There was one magical day back in May 2010, a beautiful spring day, which is rare in NYC when it feels like we go from winter to summer with the flick of a switch.
Liam was around 15 months old and it was one of the first times that we went for a walk in the neighborhood without taking the stroller.
Some of the details are blurry now - was he transitioning from two naps to one? Did I wear the baby carrier just in case he got tired? I think the answer to both those questions is yes, but I don't remember for sure.
But there are moments from that walk that I remember with crystal clear clarity, not so much because I have photos to remind me, but because the experience of taking those photos helped me to more fully experience those moments and cement them in my memory.
I remember his sense of discovery that I experienced through his eyes as he stopped and examined a rock here, a step there, banging on a gate, picking up a stick, looking at a fence. Everything was fresh, new and curious to him, and he was relaxed and at ease with no view to rushing to a destination. It was all about the journey. And he carried this same sense of exploration with him to our destination, the Pratt campus.
This photo captured that moment that every mom experiences and, if she takes the time to notice, treasures, when her child shares their discovery, their amazing rock or stick or leaf, by holding it up to show them, looking up earnestly and expectantly for what they have come to expect - a reassuring, encouraging and validating response.
This photo captures a moment no other photographer could have captured, because this photo shows Liam looking up at ME, his mother. He is looking right into the camera but really he is looking at me. That's what I love about this photo - it captures, emotionally, the experience of being a mother, and of having your child look up at you like that. If someone else had taken it, it wouldn't have the same meaning to me.
It's one of my favorite photos of Liam. The 15 month old is gone now, replaced by an unfathomably large and articulate four year old, but the moment, the memory, the feeling will always be with me.
He's also wearing one of my favorite outfits of his from that time - I love these simple overalls! And I was really excited when I got them out of storage the other day and Jack wore them for the first time.
We didn't do the same walk, and I didn't exactly set out to recreate the same photo, but we headed to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens with the intention of taking photos and... the moment presented itself and I, remembering the first photo (it hangs on a wall near my desk) grabbed it.
Seeing these two photos side by side kind of blows my mind. I can't stop looking at them. My two boys, looking up at me together from across time. Jack is actually three months older than Liam was in these photos. And while it's hard not to compare siblings, I feel like these photos celebrate both their similarities - their connection as brothers - as well as the ways they are different.
I love photographing my kids. I love the experience it gives me. I love the memories it creates and the opportunity it gives me to reflect.