In a fat red leather photo album at my father’s house, in among the pages recording summers at the beach, sailing trips, and mountain-conquering holidays, there is a page of pictures of my sister and I, aged at most five and three.
It must have been the winter holidays, I’m wearing a delightful mossy green and white sweater, red track suit bottoms and my bowl haircut declares the 80’s to be in full swing. I’m lying on my back, the little blond bob of my sister (also dressed in a fetching array of handmedowns) tucked in under my chin as we both stretch an arm out to the camera, bubbling over with laughter as the shutter snaps.
They are sweet photos, no more than that, and precious only to our family. But more than the photos, I remember that moment. I remember it was twilight on a sleepy lazy afternoon, I remember that we were mucking about, practising our “ta-da” moment for the benefit of no one more than the wood lice who tried to live behind the sofa despite my mother’s best efforts, entertaining each other in a silly simple way in that lull before supper and bed. I remember Mum and Dad’s smiles and Dad’s quick steps down the hall to fetch the camera from their bedroom. And I remember the pictures coming back from the developer, the sorting, the decision making and cropping before they were pressed into place ceremoniously on their velvety sticky black background, and the film cover smoothed over.
I don’t know why my brain has retained that memory, when so many others have been buried in time, except that it was full of joy and sisterhood and love and that is always worth preserving, but it has.
I can’t force memories on my own daughters, but I hope that somewhere in all of the thousands of photos that I take of them, there will be a moment that crystallises in a similar way. A moment of sisterhood to stand the test of time.
I take pictures of my girls almost every day. Sometimes together, but as Elma has got bigger and far more into crawling out of shot and making a beeline for the stairs, it’s been easier to take pictures of just one or the other. But I don’t want to fall out of the habit of recording their togetherness, the moments of sweetness and calm, and the moments of chaos and “Mummy!! Elma has my Cinnerella!”.
I’ve been excited about the Siblings project since Lucy first asked me to get involved with it, and if anything, I’ve just got more and more bubbly about it as the weeks have gone on. It is so exactly what I want for this year (and all the rest to come).
I’ve had so many ideas about how and what I want to capture them doing, some of which I might manage to persuade them into over the course of the year but to start things off, and perhaps with the memory of my own childhood pictures in the back of my mind, I’ve pared it down to the very minimum.
No gimmicks, no props, minimal bribery (that’s a breadstick Elma’s munching on), no beautiful scenery in the background, and I couldn’t even talk Kitty into wearing a matching-ish blouse (although I’ll admit I did try).
Just my daughters:
Two little sisters, in January.
It doesn’t surprise me in the least that everyone said yes to being involved in this project, and I’m honoured to be in some very illustrious company. And for this inaugural month I’m sending you to Chloe who writes one of my very favourite blogs, Sorry About The Mess (such an awesome name!). As well as being an incredibly talented photographer, she writes with such refreshing honesty you can’t help but feel that you’re sat at her kitchen table with a cup of tea, setting the world to rights, or having a giggle at the latest exploits of her gorgeous boys. I can’t wait to see her pictures.
There are ten of us posting today, but there’s always room for more, so please join in the linky below: