We started to let A use our camera with supervision just before Christmas last year. These are three of the first images she captured:
A shot of her feet and her father’s feet, as he explained how the camera works.
Our neighbor’s front yard candy canes, which she insisted on visiting every day.
And a trippy light display; I’m not sure where she took that one but I like it.
She had been playing with her wooden toy camera a lot, holding it up to her eye correctly, reciting “say cheese!” in a sing-song voice. I don’t know where she learned about “say cheese.” John and I take candid shots only, with our iphones or a digital camera, usually in natural light. We never pose her or prompt her to do anything.
The vast majority of the images of our daughter are only seen by John and me. The rest we share with family by photo sharing via the cloud or with friends through social media. A even has her own Facebook page, which started out as an adoption page when John and I were still waiting to adopt. The social workers urged us to create a website and blog or Facebook page, to let birthmothers learn more about us. But once we were chosen as adoptive parents and A was born, we realized the alarming number of photographs we were taking and knew we’d drive our friends crazy if we clogged up our personal Facebook feeds with baby photos. We turned the adoption page into a repository of pictures of A. The people who go wild for baby photos can still follow and get their fix. Everyone else can unfollow and reserve Facebook for what it was intended – political debates and cute animal videos.
I don’t ask A’s permission to take or share photos. Admitting that fact makes me uncomfortable. I am so respectful in almost every other way. I check if it’s okay before I pick her up or wipe her nose. But when it comes to photographs, I just snap away. My justifications are many; she doesn’t know what social media is. She could never understand the importance of these images, how they capture moments I never want to forget, like how stunning she was – in so many ways – on any given day. She’ll never be 962 days old again. If I don’t commemorate it, the 962 day old girl will be gone forever.