When Life Happens
I'm used to documenting other people's lives. I relish it. I marvel and am fascinated by what most folks seem to think is mundane. Mundane?!?! Life is too damn short to think anything in this world is mundane. There is beauty and fascination anywhere you seek it. Case and point...
At our 20 week sonogram, my wife and I were informed that our child had a severe birth defect known as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. Our daughter's diaphragm had not formed properly and her stomach, bowel, spleen were sitting up in her chest, impeding lung and heart development. We moved to Philadelphia on January 1st to give birth at CHOP and then immediately enter the NICU, two floors below the Special Delivery Unit.
So what do you do when the life you're documenting is your own? People you know intimately that are facing major life events? What if life happens to you and not to your clients? Well, if you really truly believe in the importance of what you do and the power of documentary and photojournalism work, you provide for your own family the same way you provide for your clients. You approach your subjects with a sense of sincerity, honesty, humility, and genuine empathetic compassion. Every single preconceived notion and judgement gets left at the door and you begin getting to know your family, again, for the very first time.
And in the words of one of my favorite mentors, "You shoot the dog shit out of it." And don't worry about not being in any of your photographs. If you're doing it right, you are in every single image that you make.
If you'd like to see a collection of images from our experience with Charley, there's a curated gallery on my family site, which can be found here: http://indeliblelife.com/the-thing-about-charley/
If you'd like to read/see the journal I was keeping as we were going through it, you can check it out here. You may or may not want tissues. Just sayin'. http://thethingaboutcharley.tumblr.com/tagged/chrono/chrono