Season of joy and remembering

It’s celebration season in my family. Over the next few weeks birthdays and wedding anniversaries will keep the card makers in business and provide the impetus for scattered family members to reach out to one another.

Both the Big T and one of my brothers will celebrate birthdays, along with a sister-in-law, two nieces, a nephew and more than a few cousins.

My in-laws will celebrate 56 years of marriage this week, on the same day that would have been my parents’ 60th anniversary. My folks divorced many year ago, but next month we’ll raise a toast to my father and step-mother celebrating their 29th anniversary.

For the Big T and I, the biggest cause for celebration this year is our boy-child turning 18 in a few days.

Black and white shot of the Big T holding the boy-child, aged 6 days. Image: Su Leslie, 1998

That time the Big T got a baby for his birthday. Gayhurst House, Buckinghamshire, England. Image: Su Leslie, 1998

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Looking a bit jaded after his 40th wedding anniversary celebrations, my father in law on the boy-child’s 2nd birthday. Image: 2000, Gray-Leslie family archive.

Our tiny (truly — 2.5kg at birth) baby has become a man. A kind, funny, articulate, responsible and hard-working young man who is sometimes unknowable to me. Yet there are still moments when I recognise the energetic, ever-curious and always smiling boy I’ve nursed, read to, played with and loved with an intensity I didn’t know was possible.

This year will be the thirtieth time the Big T and I have spent his birthday together …

… but, as with most years since we were children, my brother and I will be on different continents on his birthday.

su and craig 1965 or 66 small

Big sister, little brother. Kirkcaldy, 1966. Image: Leslie family archive.

I have only one photo of my parents on their wedding day, and they are — mysteriously — right in the background of the shot. I do however have this wonderful newspaper clipping. It’s not the most flattering photograph, but provides a wealth of information, right down to my mother’s going-away outfit.

kirkcaldy swimmer wed small

Fife Free Times, Feb 1956.

In part thanks to the efforts of the Big T’s aunt (in the gorgeous bronze dress below), we have a wealth of photos of my in-laws’ wedding.

wedding_party

Marriage of Isobel Joy Dove and Roger Andrew Gray, 1960. Image: Gray family archive.

3 J & R wedding

Wedding of Isobel Joy Dove and Roger Andrew Gray, Feb 1960. Image: Gray-Dove family archive.

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is seasons.

 

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Ephemeral traces of lives past

Invitation to my great grandparents 50th wedding anniversary party. Image: Ramsay-Leslie family archive.

Invitation to my great grandparents 50th wedding anniversary party. Image: Ramsay-Leslie family archive.

For archivists, ephemeral has a specific meaning. Ephemera refers to a class of documents which are not originally intended to be preserved.  Invitations, postcards, tickets, pamphlets and greeting cards would all fall into this category.

That many of these items are preserved (in collections of ephemera) is due to the fact that they can offer valuable historical insights — and are often incredibly interesting. Who has never rummaged amongst the old postcards in second-hand shop and wondered why Jock and Mary thought Eileen worthy of a postcard from Ostend? Or opened a library book, found a first class British Rail ticket from Stevenage to Edinburgh and wondered about the person who made the trip (actually that was me, going to visit a sick aunt).

Over the last few years, my mother has been sending me photographs and other items that she has treasured over the years. Since I’ve become the family historian, she feels happy to pass them into my care. The invitation above is one of the things she gave me.

My great grandparents, Catherine Black and Alexander Cruden got married as pregnant teenagers (he was 17, she 18). They remained married for 62 years, until my great grandad’s death in 1970. I’ve written about them in the past (Getting a telegram from the Queen, On growing old together), partly because I have quite a lot of information about them, but mainly because they were around when I was a small child and I remember them with enormous affection.

It’s lovely then, to have this little piece of ephemera from their lives. The invitation is addressed to my grandparents David Ramsay and Margaret Cruden.

