The teachers tell us to cultivate simplicity. Most of us ignore that advice and set out to acquire as much as we can.
When I photograph young children I am touched by their joyfulness and eagerness to play. At the age of one or two their lives are still uncomplicated. They have not learned to make comparisons between themselves and others. They have not set goals.
They are curious about everything. We have stones in our back yard in place of grass. Enakai picked up several and offered them to us as gifts.
He took an instant liking to Emma, the cat in our house.
We can learn a lot about life by observing young children, their sense of delight, and their simplicity.
During a shoot I see children through my viewfinder. This is a different perspective than the parent who looks on. One difference is that the parent is doting on the child. I’m choosing an f/stop. Another is that the parent has the primary responsibility for the child’s safety. I am distracted by the technical demands of making the photograph.
Young children make a wonderful object of meditation. I am busy during the photo shoot, but I often contemplate photos like this one in a leisurely way because they are calming to the mind and inspiring to the spirit.
My friends and I have complicated lives. I find myself striving to add more complications so that I can compare my achievements to theirs. As I contemplate a child’s photo I begin to notice how frantic I am in other areas of life. In most cases the frantic quality is something I chose.
I recommend the practice of observing children at play, especially when someone else has the frontline responsibility for their wellbeing. You can also contemplate photographs in a leisurely and reverent way. It helps me, and it will probably help you too.
I welcome your comments.