

Nevertheless, it was fun to watch and the jaw breaker was dark yellow.

Olive realized that the dog had pooped on the grass.

Perhaps it was the first time in her little life that she had thought about the fact that a dog goes potty, too. She appears to be so astounded that this photo alone will not do to tell the story.

The following photo shows Olive running (at top speed for a toddler) with a look of sincere concern on her face. 

She is looking for her mother to share her discovery.

These two photos illustrate the power of a zoom lens to capture unscripted moments and expressions.

Maybe the story could be titled Olive’s Discovery and you can imagine what might have happened next. And, what would her mother do? What would Olive say to Rascal about his mistake, for surely she thought that it was one ?

(I was looking at her little bare feet as she ran away and worried that where there is one there is another.)

These are just a few of the many photographs I have taken over the years which tell stories. I hope that when I am long gone, my photographs will live on in the imaginations of my grandchildren and that they will have a story to go along with each and every one.

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