I also have a couple of photos from the event; one of my great grandparents, the other of my mother and a couple of cousins. These provide not only interesting insights into social customs (cups and saucers at a party — these days I’d expect wine glasses), but are also precious memories of people I love.

My great gran, Catherine Black and her sister Caroline. Photo taken at my great grandparents Golden Wedding anniversary. Also in the shot my great grandad, Alexander Cruden and (far left) his brother in law, James Fowler. Photo: Leslie family archive.

Photo taken at my great grandparents Golden Wedding anniversary. Left to right James Fowler (husband of my great grandfather’s sister Betsy), my great grandad, Alexander Cruden, my great gran Catherine Black and (far right) her sister Jessie. Photo: Leslie family archive.

Also taken at my great grandparents anniversary party; Elizabeth Leslie (nee Ramsay) with niece Margaret Ladyka and nephew Robert Guthrie. Photo: Leslie-Ramsay family archive.

Also taken at my great grandparents anniversary party; Elizabeth Leslie (nee Ramsay) with niece Margaret Ladyka and nephew Robert Guthrie. Photo: Leslie family archive.

This post was written for the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: ephemeral.

Ephemeral

A monument to loss, and a touchstone for action

A monument to the short life of Emily Keeling; murdered aged 17. Monument erected by members of her church and other well-wishers. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

A monument to the short life of Emily Keeling; murdered aged 17. Monument erected by members of her church and other well-wishers. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

Monument: something erected in memory of a person, event, etc., as a building, pillar, or statue

A headstone (tombstone, gravestone) is – for most of us – the only monument that will be erected in our memory. Whether it is a simple wooden cross, an elaborate marble angel, or anything in between, the placing of a headstone is an act of remembrance.

The headstone of Emily Keeling stands next to that of her parents. It is weathered and damaged and the ground around it is broken and uneven, but the inscription is clear and tragically poignant.

Sacred to the memory of Emily Mary the beloved daughter of George and Emily Keeling of Arch Hill who was shot while on her way to the Primitive Methodist Church Bible Class Alexandra Street April 2nd 1886. Aged 17 years.

I discovered Emily’s story because of her monument. The Big T and I were wandering around Symonds’ Street Cemetery in central Auckland and read the inscription. Curiosity about that word “shot” sent me to Papers Past* to find out more. New Zealand even now is not a nation of gun-owners, and the idea of someone – especially a young woman – being shot in 1886 seemed not only tragic, but quite bizarre. Was it an accident? Or murder?

Sadly, the latter.

Emily Keeling was murdered a few metres from her home by a man who had that day written to his family ‘… I am going to shoot myself tonight. I love Emily Keeling as no-one ever loved before.’

It was an autumn evening and Emily was on her way to Bible Class. After shooting her, the man – Edwin Fuller – ran a few hundred metres to an adjacent street and fatally shot himself.

Emily Keeling was a victim of domestic violence; another name on a too-long list of women attacked and killed by men who claimed to love them. It is shocking that Emily was so young, a teenager living with her parents. It is shocking that she died in the arms of her neighbours on the street where she lived. But for me what is truly shocking is that Emily Keeling died one hundred and twenty eight years ago but her story is that of countless women now; women who are still suffering and dying at the hands of their husbands, partners and lovers – past and present.

Buried next to, but many years before, her parents. George and Emily Keeling (snr) grew old, robbed of their only daughter. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

Buried next to, but many years before, her parents. George and Emily Keeling (snr) grew old, robbed of their only daughter. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

An anniversary and a chance to reflect

Today is the anniversary, not of Emily Keeling’s death, but of her birth; 18 April 1868. Had her life not been so brutally cut short, she might have married, had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who would remember her. She might have become a teacher, a nurse, a businesswoman. She could have been one of the 25,000 women in New Zealand who signed the Suffrage Petition in 1893 and been amongst the first women in the world to cast a vote in a general election.

