World of Childhood

Pictures from childhood speak to us, providing magical portals into a primordial world, a world before memory. Before the digital age, such pictures were collected in photo albums, carefully pressed behind plastic sheets or glued to pages with pointed corners. I remember flipping through the pages at the first bald-headed, then short-haired, brown-eyed girl first on her daddy's shoulders and then in patent leather shoes and woolen cape as she headed off to kindergarten. I did not remember this person per se, but she was me and someone loved this little girl enough to collect the pictures and carefully place them in the book. I stared at them as if staring would turn a key in a lock and I would know this girl. And, even though I know that will not happen, I am drawn to the mystique and magic of the past, a world I live in and do not recall.
So, last weekend I became one of those collectors of photos, gatekeeper to the world of childhood when I met with my sister-in-law to capture autumn shots of my niece, Ellie. Gretchin wanted to recreate one of those childhood photos of herself that her mother has and so we dressed Ellie in fall clothing to keep the chill at bay and placed her in front of the remaining foliage in a Radio Flyer wagon.

I used a UV filter smeared with vaseline to create the hazy halo and I love how it provides that otherworldy feeling. Someday Ellie will look back and study these -- perhaps they will still be on line or stored in some digital file or printed out and tucked away, but whatever the means of storage, she will browse through these images to learn who she was and who the people were who loved her. And, if we are around, we will look back fondly on this day and tell her about the world she came from and the child she was and for a moment we will all linger together in this unreachable, miraculous world.