I was on the road for work for nearly half of July, which meant I didn’t see much of my two kids, Jack and Margot. When I returned home I wanted to reconnect with them and decided to plan individual day trips with them. They are getting to the age where they are starting to understand what I do for a living and have each expressed a desire to know more. I thought, why not make these trips photo-centered while I’m at it.
I took my son, age 9, to the Newport Aquarium— an epic experience complete with underwater tunnels and sharks. I brought my compact Sony mirrorless for him to use, and we took our time shuffling through the exhibits, taking in the sights. We ended up going through twice to make sure we saw everything. Here are a few of Jack’s images:
Of course I also had to take a few images of Jack:
For the trip with my daughter, age 7, I decided we should explore Detroit. Though the city is on the up and up, there are still plenty of old ruins to explore, which makes for wonderful pictures and great adventure. We started at the Fisher Plant after having struck out at the Lee Plaza Hotel, which was recently sealed up for renovation. After exploring the sprawling destruction of the warehouse we headed over the Heidelberg Project to take in acts of creation and some fresh air. Here some of are Margot’s shots:
…and some of mine:
It should go without saying that I had a great time visiting these places and hanging out with my children. What did surprise me was that I learned something about the way I photograph in the process. When I am conducting non-work shoots (test shoots, personal projects, etc), they are still work in that I am always thinking about how I will ultimately use the images or how they will fit into my larger “body of work”. This year especially I have learned that I have far too many rules for myself. These trips with my kids made me realize that there are moments for acts of creativity constantly, and I don’t need to be in my studio or have a concrete idea that I’m working out.
These trips weren’t about me so there was no pressure on me to capture images in a certain way. My kids were the primary shooters. Anything I happened to take was secondary. All I had at my disposal was my mirrorless camera and one lens, simply because it was small enough for my kids to manage. I had no lights and no plan, other than to explore and document the beauty we found along the way. Beauty was indeed found but, more importantly, the road I typically take to finding it was made a little wider and easier to navigate.