Page 1 of the Suffrage Petition; signed by over 25,000 women. New Zealand was the first country in the world in which women gained the right to vote – in 1893.

She may have joined – or been part of the formation of – the Society for the Protection of Women and Children (1893), or the National Council of Women, formed in 1896.

We can imagine any number of lives for Emily Keeling, but she experienced none of them.

Small country, big problem

New Zealand has a shockingly high incidence of domestic violence. In 2013 alone, the Independent Collective of Women’s Refuges helped 20,000 New Zealand women in abusive relationships. And if that number seems high, it represents only a small percentage of the victims of domestic violence. For this is a crime that is terribly under-reported.

NZ Police statistics show that:

– 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime

– 78 percent of partner homicides in NZ are men killing their current or ex female partner

– on average, 14 women and eight children in New Zealand are killed by a member of their family each year

Fourteen women and eight children

That’s twenty two names on headstones; 22 futures we can only imagine; 22 lives remembered in monuments to pain and violence and loss.

I went to see Emily today; as I know a friend went on the anniversary of Emily’s death. I went in sadness; having read in the newspaper this morning that police going to tell a woman of her husband’s death in a car smash instead found her dead body. According to the news Police are treating the woman’s “violent” death as a homicide and say it is linked to her husband’s fatal crash this morning. This comes only one day after a man was charged with the murder of his estranged wife in Wellington, and a week after another man was arrested in Auckland for the murder of his partner.

I would have liked to tell Emily that things have got better; that men don’t kill and maim and terrify women and children in the name of “love” any more. I would have liked to tell her that organisations like Women’s Refuge – which didn’t exist in Emily’s lifetime – are no longer needed now.

But I can’t

So instead I’m doing what I can to make sure that domestic violence isn’t buried away as a “family matter” – something that can be ignored or downplayed. For me that means involvement with NZ Sculpture OnShore, a biennial sculpture exhibition that raises funds for Women’s Refuge. Established by a group of passionate, creative and highly organised women who began fundraising for Women’s Refuge twenty years ago, NZ Sculpture OnShore will hold it’s 10th exhibition in November 2014.

 

Bernie Harfleet 14 2012 photo Gil Hanly

Bernie Harfleet, 14, 2012. Exhibited at NZ Sculpture OnShore in 2012, each coffin represents a women killed in any one year in NZ by a family member. Photo Gil Hanly.

Like many people, I’m doing what I can, so that one day I can visit Emily and tell her that truly, things have got better.

Until then, if you would like to know more about the work of Women’s Refuge, click here.

And if you want to know about a NZ Sculpture OnShore, click here.

* Papers Past is an initiative of the National Library of NZ to digitise historic newspapers from all around NZ.

This post was written as part of the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge. Here are some other “Monuments” I liked:

http://dunelight.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/weekly-photo-challenge-monument-2/

http://bmagpub.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/wpc/

http://priorhouse.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/weekly-photo-challenge-monument-richmond-virginia/

http://janeykate.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://thisisfaa.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://photorambles.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://mrsaylasadventures.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://everythinginthemoment.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/weekly-photo-challenge-monument-old-burying-ground/

http://cindi-keller.com/2014/04/15/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://theapersson.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://wordswewomenwrite.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://rosekebab.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://leeannewalker1.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/monument-a-little-tribute-to-daisy/

http://2e0mca.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://drycrikjournal.com/2014/04/13/wpc-forgotten-monument/

http://kaldirimlar.com/2014/04/13/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://retireediary.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/weekly-photo-challenge-monument-hill-of-crosses/

http://tanzalongs.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/weekly-photo-challenge-monument-5/

http://nomineuk.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://ceenoa.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://ruraliowapastor.com/2014/04/17/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://katieprior.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/weekly-photo-challenge-monument-2/

http://lindylecoq.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/greatness-and-sacrifice-weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://pogirlshines.me/2014/04/15/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://isatinsilentmusing.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://pieterk515.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://nelabligh.com/2014/04/15/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://marialackey50.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://kcinaz.me/2014/04/14/monument-library-of-congress/

http://bluejbluej.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/momument/

http://bmagpub.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/weekly-photo-challenge-monument/

http://undefinedbydesignblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/weekly-photo-challenge-monument-roadside-monument/

 

 

Street life: family through the eyes of a stranger

Fleeting moment: my great grandfather, Alexander Cruden captured by an unknown photographer.

