And it's a little hard for Photographer, to realize how lacking I was. But the intention was good. That matters.
By the next year I had just gotten enough confidence to start charging money. But I think I was still working with an entry-level camera and still didn't know how much I didn't know. Emma on the other hand, was holding the world in the palm of her hand and giggling at the entirety of it.
Year 3. Finally I had a real camera and actually understood the concepts that I had been playing around with in my head. And Emma was definitely no longer baby but full on GIRL. The boots, the hair, even some mannerisms, had changed. But her smile was just growing sweeter.
By Year 4, I was fully aware of what I didn't know and frankly didn't care. I was entrenched in grasping every opportunity to capture the children around me. My own kids were growing at an amazing speed and my fourth had just about knocked me out of the game. But I was determined to find a way to document these moments.
Emma was just as determined to keep growing, to keep unfolding into this amazing person. It's incredible to realize that everything a person becomes was already there, already waiting for the body to catch up to the spirit.
Year 5. Now I fully knew and exceedingly cared about my lack of expertise. I knew there are so many photographers so much better than me and I couldn't figure out to achieve the level that I wanted. I knew there was creative magic that was fleeting and hard to capture, and the only way to grab a hold of it was to keep putting myself out there. Even if I was consistently disappointed in an outcome. I remember this shoot vividly. It was the time that white balance was finally, finally figured out.
And I remember that Emma came to this shoot with ideas and options of her own. She was ready to not be entertained, to not just react to what was happening around her. She was ready to BE the action, not just the reaction. Emma brought EMMA that year.
Emma had found her feet and now there was no stopping her. Maybe she had doubts about herself. Starting kindergarten can do that to us, we realize for the first time that someone else color better or run faster than we can, and for the first time we begin to doubt. Or maybe even realize there's a concept like "good enough".
Emma didn't stop, she didn't let creepy doubts become roadblocks. I know she didn't. Because this is what we created together this year....
Just like Emma, I grew from crawling to running (with a few crashes) and finally to standing strong in my own knowledge. Of what my art is, what it looks like and feels like.
It is sweet, and touching, and powerful. Just like Emma.