On the street: my great grandfather, Alexander Cruden. Kirkcaldy High Street, probably in the 1940s. Captured by an unknown photographer.

Growing up, I remember seeing quite a few photos from the 1940s and 50s of various relatives walking down the street. At the time I wondered about the mechanics of taking such photos. When I’m out with people, I hardly ever manage to get a  photo of them walking towards me. If I think to take a shot at all, by the time I’ve organised it, they are ahead of me and I get their backs.

It was only recently I realised (DOH!) that these images were taken by professional street photographers.

They are interesting for all sorts of reasons. Because the photographer is a stranger, I think people behave differently. In the shot above of my great grandfather, he almost looks as if he is deliberately avoiding looking at the camera. This shot below – of my grandmother Susan Elder – suggests even more firmly that she is averting her gaze.

Susan Forbes Nicholson Elder. Kirkcaldy High Street. circa 1940s.

Susan Forbes Nicholson Elder. Kirkcaldy High Street. circa 1940s. Shot captured by an unknown street photographer.

Street photography not only captures people fairly spontaneously, but in an environment that is not their own. They are out in public, wearing their public faces and giving very public performances.Many of us don’t like having our photo taken, so when it happens in public and can’t be avoided, we experience a moment of “slippage” where it can be difficult to maintain our public persona in the face of such intrusion into our private space.

Street photography can also provide a wealth of period detail; we can often date the image by the cars and fashions, while buildings and landmarks provide locational clues.

I like this shot of my mother with her sister and cousin rushing to get to the cinema on a Saturday afternoon. My mother, the eldest, looks grimly determined; the younger girls, slightly anxious and distressed. The movement inherent in their bodies contrasts with the women in the background, who seem to be taking a leisurely stroll around the shops.

mum sandra and cousin going to movies c 1949

Elizabeth Ramsay (centre) with her younger sister Sandra  (left) and cousin Margaret Cruden (right). Kirkcaldy High Street, probably late 1940’s. Captured by unknown street photographer.

In this later shot, my mum and and other sister are more relaxed,  smiling shyly for the photographer. The girls are dressed in summer clothing, in contrast to the older women behind them wrapped up in coats.

Margaret and Elizabeth Ramsay, Kirkcaldy High Street, probably early 1950s. Captured by unknown street photographer.

Margaret and Elizabeth Ramsay, Kirkcaldy High Street, probably early 1950s. Captured by unknown street photographer.

The photo below is a mystery to me. The young man on the right is my great grand uncle, Stewart Cameron Cruden (younger brother of my great grandfather, above). The older woman behind him is his mother Isabella Wallace. I have no idea who the other two people are, or when and where the photograph was taken. This is the only picture I have of my uncle, who died in 1942 aboard a ship serving in the Arctic Convoys, and I would love to know more about it. Sadly, I’m not sure there is anyone left to ask.

Strolling ... Stewart Cruden and his mother with an unknown (to me) couple

Strolling … Stewart Cruden and his mother with an unknown (to me) couple. Date, place and photographer unknown.

My attempts at street photography are, as I’ve said, usually notable only for their dullness. This one however, of the Big T and the boy-child while we were on holiday in England, does kinda make up for the others.

The boy-child and the Big T, Cambridge, England. Reminds me of a shot from a 1950s monster movie. Photo: Su Leslie 2006.

The boy-child and the Big T, Cambridge, England. Reminds me of a shot from a 1950s monster movie. Photo: Su Leslie 2006.

This post was written for the Daily Post Weekly Photography Challenge. Here are some other bloggers’ views of street life:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

Allen Street, Tombstone, Arizona

http://drlisamallen.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/weekly-photo-challenge-street-scene/

http://paisleypedlar.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

http://poojycat.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

http://theamateurcamera.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life II

http://cosmopolitaninthemaking.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

http://chasingbutterfliessunshineandfreedom.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

Street Life: Children Sparring at Lions Fountain

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life (in Holland, Michigan)

http://retireediary.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life-at-annecy-france/

http://justbeverity.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life-3-ashton-lane-glasgow/

http://belgianstreets.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

weekly photo challenge: street life

http://pleasedontmovedotcom.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

http://rododovris.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

http://redstuffdan.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/weekly-photo-challenge-streetlife/

WPC – Signs of Street Life Non-sense

http://2e0mca.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

Family bus outing and picnic, 1958.

Ramsay family bus outing and picnic, 1958. Somewhere in Fife, Scotland.

My mother comes from a large family; and one which has traditionally been very close. She has memories of family outings that encompassed so many people they needed a bus – as in the photo above.

Of course, this was in part because fewer people owned cars in Britain in the 1950s and 60s, but even so, I find it remarkable that a family could be large enough – and enjoy each others company enough – to go to the trouble of hiring a bus to convey them to a picnic spot.

I recognise many of the faces in the photo, but unfortunately my mum hasn’t written names on the back so I’m unsure of many others.

My gran is at the back in a dark jumper – peeking out from behind her sister-in-law, Ella Cruden. My grandad’s the only adult male in the shot – his face shadowed by his “bunnet.” I can see three (or possibly all four) of my mum’s sisters – Cathie, May and Sandra (and maybe Margaret),  and her sister-in-law, Betty. I recognise three of my cousins – Rob and Elaine both bonneted toddlers on their mother’s laps. The only other person I’m sure of is my great grandmother, Cathrine Cruden, in the checked jacket and beret – looking, I have to say, a bit underwhelmed and also a bit like an extra from ‘Allo ‘Allo.

Looking closely, I can see men in the background – turned away from the camera. The one with the bald spot could be my uncle Bill, but I don’t recognise the others’ backs. So where were the men? They can’t all have been taking the photo?

Like most family historians, I have a treasured collection of family photos – from stiff studio portraits to the latest Christmas shots snapped on a smart phone. But it is this picture that best represents the idea of “family” for me. It contains at least four generations of my close family, plus others to whom I am almost certainly related in some way. They are casually dressed, sitting in a field surrounded by the debris of a picnic, posing for a snapshot rather than a portrait.  They aren’t gathered for some formal occasion demanding family presence – like a wedding or christening – but brought together simply to enjoy a day out. It isn’t a great photo – but it’s a great picture of what family can be like.

This post was written in response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge. You can find out more about it here.

Here are some other “family photo” posts I’ve enjoyed:

http://brokenlightcollective.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/laughter/

http://zainabjavid.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/weekly-photo-challenge-family/

http://marydpierce.com/2014/01/17/weekly-photo-challenge-family/

http://rallifotod.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/weekly-photo-challenge-family/

http://natureontheedge.com/2014/01/17/wpc-family/

http://smilingbagel.com/2014/01/17/weekly-photo-challenge-family/

http://mommyblog913.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/family-photo/

http://chrisbreebaart.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/weekly-photo-challenge-family/

http://billjonesjrphotos.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/family/

http://thechangingpalette.com/2014/01/17/weekly-photo-challenge-family/

http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/weekly-photo-challenge-family/

http://2812photography.com/2014/01/17/weekly-photo-challenge-family-whats-with-the-portrait/

http://handmaydcrafts.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/weekly-photo-challenge-family/

http://perceptivepotcluelesskettle.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/weekly-photo-challenge-family-2/

http://nikencorner.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/weekly-photo-challenge-family/

http://allentimphotos2.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/weekly-photo-challenge-family/

An unusual point of view: looking up to the ancestors

I've always wanted a wall of family photos, so I'm excited about adding a few more to my collection over the next couple of weeks.

I’ve always wanted a wall of family photos, so I’m excited about adding a few more to my collection over the next couple of weeks.

gallery2The week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge asks for an unusual point of view. I shot these lying on the floor of my hallway … as you do.

Weekly Photo Challenge: fleeting. Family photos in context

Fleeting moment: my great grandfather, Alexander Cruden captured by an unknown photographer.

A fleeting moment: my great grandfather, Alexander Cruden captured by an unknown photographer.

“Fleeting” seems an entirely appropriate term for the photo above. I believe that it was taken on Kirkcaldy High Street – although I don’t know when. It was probably taken by a professional street photographer as the original has a number on the back, but there is no studio name or other identifying mark.

I have three such photos; this one, another of my paternal grandmother and the third of my 2 x great grandmother (Alexander Cruden’s mother) with her younger son Stewart. I think I’ve also seen one of my mother as a young teenager, but I’m not totally sure about this.

Strolling ... Stewart Cruden and his mother with an unknown (to me) couple

Strolling … Stewart Cruden and his mother with an unknown (to me) couple

Susan Forbes Nicholson Elder. Kirkcaldy High Street. circa 1940s.

Susan Forbes Nicholson Elder. Kirkcaldy High Street. circa 1940s.

By its nature, all photography is fleeting; capturing only a fraction of a second out of a whole lifetime. But while an image is fleeting, its context may not be. The relationship between photographer and subject can be transitory – or incredibly complex. At one end of the continuum is street photography – where the subject is unknown to the photographer and the relationship between them lasts the duration of the shot, plus the time it takes to effect any transaction that might take place if those shots are printed “on spec” in the hope that subjects will buy the print (a phenomenon these days confined to tourist attractions, graduation ceremonies and school balls).

My mother and her siblings. L-R: Margaret, Elizabeth (mum), May, Sandra, David, Catherine.

My mother and her siblings. L-R: Margaret, Elizabeth (mum), May, Sandra, David, Catherine.

But as private camera ownership has grown – to the extent that millions of us have mobile phones with built-in cameras that allow us to capture images of those around us at any time – the relationship between photographer and subject becomes more complex.

As children, my parents only had pictures taken if the family went to a professional photographic studio, happened to be captured by a street photographer, or if an older sibling or cousin saved up for a Box Brownie.

My father was a keen photographer in his youth. This is one of many portraits he took of my mother.

One of many portraits my father took of my mother.

In his youth my father was an enthusiastic photographer. This meant that when he first became a father – to me – he took lots of pictures, and my babyhood is recorded in large numbers of prints and 35mm slides. By the time my youngest brother came along, although photography had become cheaper, my father had lost his enthusiasm, and subsequently there are fewer photos of Derek as a child.

My own son has been photographed thousands of times by doting parents and grandparents. The earliest images are of a tiny wrinkled bundle barely an hour old. Pictures of his first days, weeks and months of life fill several albums and boxes. These days, I snap him in airport lounges and cafes – pretty much the only times we’re together with nothing better to do than play with our phones.

Whatever the setting or timing of the photos I take of my child, they are always informed by the incredibly powerful, complex relationship I have with him. I want to capture him in ways he’ll be happy to see – especially as so many photos end up on my blogs or other social media and I’m not the kind of parent who’s saving embarrassing shots for his 21st birthday or to show girlfriends. I guess often I also want to create and share images that I think are beautiful and that do justice to how amazingly gorgeous I believe him to be.

What that means of course, is that there is a form of censorship at work when I photograph my child. It springs from a mother’s love and dictates that even the most candid, apparently fleeting image carries with it a story that is enduring; a story of love and belonging and connection.

This week the Daily Post‘s Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Fleeting.” Drop on by to find out more.